Eric Mendelsohn will illuminate the power of first meetings by describing the emerging themes, experiential elements, and pragmatics of beginning treatment. He will examine how patients and psychoanalytic therapists think and feel about beginning therapy, focusing on the hopes and dreads of each, and will explore how these are reflected in the exchanges that mark the start of psychoanalytic therapy. Dr. Mendelsohn will articulate the relational practices that hold and shape the ensuing work — such as how to structure first meetings to facilitate the start of a collaborative process.

The presentation will include ideas and propositions regarding first meetings coming from a number of psychoanalytic pioneers and contemporary thinkers. Dr. Mendelsohn will go on to demonstrate how first meetings can launch a collaborative therapeutic process by sharing an extended case illustration.

In the second part of the morning, Dane Frost will provide a clinical presentation of an early phase of a psychoanalytic treatment. Sandra Hershberg and Eric Mendelsohn will each provide a discussion of the case and dialogue together.

During the afternoon small group discussions, participants will reflect upon their own experiences in beginning treatment and on the proposed pragmatics of starting therapy. In plenary and small group sessions, participants will have an opportunity to discuss the case presentations.

At the conclusion of the conference, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the central psychological tasks of the patient and therapist preceding and during first meetings.
  2. Describe the tensions between the willingness to explore and challenge and the need for safety and pacing that first emerge at the start of therapy.
  3. Contrast and critically analyze the approaches to first meetings of several influential psychoanalytic writers.
  4. Design a procedural approach to first meetings and their aftermath.
  5. Develop familiarity and tolerance for the inevitable ambivalent feelings that emerge at the start of analytic therapy.
  6. Identify procedural precedents that can be established in first meetings that can facilitate a collaborative analytic process.

This conference is appropriate for mental health professionals at all levels of experience and offers 6 CEs.

About our presenters:

Eric Mendelsohn, PhD, is a member of the Faculty and a Supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, Training Institute and National Training Program; the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; the Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Adelphi University; and the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy + Psychoanalysis (ICP+P). Dr. Mendelsohn is in practice in New York City and Hartsdale, NY.  He writes about the subjective experience of the psychoanalyst and about the patient-analyst relationship.

Dane Frost, PhD is a third-year psychoanalytic candidate at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy + Psychoanalysis, Washington, DC. He received his PhD in Clinical Social Work from Smith College and also earned masters’ degrees in counseling and in divinity. His experience includes serving as an embedded mental health provider with the U.S. military. Currently, he maintains a private practice in Maine with offices in Portland and Kennebunk.

Sandra Hershberg, MD is a psychoanalyst and adult and child psychiatrist.  She is the Chair of the Psychoanalytic Training Program, a Founding Member and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy + Psychoanalysis in Washington, DC.  She is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.  She is on the Executive Board and a Council Member of the International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. Dr. Hershberg serves as an Associate Editor of the journal, Psychoanalysis, Self and Context and is on the Editorial Board of Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Most recently, she is the Co-Editor and a contributor to the book, Psychoanalytic Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice: Reading Joseph D. Lichtenberg.

Registration Fees (lunch included):

$215 for ICP+P Members        $235 for Non-members           $100 for MITs/Beginning Professionals/Students/1st Year Members



8:30 am     Coffee + Registration
9:00 am     Welcome + Introductions
9:15 am     Mendelsohn Presentation + Discussion
11:00 am   Break
11:30 am   Case Presentation + Discussion
1:15 pm      Lunch
2:15 pm      Small Group Discussion
3:30 pm      Ending Plenary
4:30 pm      Conference Ends

For more information, to request reasonable accommodations (please do so by April 21), please email

Limited scholarship opportunities are available: complete the form here ( or contact

To register by mail, click here for the flyer and send it and payment by April 21 to ICP+P, 4601 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 8, Washington, DC 20008.

Registrants grant ICP+P permission to use their photo in any and all of its publications, including the website without payment or any other consideration.

Refunds will be made, less a $50 processing fee, to participants who cancel on or before April 21 only.

Continuing education credit: 6 CE credits available for full attendance. 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 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. Because these credits are approved by the American Psychological Association, marriage and family therapists licensed in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will receive continuing education credit. (Marriage and family therapists in other jurisdictions and licensed counselors should inquire with their local Boards regarding continuing education credit.) Attendees from the above professional groups will earn 6 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 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CE Credit is granted to participants with documented attendance at individual workshops and completed evaluation forms for those sessions. Credit will not be granted to registrants who are more than 15 minutes late or depart more than 15 minutes early from a session. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time of 9:00 am to allow time to check in.

* Eric Mendelsohn, PhD, Dane Frost, PhD and Sandra Hershberg, MD and the planners have informed us that they do not have a conflict of interest and have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationship 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.