Education & Events

Foundational Courses

Foundational Courses

Welcome to the second year curriculum of Roots & Branches, a two-year series of foundational classes in diverse psychoanalytic perspectives. Roots & Branches uniquely offers students a historical perspective of psychoanalysis, including the origin and evolution of psychoanalytic theory and clinical skills. Please join us 2019-2020 as we continue exploring classical and contemporary traditions. Meet our local experts and build relationships with like-minded students and clinicians in our analytic community!

The curriculum is especially well suited for students and those in their first decades of practice, though the concepts are of interest to therapists at all levels. Roots & Branches seeks to ground participants in the highly textured history of psychoanalytic tradition as well as contemporary schools of thought and practice as the two-year series evolves. While participants may attend individual classes, participants are encouraged to attend the curriculum in its entirety for maximum benefit.



Year Two, Semester One: Fall 2019

Ego Psychology

  • Date: Saturday, October 5th, 9 am - 1 pm
  • Key figures: Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, René Spitz, Heinz Hartmann, Margaret Mahler, Peter Fonagy, Mary Main & contemporary iterators
  • Key Concepts: Drive Theory / Topographic & Structural Models / Psychic Threat & Defensive Organization / Principles of Mental Functioning & the Nature of Anxiety Development / Developmental Lines / Infantile Neurosis & the Transference Neurosis / Clinical Applications
  • Instructor: Martin Bullard, LICSW

Ego psychology is a branch of psychoanalytic tradition that held much sway in the United States, particularly in the post war period.  Ego psychology roughly is the analysis of "adaptations" to internal and external conditions.  It can be seen as a theoretical and clinical outgrowth of Freud's structural model and has much to offer with regards to conceptualization and technique.  Participants can expect to gain familiarity with a powerful and clinically useful set of language and ideas that will help guide assessment and interpretation within a therapeutic transference relationship. I will use video, power point and clinical examples from my practice to illustrate these concepts.

Instructor Martin Bullard, LICSW is a social worker & psychoanalyst in private practice in Seattle working with adults, children and adolescents.  Martin received his psychoanalytic training at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.  Prior to that, Martin worked in milieu treatment programs for disturbed children and adolescents and their families.  Martin appreciates the experiential dimensions of clinical work which draw him to psychoanalysis. 

Interpersonal Psychoanalysis

  • Date: Saturday, November 2nd, 9 am - 1 pm
  • Key Figure: Harry Stack Sullivan
  • Key Concepts: Centrality of Anxiety as Motivator/ Emotional Contagion/ Self-System / Integrating Tendencies / Security Operations / Good-Me, Bad-Me, Not-me / Participant-Observation / Needs for Satisfaction & Security / The Detailed Inquiry / Chumship, the Malevolent Transformation, & Other Developmental Phenomena / Isomorphic Transformations / The Field
  • Instructor: Margaret Crastnopol (Peggy), Ph.D.

Harry Stack Sullivan was the groundbreaking progenitor of the Interpersonalist orientation in psychoanalysis. His influence can be felt -- explicitly or implicitly-- in almost all contemporary analytic thinking, the relational perspective in particular.  Impressed with the (heretofore undersung) role of complex cultural and psychosocial factors at play in psychic functioning, Sullivan and his colleagues (among them Clara Thompson, Erich Fromm, and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann) replaced the classical Freudian emphasis on biological drives as determinants of human functioning with a close look at the relations among internal images of self and other, and the interpersonal relating that helps shape them. Interpersonalists and their disciples track the "red thread of anxiety" running through each person's psychic functioning, and work with it in the therapy session itself. They concentrate on the intricacies of lived human experience, which makes their clinical practice especially compelling, personal, and accessible. This session will familiarize attendees with the central operating concepts of Interpersonalist thought in Sullivan's time and our own, including ideas like personifications, security operations, the detailed inquiry, forbidding gestures, unformulated experience, and micro-traumatic patterns. Participants will see how the understanding and application of an Interpersonalist-inflected perspective enhances the psychotherapeutic engagement.

