Interpersonal Psychoanalysis

Weekend Psychoanalytic Training Program: 2019- 2020

Instructors:  Joye Weisel-Barth, Ph.D., Psy.D. & Kati Breckenridge, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Time:  4th year class on Fridays 2:30-5:00

             3rd year class on Sundays 8:30-11:00

Dates:  4th year class: 9/20, 11/1, 12/6, 1/24, 3/27, 5/1

  3rd year class: 9/22, 11/3, 12/8, 1/26, 3/29, 5/3

Total Hours:  2 ½ hours X 6 meetings = 15 hours for each class


Course Description: This class will review the primary features of the interpersonal psychoanalytic model.  It will distinguish how it is similar to, and a part of, the American relational school but also distinct in certain of its emphases. Then in the last class each candidate will present a short paper that delineates what in the interpersonal model has influenced their thinking and clinical practice.


The overall objective of this course is to provide candidates with knowledge of the historical roots of interpersonal psychoanalytic theory and then to build on that base.  The building will be done by discussing three successive generations of interpersonal theorists, who refined and extended the theory and clinical utility of the model.  Candidates will identify the field theory that undergirds the various writers in order to gain a greater capacity to apply this knowledge clinically.  This includes both the interpersonal emphasis on here-and-now interactions in the analytic dyad and its groundbreaking theoretical and clinical work on dissociation and enactments.  Specifically, at the end of the course candidates will be able to:

1. identify the historical antecedents and theoretical building blocks that result in current interpersonal psychoanalytic practice

2. exercise skills in identifying the relevant here-and-now clinical encounter at the “intimate edge,” as defined by Ehrenberg

3. utilize the concept of self-disclosure in the treatment with informed and discriminating thoughtfulness

 4. understand the concept of “unformulated experience” and be able to clinically apply the concept to deepen treatment

 5. acknowledge the analyst’s need for gratification in the treatment and operate within the ethical constraints of those rights

 6. use an understanding of what “coasting in the countertransference” applies to in the analyst’s behavior and acquire the skill to address that interaction

7. become aware of the chaffings and irritations that alert an analyst to the possibility of an enactment in process and be able to engage the patient in the process of disentanglement

8. list several similarities and several differences between the Relational and Interpersonal Psychoanalysis


This introductory class will focus on the two axioms the founders established for the interpersonal psychoanalytic model:  the “ecological principle” and the “participatory principle.”  The class will also be introduced to the tensions in the model created by the personalities of Harry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm, as well as others.  In addition, the class will learn about the placement in the history of psychoanalysis of the interpersonal mode.

First Class:  Background and Harry Stack Sullivan

Goals and Objectives: This weekend’s class will focus on the origins of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis and on the original contributions of its founders, particularly Harry Stack Sullivan.

Chapters 1 & 2 in Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, (1995), eds. Lionells, M., Fiscalini, J., Mann, C.H., Stern, D.B., Analytic Press. Routledge, New York.  (PDF)

Mitchell, S. & Black, M. (1995), Harry Stack Sullivan and Interpersonal Psychoanalysis.  In Freud and Beyond. NY: Basic Books. Pp 60-84.  (PDF)

Mitchell, S. (1997), Interaction in the Interpersonal Tradition.  In Influence and Autonomy in Psychoanalysis.  Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. Pp. 63-99.  (PDF)

Stern, D. (2019) Unformulated Experience and the Relational Turn, Psych Inq. Vol 39, 127-135. (PDF)


Sullivan, H., (1938) The Data of Psychiatry in Pioneers of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis. Hillsdale, NJ; Analytic Press, pp. 1-26. (PDF)

Second Class:  Some Early Theorists

Goals and Objectives: This class will read and discuss important second generation interpersonal psychoanalysts in order to see how they extrapolated from the founders, building and developing interpersonal ideas in their individual ways.  Fromm and Cushman underline the interpersonal emphasis on social context in psychoanalysis.  Levenson expands the theory and practice of the model by emphasizing field theory, the meeting and interaction of subjectivities, and the importance of detailed inquiry in the clinical setting.  Candidates will be able to utilize the contributions of these theorists in their own practices. 

