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.

Reading Stephen Mitchell

Deborah Waxenberg, PhD
Thursday, November 4, 11, & 18, 2021
7:30-9pm EST

Relational theory and practice have expanded in many creative directions since the 1980's. But sometimes we lose sight of our roots. This seminar is intended to return to the foundational theoretical and clinical precepts that were put forward by Stephen Mitchell and that not only form the foundation of the Relational revolution, but continue to influence the subsequent generations of Relational thinkers.

Over the course of 3 meetings we will consider:

-Mitchell's conceptualization of the Relational umbrella.
-Mitchell's grounding in Interpersonal theory in the ways we actively structure our experience and our suffering.
-Mitchell's perspectives on what the patient needs and what the analyst intends and knows.
-The phases of his response to critiques that the Relational turn tamed and de-sexed psychoanalysis, as he further developed concepts wound around desire, sexuality, and risk.

Mitchell illustrated his theoretical points with vivid clinical material, so we will have much to work with from the readings. Nevertheless, participants are encouraged to bring in clinical experiences, questions, and challenges from your own work.

Deborah Waxenberg, PhD, is on the faculty of The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and for four years served as Co-Director of the One Year Introductory Program. She is a Co-Chair of the Relational Track and Clinical Consultant at the NYU Postdoctoral Program and has been a guest instructor at the Institute for Expressive Analysis, NYC, and the Institute of Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia

The Relational Revolution in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy:
An Introduction

Steven Kuchuck, DSW
Saturday, December 11, 2021
10:00am- 3pm EST

This course will offer a comprehensive overview of Relational thinking and its impact on psychoanalytic technique for both senior clinicians who were not trained Relationally, and those newer to the field. Problems in defining Relational psychoanalysis - including confusion associated with language and terminology - will be discussed, as well as the continuing debate about if and how to consider Relational psychoanalysis a perspective, a theory, or a set of multiple theories.

Tracing its origins from numerous streams - interpersonal and British object relations theories, feminist and queer theory, sociocultural and political studies, the course will define and provide a deeper understanding of postmodernism, particularly with regard to specific Relational concepts such as the clinician's subjectivity, enactments, co-construction, self-disclosure, multiplicity, gender, sexual orientation, Othering, and race, among others. Core theories as well as newer, cutting-edge trends and anticipated future directions within Relational psychoanalysis will be addressed.

All registrants are asked to obtain a copy of The Relational Revolution in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy by Steven Kuchuck (Confer Books, 2021). This is available on Amazon and Karnac Books and is the required text for the course. Any additional readings will be emailed to participants in advance.

Steven Kuchuck, DSW, Former Editor-in-Chief, Psychoanalytic Perspectives, Co-Editor; Routledge Relational Perspectives Book Series, Immediate Past President, IARPP, faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NIP, Mitchell Center and other institutes. Dr. Kuchuck lectures nationally and internationally on the clinical impact of the therapist's subjectivity. His most recent book is The Relational Revolution in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

Beyond Belief: Engaging Patients' Spiritual and Religious Experience in Relational Psychoanalytic Treatment

Lisa Cataldo, M.Div., PhD
Friday, February 4, 11, & 18, 2022
10:00am-11:30am EST

The historical relationship between psychoanalysis and religion has often been marked by tension and mistrust, if not downright hostility. Recently, there has been more openness to "spirituality," but analysts may feel ill-equipped to understand and engage patients' religious or spiritual material in treatment in a way that is neither reductionistic nor uncritically accepting. And yet despite their clear differences, both psychoanalysis and religion address, in their distinct ways, questions about "ultimate concerns": love, desire, identity, purpose, meaning, and how our humanity develops and finds expression in relation to self, others, and what is beyond us. For some of our patients, a religious or spiritual context is a significant part of their lives, so how do we welcome this into the clinical encounter with analytic integrity and respect?

This course will consider theoretical and clinical approaches to understanding and working with patients' religious or spiritual experience, no matter what our own spiritual orientation (or lack thereof). From a relational psychoanalytic perspective informed by the theories of Winnicott, Fairbairn, Kohut, Benjamin, Ghent, and others, we will consider clinically useful definitions of faith, belief, spirituality and religion, and will engage issues such as god-images, fundamentalism, trauma, and "healthy" vs "unhealthy" spirituality. Brief readings will be distributed prior to the first meeting. Participants' clinical material welcome.

Lisa Cataldo, M.Div., PhD, is a psychoanalyst, Associate Professor of Pastoral Mental Health Counseling at Fordham University, and faculty member and supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. She is the author of many articles and chapters on the intersection of relational psychoanalysis and religion. Her article "Where God is between us: Religious experience, surrender, and the third in clinical perspective" won the Stephen A. Mitchell Author's Award.

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

Anthony Bass, Ph.D.
Tuesday, March 8, 15, & 22, 2022
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 and the International Journal of Relational Perspectives.

Therapeutic Action from a Relational Perspective

Stefanie Solow Glennon, Ph.D.
Tuesday, April 12, 19, & 26 2022
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 Verbal / Nonverbal Question:
Understanding / Experiencing the Language of Disorder

Lisa Director, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 7, 2022
10am-12:30pm & 1:30- 3:30p EST

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. Questions we will explore include: is the verbal / nonverbal relation binary or integrative? Are nonverbal modes - sensorimotor, gaze, affective - truer vessels of early experience, and more determinative of disorder, than verbalized language? When listening 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, contextualized expression of an individual. An expressivist model of language, and its suitability for 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 is an experiential mode of being, which may permit 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, Bucci, 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, most recently about relational innovations in work with serious disorder, the enlivening role of the analyst, and language and expressivity.