Instructor Margaret Crastnopol (Peggy), Ph.D. is on the faculty of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a supervisor of psychotherapy and faculty, William Alanson White Institute in New York City. She is a training and supervisory analyst at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy-Los Angeles.  She is also an associate editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and on the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.  Dr. Crastnopol is on the executive committee and the board of directors of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She is the author of Micro-trauma:  A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Cumulative Psychic Injury, Routledge, 2015, and other publications on the analyst’s and patient’s subjectivity and related topics

Self Psychology

  • Date: Saturday, December 14th, 9 am - 1 pm
  • Key Figure: Heinz Kohut 
  • Key Concepts: Importance of Shame & Self Esteem / Ambitions & Ideals / Self & Self Objects / Grandiose Self / Mirroring & the Mirror Transference / Idealized Parent & Idealizing Transference / Vertical & Horizontal Splits / Primary & Secondary Ambition
  • Instructor: Robert Bergman, MD

When Adler and Freud split from one another, they polarized each other's theories, Adler's ideas emphasized shame and Freud's guilt.  Sullivan continued the development of shame psychology, but it was Kohut beginning in the sixties, at a time when shame was becoming more prominent among analytic patients, who developed a theory that took both into account.  He also tried to do for narcissism what Freud had done for sex, establish it as a basic force in human nature that is neither good nor bad.  Unfortunately, that effort has failed but he did succeed in starting a movement that directed our attention to the importance of empathy, two person rather than one person understanding of the therapeutic process and the interpersonal construction of reality.

Instructor Robert Bergman, MD has been a therapist and analyst for more than fifty years.  He spent a decade working with Native Americans as part of the Indian Health Service, served as psychiatry residency director at the University of New Mexico, and since 1982 has been associated with the psychiatry department of UW, SPSI and NCP and has been in private practice.


Year Two, Semester Two: Winter 2020

Contemporary Freudian Revisionists

  • Date: Saturday, January 11th, 9 am - 1 pm
  • Key Figures: Jacques Lacan & Jean Laplanche
  • Key Concepts: The Three Registers of Psychical Subjectivity: The Real, the Imaginary, & the Symbolic / The Libidinal Economy: Need-Demand and Castration / Post-Lacanian Thought of Jean Laplanche: The General Theory of Seduction
  • Instructor: Robin McCoy Brooks, MA, LMHC, TEP

Who was Jacques Lacan and why should we care? Lacan was one of the foremost intellectuals of the 20th century and his controversial and original post-Freudian ideas continue to influence academic and clinical discourse today, especially in Europe. His ideas put psychoanalysis into conversation with phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, history of philosophy, anthropology, film, art, literary critical theory and political theory, to name a few. Hence, the applicability of Lacanian and post-Lacanian thought reaches into the realities of our present times and may give us fresh perspectives to engage with our patients or our world.

Lacan was a French psychiatrist who became a Freudian analyst and a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) in the middle of the last century. He was greatly influenced by the French structuralist movement, particularly Ferdinand de Saussure and acolytes who facilitated his reorientation to the unconscious which he famously stated was “structured like a language.” The key, he thought to retaining some of Freud’s orthodoxy which he thought was in danger of being obfuscated by the Anglo-American ego psychology was to structuralize Freudian psychoanalysis. 

Like other extraordinarily creative psychoanalytic thinkers from any psychoanalytic tradition, Lacan experienced several traumatic rejections from the IPA. The first blow included being forced out of the IPA for his “unorthodox” views that prompted him to find his own institute (SFP). Ten years later, the IPA made a deal with the SFP that, in short, offered to admit the institute into the international mother-ship if Lacan was struck from the list of training analysts. Ultimately, these rejections encouraged him to continue to creatively forge his own very distinctive theoretical and clinical ideas and practices.

