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.


TX9: Moral Countertransference and Other Ethical Dilemmas

This course will address the complicated ethical challenges of psychoanalytic practice today. In addition to central ethical principles and standards, this course will focus on difficult countertransference and other ethical dilemmas that create moral hazards and stress for therapists.


CP: 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.


MD3: Human Maturation and Development, Part III: Far From the Tree

Andrew Solomon, who is a gay child of straight parents, found a curious kinship with members of the deaf community.  While gayness and deafness tend to be considered deficits or illnesses by the (straight and hearing) parents of the gay and the deaf; each is a source of identity and community for gay and deaf individuals. This conundrum, which is shared by parents and children struggling with other physical and mental/emotional differences such as autism, Down syndrome and many others, poses an extraordinary challenge to parenting (an already near-overwhelming task) “different” children.  Is it the task of a good parent to “correct” the difference, or to help the child locate his identity within a community unknown to the parent?

The task of the Modern Analyst, in working with both children and their parents, is similarly complex.  The maturational problems that people have are related to their very early childhood experiences, developmental experiences in adulthood and sources of trauma in their present lives.  This class, along with Solomon, explores how parents with offspring who differ from them—in ability, disability, sexual orientation or other radical ways—approach parenting them, how those various approaches are experienced by the children themselves, and what are the implications for the Modern Analyst.


TH5: Ego Psychology and Object Relations

“Thus the shadow of the object fell upon the ego…”                             — S. Freud

“Out of the mouths of babes and infants…”                                      — Psalm 8:2

As Freud’s thought matured, he placed increasing emphasis on the roles of the ego and its relations with internal and external objects in the emotional life of human beings. It was up to the next generation of analysts, however, to develop these themes in ways that profoundly altered and expanded the psychoanalytic landscape. Thus, this course focuses on the pioneering contributions of Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Ronald Fairbairn, Donald Winnicott and Harry Guntrip to Modern Psychoanalytic theory and technique.


TX1: Modern Psychoanalytic Theory and Treatment Technique Part I

This course focuses on the beginning stages of treatment and provides an overview of Modern Psychoanalytic practice. Emphasis is therefore placed on assisting clients by helping therapists recognize, verbalize, and tolerate their respective anxieties, fears, and characterological defenses in order to create and maintain a therapeutic relationship.  Particular attention is paid to resolving treatment destructive resistances, establishing a treatment contract, developing the narcissistic transference, and utilizing joining techniques in specific client-therapist interactions.  In addition to readings and lectures, students will have the opportunity to present specific problematic dialogues from cases in order to fashion the most appropriate therapeutic intervention.


TR1: Transference and Resistance Workshop: Part I

Primary emphasis is placed on the experiential understanding of transference and resistance as they occur among class participants. In addition, participants become acquainted with psychoanalytic theories of transference and resistance, especially the Modern Analytic understanding of narcissistic transference frequently encountered in patients and therapists. This workshop also works on resolving resistances to cooperative functioning with fellow students and faculty, and resistances to speaking spontaneously in professional situations.


TX5A: Assessment and Diagnosis

The psychoanalytic practitioner is faced with communicating with the non-psychoanalytic community using the language of medicine and psychiatry while practicing from a psychoanalytic point of view.  This course provides a review of assessment techniques and content along with discussions of the common DSM-5 diagnostic criteria which identifies psychopathology.  Psychoanalytic theory and perspectives are incorporated as we compare and contrast mainstream psychiatry with psychoanalytic thought.  Emphasis is placed on the tools of listening, observing and exploring the patient’s story.  Through readings, instruction, case studies and classroom discussion, we will develop, expand and refine practice skills.