Associate Director’s Column

Associate Director for Programs – Jen Sermoneta, PsyD

ICP+P has so much going on, and is such a flourishing organization, that we’ve been experimenting with having a Director and Associate Directors to share the responsibilities formerly held by Director and Co-Director. We are growing, but we’re still a small enough organization that we can be nimble, fluid, and innovative!

I’m the Associate Director for Programs, and we also have Associate Directors for Membership, Training, Administration, and Education. Along with the Director, we all work together closely and support each other. That might mean shaping ideas together, reviewing each other’s writing, vetting concepts, or just encouraging each other. And we keep each other informed, so that the efforts are coordinated and efficient.

We are also friends. One of the most gratifying aspects of this “job” is working with a group of smart, kind, trustworthy, and dedicated people. In addition to the collegiality of the board and executive committees, I am consistently amazed by the warmth, generosity of spirit, and wisdom of the membership. The most recent potluck was an example of an ICP+P opportunity to feel strong connections, have compelling and caring conversations, give and get support, and even luck into some wise case feedback! I feel truly lucky.

Here’s a peek at what the Programs job looks like, in case you’d like to get involved: Keep track of program ideas, which come from members at all different times. Discuss ideas with board and executive committee. Work with chairs and committees to craft specific programs, or chair them yourself with a committee. Work closely with presenters, so that each program will closely match the learning needs of the ICP+P membership and be satisfying. Monitor budgets for programs, and keep costs responsible. Work on marketing, so word gets out about our programs as we try to reach new audiences and potential members. Collaborate on projects with the other board members. Have warm collegial relationships, and be responsive (timely and thoughtful) whenever there’s something to deal with.

If you think you’d be interested in getting involved, I’d love to chat with you. The best way is email,, or call me at 202-415-6414. If you have a friend you think would be a good fit, you could get involved together. The process is a lot of fun, and it’s also really satisfying to see all the work come to fruition. Our team is a pleasure to work with, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to become more involved!

Note from the Editor – Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, DCSW, CGP

Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, LCSW, CGP

Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, DCSW, CGP

Dear ICP+P’ers,

I hope you’re adjusting well to the busy-ness of fall. ICP+P inaugurated the 2015-16 year on September 12 with a delightful, free-to-members 90th birthday celebration for Joe Lichtenberg, MD, our co-founder and resident self psychology guru, In Celebration of the Inquiring Spirit and Life of Joseph D. Lichtenberg. Joe read a challenging paper about narrative, meaning, and clinical engagement from an upcoming book, after which Sandy Hershberg, MD, Chair of the Psychoanalytic Training Program and Linda Gunsberg, PhD, co-editors of the soon-to-be-published Psychoanalytic Theory, Research and Clinical Practice: Reading Joseph D. Lichtenberg, shared fascinating narratives from Joe’s life and work. (I just joined Joe’s and R. Curtis Bristol, MD’s study group, focusing on Joe’s to-be-published works; where else can you do a free study group with such giants as a perk of membership?) Just eight days later, ICP+P offered its Annual Potluck and Fall Kick-off, at which delectable comestibles were consumed, collegial warmth imbibed, and plans for the future discussed, including possible future programming and institutes beyond ICP+P’s upcoming third, year-long institute in 2016-17, the Institute on Embodying the Unspoken Self: Attachment, Trauma, Neurobiology and the Body. The first speaker? Beatrice Beebe, PhD!

This month’s Connections features a report from our tireless Associate Director for Programs, Jen Sermoneta, PsyD; a new member introduction of Raquel Willerman, LGSW, PhD by Martha Blechar Gibbons, PhD, APRN, BC; and the third and last installment of Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC-MFT-ADC, CGP’s series on the “4 Rs” model of group therapy. In addition to being an accomplished blogger, Trish is a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and a member of Project Outreach of the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society. Sign up for e-mails from MAGPS (many of us ICP+P’ers are also MAGPS’ers), and you may be as lucky as I have been to participate in one of Trish’s powerful, day-long Process Group Experiences, ably co-led by ICP+P member, Joan Medway, PhD, LCSW-C, CGP, FAGPA.

