Contemporary Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Therapy Training Program

Enhancing the ability of clinicians to work with couple and families.


This program is designed to enhance the ability of clinicians to work with couples and families. Focusing on the treatment of relationships creates a unique training experience that examines the interface between the interpersonal and the intrapsychic. Our view is that interpersonal struggles reflect complex tangles of unresolved individual assumptions and anxieties, unconsciously shared, and transposed unknowingly onto relationships. These conflicts interfere with the maintenance of healthy bonds and navigation of developmental life phases in couples and families. Our program teaches a way of theoretically organizing clinical material at its deepest level, and facilitates the technical skills needed to foster a couple’s or family’s insight toward intrapsychic and interpersonal change. Shifting from polarized relationship struggles to the resolution of shared underlying anxieties results in greater adaptive modes of relating.

This program has a 40 year history of training area clinicians. Our founding faculty pioneered this approach out of ground breaking research with couples and families at NIMH, along with integrating psychoanalytic, object relations, and small group theory. The faculty members are experienced psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, many with experience with writing and publishing, and clinical presentations at local, national and international conferences.

Our contemporary streamlined curriculum reflects the continued integration of evolving insights and incorporates contributions from the growing attachment, neuroscience, and research literature. This program is geared towards clinicians with an interest in gaining an expertise in this modality of therapy.


YEAR ONE (30 weeks):

The first year includes:

  • A weekly seminar integrates selected readings with observation/discussion of taped faculty interviews with couples and families. The seminar meets on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:30 PM at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis (30 weeks). Classes run from October to June. The 30 week seminar includes the following: A) Clinical Observation, B) Theoretical Readings, C) Treatment Technique.
    • Clinical Observation: Participants will view videotapes of couples and families each week and these presentations will be integrated with weekly theoretical readings.
    • Theoretical Readings: The psychoanalytic underpinnings from the work of Freud, Bion, Klein, Fairbairn, Winnicott, and Kernberg, among others, will be applied to family and couple treatment. Special attention will be given to the impact of unresolved oedipal issues on couple and family relationships (including topics of sexual health and dysfunction, infidelity, acting out, inhibition, unresolved oedipal attachments, and separation.)
    • Technique: Beginning, Middle, and Late phases of treatment will be reviewed. This will include concepts of establishing and maintaining the treatment frame; the use of transference and countertransference; managing resistance, exploring enactments, disillusionment, family phase transitions, and premature and mutual treatment termination.
  • Weekly individual supervision of a couple or family with selected program faculty (30 hours).


YEAR TWO (15 weeks):

The second year includes:

  • Rotating Group Case Conference for 15 weeks (every other week from October to June). This experience is to reinforce concepts from the first year as applied to the participant’s clinical work. This case conference will also include specialized readings to delve into topic areas mutually defined by the group. Meetings are from 7:00 to 9:30 PM at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis.
  • Weekly individual supervision of a couple or family with selected program faculty (30 hours)



This program currently is not accepting applications

A CE-only educational experience for advanced clinicians

This option is for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists who have post graduate training, or seasoned clinicians who want to gain exposure to this way of working. This option would include attending the first year weekly seminar only. No supervision is required. No certificate of completion will be awarded as a result of participating, but CE continuing education for doctors, psychologists and social workers will be awarded. This option may be offered on rare occasions if the faculty feels this option is a fit for a clinician. However to learn this modality, the full two year experience is necessary.





Content Edit Request

Content Edit Request

Please submit one request at a time.