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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

General Psychiatry Residency Training Program


At UC Davis, we believe that excellent core psychotherapy training is essential for all psychiatry residents, regardless of their ultimate career paths. We are proud that our general psychiatry residents were ranked first in the nation on the 2012 Columbia University Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Competency Test, an annual national psychotherapy examination administered to residents in 64 psychiatry residency training programs nationwide.

Our program helps trainees to acquire a mastery of multiple treatment approaches and to adjust their therapeutic approaches to fit the needs of their patients. Through training in psychotherapy, residents achieve basic competency in psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and supportive psychotherapy. Training is also available in advanced psychodynamic psychotherapy, time-limited psychodynamic therapy, advanced CBT, dialectical behavior therapy, and group therapy.

During the intern year, the emphasis is on the development of empathy and interviewing skills as part of the assessment and treatment of patients.  The PGY-1 didactic series includes an empathic interviewing series, introductory lectures on therapeutic interventions, and case formulation.

During the PGY-2 year didactic series, residents learn the foundation of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in a highly interactive, group format that incorporates review of the seminal literature. Residents also participate in a psychodynamic case formulation seminar in which they learn to apply psychodynamic principles to their longitudinal patients in the outpatient clinic. During the PGY-2 year, there are opportunities to take on a long-term therapy case for residents who are interested in gaining early exposure. All residents are assigned an “off site” supervisor who can meet with them weekly to discuss clinical cases.

The PGY-3 year is a full-time outpatient year, with one day per week of child psychiatry and the remainder of the time devoted to adult psychiatry. Residents have two individual psychotherapy supervisors.   Residents may choose additional supervisors from the regular or volunteer clinical faculty if interested.  During this year, each resident practices their skills in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, time-limited psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.  Specific topics include normal development, attachment, psychoanalytic theory, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cross-cultural aspects of psychiatric treatment, gender issues and spirituality.  Residents also participate in a weekly small-group case conference, which uses the resident's case material to explore diagnostic and psychodynamic issues of concern.

In the PGY-4 year residents may choose to spend considerable time honing skills in outpatient psychotherapy.  All residents are required to continue their continuity clinic at least half a day per week and are strongly encouraged to continue psychodynamic psychotherapy with the core group of psychotherapy patients with whom they worked during the PGY-3 year.  The content of PGY-4 year didactics includes advanced topics in psychotherapy such as Jungian and Gestalt therapy.

We have an affiliation with the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis (SFCP) that allows qualified PGY-4 residents to elect advanced psychoanalytic psychotherapy training through a one- or two-year advanced training program.  Residents electing this program attend psychoanalytic training seminars at the Institute on Tuesday afternoons/evenings and receive individual case supervision in the Sacramento area from psychoanalysts who are volunteer clinical faculty in our department.  For qualified residents who elect this advanced program, our department has generously funded related tuition expenses while they are in residency.

Psychotherapy Core Curriculum Instructors

  • Lloyd Benjamin, M.D.
    Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  • Richard Bermudes, M.D.
    Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Thor Cornelius, M.D.
    Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  • Rick Ferm, Ph.D.
    Time-limited psychodynamic therapy
  • Katherine Fraser, D.M.H.
    Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
    Sacramento coordinator for San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program (SFCP PPTP)
  • Cyndi Murrer, M.D.
    Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Murat Pakyurek, M.D.
    Child psychotherapy