New Class is forming now to begin in September

Click Here to Complete the Application

For any questions, contact the Chair of the Couples Program, Michael Wannon, PhD or 301-951-9488 


The Couples Therapy Training Program is a one-year course comprised of both theoretical seminars and clinical group supervision. The trainees learn the material through lectures, case write ups and presentations and group participation. The trainees meet together for 3 hours per week from September to May. The emphasis of the programs is on the application of self-psychological and relational concepts applied to the clinical practice of treating couples.

Learning Objectives

There are six major components to the program and learning objectives. On the completion of the Couples Therapy Training Program the trainees will be able to:

  1. Assess the dynamics of couples (the relational unit, projections and introjections, spouses’ psychological history, latent messages underlying manifest presentations, and thematic tracking)
  2. Describe the phases and the tasks of each phase of Couples Therapy (assessment, early/middle/impasses and resolution in the late phase and termination)
  3. Discuss Self Psychological theory and clinical applications as related to Classical theory, Object Relations
  4. Describe and utilize effective interventions in working with difficult couples (borderline/schizoid couples, pursuer/avoider couples, oppositional/aggressive couples, and abusive couples
  5. Recognize and utilize transference and countertransference issues in working with couples (intervening on re-enactments and impasses)
  6. Analyze and intervene on sexual issues in couples therapy

Unit Descriptions of Couples Therapy Training Program

  1. Introduction
    1. The View of the Couple: Self Psychology and Object Relations
    2. Self Regulation versus Projective Identification
    3. Conscious versus Unconscious Relating
    4. From Archaic To Maturing Couple
    5. Sexual dysfunction As a Symptom Versus a Cause
  2. The Therapist’s Conception of the Couples Intersubjectivity
    1. The Couple as a Unit
    2. Implications of Projective Identification
    3. No Person Psychology and the Empathic Mode of Listening
    4. Hopes Needs, and Disappointments and the Cure in Couples Therapy
  3. Therapeutic Assessment of the Couple
    1. Assessment & the Early Phase of Couples Treatment
    2. The Latent Themes of the Couple
    3. The Technique of Couple Couples Therapy
    4. The Creation and Maintenance of the Holding Environment
  4. Working with Difficult Couples
    1. Mid Phase of Couples Therapy: Intervening on Marital Collusion & Impasse
    2. Working With Borderline and Aversive Couples Using Empathy
    3. Working With Aggressive & Abusive Couples
    4. Working With Couples and Their Trauma
  5. Transference and Countertansference Issues
    1. The Intersubjective Perspective and Use of Empathy
    2. The Countertransference Issues in working with “borderline” Couples
    3. The Countertransference Issues in working with Traumatized and Aggressive Couples
    4. The Countertransference Issues in Working with Illness in the Couple, or Divorcing Couples
    5. The Countertransference in Dealing with Impasse and Termination with Couples
    6. Intervention of Therapist’s Secondary Trauma or Burnout Symptoms in Working With Difficult Couples
  6. Termination of Couples Therapy
    1. The Process and Dynamics of Termination
    2. The Accomplished Goal of Couples Therapy
    3. The Capacity for Forgiveness and Reparation

Course Information

Detailed Course Schedule

Syllabus and Readings (password protected)

Continuing Education

The program consists of 32 classes.  Three CE credits are awarded for each class for a total of 96 CE credits. A CE/CME certificate is awarded for each course when attendance is 80% or more, and is for the number of hours actually attended.


Aaron Bourne, LPC, NCC
Tybe Diamond, LCSW
John Gualtieri, PhD
Mary O’Farrell, PhD
Janice Sanchez, LCSW
Barbara Shapard, LCSW
Adrienne Simenhoff, MSW, PsyD
Michael Wannon, PhD

Chair: Michael Wannon, PhD
Associate Chair: Catherine Bernard, PhD



All interested applicants should contact the current Chair of the Couples Program, Michael Wannon, PhD at or at 301-951-9488.

Applicants will be considered based on their clinical experience, training, supervision and personal psychotherapy experience. It is expected that applicants will have an interest and be motivated to work within a self-psychological framework. Participants must be treating some couples currently.


Click here to apply or contact us for more information


$50.00 fee (applicable toward tuition).

Tuition is $2,300.00 per two-semester academic year. The application fee will be applied to the tuition. Tuition will be billed for the fall and spring semesters in August and December, respectively. Tuition refunds will be available until the semester begins.

Students may apply for scholarship assistance by clicking here.

The ICP+P Training Program draws its applicants from the various mental health disciplines and other fields. The program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or national or ethnic background.

The Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ICP+P) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. ICP+P maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 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 credits 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 standards for nurses. Marriage and family therapists licensed in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia may submit these CE credits to their licensing boards. (Marriage and family therapists in other jurisdictions and licensed counselors should inquire with their local Boards regarding continuing education credit.) 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 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

* The presenters and the planners 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 presenter has 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.