c Seminar Series

Seminar Series



Lisa Lyons, Ph.D. and Hillary Grill, LCSW, Co-Directors

The Seminar Series consists of brief seminars dedicated to understanding and expanding Relational Psychoanalysis. In the spirit of collaborative inquiry fostered by Stephen Mitchell, each seminar is designed as an interactive forum that aims to inspire creative thinking and to bring theory to life. Seminar topics span the gamut from in-depth explorations of foundational relational concepts to cutting-edge psychoanalytic thinking.

Seminars are designed for mental health professionals and trainees and meet for one to three sessions. Our intention is to offer participants an opportunity to explore a topic of interest in a collegial and informal small group setting.

All seminars are taught by Mitchell Center faculty, many of whom are leaders in the field and have contributed to the development of relational theory from its inception.

Race in Clinical Space

Kathleen Pogue White, PhD & Jill Salberg, PhD
Sunday, November 6, 13 & 20, 2022
11a - 12:30pm EST

This seminar attempts to raise awareness of unconscious states of mind around race in clinical work using a variation of the Balint method. This Method utilizes group engagement with a case problem brought by a case holder who describes a clinical vignette. The short narrative can be a significant moment in working with a BIPOC person, either as the therapist or as a supervisor for the therapist. For example, the case holder feels stuck around a particular racial enactment, is puzzled by a racialized countertransference, or is curious about excessive positive or negative feelings towards the BIPOC client/patient. Additionally, if/when both parties in the dyad identify as white, a case holder may have become aware of a gap, an absence of material relating to race.

In response to the case vignette, the group's work is to make their associative life available to the case holder in such a way as to connect to and open up their associative life. The Balint hypothesis is that the unconscious of all participants will be resonant and provide access to new possibilities as to feelings and ways of seeing things.

Each session will consist of 1) An opening group plenary where a vignette is offered by a senior Mitchell Center member describing the presenter's work with a BIPOC patient or with a training case with a BIPOC supervisee. The focus is on collective deep listening to and clarifying the presenter's experience of working and thinking in the area of racial difference. 2) Working in smaller break-out groups, the participants will use their associative life to frame a response to the presenters' posed question. The goal is learning and enlightenment about what race means in the context of clinical work.

Participants (candidates, faculty/supervisors, graduates, and guest colleagues) will commit to attending all three sessions. Readings will be sent out a week in advance.

Kathleen Pogue White, Ph.D., Educator and Reflective Practitioner is a Clinical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, and Principal, Pogue White Consultancy, LLC. Kathleen is a Supervising Analyst, Postdoc; Consultant, Holmes Commission, APsaA; Distinguished Member, International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations; Founding Member, WAWI Organization Program; Founding Member, Black Psychoanalysts Speak; Founding Member, The Black Clinician Salon. Kathleen authored Surviving Hating and Being Hated (2001).

Jill Salberg, Ph.D., ABPP, is faculty and supervisor at NYU Postdoctoral Program, Mitchell Center, and ICP. Her books include Good Enough Endings: Breaks, Interruptions, and Terminations from Contemporary Relational Perspectives (2010) and Psychoanalytic Credo: Personal and Professional Journeys of Psychoanalysts (2022). She co-edited with Sue Grand, The Wounds of History: Repair and Resilience in the Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma (Gradiva Award 2018).

The Psychotherapy Relationship, Dialogues of the Unconscious and the Uses of the Self in Contemporary Relational Therapies

Anthony Bass, Ph.D.
Friday, January 6, 13 & 20, 2023
3 - 4:30PM

In this workshop we will explore the nature of the psychotherapy relationship, emphasizing unconscious relations between therapist and patient. We will deepen our grasp of unconscious dimensions of therapeutic relating through our engagement with difficult treatment moments.

Along with Dr. Bass, participants in the workshop may present material themselves or work with others' clinical vignettes. They will gain experience using emotional responses to patients to identify and work through enactments, impasses and other challenging countertransference obstacles at the heart of psychotherapy. Implications for how we make use of ourselves, the way we respond to our patients, and how this contributes to our therapeutic intentions and sense of 'technique' will be explored.

