Relational Theory in Clinical Practice



Lisa Lyons, Ph.D., Director

Our 2021-22 class is now filled.
Please consider participating in our Seminar Series.

Relational Theory in Clinical Practice is a full year program that focuses on the origins and foundational ideas of Relational psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as on the application of these ideas in clinical work. By the completion of the program we expect that students will have developed an understanding of the fundamentals of the Relational approach, have been introduced to some of the newer directions of Relational thinking, and have had a chance to look at their own clinical work through a new and expanded lens.

The year-long program is divided into pairs of classes. Each pair includes one class focused on an essential aspect of Relational theory, and a second class focused on related clinical applications. The second class of each unit - the class focused on clinical applications - is an opportunity for a member of the class to present a case. Additionally, throughout the year the instructors weave in vignettes from their own clinical work and encourage students to bring up relevant clinical material for exploration and discussion. Each unit is led by a member of the Mitchell Center faculty who is a leading voice in the topic at hand.

Enrollees will be exposed to a range of concepts and clinical styles, and will have the opportunity to explore ideas with internationally recognized thinkers and clinicians, many of whom have from the start been essential contributors to the development of the theory and practice of Relational psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Students will also hear from newer, emerging voices. Dr. Lyons will meet periodically with the class throughout the year to facilitate discussion and integration of the material.

The year will begin with exploration of the work of some of the early psychoanalysts whose work had profound influence on the development of Relational thinking. We continue with exploration of the early beginnings of the Relational approach, including the foundational work of Stephen Mitchell. We then move on to essential topics in Relational psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, including the model of mind that forms the scaffolding for the Relational approach, dissociation, trauma, enactment, mutuality and the two-person model, the Relational unconscious, the inter-generational transmission of trauma, work in the community, and the essential incorporation into theory and clinical understanding of race, class, gender, and culture.

Classes include both didactic presentations and interactive discussion. As in all Mitchell Center programs, we aim to create a warm and collegial atmosphere, where students feel free to present their ideas and clinical work, pose questions, and engage in lively open discussion with the faculty and with each other.

This program is appropriate for both experienced and newer mental health clinicians, and is ideally suited for those who have at least some familiarity with psychodynamic theory and practice. It is suitable both for clinicians who have completed analytic training as well as for those who are interested in beginning analytic training.

Graduates of Relational Theory in Clinical Practice have the opportunity to join the year-long Advanced Clinical Seminar offered by the Mitchell Center.

Classes meet on Zoom, Wednesday evenings, from 7- 9pm Eastern Standard Time, from October through May. Enrollment is capped at around 15.

The application cycle is closed for 2021-22. Information sessions typically run in March and April prior to the start of the academic year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend information sessions.

Application materials include your CV, an official graduate school transcript, and a 1-2 page personal statement that outlines your interest in the program along with any relevent professional experience. Eligible applicants are contacted for an interview.

Tuition for the 2-semester academic year is $2340 and we ask for a non-refundable deposit of $400 to save your spot. A certificate of completion will be awarded upon successful participation in the program. We are accredited by New York State to provide CE credit for licensed clinical social workers and licensed psychoanalysts. Enrollment is limited, and is for the full year only. We cannot refund tuition once the year has begun.

Spring Semester

Sessions 1 & 2: Introduction - Early beginnings; Paradigm shift
Lisa Lyons, PhD

Sessions 3 & 4: Overview of the development of Relational model:
Model of mind, multiplicity, and dissociation
Jody Davies, PhD

Sessions 5 & 6: Ferenczi and Mutuality
Tony Bass, PhD

Sessions 7 & 8: The Relational Unconscious
Noelle Burton, PhD

Session 9: Enactment
Deborah Waxenberg, PhD

Session 10: Integration of material
Lisa Lyons, PhD

Sessions 11 & 12: Winnicott and Contemporary Perspectives on the Object
Joyce Slochower, PhD

Session 13 & 14: Intersubjectivity
Jessica Benjamin, PhD

Session 15 & 16: Countertransference
Tony Bass, PhD

Session 17 & 18: Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma
Sue Grand, PhD

Session 19: Integration of material
Lisa Lyons, PhD

Sessions 20 & 21: Interpersonal Psychoanalysis
Margaret Black, LCSW

Sessions 22 & 23: The Relational perspective on working with multi-problem and self-injuring individuals
Lisa Lyons, PhD

Session 24: Extending the reach: Normative unconscious and thinking/working beyond the consulting room
Orna Guralnik, PhD

Session 25 & 26: Working in Community Settings
Rossanna Echegoyen

Session 27: Wrap-up
Lisa Lyons, PhD

-The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0261. Total Available CE Hours for NYS-Licensed Social Workers for 2021-2022 is 56.
-CE approval for NYS-psychoanalysts was secured on 11/8/21: The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0055. Total available CE Hours for NYS-Licensed Psychoanalysts for 2021-22 is 44.
-CE approval for NYS-psychologists was secured on 1/7/22: The Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0152. Total available CE Hours for NYS-Licensed Psychologists for 2021-22 is 34.
Full attendance is required for CE credit. Certificates will be sent by email within 2 weeks of conclusion of the program.


For more information, please email
A complete list of the Mitchell Center Faculty can be found here: Faculty Information© Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center Contact Us