Five Fridays 2014 – 2015

How Can I Have What You Have Without Destroying You to Get It?

Steve Van Wagoner, PhD
Friday October 17, 2014 9:30am-12:30pm

Envy and jealousy, and their consequent influence on competitive and potentially destructive action, are common and pervasive in all dyads and groups. While group therapy is optimal for illuminating these dynamics, we can also turn our eyes and ears toward our patient’s stories and interactions to detect the presence of envy and transform it into creative action. Through didactic, experiential learning, and the leaders’ containment and modeling, we will explore ways to work with envy and competition. We will identify and analyze various ways of constructing intimacy and competing for relatedness. Participants will learn to verbalize passionately held feelings of envy, rejection, and perceived loss of power as a way of neutralizing its destructive potential.

Learning Objectives: at the end of the seminar participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the impact of passionately held feelings of envy and competitiveness on the therapeutic alliance, especially those that go unexpressed verbally.
  2. Distinguish between healthy and destructive aspects of competition and envy and their impact on relationships.
  3. Compare and critique methods for containing and working through these powerful feelings in relationships.

Presenter: Dr. Van Wagoner is a licensed psychologist and certified group psychotherapist in private practice in Washington D.C. He is currently on faculty at the National Group Psychotherapy Institute of the Washington School of Psychiatry, is an adjunct clinical faculty member at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and currently the Editor of “The Group Circle,” AGPA’s newsletter. Dr. Van Wagoner, an author of several book chapters and articles on group psychotherapy, has presented extensively on group psychotherapy locally and nationally, specializing in working with envy, shame and competition in group therapy, and has been leading groups for over 30 years.


Leaving Myself to Find Myself in India

Marc A Nemiroff, Ph.D.
Friday, Dec 5, 2014 11:30am-2:30pm
Note: this seminar counts toward the CE Licensure requirement for Cultural Competence

It is one thing to work with a patient from another culture within the “home turf” of one’s office. It is an adventure to work with people from another culture within their own cultural context. In this seminar, we will explore the concepts of “cultural submission,” develop a greater awareness of how we experience ourselves as Americans and what this indicates about the cultural assumptions we bring with us, and understand the accommodations that must be made when we are working on different cultural turf.
Dr. Nemiroff will lead us through a review of these concepts by sharing his nine years of monthly pro bono experience working in India with a Bombay-based psychologist, with a variety of people. These include abandoned elderly blind in an institution, families and individuals in the Bombay slums, young adults kidnapped as children for the sex trade and living in a shelter, parents of poverty living in hospitals with their young children receiving oncology services, street children, and children in a remote tribal village. As time allows, Dr Nemiroff will consider the audience’s choices about which of these work experiences we would like to discuss in more depth. Join us for this moving and enlightening presentation.

Learning Objectives: at the end of the seminar participants will be able to:

  1. Define and identify “Cultural Submission” to the host culture when working outside one’s own culture.
  2. List three aspects of how they experience their own culture and its values in order to recognize when cultural bias is occurring.
  3. Recognize the need for clinical adaptations when working outside one’s own culture.

Presenter: Dr. Marc Nemiroff earned his Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1975. He is affiliated with the Baltimore-Washington Center for Psychoanalysis and is on the faculty at The Washington School for Psychiatry in its Developmental Psychotherapy Seminar Program. He is a Fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association and former clinical faculty at George Washington University’s Doctor of Psychology Program. Dr. Nemiroff has dedicated one month a year pro bono for the past nine years (2005-2013) working with slum families, street children, and others, in Bombay and a nearby tribal village. He has worked with children for over 38 years and served as spokesperson for the American Psychological Association to the media during the Gulf War on topics relating to the effects of televised real violence on children. He is also the recipient of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s Wayne Fenton Award for his mental health service. Dr. Nemiroff maintains a private practice in Potomac, Maryland.


Erotic Perspectives from Today’s Masters of Sex

Faith Lewis, LCSW and Tripp Reed, MSW
Friday, January 30, 2015 11:30am-2:30pm

How can we weave current perspectives on sexuality and eroticism into our understanding of problems of the self? Sandor Ferenczi, Stephen Mitchell, David Schnarch, Joe Lichtenberg, Ester Perel and Pat Ogden, among others, have all attacked the problem of enduring sexuality in marriage. Perel has made a big impression lately on couple’s therapy. Her promotion of eroticism within marriage is delightful, challenging and ……. not for the faint-hearted, nor, perhaps, for the broken (-hearted). Mitchell has posited the difficulties of intimacy in the familiar, and the resentment loops of long marriage. David Schnarch mentions the underlying need to “Hold Onto Yourself”, while exploring more dangerous sexual territory. Lichtenberg et al have contrasted the sensuality of childhood with the aggression sometimes inherent in sexuality. “Couples work” optimally tries to examine the stabilizing of the “apparently normal” parts of each member’s self-experience (Pat Ogden et al) followed by an exploration of more “dangerous” parts, all in a strong attachment relationship with the therapist. Ferenczi long ago challenged Freudian notions of childhood sexuality, also favoring the sensual to describe childhood yearning for attachment.

This discussion brings to bear questions of longing and self-righting in relationships. The theoretical discussion will be followed by case examples and audience discussion.

Learning Objectives: at the end of the seminar participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the key concepts from four contemporary psychoanalysts and MFT therapists about the difficulties in sustaining sexuality in long term relationships.
  2. Distinguish sexual desire from sensual longing in clients.
  3. Learn two techniques to address sexual desire vs. sensual longing in treatment.

Presenters: Faith G Lewis LCSW has, for three decades, been a self psychologically-based clinical psychotherapist and psychoanalyst (through the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where she was recently Chair of Psychotherapy Training, and where she has led for four years a Study Group on Sexuality with Tripp Reed). She has had practices in Washington, DC, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Paris, France. Having conducted so much psychotherapy in the Francophone world, she naturally tends to weave questions of sensuality into her work.

Tripp Reed, MSW is a graduate of the Couples Training at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He co-leads the Sexuality Study Group with Faith Lewis. He has been in private practice in Washington, DC since 1991, where he has maintained a special interest in working with couples. Tripp’s work with lesbian and gay couples provides him with a lens into some differences in the nature of longing and desire when working with same gender couples.


Chains of Love

Jean Carter, PhD
Friday, March 20, 2014 9:30am-12:30pm

Through an attachment lens, we will view the ways our patients relate to others. What are the original imprints from their early relationships that dictate and enchain so much of the way they form attachments later on? When do they approach, connect, or withdraw? What are the accompanying affects? People are compelled down a path to attach or not-attach in certain ways. We may see manifestations of these styles in the therapy dyad and their relationships with others. We will examine anxious, ambivalent, avoidant and disorganized attachment styles. Once we can identify and understand out patient’s ways of attaching, we can help them to develop healthier relationships and deepen their capacity for intimacy.

Learning Objectives: at the end of the seminar participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the four basic attachment styles as they present in our adult patients.
  2. Describe three useful techniques to assist patients in understanding their own attachments styles
  3. Give two examples of healthy attachment outcomes in therapy

Presenter: Jean Carter is a counseling psychologist in Washington DC, with a private practice in individual and couples therapy and supervision. She is Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Maryland and is a founding member of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She has served as president of three American Psychological Association divisions and on the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association. She served as Associate Editor of the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice and is on the editorial board of Psychotherapy.


Shelter from the Storm: Tolerating and Transcending Borderline States in Development and Treatment

David Cooper, PhD
Friday May 8, 2015 9:30am-12:30pm

This talk will approach borderline phenomena (problems with affect tolerance, profound alienation, impulsive actions, chaotic relationships) from the perspective of mentalization difficulties and procedural learning. Specifically, the pre-mentalization state of “psychic equivalence” is critical to understanding the phenomenology of boardline states. The goal of treatment is not only to change what the patient thinks and feels but HOW the patient thinks and feels. This change in the process of internal experiencing holds the most promise for long-term, lasting positive change. Clinical examples will be shared by the presenter, as well as being invited from the participants, to illustrate an approach to treatment.

Learning objectives: at the end of the seminar participants will be able to:

  1. Define the construct of “mentalization” and its developmental precursor, “psychic equivalence.”
  2. Give three clinical examples of patients in the state of “psychic equivalence.”
  3. Relate mentalization difficulties to attachment difficulties in patients manifesting borderline pathology.

Presenter: David Cooper, Ph.D. is the President of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, where he serves as Teaching Analyst on the faculty of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Cooper was founder and Director of the Lodge Day Program, a partial hospital program for the treatment of severe personality disorders at Chestnut Lodge. Since the Lodge closed in 2001, he has been in the full-time practice of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis in Chevy Chase. He has lectured, written, and taught on topics related to addiction, trauma, and severe personality disorder, as well as on issues related to psychoanalytic theory and practice.