We will focus on patients with whom we have felt especially emotionally affected, i.e., those who have evoked intense, disturbing or arousing reactions: patients about whom one dreams at night, or becomes preoccupied by day, or who evoke anxious or counter-resistive responses, such as fighting sleep, or falling asleep or becoming bored; patients who arouse us to anger, disgust, shame, or sexual or other body experiences.

Such experiences, often at the heart of enactments in psychotherapy, provide special opportunities for gaining access to the ways in which the unconscious life of patient and therapist emerge and interact, creating special challenges and special opportunities for deepening and furthering the work.

Please come prepared to share some clinical moments if possible.

Tony Bass, Ph.D., is a founder and president of Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center. He is an adjunct associate professor and clinical consultant at the New York University Postdoctoral Program, as well as a training and supervising analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is a founding editor and editor emeritus of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and the International Journal of Relational Perspectives.

The Verbal / Nonverbal Question:
Understanding / Experiencing the Language of Disorder

Lisa Director, Ph.D.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
10AM- 12:30PM & 1:30PM-3:30PM

In this seminar, we will study timely questions about the relation of verbal and nonverbal modes of organizing and communicating psychic life. We will focus on seriously-disordered patients, who stir debate of these issues because they tend to lack the verbal reflectiveness long regarded as pivotal in analytic process. Our starting point will be the term "language," and varied views of what it refers to. Questions we will then explore include: is the verbal/nonverbal relation binary or integrative? When people lack reflective verbalization, what are common qualities of their speech, and what are their clinical importance? When we listen to such patients, is our goal experiencing, understanding - or both?

We will compare the views of different schools of thinkers, the infancy researchers who see nonverbal, procedural patterns as formative of basic relational meaning, versus various analytic theorists, who see nonverbal modes and spoken words as integrative, producing a broadened expression of an individual. An expressivist model of language, and its suitability for nonreflective, disordered patients will be described, in which language reveals subjectivity, and takes part in creating it. We will consider how this model links to Ogden's talking-as-dreaming, in which talking itself can be a mode of being, that permits a patient's discovery of meaning, or of himself anew.

Our discussion will be informed by diverse authors including the Boston Change Process Study Group, Bion, Levenson, Litowitz, Loewald, Ogden, D.B. Stern, and others. The Instructor will send selected readings before the seminar begins.

Lisa Director, Ph.D. is Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology and Clinical Consultant at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is a faculty member and clinical consultant at the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and an Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Dr. Director has presented and published widely, about such subjects as the psychodynamics of chronic substance use, relational innovations in work with serious disorder, the analyst as catalyst, and language and expressivity.

Putting Practice into Context: Psychoanalytic Writing

Kim Bernstein, Ph.D.
Tuesday, February 28, March 7 & 14, 2023
9:30 - 11AM EST

Kim Bernstein, Ph.D., LP, NCPsyA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York. She is faculty and supervisor at the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, where she heads the writing component of the National Training Program. Prior to becoming a psychoanalyst, she worked as a professional editor for over 15 years in academic and commercial publishing; she is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Clinical Implications of the Shift to a Relational Perspective

Jody Davies, Ph.D.
Wednesday, April 5, 12 & 19, 2023
7:30 - 9PM EST

This seminar will explore the theoretical underpinnings of working clinically from a relational perspective. In the first class we will look at exactly what those theoretical shifts are, and how they impact the way we work with patients. The second class will look more closely at the multiple self state model of mind and and how our clinical interventions shift if we work using this model. An extended clinical example will be offered and participants will be encouraged to bring in their own clinical work. The third class will explore the concept of traumatic dissociation. Again, an extended clinical example will be presented and participants will be encouraged to bring in their own clinical experiences. As always, within a relational perspective, an emphasis will be on understanding transference-countertransference paradigms, enactments, and the inter-subjective field unique to each unique dyadic encounter.

Jody Messler Davies, Ph.D. is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, and current associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues: A Journal of Relational Perspectives; Faculty , Supervisor and former co-chair of the Relational Track, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; Founding Vice President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Founding Member of the Stephen A Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis. Dr. Davies is co-author (with Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea) of Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Psychoanalytic Perspective. Dr. Davies has written over 50 published papers on the topics of trauma, dissociation, multiplicity of self organization, erotic aspects of transference/countertransference termination from a relational perspective, psychoanalytic imagination, and analytic love. She is currently at work on a new book: Transformations of Desire and Despair: Clinical Implications of the Theoretical Shift to a Relational Perspective.