The second half of the seminar builds on the first, in that I will introduce the original theory and praxis of French post-Lacanian psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche who remains a leading figure on the international psychoanalytical scene. Laplanche studied with and was treated by Lacan and while influenced by his mentor, clearly pursued his own original research through a careful engagement with and revivification of Freud’s texts. His view of the transference and the general theory of seduction are key concepts we will visit. 

Both Lacan and Laplanche’s extraordinary theoretical contributions to psychoanalysis grew from their clinical work and alliance to the meaningful extension of the Freudian edifice. We will keep a keen eye to how theory is informed by practice.

Instructor Robin McCoy Brooks, LMHC is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Seattle, WA. She is a founding member of the New School for Analytical Psychology and active analyst member of the Inter-regional society for Jungian Analysts and the International Association for Analytical Psychology. She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Jungian Studies. Additionally, she is the Co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Jungian Studies. Her published works incorporate philosophy, psychoanalysis, and scientific perspectives into the enigma of being human.

  • Date: Saturday, February 8, 9am – 1pm
  • Key Figures: Stephen Mitchell, Lew Aron, and others 
  • Key Concepts: Two-Person / Asymmetrical Mutuality / Enactment / Dialectical Constructivism / Multiple Self States / Mutual Regulation / Mutual Influence / Negotiation of Paradox / Self Disclosure / Intersubjective Analytic Third / Use of Countertransference / Interface Between Interpersonal & Intrapsychic / Analyst’s Subjectivity / Beyond Doer-Done To / Transference / Countertransference Matrix / Bi-Personal Field
  • Instructor: Sally Bjorklund, MA, LMHC

We will explore the emergence of relational theorizing within the weltanschauung of the 1970’s-1980’s. Mitchell and Greenberg’s first shot over the bow of the American psychoanalytic establishment came in 1983 with the publication of “Object Relations in Psychoanalysis.” Mitchell’s scholarly brilliance was evident in his close readings of Freud and British Object Relations theory. Coming from a background in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, Mitchell engaged the critique that Interpersonal theory focused on interpersonal experience at the expense of the intrapsychic. They introduced the term “relational” as a way to bridge what they saw as the shortcomings and strengths of Interpersonal and Object Relations theories. They believed relational thinking was not an add-on to traditional theories, i.e. that it was looking at different phenomena than other theories, but that it was an alternate understanding of the same phenomena. They believed drive/defense theories obscured how sexuality and aggression, for example, take on meaning for an individual in relational contexts. 

Like the rest of American society in the 1970’s, where established sources of power were questioned, the previously unquestioned dominance of American Ego Psychology was being challenged by the development of self psychology (which became a separate “school”), and by the various “rights” movements and the replacement of modernism with postmodernism, ushering in intellectual and scientific shifts. American analytic feminism, led by Dinnerstein, Chodorow, Gilligan, Benjamin, Goldner, Harris and Dimen were challenging traditional views about essentialist beliefs and the way traditional psychoanalysis was entrenched in these essentialist myths.

We will explore the impact of introducing a 2-person model of understanding the psychoanalytic situation. Hoffman’s groundbreaking paper “The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst’s Experience” analyzes what he called the “conservative” and “radical” critiques of the blank screen concept. Aron’s work positions the analyst in a relationship of mutual influence that is asymmetrical. We will explore the difference between the idea of the analyst as a subject that is always self-disclosing vs self-disclosure as a kind of “wild analysis” where the analyst is free to say anything she thinks. As relational thinking developed, the concept of enactment, which occurs within the transference/countertransference matrix, was formulated. The work of Philip Bromberg on dissociation and multiple self-states furthered the understanding that analytic dialogue is enacted non-verbally. He wrote “Patients in fact do not reveal their unconscious fantasies…: they ARE their unconscious fantasies and live them with the analyst through the act of psychoanalysis, which includes the analyst’s subjectivity as well as the patient’s.” Bromberg’s work brought attention of the effects of trauma back into analytic theorizing. Relational clinicians’ practice focuses on process, on what is co-created between analyst and patient, which is a distinctly different approach from the analyst interpreting the patient’s unconscious from an uninvolved distance, i.e. as projection. Working relationally means the analyst’s personal experience and her own unconscious is deeply implicated and involved in the process. This requires the analyst to be able to use her own countertransference arousal as a guide to de-coding enactments and finding ways to not just repeat old relational patterns. Together, we will explore what this way of working requires of the therapist, of how to be in the process without drowning in it. We will use readings to familiarize ourselves with basic concepts and use clinical examples to see how it works. 

