Course Descriptions

Among its central educational aims, PSP seeks to train people to become skilled psychoanalytic practitioners. At the heart of this model of analytic education is a dual focus: an emphasis on the ongoing maturation of PSP analysts and trainees and an emphasis on the integration of theory and practice through a rich combination of personal analysis, supervision, classroom and clinical experience.

TH6: Freud’s Cases and Technical Papers

Nothing takes place between them (therapist and patient) except that they talk to each other. The analyst makes use of no instruments — not even for examining the patient — nor does he prescribe any medicines. If it is at all possible, he even leaves the patient in his environment and in his usual mode of life during the treatment.

…And incidentally do not let us despise the word. After all it is a powerful instrument; it is the means by which we convey our feelings to one another, our method of influencing other people. Words can do unspeakable good and cause terrible wounds. No doubt “in the beginning” was the deed and the word came later; in some circumstances, it meant an advance in civilization when deeds were softened into words.

— Freud, 1927

This course focuses on Freud’s major case studies and papers on psychoanalytic technique. These works were seminal for generations of practitioners and still provide much for psychotherapists of all orientations to learn from. Particular attention will be given to comparing Freud’s practices with Modern Psychoanalytic approaches.

MD1: Human Maturation and Development from Conception to Age 2: Part I

This course explains the constitutional and environmental factors in the first stages of life that contribute to or inhibit maturation. This class provides the student with the opportunity to learn, both intellectually and experientially, about the unfolding lives of human beings. Readings include those derived from the analyses of adults as well as those developed from the direct observation of infants with their mothers. The course emphasizes theories of attachment as they relate to and parallel the development of the therapist-patient relationship and therapeutic interventions, thus providing a frame- work to begin to assess and investigate questions about where a patient might present on an emotional—developmental continuum. Class discussion is intended to offer an opportunity to develop empathy with patients by re-experiencing those feelings that are lived in one’s own life and with one’s family of origin. Driven by student participation informed by the assigned readings, the class is conducted in an environment where student-therapists can each learn in his or her own way and at his or her own pace.

E4: Moral Countertransference and Other Ethical Dilemmas—Meeting the Ethical Challenge of Psychoanalytic Practice

This course focuses on the key ethical challenges of psychoanalytic treatment including:

  • Power imbalance
  • Privileging subjectivity & intersubjectivity
  • Long-term relationships–“Analysis Terminable & Interminable”
  • Regression in the service of the ego
  • Working with transference
  • Working with countertransference
  • Holding the psychoanalytic frame

Additional areas for discussion will include ethical introspection and thinking, ethical standards & codes, and the ethical challenges of psychoanalytic training and supervision.

S1: Case Presentation Seminar

The purpose of the case presentation is to provide a learning tool for both the presenter and the participants for understanding the unique treatment dynamics in each patient-analyst relationship and how the analyst might proceed using Modern Psychoanalytic treatment methods. This course focuses on the process of choosing a case and writing a case presentation according to the PSP guidelines. Particular attention will be placed on the following key issues:

  • Overcoming resistance to writing the case presentation.
  • Identifying and writing about the patient’s defenses, resistances, and transferences, as well as the analyst’s countertransference.Editing the draft: creating a “snap shot” of the treatment relationship.
  • Presenting the case: the presenter and participants discuss the successes as well as the problem areas in the treatment relationship.

TR1: Transference & Resistance Workshop

Part of an ongoing series of classes, this workshop is designed to facilitate the development of emotional flexibility and resilience through a combination of didactic and experiential learning. The class often consists of students and interns from varied theoretical backgrounds, training, and practice. Participants may range from longstanding members of the workshop to new or non-matriculated students. Discussions may include technical information regarding transference and resistance to experiential interactions of the workshop participants.

GR2: Understanding the Patient: Modern Analytic Group Treatment Reading Course Part I

There is a wonderful breadth of writing that has been done on Modern Psychoanalytic group therapy. From the well-known writers—Spotnitz, Ormont—to less well-known writers—Kauf, Kirman—the preoedipal character that emerges in group treatment has been the focus of attention for many analysts. This course allows students to deepen their Modern Psychoanalytic background in and understanding of group therapy through immersion in the Modern point of view.

Topics of study include aggression, leaders, group resistances, failures, and the interplay of past and present. This course combines reading, discussion, experience of class members, and applications to real treatment groups.