20th Annual Conference

A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Therapy
Philip Ringstrom, PhD, PsyD

This program took place on Saturday, May 17th, 2014


Saturday, May 17, 2014
9:00 am – 4:30 pm
National 4-H Conference Center
7100 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815

Conference Description

Dr. Ringstrom will discuss his model for doing relational couples work. Treatment goals include actualization of self experience in an intimate relationship, the capacity for mutual recognition, and the relationship having a mind of its own. Based on his new book, A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Psychotherapy, Dr. Ringstrom will describe six steps in which these themes are achieved. The steps wed theory and practice, are non-linear, and offer specific clinical guidelines for working with couples. His presentation will use plenty of illustrative clinical material to bring the concepts to life.
After the first talk, attendees will break into working groups led by expert facilitators. Barbara Shapard, MSW, will then synthesize the issues and questions these groups generate, and use them as the basis for a lively dialogue with Dr. Ringstrom.
In the afternoon, Leslie Smith, Ph.D. will present a couples case, which Dr. Ringstrom and Michael Wannon, Ph.D. will discuss, followed by open discussion with the audience. We will close with in-depth small-group exploration of the day’s clinical material.

There is also a pre-conference workshop available – more information on it.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this conference participants will be able to:

  1. Name the three organizing themes that undergird Ringstrom’s model of treatment of long-term intimate relationships – marital and otherwise.
  2. Discuss how attunement (the first step of the model) is very important as well as how it can be insufficient.
  3. Describe the ubiquity and necessity of enactments as well as how to analyze them.
  4. Explain how patients must come to terms with their dissociated self-states before they can negotiate genuine interpersonal conflicts.
  5. Articulate how the presented case discussion uses Ringstrom’s techniques in turning the binary gambit of dominance and submission into the “thirdness” of intersubjective mutual recognition.
  6. Assess and critique both advantages and limitations that may arise from Ringstrom’s perspective.
  7. Assess, discuss, and revise their own technique of conjoint therapy in light of Ringstrom’s contemporary six-step model of couples treatment.

Philip Ringstrom, PhD, PsyD

Dr. Ringstrom is a Senior Training and Supervising Analyst, Faculty Member, and Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, CA where he is also in full time private practice. He is on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and The International Journal for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology and is a publication reviewer for the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In addition, he has published in the Bulletin of the Menninger’s Clinic, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, the Journal of Clinical Social Work, and Gender and Sexuality, and has written chapters for books on Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, Terrorism and War, and New Developments in Self Psychology Practice. He is a Council member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology and serves on the board of the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Finally, he was one of four psychoanalysts hired for two seasons to write post-episode commentary on “The Sopranos” for www.Slate.com, the world’s largest Internet magazine.

Michael Wannon, Ph.D.

Dr. Wannon is current Chair of the ICP+P Couples Training Program. He has presented at both national and international conferences on Couples treatment and the integration of Object Relations and Self Psychology, as well as on the treatment of sexual issues as a therapeutic impasse. Dr. Wannon is in private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he also facilitates consultation groups for couples therapists.

Barbara Shapard, LCSW

Ms. Shapard brings 35 years of private practice experience, in addition to her experience as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University. She is former Chair, and present faculty, of the Couples Program at ICP+P. She frequently consults for Northern Virginia churches and mental health centers.

Leslie Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Smith practiced for 15 years in Boston, while an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School.  Since 2003 she has been in private practice in Reston, VA, where she sees adults and couples.

Conference Schedule

8:30 am Coffee and Registration
9:00 am Introduction and Presentation by Dr. Ringstrom
10:30 am Break
10:45 am Small Group Discussions
11:45 am Moderated Discussion with Barbara Shapard, MSW
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Case Presentation by Dr. Smith
2:00 pm Responses from Dr. Ringstrom and Dr. Wannon, and audience questions
3:15 pm Break
3:30 pm Small Group Discussions
4:30 pm Conference Ends

This conference is at an Intermediate learning level.



Early Registration – on or before April 15
$160.00 – Members
$185.00 – Non-Members
$65.00 – Full Time Students * To be eligible for student fee, present a valid ID showing current student status at an institution of higher learning or a letter from your training institute.

Late Registration – after April 15
$175.00 – Members
$200.00 – Non-members
$80.00 – Full Time Students  * To be eligible for student fee, present a valid ID showing current student status at an institution of higher learning or a letter from your training institute.

Refunds will be made, less a $30 processing fee, to participants who cancel their registration on or before April 28. No refunds will be made after that date.

Limited scholarships are available: contact icpeastadmin@att.net

Continuing Education Credit

6.0 CE credits offered for full attendance.
The Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ICP+P) maintains responsibility for this program and its content. ICP+P is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. ICP+P is approved by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners to offer Category I continuing education credit. Because ICP+P has approval from the Maryland Board, CE credit hours awarded by ICP+P may also be claimed by social workers licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia. These continuing education credits meet the ANCC approval standards for nurses and the approved standards for marriage and family therapists. Attendees from the above professional groups will earn 6.0 CE credits for attending the conference. Full attendance is required to receive the designated CE credit. ICP+P is accredited by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. ICP+P designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Philip Ringstrom, PhD, PsyD, Barbara Shapard MSW, Leslie Smith PhD and Michael Wannon, PhD have informed us that they do not have a conflict of interest and have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests pertaining to this educational activity. Additionally, the presenters have been instructed to disclose any limitations of data and unlabeled or investigational uses of products during this presentation. This presentation will not contain any references to off-label (non-FDA-approved) use of products or devices.