Reading Jessica Benjamin

Victoria Demos, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 14, 2022
10- 12:30p & 1:30- 3:30p 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.

Female Erotic Countertransference and the Dissociation of Desire

Janine de Peyer, LCSW
Saturday, June 4 & 11, 2022
11am- 1:30pm EST

Why is so little written about the female analyst's sexual desire? This workshop will explore cultural and gender prohibitions against the acknowledgement of female analysts' erotic arousal within the therapeutic dyad. Anchored by a clinical presentation, de Peyer will explore shifting cultural associations to gender, sexuality, ageing, and power. Is it so unspeakable within psychoanalysis that the female analyst be considered both maternal and sexual? Intersubjective complexities around the analyst's desire and her patient's apparent absence of desire will be examined through the lens of an older, cisgendered, heterosexual female analyst finding herself unmoored by erotic stirrings toward her younger, cisgendered, heterosexual male patient. The emergence of dissociative transference-countertransference dynamics will be explored, along with culturally embedded associations to gender, power, and the incest taboo.

To what extent might intense erotic countertransference within male-female, same-sex, and gender-variant (LGBTQ) dyads be viewed as 'induced' by the patient's unconscious communication of dissociated childhood enigmatic longings? And to what extent is the analyst's own developmental history a key contributor? Can we make space to reclaim the female analyst's desire as a natural, biological, permissible, and even liberated response while at the same time balancing its transgressive potential with disciplined, boundaried, containment? Or, would we be overlooking the fact that strong erotic countertransference can signal that something is out of balance - that some shared, intersubjective, unspoken truth shared by the couple may be pressing to be known?

Drawing from the work of Atlas, Benjamin, Celenza, Davies, Gabbard, Harris, McGleughlin, and Stein, we will explore how transference and countertransference dynamics of desire inevitably commingle with socialised themes of gender, power, dominance/submission, and the inevitable potential for ethical boundary violation.

Janine de Peyer, LCSW, is Faculty and Supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, New York, where she serves on the Executive Committee. She is Associate Editor with Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and has published on transference/countertransference, eroticism, dissociation, and the functions of uncanny and intuitive communication within the psychoanalytic exchange. Publications include, Unspoken Rhapsody: Female Erotic Countertransference and the Dissociation of Desire (2022); Portals Through Liminal Space, Commentary on Shapiro & Marks-Tarlow's "Varieties of Clinical Intuition (2021); Uncanny Communication and the Porous Mind (2016); and Private Terrors: Sexualized Aggression and a Psychoanalyst's Fear of Her Patient (2002). Janine grew up in London, has presented internationally, and is in private practice in Manhattan where she integrates EMDR and creative visualization within a relational psychoanalytic framework.

On the Power of Opening Elusive Interactive Moments

Darlene Ehrenberg, PhD
Saturday, June 18 & 25, 2022
10am- 12:30pm EST

The focus of this seminar will be on the importance of the analyst's sensitivity to moment-to-moment emotional shifts, in the analyst and/or the patient. Too often these shifts may not be acknowledged or opened up for consideration. The realization that it is possible to sensitively collaborate to clarify what might have triggered shifts in either patient or analyst, or both, as they engage with each other (in silence or in words) can become a kind of experiential insight for patients who may have never experienced this kind of relational possibility. Disavowals of agency, boundary issues, and fears of "seeing" or "knowing,"" or of thinking independently, and any collusion that might be in play between patient and analyst, can begin to be clarified in meaningful and powerful ways. Clarifying the shifts between negative and positive feelings keeps the work alive and allows for insights neither analyst nor patient could have anticipated or reached independently. As boundary confusions in the live analytic interaction that otherwise may not have been recognized start to be clarified, increasing trust becomes possible. Impactful early traumatic experiences, and the fears of "knowing" about them, can then begin to be de-mystified. As new kinds of relational possibilities are experienced in the live analytic interaction, the work can expand to new levels of insight and emotional freedom. This allows for increased appreciation of and mourning for the ongoing sequelae of early trauma and for the awakening of new hope and desire.

Readings from the instructor and others will provide examples of clinical process. Participants are additionally invited to bring their own clinical examples for consideration.

Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg, Ph.D., ABPP, has been writing about working at the "intimate edge" of the psychoanalytic relationship since 1974. Her book The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.) was published in English in 1992 (and has been translated into German, Italian, Czech, and Spanish). She is in private practice in New York City, and is a Training and Supervising Analyst, and on the teaching Faculty, at the William Alanson White Institute, New York City; Supervising analyst and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, at The New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; Faculty at the The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, New York City; Supervising analyst at Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, California; Advisory Board of Ferenczi Center, New York City. She teaches, supervises and consults internationally. Dr. Ehrenberg is also on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Associate Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, consulting editor, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Editorial Board, Journal of Psychohistory, and is on the adjunct faculty of the Erikson Institute Fellowship Program, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is currently working on several new books, one on trans-generational transmission of trauma, and others focusing on issues of desire and therapeutic inter-action.

Both sections 1 and 2 are required for successful registration.
Section 1: Registration Form (required for every new registration)
Section 2: Payment Below

Mitchell Center Seminar
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Please complete Section 1 before completing this section.
Once Section 1 and 2 are both completed and your payment goes through, you will receive a receipt from PayPal. This receipt is confirmation that your payment has been received and that you've successfully completed registration.

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