And if you haven’t yet signed up for the Alice Kassabian Memorial Conference, featuring Nancy McWilliams, PhD, co-sponsored by the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work and ICP+P (see below), be sure to do so: I have fond memories of reading Nancy’s articles during my psychoanalytic training in New York in the 1990s. She’s brilliant and you’re sure to learn a lot-and that’s what this is all about, right?



Study Group update

Etta Sandler, LICSW

Welcome to the beginning of the second year of the two year cycle of the Fall study groups. Currently there are 19 study groups underway, covering a broad range of topics, with the possibility of new study groups starting this Fall.

Topics for new groups, suggested by members of ICP+P, include:

  • Sexuality and Aging
  • Individual and Couples Therapy with Lesbian and Gay Clients
  • Readings for the ICP+P 2016-2017 Institute: Embodying the Unspoken Self: Attachment, Trauma, Neurobiology and the Body
  • A second Creativity study group
  • A second study group devoted to Multicultural issues and Psychotherapy
  • A third Couples study group
  • A second study group with a focus on Novels and Memoirs as They Relate to Psychotherapy

Of the more than 200 members of ICP+P there are 142 members actively engaged in study groups. As the year goes on, hopefully, more members not currently involved in a study group, will join in this rich collaborative opportunity.

Please let me know of your interest in joining an existing group or new group, other topics of interest, and/or if you would like to lead a study group. Please contact me at

Look forward to hearing from you!

Welcome Our New Member

from Martha Blechar Gibbons, PhD, APRN, BC

Raquel Willerman, PhD, LGSW

Living in a dorm with one’s young children is not the typical student experience. Raquel Willerman graduated from Smith College School of Social Work in 2014 after completing three academic summers accompanied by her two little boys, who were ages 6 and 8 when she initiated the program. Now at ages 9 and 11, they have the distinction of being the first two young men to attend Smith College!

Raquel graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a B.A. in French Literature in 1985. Following this, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Prior to her social work orientation, Raquel’s career included many diverse experiences. From 1994 -1996, she was a National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in Seattle, Washington. Raquel taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Linguistics from 1996 -1999. For three years she was involved with the Landmine Survivors Network in Washington, D.C., training peer support networks for landmine survivors in war-traumatized communities. As a consultant for public outreach with Human Rights First, Raquel organized a community of student activists to campaign on behalf of those suffering in Darfur.

Currently, Raquel is a part-time psychotherapist on the staff of the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research located in Arlington, Virginia. She provides individual and group psychotherapy for patients seeking treatment for weight loss. Many of the patients she sees are adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Her work as a social work intern at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center in Washington, D.C. helped prepare her for this position, for in her experience with the Crisis Center, Raquel provided trauma-informed psychotherapy for adult survivors of child sexual abuse and rape victims. Raquel’s other Smith College social work practicum was at a public charter high school in Anacostia, working mainly with students who experience learning challenges.

Raquel continues to hold the part-time position she assumed in 2014 at Social Anxiety Help, a private practice in Washington, D.C., where she treats anxiety disorders and depression using CBT, as well as interpersonal and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Although the Smith College School for Social Work is known for its psychodynamic orientation, Raquel has found CBT useful in “bringing things into the present and into the room.” Having written her social work master’s thesis on the importance of “here and now” training for student therapists, this is a place where Raquel would like to focus and grow.

Besides her work in psychotherapy, Raquel enjoys photography, Boggle, “tearing up a dance floor” with music from the 70’s, and languages. When she was 15 years old she experienced life in France, residing with a French family for one year. For three years Raquel lived in Belgium. She is fluent in French, conversational in Spanish, and has studied American Sign Language for 3 years.

Commenting on the ICP+P office where she meets for a study group, Raquel states that it reminds her of something that her father, a research psychologist, or grandfather, a dentist turned hypnosis expert, might have had, an “intellectual room to discuss ideas and data.” She finds the environment “calming aesthetically.” (So it seems our work to upgrade the office has not gone unnoticed!)

To contact Raquel: Email:
Telephone: (703) 975-3365

Putting the Pieces Together with the 4 Rs

Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC-MFT-ADC, CGP

The 4 Rs model is a guiding framework for self-observation, self-awareness and self-reflection and can be used to move through one’s puzzling emotional struggles and transform outdated coping strategies.

This post features moments from previous group vignettes to demonstrate how interactions between group members promote personal awareness for all the members in the group.

