Seminar Series


The 2021-22 schedule is still being finalized. Please keep checking this page for updates.

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

The Seminar Series consists of brief one- to three-session 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.

* All seminars below are from 2020-21. They are representative of typical annual seminar offerings.

The Psychoanalyst's Subjectivity:
Theoretical and Clinical Implications

Steven Kuchuck, DSW
Saturday, October 17, 2020
12- 5pm EST

This course will focus on the impact of the analyst's life experience and psychological make-up on the treatment. By expanding psychoanalytic study beyond theory and technique to include a more careful examination of events in the clinician's childhood and adult life, students will have an opportunity to explore ways in which both normative experiences as well as crises affect clinical choices and the tenor of the therapist's presence in the consulting room.

In a related vein, we will look at the relationship between the clinician's subjectivity, theoretical interests, and technique- including an examination of areas of overlap and differentiation between two phenomena that are often confused: countertransference and the analyst's subjectivity. We will also discuss various ways of tracking and using our subjectivity in order to further- or recognize interferences with -therapeutic action. The therapist's temperament, multiple self-states, conflicts around being hidden or seen, self-disclosure, issues of racial identity and struggles with self-care will all be discussed within the context of the therapeutic dyad.

Steven Kuchuck, DSW, is Senior Consulting Editor (formerly Editor-in-Chief) of the journal Psychoanalytic Perspectives, Co-Editor; Routledge Relational Perspectives Book Series, President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP), faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and Board Member, supervisor, faculty, for the psychoanalytic training program at National Institute for Psychotherapies (NIP), and faculty/supervisor at the NIP National Training Program, Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and other institutes. Dr. Kuchuck lectures nationally and internationally and his teaching and writing focus primarily on the clinical impact of the therapist's subjectivity. His most recent book, The Relational Revolution in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, is being published by Confer Books in 2021. In 2015 and 2016 he won the Gradiva Award for best psychoanalytic book: Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst's Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional and The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi: From Ghost to Ancestor (co-edited with Adrienne Harris). His clinical and supervisory practice is in Manhattan.

Recognizing How We are Implicated:
Challenges in the personal, clinical, and socio-political realms

Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay, Ph.D.
Thursday, November 5, 12, and 19, 2020
7:00- 8:30pm EST

The focus of this seminar will be on the elaboration and linking of different facets of the concept of implication. It will be suggested that this vital construct may serve as a bridge, linking social theory; critiques of psychoanalysis from within - especially regarding racism and whiteness in the field; and a key sensibility within the Relational literature.

We will begin by considering social theorist Michael Rothberg's articulation of "the implicated subject." Rothberg offers a way to formulate the position we occupy as beneficiaries within a system of oppression, and the responsibilities that come along with that, even as we may also occupy other positions - such as victim or descendant - within other social and historical contexts.

We will then draw on writers within our field whose critiques center the social, political, and racial implications of what we do and do not emphasize in our theories and our work, and consider how these critiques challenge us to consider how we are implicated. We will then move into considering elements in differing psychoanalytic theories that may support or draw us away from awareness of implication. Finally, we will consider core elements of a Relational sensibility that may facilitate recognition of how we are implicated in the immediacy of the clinical moment, and in relation to the social forces within which each dyadic encounter unfolds.

Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay, PhD, Ed.M., (she/her/hers) is on the faculty of the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center. She is a founding member of the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia, where she serves as co-director and curriculum chair. Her writing has appeared in Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. She and co-director David Mark are at work on a book about implication and relational work.

Body, Mind and Environment:
The Diathesis-Stress Model from a Relational Gardener's Perspective

Susan Bodner, Ph.D.
Tuesday, January 12, 19, and 26, 2021
7:30- 9pm EST

The diathesis-stress model emphasizes that the spectrum of psychological problems results from the specific interactions of biological proclivities (primarily genetic, hormonal, neurological) and environmental influences (as navigated by relationships). The metaphor of gardening is used to frame this theoretical model.Like a gardener, the clinician always attempts to deal with the effects of natural external events as they differently affect constitutional variation.