Reading Jessica Benjamin

Victoria Demos, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 13 & 20, 2022
12 - 2:30PM EST

This course will trace the evolution of the seminal ideas and works of Jessica Benjamin. The readings and discussions will include both theoretical and clinical material. Students will have the opportunity to explore the foundational ideas of subjectivity, recognition, doer-done to dynamics, feminism and gender, thirdness, and the connection of these concepts to early attachment patterns.

Related to this, we will examine how these states emerge in the inter-subjective space between analyst and patient. From reading some of Benjamin’s articles and excerpts from her books Bonds of Love, The Shadow of the Other, and her most recent book Beyond Doer and Done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity, and The Third, we will discuss how her concepts emerge within the therapeutic dyad and learn how to identify, recognize, and work with these theoretical and clinical concepts.

Victoria Demos, Ph.D. is a supervisor at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP), the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), and the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (WCSPP). Dr. Demos is faculty at the WCSPP and the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center. Dr. Demos has presented and published in the areas of boundary violations and intergenerational transmission of trauma. She most recently published, with Adrienne Harris as co-editor, The Collected Papers of Emmanuel Ghent: Heart Melts Forward. Her clinical and supervisory practice is in New York City and Fairfield, CT.

Therapeutic Action from a Relational Perspective

Stefanie Solow Glennon, Ph.D.
Thursday, June 8, 15, & 22, 2023
7:30 - 9PM EST

"Relational" was originally (and still is, perhaps to a lesser extent) an umbrella term that included clinicians from various theoretical orientations. To quote Emmanuel Ghent, one of the founders of the Relational Track at NYU Postdoc: "There's no such thing as a Relational analyst. There are only analysts whose backgrounds may vary considerably, but who share a broad outlook in which human relations - specific, unique human relations - play a superordinate role in the genesis of character and of psychopathology, as well as in the practice of psychoanalytic therapeutics." It is therefore not possible to present a completely unified view of therapeutic action from a Relational orientation.

The intention of this seminar is to examine the writings of some of the most often cited clinicians in the Relational psychoanalytic world in an attempt to ferret out their various views of therapeutic action, which are frequently not explicitly stated. Differences and commonalities between these theorists will be focused upon. In addition, ways in which core aspects of the Relational perspective differ from classical and contemporary Freudian perspectives on therapeutic action will be underlined. Extrapolation to differing models of mind will be attempted. Some of the theorists who will be discussed are:

Aron, Bass, Benjamin, Bromberg, Davies, Ehrenberg, Hoffman, Levenson, Mitchell, Ogden, Slochower and Donnel Stern.

It is the instructor's hope that this seminar will result in clarification of current views on therapeutic action thereby enabling participants to think more clearly about what they have found to be mutative or confusing in their own work with patients. Another positive outcome would be that exposure to differing modes of engagement, and their rationales, results in participants deciding to incorporate new ways of working with some patients in their practices - at least as a trial. Participation will be strongly encouraged.

Stefanie Solow Glennon, Ph.D., is a graduate of and supervising analyst at the NYU Postdoctoral Program, is on the teaching faculty of the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and is teaching faculty and supervising analyst at ICP in New York City. Dr. Glennon serves on the Editorial Board of Psychoanalytic Dialogues where she has been a reviewer of articles since the journal's inception. She has written in the areas of immediate experience, obesity, mourning, artistic expression, therapeutic action, solitude, termination and neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Dr. Glennon is in private practice in New York City and works with adult individuals and couples.

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-The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0261.
-CE approval for NYS-licensed psychoanalysts (LP) was secured on 11/8/21: The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0055.
-CE approval for NYS-licensed psychologists (PhD/PsyD) was secured on 1/7/22: The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0152.
Total available credits earned per seminar is 4.5. Full attendance is required for CE credit. Certificates will be sent by email within 2 weeks of conclusion of the program.



Seminars will be closed to registration when full or four days prior to the first session, whichever comes first. All payments are final. In special circumstances refunds may be offered if requested at least one week before the seminar start date. We do not accept checks.

*If you would like to attend a seminar but are unable to afford the fee, please contact us to discuss options.

For more information, email mrcinfo@mitchellrelationalcenter.org
A complete list of the Mitchell Center Faculty can be found here: Faculty Information