Instructor Sally Bjorklund, LMHC is a psychoanalyst, supervisor and consultant. She is co-founder and faculty member of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Seattle (RPPS). She is on the editorial board of the journal Psychoanalytic Perspectives and Supervisor for the National Training Program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. She was a contributor to “Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional,” and has written and presented on topics including sex and gender, adoption, aging, working with hard to reach patients, treatment by telephone, and erotic transference. 

Panel Presentation of a Clinical Vignette

  • Date: Saturday, March 7, 9am – 1pm
  • Key Figures: Freud, Klein, Mitchell & Aron 
  • Instructors: Daniel Benveniste, Ph.D., Rikki Ricard, LMHC, FIPA, & Sally Bjorklund, LMHC

Join us for the final culmination of our two-year Roots & Branches program. We will have a panel presentation in which a clinical vignette is discussed from the vantage point of different psychoanalytic theories, including some of those presented throughout the two-year program. This is an opportunity to observe clinical theory being put into practice and a chance to bring into higher contrast the similarities and differences between the different psychoanalytic orientations. Each of our panelists will share their personal connection to their chosen theoretical orientation before demonstrating how they view a clinical example through their preferred theoretical lens. Attendees will see, in this final session, several depth psychology theories side-by-side and the clinical implications of each. 

Instructor Daniel S. Benveniste, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Bellevue, Washington. He is also a Visiting Professor of Psychiatry, Wuhan Mental Health Center, Tongji Medical College. Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei, Peoples Republic of China. In addition to his practice and teaching, he writes professional articles and books, and has taught graduate students of clinical psychology for many years. He is the author of The Interwoven Lives of Sigmund, Anna and W. Ernest Freud: Three Generations of Psychoanalysis (2015) and is the editor of Anna Freud in the Hampstead Clinic: Letters to Humberto Nágera (2015). Originally from California, he did his training and began his practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. He lived and worked in Caracas, Venezuela from 1999 to 2010 and then relocated to the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Adriana Prengler, LMHC, FIPA. In 2016, he was named Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Instructor Rikki Ricard, LMHC, FIPA is a practicing psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice, working with adults, couples and adolescents. She offers supervision individually and in groups. Rikki is a graduate of Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, with Masters degrees in both Acting and Psychology. She has been in private practice for 27 years. Rikki has taught at COR, the Alliance, SPSI and NPSI. 

Instructor Sally Bjorklund, LMHC is a psychoanalyst, supervisor and consultant. She is co-founder and faculty member of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Seattle (RPPS). She is on the editorial board of the journal Psychoanalytic Perspectives and Supervisor for the National Training Program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. She was a contributor to “Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional,” and has written and presented on topics including sex and gender, adoption, aging, working with hard to reach patients, treatment by telephone, and erotic transference. 


​Location: All classes will be held at the Phinney Ridge Community Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.

Time: 9am - 1pm

Registration & Costs: Course content is designed for students and clinicians in their first decades of practice, though material will be of interest to therapists at all levels. While participants may attend individual classes, participants are encouraged to attend the curriculum in its entirety for maximum benefit.

One-year package (all six classes):
$240/nonmember; $180/member; $120/student 

Individual classes: 
$50/nonmember; $40/member; $30/student

**Program content has been submitted for approval for 4.0 CEUs per lecture for Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work. 



Contact Mason Judy at and (802) 952-0367 or Nicola Mucci at