What brings people to therapy? What makes people want to be therapists? And what does the study of relational psychoanalysis offer to deepen and enrich the experience for both?
Although earlier psychoanalytic ideas emphasized the idea of a contained mind, the “relational turn” has shifted the terrain; a psychoanalytic process is always a fundamentally interpersonal one. Each person arrives with a unique cast of internal and external influences: cultural, familial, gendered, raced, classed and ultimately deeply individual ways of channeling and expressing each of these. What we mean when we say “unconscious” has shifted as well, so that it is no longer something understood as contained within one person, fully formed and ready to be unmasked. Instead, unconscious is what is unformulated, unspoken, and indeed sometimes waiting to be given room within which to emerge.
In all cases, the person of the therapist is part of the process, present to be seen as well as to see, to be changed as well as to facilitate change in the other. For individual analytic therapy, this means two people working to understand one more deeply, and learning that the process of doing so always involves each person unlocking something in the other as the process moves forward. For work with children and their families, this mutual influence expands to include at least three parties, as the therapist helps the parent unlock something in herself as she works to listen to and help her child.
We invite you to come think with us. We offer a four-year analytic training program, a three-year relational child and family training, and a two-year program in foundations of relational therapy. These programs are integrated with one another, so that students will have opportunities to be in classes with colleagues across the different tracks. We also offer short courses and one-day programs open to mental health professionals, and can match therapists with individual supervisors (supervision groups begin periodically). Please browse our website to learn more about IRPP, join our mailing list, and contact us for more information. We look forward to hearing your questions.
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