The readings will examine different aspects of the dialecticism between environment and biology. We will read a paper by Caspi (2007) to examine how a specific gene for depression can be activated or deactivated by different levels of stress. Gage and Muotri (2012) focus on the role of jumping genes on epigenetics. Sapolsky (2017) emphasizes how environmental influences limbic system structure. Solms and Turnbull (2002) introduce the specific neurological dialogue between brain, mind and consciousness.

In order to demonstrate the clinical relevance of this theoretical modeling, in the first class we will examine a child case from this perspective; in the second class an adult case. The third class will focus on the dynamic significance of the diathesis stress model for relational practice in a larger sociocultural context.

All readings will be sent out in advance.

Susan Bodnar, Ph.D. is an adjunct associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia, and at City College. She is an associate editor at Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and on the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She has a strong interest in the role of the physical environment in psychological development.

Foundations of Relational Psychoanalysis:
Origins and Seminal works

Victoria Demos, Ph.D.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
11:30am- 4:30pm EST

This course will focus on tracing several early and seminal ideas in the canon of Relational Psychoanalysis. The readings and discussion will include both theoretical and clinical material. In specific, students will have the opportunity to trace the seminal ideas of dissociation, self-states, surrender, and recognition, as well as 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. Clinical material both from the readings as well as our own cases will be discussed in order to demonstrate and illustrate how to identify, and work with these various inter-subjective states. As we read from several authors including Jessica Benjamin, Steve Mitchell and Philip Bromberg, we will discuss how their concepts emerge within the therapeutic dyad and look at how to identify, recognize and work with different self-states and dissociation.

Victoria Demos, Ph.D., is 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, Connecticut.

Classic Papers of Ferenczi:
Focus on Trauma and Development

Adrienne Harris, PhD
Tuesday, March 9, April 6th, and May 11, 2021
7:30- 9pm EST

This seminar will focus on Ferenczi's later papers and hone in on his determination to provide a complex model of real trauma in his psychoanalytic model. He wrote about early neglect and infantile trauma (The Unwelcome Child) stressing the impact of psychic trauma on somatic states and illnesses. He wrote carefully and controversially on the reality of sexual abuse, in an essay (Confusion of Tongues) that has had wide influence in Europe (Laplanche) and the United States (Aron and Harris, Davies, and others).

Finally, we will combine looking at his work on war trauma with a final work on sexuality (Thalassa) written in the period when he was working with war trauma. Thalassa is also an account of sexuality and genetics that is very interestingly evident in the contemporary work on epigenetics - the study of how inter-subjective experience becomes installed as genetics.

The seminar will combine explication, analysis and exploration of the assigned readings along with clinical examples. Participants are encouraged to bring their own clinical material for discussion.

Adrienne Harris, Ph.D., is Faculty and Supervisor at New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is also on the faculty and is a supervisor at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. Dr. Harris is an Editor at Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Studies In Gender and Sexuality. In 2009, She, Lewis Aron, and Jeremy Safron established the Sandor Ferenczi Center at the New School University. She, Eyal Rozmarin and Steven Kuchuck co-edit the Book Series Relational Perspectives in Psychoanalysis. She is also an editor of the IPA e-journal Psychoanalysis Today

Therapeutic Action from a Relational Perspective

Stefanie Solow Glennon, Ph.D.
Tuesday, April 13, 20 and 27, 2021
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.

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

Anthony Bass, Ph.D.
Monday, May 17, 24, and June 7, 2021
7:30- 9pm EST

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, the International Journal of Relational Perspectives

Evaluation Form


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.

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.

Full attendance is required for CE credit. Certificates will be sent by email within a week of the conclusion of the seminar. Total Available CE Hours for LCSW/LMSW's: 4.5.

For more information, please email
A complete list of the Mitchell Center Faculty can be found here: Faculty Information