The Philadelphia Psychotherapy Study Center

Meet the PPSC Faculty

Charles Ashbach, Ph.D.

Charles Ashbach, PH.D. obtained his Bachelor of Science in business with a minor in philosophy from Saint Joseph's University. He then pursued master's and Ph.D. degrees from Temple University. Dr. Ashbach obtained his post-doctorate from the Washington School of Psychiatry. For over 30 years Dr. Ashbach has been on a psychotherapy journey that spans a wide spectrum of theoretical orientations -- which has led him even deeper into the study, treatment, and mystery of the human mind.

Additionally, Dr. Ashbach is the co-author of Object Relations, the Self and the Group a study of the multiple dimensions of group dynamics and experience. Other published articles include: Persecutory Objects, Guilt and Shame, Being and Becoming in Psychotherapy, and The Vicissitudes of the Group during War.

As chair of the Philadelphia affiliate and faculty member at the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia, Dr. Ashbach is also a founding faculty member of the International Psychotherapy Institute. Previously, he was a faculty member at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies.

Dr. Ashbach has been active in the teaching, training, and supervision of therapists for many years and has sought to bring a more empathic and natural approach to the difficulties involved in becoming an alive co-traveler in the therapeutic enterprise.

His current interests include the study of narcissism; the work of Klein and Bion, group dynamics in the process of war, and the suffering and sacrifice in the practice of psychotherapy.

Suzanne St. John Ph.D., NCPsyA

Suzanne St. John, Ph.D. is a certified psychoanalyst (NCPsyA) by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. Dr. St. John is a graduate of (PSP) the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis and completed training programs at (IPI) the International Psychotherapy Institute in Chevy Chase, MD. Dr. St. John is presently a national faculty member of (IPI) the International Psychotherapy Institute, M.D .and is a Group Leader and clinical presenter.

Dr. St. John received her BA and M.Ed.(Counseling) from the College of New Jersey and her Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has served as a director of a partial hospitalization program, clinical supervisor of group psychotherapy and as a individual, group and couple therapist. Dr. St. John has been in private practice for over 30 years in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, supervision and consultation in Wyncote, Pa (adjacent to Jenkintown).

Karen Fraley, LCSW

Karen Fraley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and holds a certification in Object Relations Therapy from the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) in Chevy Chase, MD. Karen received a master's degree from Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research, and is a faculty member at IPI

She is in private practice in Exton, Pa., and provides psychoanalytic psychotherapy to individuals and couples, and also provides clinical supervision to therapists.

She has taught seminars in Object Relations Theory including:

  • Object Relations Theory, Part 1: Klein and Winnicott
  • Object Relations Theory Part 2: Transference and Countertransference
  • Containment and Symbolization
  • Clinical and Ethical Perspectives on the Meaning and Significance of the Frame
  • Working with Projective Identification
  • Tracking the Therapeutic Alliance

In addition to her continued study of psychoanalytic ideas and the process of change in psychotherapy, Karen is interested in women's issues -- particularly the nature of the feminine principle in culture and society, and the development of female authority in individuals.

She has studied the work of Wilfred Bion and authored a paper about his ideas, Bion's Model of the Mind, published in the journal Psychoanalytic Social Work.

Paul Koehler, MSW

Paul Koehler received his bachelor's degree in English from Gettysburg College, and went on to earn a master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed training programs at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies and the Washington School of Psychiatry. Mr. Koehler is a faculty member at the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI), and is currently Chair of its two-year Object Relations training program.

Some of the courses and seminars Mr. Koehler has taught include:

  • Foundations of Object Relations Theory and Practice
  • The Work of Patrick Casement
  • The Work of Wilfred Bion
  • Primitive Anxiety and Psychotherapeutic Technique
  • Unconscious Dynamics of War and Terrorism
  • The Clinical Use of the Dream
  • The Significance and the Clinical Uses of Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
  • Object Relations Perspectives on Love and Intimacy

Additionally, he has a particular interest in the linkages between perversion, religion, sacrifice and war.

Mr. Koehler is a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, and is certified as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist (NCPsyT) by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.

He is in private practice in Doylestown, Pa.

More Information

  • Supervision and Training

    The Study Center offers supervision for both individuals and groups, and we will be happy to discuss the various opportunities available.

    For training and supervision conducted in your institutional or clinical setting please contact us to discuss such situations.

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