Sat, Oct 24, 2015
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

The David Brower Center

2150 Alston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Molly Ludlam, MA
Leora Benioff, Ph.D.
Lecture | Event
CE Credits: 
Participant Limit: 

$210 General Public
$160 Full Members
$140 CMH Members
$90 Associate Members
$40 Student Members
$40 Scholarship Rate (prior approval required to register at this fee)

Tuition listed above is for early registration ($40 discount off full fee, $15 discount for NCSPP Student Members). For registrations received after the deadline, full tuition will be applied to all registrations.

Early Registration Deadline: 
October 10, 2015

NCSPP offers online course registration and payment using PayPal, the Internet’s most trusted payment processor. All major credit cards, as well as checking account debit payments, are accepted.



Do Ronald Fairbairn's Ideas Still Speak Usefully to 21st Century Couple Therapists?

Course Overview: 

Join us for a stimulating, educational day with our visiting scholar from Edinburgh, Scotland, Molly Ludlam, M.A., a distinguished clinician and writer in the field of psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy, and the Editor in Chief of the journal, Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. Ms. Ludlam will discuss the work of W.R.D. Fairbairn (1889-1964), the Scottish psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Fairbairn profoundly influenced the development and application of psychoanalytic theory and practice, although many working in couple psychotherapy today have not read his work. Considered to be the father of object-relations theory, Fairbairn argued that the fundamental human motivation is self-expression in relationship with others. Henry Dicks, then Director of the Tavistock Clinic, was well-versed in Fairbairn and realized how well his concepts could be married with some of Melanie Klein’s to develop a psychoanalytic therapy especially for couples. Dicks' seminal book, Marital Tensions, created the sure footing that couple psychotherapy builds on today. 

This presentation offers an introduction to Fairbairn’s contributions, focusing on those that are important in couple psychotherapy, such as his idea that the infant’s early relationships become internalized in the psyche and shape the template for future relationships, and the defensive use of splitting to manage unsatisfying aspects of relationships. Using clinical vignettes to illustrate these concepts, this course celebrates the wealth of ideas Fairbairn has bequeathed to practitioners worldwide, demonstrating how he continues to bring meaning to the challenges experienced by those working with troubled couple and family relationships.

In the morning session, Dr. Leora Benioff will discuss Molly Ludlam’s paper, and in the afternoon, Ms. Ludlam will give a clinical case presentation of a couple. Audience members will then meet in small groups with PCPG faculty members to discuss how to integrate Fairbairn’s theories into clinical practice with couples.

Course Objectives: 

Participants will be able to

  • Describe Fairbairn's contribution to the development of psychoanalytic object relations theory
  • Explain how Fairbairn's ideas apply to psychoanalytic couple therapy 
  • Utilize Fairborn's ideas in case formulations for couple therapy.

Molly Ludlam, M.A., recently retired as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with couples, individuals, and parents. She now focuses on teaching, writing, and editing Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. Other publications include Couple Attachments: Theoretical and Clinical Studies (2007), co-edited with Viveca Nyberg; and, more recently, “Failure in Couple Relationships and in Couple Psychotherapy,” in Understanding and Coping with Failure: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (2014); “Sitting with 
Marital Tensions: The Work of Henry Dicks in Applying Fairbairn’s Ideas to Couple Relationships” in Fairbairn and the Object Relations Tradition (2014); and “The Perinatally Depressed Couple and the Imperative of Mourning,” in Making Spaces: Putting Psychoanalytic Thinking to Work (2014). 


Leora Benioff, Ph.D., is a member of PCPG, a graduate of the SFCP, and has completed the Tavistock Center’s Advanced Training in Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy. She has taught and supervised at numerous Bay Area training institutions and currently teaches in the PCPG Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy training program. Dr. Benioff has a private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, where she see individuals and couples.

Co-Sponsor Information: 

The Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Group is dedicated to bringing modern psychoanalytic ideas to bear in working with couples. It began as a three-year training course through NCSPP with the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships in London. Some members of the original group have continued to study and train together as the PCPG, which has become a Bay Area locus for education, training, and study in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with couples. 

PCPG offers an intensive study program in psychoanalytic couples psychotherapy: “Making Meaning in the Grip Of Reality.” The program features a rich array of theoretical classes, case conferences, film events, and workshops, taught by a hybrid faculty from PCPG, Tavistock Center for Couple Relationships (TCCR), and other noteworthy psychoanalytic couple psychotherapists. PCPG’s first class of nine students has just completed a three-year program of study, which included  a week of classes at TCCR in London. A second class is currently beginning their second year in the program. 

Target Audience & Level: 

This course is intended for therapists who have clinical experience and prior exposure to psychoanalytic thinking.  It is suitable for clinical psychologists, psychoanalytic psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, clinical social workers, counselors, medics and other staff working in the caring professions who are interested in further developing their understanding of psychoanalytic approaches to working with couples.

Cancellation & Refund Policies: 

Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time.  Transfer of registrations are not allowed.

Contact Information: 

For program related questions contact Annice Ormiston, Psy.D. at 510-852-9322. 

For questions related to enrollment, locations, CE credit, special needs, course availability and other administrative issues contact Michele McGuinness by email or 415-496-9949.

Program Committee

The Program Committee is responsible for the Annual Lecture and for the presentation of various Scientific Meetings. The Annual Lecture is given by an internationally known analyst, while the Scientific Meetings generally feature the work of local psychoanalysts and others who are developing new ways of thinking about psychoanalysis.

Danni Biondini, MA
Jessica Brown, LMFT
Geetali Chitre, Psy.D.
Justine Leichtling, Psy.D.
Kimia Mansoor, Psy.D.
Heather McKibbon