• Home
  • Push Me/Pull Me, Baby Me/Control Me: A Psychodynamic Model for Couple Psychotherapy

Push Me/Pull Me, Baby Me/Control Me: A Psychodynamic Model for Couple Psychotherapy

  • 01/18/2020
  • 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • NOVA Southeastern University - Room TBD


  • Members ONLY - Student ID Required
  • Student ID Required
  • UNLICENSED student with valid student ID
  • UNLICENSED student with valid student ID


This conference brought to you by:

The Southeast Florida Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology

in collaboration with

the Department of Clinical and School Psychology in the College of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University

PRESENTER:   Robert Mendelsohn, Ph. D., ABPP

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Time 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

8:30 am - Registration and Continental Breakfast

NOVA Southeastern University

Room TBD


NOVA Dept of Psychology - Faculty/Students - FREE


Couple psychotherapy extends the work of the psychodynamic clinician to the patient’s most significant relationships, yet the therapy is often seen as both conceptually and technically difficult. The reason for this is that in every couple’s treatment there are several transference and countertransference relationships and a confusing array of psychological defenses. Dr. Mendelsohn also suggests there are three powerful couple dynamics that shape every couple’s treatment: (1) the couple’s overuse of the defense of projective identification, (2) the level of object relations that the couple shares, (3) whether one or both members overuses the defense of omnipotent control

In this presentation, through illustrations and elaborations of the above ideas, Dr. Mendelsohn will demonstrate that: (1) Projective identification is ubiquitous in couples, but not always pathological, (2) Over their history, couples develop their own couple object-relational dynamics, (3) The defense of omnipotent control is typically seen by a couple’s therapist as a kind of quirky or odd belief in one of the members of the couple (such as when one member suffers from pathological jealousy while the other member suffers via the jealous behavior of their mate). Couples also share fantasies about each other, and in their desire for understanding and mastery of their emotional connection, it is often easier for each member of the couple to think of the other subjectively. Thus, the defense of omnipotent control can actually be part of a couple-relationship problem. In sum, when we fall in love and become a couple, we may lose some of our reasoning powers in the process.


Robert Mendelsohn, PhD, ABPP, received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1969 and completed post- doctoral training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy at The Derner School of Psychology of Adelphi University. He also received postdoctoral training in Group Psychotherapy at The Derner School, while studying with visiting faculty including Otto Kernberg and having supervisory hours with W. R. Bion. Dr. Mendelsohn has been Professor of Psychology at The Derner School of Psychology since 1974, and from 1992 to 2000 he was its Dean. He is the author of one book and over 25 articles and book chapters focusing on countertransference and couple psychotherapy and he has been a reviewer for the journals Psychodynamic Practice and The International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. He maintains a practice in Roslyn, New York.


After the presentation participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the three components of the Three-Factor Model of Couple Psychotherapy.
  2. Identify and work with couples across the spectrum of couple object relations.
  3. Describe how the Three-Factor Model of Couple Psychotherapy can be effective with so-called intractable couple-psychopathology.


8:30 am -9:00 am Registration and Breakfast
9:00 am -9:15 am Welcome and Introduction to Robert Mendelsohn and couple psychotherapy
9:15 am -10:15 am Push Me/Pull Me, Baby Me/Control Me: A Psychodynamic Model for Couple Psychotherapy
10:15 am - 10:45 am Discussion
10:45 am - 11:00 am Break
11:00 am - 12:00 pm Audience Case Presentations/A New Way of Thinking About Couples
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pm Complete Learning Assessment and Final Thoughts

NOVA Dept of Psychology - Faculty/Students - FREE

If you would like to renew your membership or join SEFAPP and benefit from the member discount, please CLICK HERE




 This program, when attended in its entirety, is offered for 3 CE credits

SEFAPP is an approved continuing education provider by the Agency for Health Care Administration of the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (BAP #587, expires March 31, 2020). Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.  SEFAPP and Division 39 are committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological  Association's Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to SEFAPP Administrator at (954) 597-0820.

© 2017 | The Southeast Florida Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology (SEFAPP)

Phone/Fax: (954) 597-0820  |  Email: office@sefapp.org   | Administrative Office:  10803 S. Plaza Del Oro, Yuma, AZ 85367

© 2017 | Contact Us |

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software