Bone, H. (1959). The Interpersonal and the Intra Personal.  In Pioneers of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, Hillsdale, NJ; Analytic Press, pp. l35-154. (PDF)

Cushman, P. (1990)  Why the Self is Empty, American Psychologist, Vol 45, No.5, 599-611,

Fromm, E. (1941) Appendix, Escape from Freedom, Rinehart, N.Y. (PDF)

Levenson, E. (1988), Show and Tell: the Recursive Order of the Transference.  In How Does Treatment Help? ed. Rothstein, A., NY: International Univ. Press. Pp 135-143. (PDF)

Levenson, E. (1988). The Pursuit of the Particular-On the Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Contemporary Psychoanal., 24: 1-16.

Levenson, E.A. (1989). Whatever Happened to the Cat?—Interpersonal Perspectives on the Self. Contemporary Psychoanal., 25:537-553

Levenson, E.A. (1993). Shoot the Messenger—Interpersonal Aspects of the Analyst’s Interpretations1Contemp. Psychoanal., 29:383-396


Levenson, E.A. (1987). The Purloined Self. J. Am. Acad. Psychoanal. & Dyn. Psychiatr., 15:481-490 (PDF)

Levenson, E., Hirsch, I. and Iannuzzi, V. (2005). Interview With Edgar A. Levenson January 24, 2004. Contemporary Psychoanal., 41:593-644

Singer, E. (1977), The Patient Aids the Analyst in Pioneers of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis. Hillsdale, NJ; Analytic Press, pp. 155-168. (PDF)

Third Class:  Maroda and Ehrenberg

Goals and Objectives: Candidates will read papers that discuss in detail the concepts of self disclosure, authenticity, the “intimate edge,” and working in the here-and-now with patients to effect change.  These concepts are central to the interpersonal model and have stimulated debate in the larger psychoanalytic field. Candidates will be able to apply these clinical strategies in their own practices. 

Ehrenberg, D.B. (1974). The Intimate Edge in Therapeutic Relatedness. Contemporary Psychoanal., 10: 423-437.  (We recommend getting the book which is slim in size and interesting.)

Ehrenberg, D.B. (2005).  Afterword, Re: The Intimate Edge in Therapeutic Relatedness, in Relational Psychoanalysis, Vol. II: Innovation and Expansion, eds. Lewis Aron & Adrienne Harris, Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.  (PDF)

Maroda, K. (1999) Show Some Emotion, in Relational Psychoanalysis, The Emergence of a Tradition, Mitchell and Aron, eds. Analytic Press, (PDF)

Maroda, K.J. (2005). Legitimate Gratification of the Analyst’s Needs. Contemp. Psychoanal., 41:371-388.


Ehrenberg, D.B. (2006). The Inerpersonal/Relational Interface: History, Context, and Personal Reflections. Contemporary Psychoanal., 42:535-550. Maroda, K. (2002). No Place to Hide. Contemporary Psychoanal., 38:101-120

Fourth Class:  Irwin Hirsch and Philip Bromberg

Goals and Objectives: Candidates will develop the skill to recognize and use the interpersonal concept of enactments.  In addition, they will become adept at differentiating the interpersonal view of enactment from the classical concept of countertransference involvement.  We also explore dissociation and its links to enactments in the analytic dyad in order for candidates to use the ideas clinically.

Hirsch, I. (1996). Observing-Participation, Mutual Enactment, and the New Classical Models. Contemporary Psychoanal., 32:359-383.

Hirsch, I. (2008) Coasting in the Countertransference: Analysts’ Pursuit of Self-Interest in Coasting in the Countertransference. Analytic Press, New York. Pp. 1-25.  (PDF)

Hirsch, I. (2007). Imperfect Love, Imperfect Lives: Making Love, Making Sex, Making Moral Judgments. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 8:355-371. (PDF)

Bromberg, P.M. (1994). “Speak! That I May See You”: Some Reflections on Dissociation, Reality, and Psychoanalytic Listening. Psychoanal. Dial., 4:517-547.

Bromberg, P. M.  (2008), Shrinking the tsunami: Affect-regulation, dissociation, and the shadow of the flood.  Contemp. Psychoanal., 44: 329-350.

Bromberg, P.M. (2012) Stumbling Along and Hanging In:  If this be technique, make the most of it, in Further Developments in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, 1980’s-2010’s, ed. Stern, D.B. and Hirsch, I. (2018), Routledge, London and New York. (PDF)


Hirsch, I. (1994). Countertransference Love and Theoretical Model. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(2):171-192.