Reviewing the 4 Rs

Awareness releases energy that has been bound up in buried feelings.” Virginia Satir

In the 4 Rs, we know that Rupture and Regression are reactions that endlessly recycle one’s early distress. Through the lens of the 4 Rs and the collective support of a group, Repair occurs as its members allow themselves to experience vulnerable feelings. Curiosity about one’s feelings allows them to reveal emotional puzzle pieces often embedded in long-standing childhood idealizations and beliefs.

Childhood is a time when idealization and magical thinking naturally occur. Those fortunate enough to experience secure connections with caregivers tend to have pleasing fantasies that gradually fade away as maturity expands one’s world view. Those not as fortunate, for whatever reasons, tend to either embellish moments and memories to sustain idealization and/or to hold fast to self-constraining convictions to keep them feeling safe. Such defenses can work well to manage early feelings of helplessness; however, when they become deeply-rooted, they tend to inhibit one’s world-view. For those who endured childhood trauma, relief from the emotional storms that cycle endlessly and intrusively upon one-self, one’s goals, and one’s relationships is difficult to achieve.

Click here to read on…

Short Course: Let’s Talk about Sex: Working through Anxiety of the Erotic in Couples Therapy

with Angie Snyder, PsyD & Ashley Seeger, MSW

Save the Date!
Friday, November 6, 2015
10:00 – 1:00 pm
ICP+P Office
4601 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 8
Washington, DC 20008

Check for registration information soon.

Alice Kassabian Memorial Conference: Reflections on Wisdom~its Nature, Value, and Relevance to Contemporary Practice

with Nancy McWilliams, PhD

Co-sponsored by the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work and ICP+P

Saturday, November 21, 2015
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC

Nancy McWilliams, PhD will explore the reciprocal relationship between wisdom and psychotherapy with emphasis on the clinical implications of valuing wisdom. The social, interdependent nature of wisdom differs from that of knowledge, which can be pursued in relative isolation. A Clinical Case Study presentation will be included, provided by GWSCSW member, Audrey Thayer Walker.

Since ancient time, philosophers have differentiated between being smart and being wise. More recently, some authors and mental health professionals have tried to specify what we mean by wisdom – a virtue often viewed as the consolation prize for getting old and typically experienced vs. coming to the self rather than being actively pursued.

Wisdom seems to require acknowledgement of limitation and mortality, while fantasies often are limitless and immorality may propel searches for knowledge. Professional incentives often reward knowledge at the expense of wisdom: hypothesis-testing tends to be privileged over hypothesis-generation; master of techniques may be valued over nuanced understanding of one person to whom the techniques are applied.

Click here to register online for the November 21st conference.

Click here to see the full flier…

Authenticity, Openness, and Spontaneity: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic View of Adolescent Development and Treatment

with Shelley Doctors, PhD and Jacqueline Gotthold, PsyD

Saturday, December 5, 2015
Registration: 8:30-9am
Program: 9am-12:30pm
National 4-H Conference Center
7100 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Jackie Gotthold, PsyD and Shelley Doctors, PhD find that treatment is more effective when elements of spontaneity, openness and authenticity emerge. In their talks they will address the developmental conceptualizations that may help clinicians to make such therapeutically successful connections with patients. The discussion following their presentations will highlight how Gotthold and Doctors are speaking of the challenge all of us face in striving for greater authenticity in the therapy session while still maintaining a disciplined clinical/theoretical stance: spontaneity does not equal wildness.

While this program focuses on the adolescent population, clinicians who treat adults can benefit equally: openness to interaction is also a fundamental building block for engagement with adults.

Jacqueline Gotthold, PsyD will present “Treating Adolescents and Conflict: Theirs or Ours” and Shelley Doctors, PhD, the discussant, will present “On Gotthold’s Case of Luke and the Adolescent Developmental Process”.

Click here to register online for the December 5th conference.

