The Philadelphia Psychotherapy Study Center

Devoted to the Study of Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory and Therapy

The Philadelphia Psychotherapy Study Center offers a dynamic learning community for psychologists, social workers and counselors in the Philadelphia region. Led by Charles Ashbach, Karen Fraley, and Paul Koehler, PPSC is a place for mental health professionals to continue to study, learn and share ideas.

Our goal is to foster an understanding of the mind and psyche through an in-depth reading and study of the major object relations and psychoanalytic theorists. To that end we provide unique continuing education opportunities and seminars that embrace a dual perspective — integrating theoretical concepts with the particular immediacies of the clinical encounter.

PPSC Faculty

Charles Ashbach, Ph.D.

Suzanne St. John, Ph.D.

Karen Fraley, LCSW

Paul Koehler, MSW

Our Philosophy

Object relations theory has grown to encompass a broad spectrum of ideas concerning the origin and function of the internalized object and its fate in various contexts. We are invested in studying an approach where realities of the body, group, and imagination may be productively integrated to understand the forces that lead to psychic growth. Read more about our philosophy.

Our New Book


    By Charles Ashbach, Karen Fraley, Paul Kohler, James Poulton
    • This book is published by Phoenix Publishing House and if purchased directly from Phoenix you will receive a 10% discount and free worldwide shipping.
      Buy Now!
      A complete book synopsis available here.

      • Current Seminars

  • Cultivating The Surviving Object

    This seminar will be structured around the careful reading and study of Jan Abram's recent book, The Surviving Object. This book offers a synthesis of Winnicott's theories of human development and a careful explication of his late paper, "The Use of an Object and Relating through identification". We will consider the importance for the infant of the primary object's capacity to "survive" the impacts of the infant's aggression and hostility, the consequences for development when that survival is compromised, and the manifestations of those events and dynamics in the crucible of the clinical encounter.Learn more.

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