Hirsch, I. (1995). Changing Conceptions of Unconscious. Contemporary Psychoanal., 31:263-276.

Hirsch, I. (2002). Beyond Interpretation. Contemporary Psychoanal., 38:573-587

Hirsch, I. (2003). Reflections on Clinical Issues in the Context of the National Trauma of September 11, Contemporary Psychoanal., 39(4), 665-681.

Hirsch, I. (2006). The Interpersonal Roots of Relational Thinking. Contemporary Psychoanal., 42: 551-556.

Hirsch, I. (2011). On Some Contributions of the Interpersonal Psychoanalytic Tradition to 21st-Century Psychoanalysis. Contemporary Psychoanal., 47:561-570.

Bromberg, P.M. (1996). Standing in the Spaces: The Multiplicity of Self and the Psychoanalytic Relationship. Contemporary Psychoanal., 32:509-535.

Bromberg, P.M. (2009), Truth, human relatedness, and the analytic process: An interpersonal/relational perspective.  Internat. J. Psychoanal., 90: 347-361.

Bromberg, P.M. (2001). The Gorilla Did It. Psychoanal. Dial., 11:385-404

Bromberg, P.M. (2003). Something Wicked This Way Comes. Psychoanal. Psychol., 20:558-574.

Fifth Class:  Hoffman and Stern

Goals and Objectives: Candidates will discuss and interact with the ideas of two major interpersonal theorists, Irwin Hoffman and Donnell stern.  Candidates will first examine Hoffman’s constructivism, ideas about mutual clinical interaction, and contributions in the analytic process and then analyze Stern’s ideas about dissociation and enactments in the clinical setting.  They will be able to apply these concepts in their own practices.

Hoffman, I.Z. (1983). The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst’s Experience. Contemporary Psychoanal., 19:389-422.

Hoffman, I.Z. (2000). At Death’s Door. Psychoanal. Dial., 10:823-847.

Stern, D.1983), Unformulated Experience:  From familiar Chaos to Creative Disorder. Contemporary Psychoanal., 19, 71-99.

Stern, D.(2004), The Eye Sees Itself:  Dissociation, Enactment, and the Achievement of Conflict. Contemporary Psychoanal., 40, 197-237.


Stern, D.1990) Courting Surprise: Unbidden Perceptions in Clinical Practice. Contemporary Psychoanal., 26: 452-478.

Stern, D.(1996), The Social Construction of Therapeutic Action.  Psychoanal. Inq., 16:  265-293.

Stern, D. (2009), Partners in Thought: A Clinical Process Theory of Narrative.  Psychoanal. Quart., 78: 101-131.

Stern, D. (2015) The Interpersonal Field: Its Place in American Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Dial. 25:388-404

Stern, D.(1995), Cognition and Language, In: The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, eds. M. L. Lionells, J. Fiscalini, C. Mann & D. B. Stern.  Hillsdale, NJ:  The Analytic Press, pp. 79-138  (PDF)

Stern, D.(2002), Words and Wordlessness in the Psychoanalytic Situation.  J. of the Amer. Psychoanal. Assoc., 50: 221-247.

Sixth Class:  Critiquing Interpersonal Psychoanalysis and Your own Take-Away

Goals and Objectives: This class will review the primary features of the interpersonal psychoanalytic model.  It will distinguish how it is similar to and a part of the American relational school, but also how it is distinct in certain of its emphases. Then each of the class members will present a short paper that delineates what in the model has influenced their thinking and clinical practice. At the conclusion of the class candidates will be able to use interpersonal ideas in their clinical work as they deem those ideas useful.

Frankel, J.B. (1998). Are Interpersonal and Relational Psychoanalysis the Same? Contemporary Psychoanal. 34:485-500.

Hirsch, I. (1998). Further Thoughts about Interpersonal and Relational Perspectives: Reply to Jay Frankel. Contemporary Psychoanal., 34:501-538

Frankel, J.B. (1998). Reply to Hirsch. Contemporary Psychoanal., 34:539-541.

Mitchell, S.A. (1999). Letter to the Editor. Contemorary Psychoanal., 35:355-359.