Click here to see the full flier…

Upcoming Events

  • Sunday, October 4, 2015, 1:00-4:15 pm, Short Course – Cultural Issues and Relational Practice, with Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, DCSW, CGP and Yan Ni, PsyM, Meets Cultural Competence Requirement, at ICP+P Office, 4601 Connecticut, Ave., NW, Suite 8, Washington, DC 20008. SOLD OUT!
  • Friday, November 6, 2015, 10:00 am-1:00 pm, Short Course – Let’s Talk about Sex: Working through Anxiety of the Erotic in Couples Therapy with Angela Snyder, PsyD and Ashley Seeger, PsyD at the ICP+P Office, 4601 Connecticut, Ave., NW, Suite 8, Washington, DC 20008. Check for registration information soon.
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, Alice Kassabian Memorial Conference: Reflections on Wisdom~ Its Nature, Value, and Relevance to Contemporary Practice, with Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP at The Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC. Co-sponsored by ICP+P and GWSCSW. Click HERE to register.
  • Saturday, December 5, 2015, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, ICP+P Conference – Authenticity, Openness, and Spontaneity: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic View of Adolescent Development and Treatment with Shelley Doctors, PhD and Jackie Gotthold, PsyD. Click HERE to register.
  • Saturday, February 27, 2016, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, ICP+P Couples Conference. Chaired by Tybe Diamond, MSW this free-to-members half-day program will be created and presented by Couples Training Program Faculty and Graduates.
  • Saturday, April 16, 2016, 9:00 am-4:30 pm, ICP+P 22nd Annual Conference, Connectedness: Transforming the Clinical Relationship with Richard Geist, EdD

Bulletin Board

  • The Contemporary Relational Study Group, formerly known as the Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis Study Group, has openings. We are beginning reading Daniel Shaw’s Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation. The group meets at David Wyner, MSW‘s office in Germantown, usually on the 2nd Friday of the month, from 1-2:30 pm. Please contact David at or 718-884-9574 for more information.
  • Foggy Bottom/ Washington Circle: Spacious office within a multidisciplined practice available full time and/or by the day, beginning January, possibility of December. Second attractively furnished smaller office available presently. Tastefully decorated suite including waiting room, kitchenette, patient and separate therapists’ bath rooms, latter with shower, subsidized parking, handicapped and metro accessibility. For more information contact: Audrey Thayer Walker, Washington Psychiatric Group, Three Washington Circle, NW,, (tel) 202-331-1547.
  • Office Sublet in Old Town Alexandria. Pleasant, well appointed office near the King Street Metro. Suite includes two offices, a waiting room, kitchen and bathroom. The building is well run and handicap accessible. The surrounds increasingly include the headquarters of several federal agencies and interesting shops and restaurants within walking distance. Available on a full or part time basis. Call or email: Susan Horne Quatannens, LCSW at 703 5491787 or
  • Looking for sublet in Dupont Circle area for 20 hours or 2/12 days weekly. Contact Marty Tuohey at 202-726-2284, eves or C: 202-468-2286.
  • Marilyn Voigt is retiring. Her office is at 3 Washington Circle, Washington, DC 20037. It is across the circle from GWU and a metro stop. Her office will be available for rent in September. Please call Virginia Voigt at 410-808-3422 for more information.
  • Elizabeth Haase, a clinical psychologist, is looking for a new space to sublet in the Springfield, Burke, Alexandria area of Northern Virginia. She is establishing a Northern Virginia practice but her current space does not give much flexibility with her practice in DC. If you or anyone you know has any possibilities, please email Elizabeth Haase at or call (202) 232-7877. Thank you.
  • Experiential Supervision Group Starting – We will explore our clinical work using a combination of psychodrama-based enactment techniques and contemporary psychoanalytic theory. Meetings will be biweekly, early afternoon on Friday, in Bethesda. For more information, contact Monica L. Callahan, PhD at
  • Seeking Full-Time Office Space in Downtown Silver Spring, suitable for group. Alternatively, seeking one or more colleague(s) with whom to rent a suite. Please contact Jonathan Lebolt, PhD at 240-507-7696, or
  • Heidi Block and Ann Ewing are co-facilitating a Daring Way Weekend Intensive for Therapists on Oct. 16th, 17th and 18th in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. The Daring Way is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brene Brown. We explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. We examine thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are holding us back and we identify new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living. Please contact Heidi at or 301-651-6906.

ICP+P Connections is the e-Newsletter of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, issued at the beginning of each month.

Please e-mail articles, announcements, and artwork in JPG/PNG format to Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, DCSW, CGP (Editor) (804- 683-4536) at or Nancy Der, ICP+P Administrator (Managing Editor) (202-686-9300, ext.5) at by the 23rd of the previous month.

Read the past newsletters