Wedded couple with bride holding flowers and sunshine ray falling on them
CPD Credits
Event Type
Live In-Person Event
10 New Street, London EC2M 4TP
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wedded couple with bride holding flowers and sunshine ray falling on them
Tuesday, July 16, 2024 - Friday, July 19, 2024

Advanced Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy Summer School

With Katherine Astill, Ella Bahaire, Alison Bruce, Andrew Balfour, Martha Doniach, Krisztina Glausius, Sammantha Knight, Damian McCann, Stanley Ruszczynski, Elle Sidel & Catriona Wrottesley

The Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy Summer School is for couple-trained therapists already working in the field, and provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in cutting-edge thinking with a world-leading couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy institute. In order to join this course, you will need to apply by filling out the application form below. 

This course will explore the challenges to the couple relationship at key points in the life cycle; the developmental obstacles to the capacity to form and sustain intimate relationships, the difficulties of parenthood, and the move from two to three or more, the capacity to survive challenging life events, including illness, and, later in the life cycle, the difficulties inherent in retirement and old age.

You will learn and grow as a couple therapist through theoretical seminars and twice-daily intensive clinical discussion groups, and will study alongside like-minded people from the UK and around the world. Included in the course fee is the cost of a theatre ticket to a London show, which will be attended as a group on the Wednesday evening, and discussed in a seminar the following day.

Seminars and clinical discussion groups will be led by experienced members of Tavistock Relationships. 

To make an application, please fill in this form: Summer School Application Form


Day 1: Tuesday July 16th

10.00 Introductions with Andrew Balfour, CEO of Tavistock Relationships
10.30 - 11.45  Sammantha Knight & Elle Sidel
Diversity and the Couple

Abstract in development

11.45 Break
12.00   Clinical Discussion Groups
Sammantha Knight - Elle Sidel
13.15 Lunch
14.15  Catriona Wrottesley
Superego Deadlock

‘Superego deadlock’ is a form of projective gridlock, a concept elucidated in Mary Morgan's paper, "The Projective Gridlock: A Form of Projective Identification in Couple Relationships" (1995).  This is a destructive phenomenon whereby individuals, despite exhibiting sophisticated cognitive capacities in their professional spheres, unleash a primitive and aggressive superego dynamic within their intimate partnerships. This dynamic manifests as a fierce struggle for dominance and the reinforcement of perceived differences, epitomised by the declaration, "I am nothing like you!" Drawing upon Otto Kernberg's couple superego typology (1993) and illustrated with vignettes, this talk explores various manifestations of the couple superego system.

15.30 Break
15.45 Clinical Discussion Groups
Stanley Ruszczynski - Ella Bahaire 
17.00 End

Day 2: Wednesday July 17th

10.00 Damian McCann
All Change all Change: Couples responding to the transition to parenthood

In this talk, Damian McCann will explore motivations for parenthood and the range of emotions and challenges facing couples as they prepare for this transition. He will plot the developmental challenges facing couples through pregnancy, birth and beyond. Challenging the idealisation of motherhood, he will emphasise the role of the couple relationship and, crucially, the importance of the co-parental relationship in caring for their vulnerable infant. Damian will also consider the changing nature of intimate family relationships in the context of wider society. Through this expanded lens, he will reflect on the importance of more diverse representations of family life, contrasting these with traditional notions of family constellations which focus on the heterosexual conjugal unit, rooted in marriage and co-residence.

11.15 Break
11.45 Clinical Discussion Groups
Damian McCann - TBC
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Andrew Balfour
Developmental Challenges for the Couple in Later Life

In this seminar, Andrew Balfour will explore some of the challenges of ageing and of working with clients who are facing death. As is often remarked, it is powerfully the case that in our end is our beginning – as the anxieties of our earliest lives may be powerfully rekindled by the vulnerability and prospect of dependence on others that the end of life can bring. This seminar will focus on the impact of illness, such as dementia, and other possible fates of late life, on our relationships.

15.15 Break
15.45 Clinical Discussion Groups
Katherine Astill - Stanley Ruszczynski
17.00 End
19.30 Group Theatre Trip

Day 3: Thursday July 18th

10.00 Elle Sidel & Sammantha Knight
Theatre Discussion
11.15 Break
11.45 Clinical Discussion Groups
Martha Doniach - TBC
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Martha Doniach
The impact of infertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) on the couple relationship

This talk explores the profound emotional toll of infertility on couples, alongside the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Infertility can be a devastating experience for couples, and the accessibility of ART can often be a barrier for many.  The talk also highlights the different experiences of ART between straight and same-sex couples. By examining these themes, the discussion seeks to illuminate the complex interaction between emotional distress, medical interventions, and societal disparities in fertility treatment, emphasising the imperative for therapeutic support.

15.15 Break
15.45 Clinical Discussion Groups
Katherine Astill - Ella Bahaire
17.00 End

Day 4: Friday July 19th

10.00  Katherine Astill
Obstacles to the Developmental Capacity to Form and Sustain Intimate Relationships

Abstract in development

11.15 Break
11.30 Clinical Discussion Groups
Katherine Astill - Alison Bruce
12.45 Lunch
13.15 Krisztina Glausius
Empty Nesters: Rethinking the Couple

In this lecture we consider some of the emotional storms parental couples need to weather as they negotiate yet another challenging transformation. Their children, freshly emerging from the all consuming rollercoaster ride of adolescence, now finding their feet and use them to leave the parental home. Whilst their young people are striking out on their ow, parents might fear leaving their most vital years behind them. Their idea of who they are as a couple might need to be reconsidered and as some things need to be let go of, there are considerable losses to bear along the way. Envy can emerge as a powerfully destructive force between the generations but, if managed, gratitude can also become part of the picture for all that has been managed throughout the life cycle of the parental couple

14.30  Break
14.45 Clinical Discussions Groups
Andrew Balfour - Krisztina Glausius
16.00 Certificates and Goodbyes