The Philadelphia Psychotherapy Study Center

Programs, Seminars & Lectures

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program
June, 2018 -- June, 2020

  • This will be a comprehensive program designed to give the practicing clinician a solid foundation for the practice of psychoanalytically-oriented psychodynamic psychotherapy.

    The didactic part of the program will be provided by three week-long summer institutes and four 20-hour seminars over the course of the two years.

    The summer institutes will entail three presentations each day by PPSC faculty and will also include a small group experience. The small groups will meet twice daily and will keep the same membership and facilitators over the course of the three institutes. The small groups are designed to help the participants to further elaborate and digest the material being presented, to link that material to clinical and personal experience and to the immediacy of the group process, and to help with any internal blockages to the participants' learning. Each summer institute will also include two plenary meetings, which will include the institute faculty and all participants, to consider the impact of the learning on the entire large group. The summer institutes will convene at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Chestnut Hill. The cost for each summer institute will be $750.

    The four seminars will include practitioners not enrolled in the certificate program and will be provided in several locations: Tuesday mornings in Doylestown, Wednesday mornings in Wyndmoor, Friday mornings in Chestnut Hill, and Saturday mornings in Doylestown. If none of those times are suitable for program participants, we will make every effort to make other arrangements. The cost of each seminar, for program participants, will be $400.

    There will also be a supervision requirement, which will be 50 hours of individual supervision from three PPSC supervisors (20 with one supervisor, 15 with two others). Supervision will be offered at a reduced rate of $75 per hour. After completion of supervisions, each participant will write up and present a case to a committee of three faculty of the participant's choosing. This will not be a pass-fail test, but rather it will serve as an occasion to receive feedback and an assessment of where the participant currently is in his or her learning and what learning tasks might then best be undertaken.


Summer Institute I: Object Relations Perspectives on the Human Life Cycle: Normality and Pathology
June 18 - 22, 2018

This initial summer institute will follow and explore the human life cycle from beginning to end. We will identify and consider the particular tasks, challenges and potential difficulties that are encountered at each stage of normal emotional and psychological development. We will highlight and emphasize how the achievements that are wrought from the successful negotiation of each developmental stage remain available to enrich the mind and heart of each individual as he or she continues on through life. We will also consider and elaborate the particular psychopathologies that may emerge when development is stalled or thwarted by obstacles and/or trauma at particular stages.

Seminar I: The Developmental Significance and Clinical Uses of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Comic-book Superheroes
Fall, 2018

This seminar will further elaborate the development themes addressed in the first summer institute. The seminar will be structured around the careful reading of The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and importance of Fairy Tales, the classic text by Bruno Bettelheim. We will also consider: Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are; the lesser-known fairy tale, Iron John, as explicated by the poet Robert Bly; and Martin Widzer's paper, The Comic-Book Superhero: A Study of the Family Romance Fantasy.

Seminar II: Learning from the Patient: The Work of Patrick Casement
Spring, 2019

This seminar will be built around the reading and studying of Patrick Casement's book, Learning From the Patient. We will discuss and elaborate Casement's presentation of clinical themes, including listening, holding, and containment, the uses and misuses of theory, interactional unconscious communication, the manifestations of trauma in the transference and countertransference, and the relationship between regression and unconscious hope.

Summer Institute II: Foundations of Object Relations Theory
June, 2019

The second summer institute will be devoted to studying and exploring the seminal theoretical formulations and associated clinical thinking of Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, R.W.D. Fairbairn, and Wilfred Bion, as well as the more recent contributions of Neville Symington and Thomas Ogden.

Seminar III: Internalization, Mourning and Psychic Change
Fall, 2019

In this seminar we will consider how the internal object world of each individual emerges as a product of the internalization - and the imaginative, the creative, and the defensive elaboration - of early experiences with primary figures, and how that internal world is projected and deployed into the external world, including the "world" of the clinical encounter with the therapist. We will emphasize the importance of mourning in the recognition, the suffering, the acceptance, and the restructuring of one's internal world.

Seminar IV: Transference and Countertransference
Spring, 2020

Using Glen Gabbard's book, Love and Hate in the Analytic Setting, we will in this seminar consider the concepts of transference and countertransference, as those concepts first emerged in the work of Freud and as they were elaborated and extended by his many followers. We will explore the relationship between projective and introspective identification and transference and countertransference, and we will discuss techniques for managing hateful and erotic transferences.

Summer Institute III: Basic Elements and Principles of the Technique of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
June, 2020

This summer institute will be devoted to exploring the basic elements and guidelines for the effective practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy. These will include: the elements of the frame; the nature of analytic listening, and containing; the recognition of derivatives of unconscious thinking and perceiving; the inviting and using of dream material; the choices of intervention; and guidelines for interpretation.


    Karen Fraley, LCSW, is a Fellow member of the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work. She is a graduate of the International Psychotherapy Institute's Object Relations Program. Karen is in private practice in Exton.

    Paul Koehler, LCSW, NCPsyT, is a Fellow member of PSCSW. He is a graduate of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies and of the Washington School of Psychiatry's Object Relations Training Program. Paul is in private practice in Doylestown.

    Alicia Krier, LCSW, is a graduate of the International Psychotherapy Institute's Object Relations Training Program. She is a school social worker for the Pennridge School District. Alicia has a private practice in Doylestown.

