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The Psychotherapy Curriculum

The Therapeutic Relationship

Hear everything from start to finish about the therapeutic relationship and its curative components, including how to be a

Program Description

The therapeutic relationship is the heart of therapeutic practice. Decades of research indicate that the provision of therapy is an interpersonal process in which the main curative component is the nature of the therapeutic relationship. In this program, we look at many aspects of the constantly evolving therapeutic relationship, taking into account important new knowledge gained from neuroscience, infant research, theory about attachment, and the seismic changes in our culture which affect all aspects of our world view.

The therapeutic treatment process has significantly opened up. It used to be a stiff, one-person, “blank screen” model, where the therapist was the all-knowing and powerful “expert.” Now, psychotherapy is viewed in virtually all the varieties of “talk therapy” as a collaborative process. 

Learning Objectives

This program provides clinicians with the opportunity to:

Learn what differentiates outstanding “super shrinks” from average therapists, as well as how to improve one’s performance.

Learn about the most fundamental thing to accomplish in the first session, including the importance of managing the therapeutic frame.

Understand the classifications of attachment styles in infants and their adult correlates.

Explore how psychopathology develops as a result of attachment issues.

Understand how intersubjectivity and attachment theory, as well as neuroscience, fit together to repair derailed development.

Identify three kinds of crying.


Attachment-Oriented Psychotherapy - David J. Wallin, Ph.D. website

Perhaps the most significant development in contemporary psychoanalytic thought has been attachment theory. In this interview, Dr. David Wallin translates attachment theory and research into a framework that integrates key attachment principles with psychopathology, neuroscience, relational and intersubjective psychotherapeutic approaches, mentalization, and mindfulness.

Crying in Psychotherapy - Judith Nelson, Ph.D.

The default reason for crying is separation. The same biological and psychobiological behavior that occurs in infants to bring about reunion with the caregiver also occurs at the death of a close loved one. Judith Nelson, PhD has translated this into an understanding of crying in psychotherapy.

Cultural Complexities - Pamela Hays, Ph.D.

Diverse cultural influences have required contemporary therapists to modify their world views. To work effectively with people of diverse identities, we must learn to deal with difference and conflict in ways that empower and show respect for one another. Dr. Pamela Hays presents a paradigm for identifying one’s own biases.

Psychotherapy and the Economy, Part 1 - Frank Summers, Ph.D. website

Frank Summers, PhD shares his observations on the economy’s impact on his practice. He also discusses the dilemmas this situation raises, explaining the factors involved in modifying one’s stance on fees.

Psychotherapy and the Economy, Part 2 - Karla Clark, Ph.D.

Karla Clark, PhD discusses the dilemmas involved in making a decision to reduce a patient’s fee. She also stresses why the therapeutic frame can be vital to keeping one’s clarity and perspective on this subject and why the therapeutic relationship cannot be a sale item.

Self Disclosure-a New Paradigm - Richard Geist, Ed.D.

Dr. Richard Geist is interested in the clinical possibilities offered by the concept of connectedness. Therapists can use connection as a central organizing principle in the way we listen, interpret, make interventions, and experience our patients. Connectedness is bidirectional. With bidirectionality, therapists experience and empathizes with the patient, while the patient also experiences and empathizes with the therapist. This has opened up the subject of self-disclosure. In this new paradigm, the therapist’s “deliberate” self-disclosure often enhances our therapeutic effectiveness. 

Self Psychology and Neuroscience” - Judith Rustin, LCSW

Infant research and neuroscience add additional ways to understand and interact with patients in the clinical encounter, as well as specificity and nuance to basic self-psychological concepts. Findings from infant research delineate the nature of attunement in early mother-infant and therapist-patient interactions, while neuroscientific research reveals how early mother-infant experiences are encoded in implicit memory and profoundly impact affects and feelings. To Judith Rustin, LCSW, the concept of “implicit memory,” defined as unspoken aspects of communication and interaction formed in infancy and early childhood, is a major contributor to therapeutic action and a powerful tool. It enables the therapist to “know” the patient more fully. 

Super Shrinks - Scott Miller, Ph.D.

To begin our program, we’ll take a look at what makes one therapist “better” than another. Some therapists can be better, as indicated by their higher scores on all sorts of performance measures. In our first interview, Dr. Scott MIller shows us we can (and must) measure and evaluate our work.

Termination - Denise Davis, Ph.D website

As a result of her research, Dr. Denise Davis has been able to identify five types of terminations. In this interview, she discusses how clinicians can end therapy responsibly, even when conditions are challenging. She discusses how to handle pitfalls in the process and presents a number of essential steps for negotiating a clinically and ethically sound termination.

The First Session, as Seen in ‘In Treatment - Arthur Nielsen, M.D. website

The true core of all psychotherapy is always the intimate relationship that forms between therapist and patient, containing emotion and drama. The first session in any therapy present a unique opportunity, which has been recognized by experts for decades and even referred to as having “a sacred nature.” Everything the therapist says and does in this first session conveys his or her concern, competence, and interest in helping the patient, and it evokes intense feelings in both patient and therapist. Dr. Arthur Nielsen discusses the HBO program, “In Treatment,” and first sessions.

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Client Testimonials

“The speakers did a great job. I love the flexibility of listening at my leisure.”

... Christine S.

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