Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Training Psychodynamic Family Therapists

  • Peter ReinerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_665


A psychodynamic approach to family therapy, derived from psychoanalytic theory and practice, focuses on the interactions of mind, body, and environment with a specific emphasis on the interplay among an individual’s unconscious internal (intrapsychic) experience, conflicts, structures, and processes. Of central interest, too, is the manner in which this intrapsychic interplay shapes, and is shaped by, present-day interpersonal experiences with family members, family therapists, and others. Psychodynamic family therapists are trained to consider psychodynamic and systemic theories simultaneously in their formulations of family dynamics – thus to unite the intrapsychic and the interpersonal – resulting in an integrated conceptual model. This guides clinical practice with families, which uses interventions and techniques characteristically associated with this amalgam.

The training of psychodynamic family therapists generally includes the following:
  1. (a)

    Learning the theory...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Boszormenyi-Nagy, I., & Spark, G. (1973). Invisible loyalties: Reciprocity in intergenerational family therapy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  2. Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  3. Johnson, S. (2008). Emotionally focused couple therapy. In A. Gurman (Ed.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed., pp. 107–137). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  5. Reiner, P. (2014). Systemic psychodynamic supervision. In T. Todd & C. Storm (Eds.), The complete systemic supervisor: Context, philosophy, and pragmatics (2nd ed., pp. 166–185). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Ringstrom, P. (2014). A relational psychoanalytic approach to couples therapy. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Roberto-Forman, L. (2008). Transgenerational couple therapy. In A. Gurman (Ed.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed., pp. 196–226). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Satir, V. (1988). The new peoplemaking (2nd ed.). Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  9. Scharff, D., & Scharff, J. (1987). Object relations family therapy. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  10. Shedler, J. (2010). The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 65(2), 98–109.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Watkins, C. E. (2011). Toward a tripartite vision of supervision for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapies: Alliance, transference-countertransference configuration, and real relationship. Psychoanalytic Review, 98, 557–590.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Zietner, J. (2006). Obstacles for the psychoanalyst in the practice of couple therapy. In J. Scharff & D. Scharff (Eds.), New paradigms for treating relationships (pp. 279–295). Lanham: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Thorana Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Utah State UniversitySanta FeUSA