Psychoanalytic Practice is a Department of Education accredited, peer reviewed journal. Manuscripts are independently and anonymously reviewed by at least two reviewers.

The following contributions are welcomed for publication:

  • Papers applying psychoanalytic understandings to South African history and society.
  • Papers on psychoanalytic theory, controversies, and applications.
  • Clinical or theoretical papers on psychoanalytically oriented community interventions.
  • Any topical issue or clinical question - for example accounts of recently attended conferences, ethical issues, training, scope of practice, etc.

Papers on psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic work in individual, couple, family, group or organizational settings (please see the guidelines below for case study papers).

Thoughts in response to recent papers in the Journal.

Recently published psychoanalytic books dealing with interesting theoretical or clinical issues.

Peer review policy

Psychoanalytic Practice uses a blind peer review process with each manuscript reviewed by at least two reviewers. All manuscripts are reviewed as rapidly as possible and the editorial team strives for a decision within ten weeks of submission, although this is dependent on reviewer availability. Where authors are invited to revise manuscripts for re-submission, the editor must be notified (by e-mail to of their intention to resubmit and the revised manuscript should be re-submitted within four weeks, with a brief statement detailing amendments that have been made.

Journal style

All manuscripts should be written in English and include an abstract of 150-200 words. Papers should be a maximum of 8000 words (excluding the abstract and references). The writing must be of a high grammatical standard, and follow the technical guidelines stipulated by the American Psychological Association 6th edition (APA 6th). Manuscripts on subjects outside of the journal’s specified area of focus and those of poor technical or language quality will be returned without review.

Only electronic files conforming to the journal's guidelines will be accepted. The preferred format for the text and tables of your manuscript is Word DOC. The text should be one and a half spacing, size 12. PPSA adheres to the APA reference style. Papers or books referred to in the text should be marked in parentheses, e.g. (Greenson, 1967). Quotations should contain page numbers. All references must be listed at the end of the article as follows:

Target, M., & Fonagy, P. (2002). Fathers in modern psychoanalysis and in society: The role of the father and child development. In J. Trowell & A. Etchegoyen (Eds.), The importance of fathers: A psychoanalytic re-evaluation (pp. 56-60). New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
Symington, J., & Symington, N. (1996). The clinical thinking of Wilfred Bion. London: Routledge. Tustin, F. (1994a). Autistic children who are assessed as not brain-damaged. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 20(1), 103-31.

Case study papers - guidelines

The following is a suggested format for the structure and presentation of a clinical case study.

1. Title and abstract

The abstract should be between 150 and 250 words and present a summary of the paper

2. Introduction and rationale for presenting the case

In this section, a focus for the paper is provided and a brief discussion with regards to why this case might be interesting to other clinicians. This could include cases that discuss interesting, helpful or particularly difficult processes in therapy, or that illuminate or challenge theory or technique in a helpful way, or that present ethical questions.

3. Brief literature review

The literature review situates the case within relevant theory and recent research relating to the focus of the case study. These could be in areas relating to the patient diagnosis, the process of therapy or the techniques employed in treatment.

4. Case presentation*

In this section, the patient’s presenting complaints and history are outlined, along with a description of the course of treatment/relevant process of therapy thus far. Unless the case involved only a few sessions, a write-up of the full history of the case is best avoided. Rather, only one or two themes or questions around which to build the paper should be selected. It is useful to choose case material that elucidates the chosen focus and provides evidence to readers of the interpretations of the case material.

5. Case formulation

In this section, the author’s understanding of the patient, the choices regarding technique/treatment and the understanding of the process of therapy, are discussed.

In some cases, depending on the case and writer preference, it may make more sense to combine sections 4 and 5.

6. Implications of the Case

In this concluding section, implications for practice, and/or for working in particular contexts, and for the question initially asked/problem introduced in the rationale section, are outlined. Any recommendations to clinicians and students are made in this section.

* Authors will be required to indicate how patients’ rights to confidentiality have been maintained and/or how consent for use of patient information was gained.

The following are useful references with regard to the writing of case study papers:

Edwards, D. J. A. (1998). Types of case study work: A conceptual framework for case-based research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 38, 36-70.

