Graduate Studies in Relational Self Psychology

We are pleased to offer our new
Graduate Studies in Relational Self Psychology program
from the faculty of RSP Study Center
Beginning Fall 2011


“Intersubjective Systems and Other Relational Theory: Clinical Applications”
Instructor: Ellen Shumsky, LCSW, LP

We will read, discuss, compare & contrast, papers highlighting the creative application of relational theory. Interweaving our own clinical and personal experience we'll explore topics such as improvisation, enactment, multiple self states, complexity.


“The Embodied Self”
Instructor: Michele Schwartz, MA, LCSW

Psychoanalysis and body therapies have historically been viewed as, possibly adjunctive, but essentially dissimilar paths to healing. However, we live in our bodies and thus, it is the site of both the experience and the expression of our selfhood. This advanced course will integrate concepts from Somatic Experiencing and SensoryMotor Psychotherapy with Self Psychology. We will touch on such subjects as: How early attachment patterns effect the sense of embodied self. Trauma and the embodied self. How are empathy and empathic attunement experienced in the embodied self.


“The Bottom Of The Bottle: a Self Psychological Exploration of Addiction”
Instructor: Shawn Lynn, LCSW

At the bottom of the bottle is where a man can hide
When he must cross a river he knows is too wide
When the bottle is empty even heartaches are gone
Though his eyes can't see no one he don't feel alone...
                                                        - Porter Wagoner

Addictive disorders can create potent self psychological relationships, and at least for a time in our fantasies provide relief from the frailties of human-to-human attachment. Ultimately though descent into addictions undercuts our ability to develop abiding psychological structure. We’ll explore attachment trauma, dissociation, somatization, and the unintegrated self in our understanding of this powerful yet tragically transformative process.


“Love and Pathological Accommodation Between Patient and Analyst”

Instructor: Arline Fireman, PhD

The myth of analytic neutrality has long been vanquished. What are today's analytic challenges when love and/or eros arise in the analytic couple? When is touch invaluable or a violation? What happens when the desires of patient and analyst are variously matched, in opposition or enacted? How can we distinguish a felt sense of freedom from emotional coercion as the price of connection? Feeling safe enough to explore our experiences with these questions is one aim of this course. Readings from Bernard Brandchaft, Jody Davies, Muriel Dimen and Jim Fosshage will help us think through these complicated issues.

“Theory to the Rescue: the Creative Use of Powerful Theoretical Ideas for Powerless Clinical Moments”

Instructor: Lynn Preston, MA, MS

In this course we will bring potent psychoanalytic ideas to the aid of our problematic therapy relationships. Our emphasis will be on the process by which theoretical ideas become part of us “in our bones” as Winnicott put it. By tuning into our own experiential worlds (using Gendlin’s “Focusing”), we will explore the organic processes by which we integrate different, sometimes contradictory approaches and frameworks. Our working assumption is that it is the aliveness of the link between ideas that inspires us, and our lived momenttomoment clinical experience that gives our work depth and momentum.

"The Implicit: Sandplay, Dreams and Drawings"

Instructor: Liz Baring, MSc, LP, LCAT

Deepen your experience and understanding of the symbolic process as reflected in dreams, sand-play and drawings. This course will explore and discuss how these approaches broaden our self psychological lens of how to foster growth in our client's unfolding therapeutic process.

Requirements and Procedures

The Graduate Studies in Relational Self Psychology program is open to those who have psychotherapy trainingApplicants submit a completed application form.  When all application materials have been received, the applicant will be contacted.

Application form  (requires Adobe Reader)

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is $150 per course and $900 for the year.  Tuition is due by the beginning of
each course.