    Michelle Pfeifer, LMHP, completed the Object Relations Training Program and the Fellows Program at IPI. She is currently a candidate in the psychoanalysis training program at the Greater Kansas City - Topeka Psychoanalytic Center. Michelle is in private practice in Omaha, NE.

    Robin Lynk, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Robin has a specialty in working with survivors of trauma. She is in private practice in Doylestown.

    Charles Ashbach, Ph.D., is a graduate of the Washington School of Psychiatry's Object Relations Training Program. He is a founding member of the International Psychotherapy Institute. Charles is in private practice in Wyndmoor.

    Suzanne St. John, Ph.D., NCPsyT, is a graduate of the PhiladelphiaSchool of Psychoanalysis and of IPI's Object Relations Training Program. She is in private practice in Jenkintown.

For Pennsylvania Social Workers, Marriage and Family therapists, and Professional Counselors, this program has been approved for professional workshop sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social WorK Association, listed in Section 47.36 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for professional workshop for marriage and family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

For New Jersey social workers: This program is approved for 27 credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state or national social work association conferences where criteria for membership is an academic degree is a valid source of continuing education credit (NJAC 13: 44G-6.4(c)).

For psychologists: The International Psychotherapy Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education credit for psychologists. IPI maintains responsibility for this program.

For further information and/or to enroll please contact us:

Paul Koehler:; (215) 345-8730
Karen Fraley:; (610) 827-1641
Robin Lynk:; (215) 262-7400

The Wizard of Oz Teaches Object Relations Theory

  • Date: TBA
  • Time: TBA
  • Fee: TBA
  • Location: TBA
  • Instructor: Charles Ashbach, Ph.D.

This program is a 2 session seminar using the film of The Wizard of Oz to present the essential elements of an object relations understanding of the psyche. Contents include a detailed discussion of psychic structure, from a Kleinian perspective, as well as the problems of innocence, guilt, Oedipal conflict and trauma. The group will utilize clinical case material to exemplify the application of object relations theory.


  • Date: TBA
  • Time: TBA
  • Fee: TBA
  • Location: TBA
  • Instructor: Charles Ashbach, Ph.D.

This is a 3 seminar program involving the reading of Sophocles' drama: Oedipus Rex. The goal is to understand the relational context that gives rise to the conflicts between the generations and the sexes. We will explore the "back-story" of the myth, and the role of parental aggression and its link to the impulses and fantasies of the child.

The Oedipus complex occupies a central place in psychoanalytic thought and we'll contemplate the complexities of the story, and point to the issues that arise in the clinical encounter. Clinical case material will be utilized from the members to demonstrate therapeutic implications.

Suffering, Sacrifice and Psychotherapy

  • Date: TBA
  • Time: TBA
  • Fee: TBA
  • Location: TBA
  • Instructor:Charles Ashbach, Karen Fraley, and Paul Koehler

A 6-part seminar series that explores linkages between the practice of psychotherapy and the multiple burdens of suffering, sacrifice, and masochism that constitute much of the profession. The connection between the Greek concept "Therapon" meaning servant or slave, and the role of the therapist will be explored in depth.

Clinical concepts of holding and containment; of counter-transference and acting-in will all be explored through in-depth clinical examples.


Foundations of Western Literature

  • Date: Begining January 2011
  • Time: Sunday evenings 7-9pm (monthly)
  • Fee: $450
  • Location: Chestnut Hill, PA
  • Instructors: Charles Ashbach, Karen Fraley, and Paul Koehler

This will be an on-going seminar which will meet monthly to discuss and study the great works of Western literature. The seminar will meet on Sunday nights, 10 meetings per year, beginning in September, 2010.

Goals of this seminar include:

  • To gain an understanding of unconscious process and how they relate to the study of these enduring works.
  • To appreciate the elegance and wisdom in these works of literature -- and explore the possibilities, parameters, and paradoxes as they relate to the human condition.
  • We will begin with the Epic of Gilgamesh, and will next move on to the study and reading of the Iliad and the Odyssey. These reading choices will likely be enough to occupy us for the first year of our study.

We anticipate that we will continue the following years to come by reading:

  • The major plays of Sophocles
  • The Aeneid of Virgil
  • Beowulf
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Dante's Divine Comedy
  • Milton's Paradise Lost
  • The major plays of Shakespeare
  • Goethe's Faust

We will go on to read works by Melville, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Camus.

More Information

  • Continuing Education (CE) Credit Information

    All programs are eligible for continuing education credits. Please contact us to find out exact information for each program.

    The International Psychotherapy Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. IPI maintains responsibility for the program and its content. IPI is recognized by the National Board of Certified Counselors to offer continuing education for counselors (provider #6017).

    We adhere to NBCC Continuing Education Guidelines. Application will be made on a per program basis to provide continuing education for social workers. IPI is a California Board of Behavioral Sciences approved continuing education provider for MFCC and LCSW licensure (approval #PCE 1508).

  • Distance Learning Seminars

    PPSC is able to offer distance learning opportunities through the use of computer assisted telephone conferencing. Currently seminars and programs on Klein, Bion, Transference and Counter-transference are conducted with various groups throughout the country. If you, your group or institution is interested in this form of distance learning please contact us.

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