Edwards, D. J. A., Dattilio, F., & Bromley, D. B. (2004). Developing evidence-based practice: The role of case-based research. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35, 589-597.

Edwards, D. J. A. (2011). Planning a psychotherapy case study and structuring a case report. Retrieved from

How to submit your manuscript

Please email the submission to Before submitting the manuscript, it is requested that the guidelines and instructions to authors provided below are carefully read and adhered to. Manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned. It is also requested that the cover letter states that the submission is original and that it is not currently submitted/published elsewhere. Any funding that the research received needs to be noted, and any conflicts of interest that may exist need to be declared. Also any ethical considerations given to the paper need to be outlined.

Publishing agreement

Submission of a manuscript to PPSA, which results in publication of the manuscript, means that the author retains copyright of the work but grants PPSA the sole and exclusive right and license to publish for the full legal term of copyright.

Declaration of conflicting interests

Upon submission the author is required to declare any conflicting interests that may exist.


Authors should specify the steps taken to facilitate ethical clearance – that is, the ways in which they comply with all ethical issues pertaining to their study, including obtaining informed consent, where possible. The means by which patient or participant confidentiality has been maintained must be outlined. The manuscript must include the name of the institution that granted ethical approval for the research (if applicable).

With regards to the presentation of case study material, the ethical issue at hand is the breach of patient confidentiality through use of case material. The best interests of the patient versus the benefits to the wider community through sharing of professional knowledge need careful thought. A useful paper to read to familiarize clinician authors with the ethical issues at stake:

Aron, L. (2016). Ethical considerations in psychoanalytic writing revisited. Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 13(3), 267-290.

While gaining consent from patients is usually best, there are instances where this can be harmful to the patient and each case should be considered individually (Aron, 2016). There are a number of ways to protect patient confidentiality while usefully sharing learning from the therapy room.

  • Prospective consent: this is when consent is sought from patients for their anonymized therapy material to be used for research and publication purposes before therapy starts (however, there are debates about whether a patient can know what they are consenting to before therapy begins).

  • Retrospective consent: If it is felt that a patient and the therapeutic process (past or current) could withstand the intrusion of a paper written by the therapist, written or verbal consent from a patient to use previous therapy material is sought. This includes the anonymizing of the paper and can include sending the paper to the patient to read before submission. It can also include the provision of a space for the patient to discuss their responses to the paper. If the paper is not provided to the patient, it needs to be written with the knowledge that the patient will likely source and read the paper, and with the patient’s best interests in mind.

  • No consent: If it is deemed that the patient or the therapeutic process may not withstand the intrusion of a paper, and the risk outweighs the benefit that sharing the process in a paper might have, it is best not to write the paper. However, if the benefit of sharing the knowledge outweighs the risk, ‘thick disguise’ can be used, which is where details about the case are changed so that the patient will not recognize themselves in the data .However, there is then some risk that the dynamics of the case change significantly so as to lose the accuracy of the process/dynamic that is being presented. There is also debate about how the effectiveness of thick disguise can be determined if the patient does not read the paper.

  • The use of a ‘composite patient’: This is where similar cases are merged to create a plausible but fictitious patient. This is also a common practice, but again the accuracy of these cases is then debatable.

The author will be required to explain how ethical considerations have been managed, either in the paper, or in the covering letter to the Editor upon submission.


In order to ensure a blind-review, acknowledgments should be included in the title page and not in the main body of text.

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. Authors should disclose whether they had any writing assistance and identify the entity that paid for this assistance.

Funding Acknowledgement

PPSA requires all authors to acknowledge their funding under a separate heading – also on the title page. In cases where no funding was received, please note this. 


Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.

Author details 

Provide a brief biography for each author and full contact details for the corresponding author including email, mailing address and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all authors. If the author is not affiliated to any academic, NGO or research body, but rather works in private practice, this needs to be stated. These details should be presented on the title page and NOT in the main text of the article to facilitate anonymous peer review.

After acceptance         

PPSA will email a copy of the proofs to the corresponding author for checking before publication.

Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the Manuscript Submission process should be sent to the Editor as follows: Email: