IAPSP Couples Therapy Interest Group: A Resource for Psychoanalytic Couples Therapists

A column by   Carla Leone, Ph.D.

The IAPSP Couples Therapy Interest Group was formed in November of 2011 to support and expand the application of self psychology and other contemporary psychoanalytic theories to couples therapy. This subgroup of IAPSP is led by Carla Leone, David Shaddock and Steve Stern, with assistance from Heather MacIntosh, and consistently has over 100 members, almost one-sixth of the overall IAPSP membership.

Anyone interested in psychoanalytic couples therapy is welcome to join us. You must be a member of IAPSP but there is no additional fee for membership in this subgroup.

The group has its own listserv where members engage in monthly or semi-monthly discussions on various topics related to couples therapy and serve as a supportive community and resource for each other. Recent topics have included: the pros and cons of conducting couples therapy via Skype, dealing with couples who bicker incessantly in sessions, sharing ideas regarding teaching couples therapy, and a discussion of Phil Ringstrom's relational model of couples therapy.

In April of each year, the group sponsors an online discussion or "Journal Club" in which we discuss a paper on couples therapy with a panel of discussants. In April of 2015 we had a lively discussion of a paper by David Shaddock on the application of infant research to couples therapy, with panelists including Beatrice Beebe, David Wallin, Marty Livingston, Phil Ringstrom and Sharon Alperowitz.

In April, 2016, we will be discussing a paper by Virginia Goldner, PhD, titled Romantic Bonds, Binds and Ruptures: Couples on the Brink, which was published in Psychoanalytic Dialogues in 2014. Panelists include Carla Leone, Phil Ringstrom, David Shaddock and Steven Stern and Dr. Goldner will respond to their discussions. The paper will be emailed to all registrants on April 1st, 2016 and discussion will begin on Saturday, April 16th and continue through Saturday April 30th. All IAPSP members are most welcome to join us, even if you are not a member of the Couples Therapy Interest Group or do not work with couples. Registration is required by emailing Nilou at .

New members in the Couples Therapy Interest Group are always welcome. The group is open to any member of IAPSP; IAPAP members who wish to join please email Carla Leone, PhD at with your name, email address, city and any particular areas of interest and you will be added to our listserv. Hope to see you online!


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Conference Panel Summaries:
2016 Conference

Panel I

Dolph and Gus: The War of the Worlds  

by James Herzog, M.D., Richard Geist, Ed.D. & Janna Sandmeyer, Ph.D.

Panel II

Transforming Traumatic Intensity: Loosening the Ties of Autoerotic Asphyxiation  

by Denise R. Davis, L.C.S.W., Elizabeth Corpt, L.C.S.W. & David Terman, M.D.

Panel IV

Beyond the Clinical Moment
Searching for Realness and Reciprocity In a Long-Term Analytic Relationship

by Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D., Hazel Ipp, Ph.D. & Annette Richard, M.Ps.

Panel V

The Analyst's Affect:
The Way Back from Gridlock, Blindspots and Loss of Vitality

by Maria L. Slowiaczek, Ph.D. Heather Ferguson, LCSW, Doris Brothers, Ph.D. & Judy Teicholz, Ed.D.


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