Couple Therapy Training Program Application

  • Sunday, September 08, 2024
  • Sunday, June 08, 2025



Post-Graduate Program in Couple Therapy

The Psychodynamic Couple and Family Institute of New England offers a training program for clinicians looking to expand their clinical skills in working with couples. This program also enhances the clinician’s capacity to recognize and address relational and contextual issues in the treatment of individual clients.

Program Philosophy

PCFINE’s faculty teaches from a clinical perspective that integrates psychodynamic and systems theories in order to understand and address the dysfunctional patterns of interaction that contribute to conflict and distance between partners. Our therapeutic approach is informed by recent understandings in neuroscience and the study of attachment, unconscious communication, and affect regulation. From our perspective, partners, in response to feeling threatened, may respond in ways that trigger recursive cycles of self-protective strategies in which past and present, self and other, perception and reality become difficult to disentangle. De-constructing key interactions and their underlying meanings and uncovering historical roots help partners take responsibility for their parts in the destructive, regressive cycles of conflict and blame. Enduring change requires both insight and new interpersonal experiences that include different ways of feeling, thinking and interacting. The couple therapist learns to intervene actively in the couple’s interactional process to both reveal and destabilize problematic patterns and introduce healthier forms of interaction.

We teach couple therapists ways to calm and contain strong affect in order to engage the couple’s reflective capacities. This is an important element of creating a safe, non-pathologizing environment and developing a strong alliance with each partner. The therapist can then challenge assumptions, confront and work through maladaptive interactional patterns, and introduce alternative meanings, behaviors and perspectives.

Course Structure

PCFINE’s couple therapy curriculum begins with a theoretical overview of our guiding principles. Each subsequent class focuses on a specific aspect of clinical work, tying theory to clinical examples provided by both fellows and faculty. The first year of our training program covers topics that equip clinicians with the fundamentals necessary for providing effective couple treatments (see below). There is also an optional second year program, pursued by a majority of our fellows, in which clinicians delve more deeply into specific, but common clinical issues facing couple therapy: e.g., infidelity; working with gay and lesbian clients; parenting issues; racial and other sociocultural dimensions. After the second year, some clinicians choose to continue learning with their classmates and arrange for monthly group supervision over several years to follow. PCFINE welcomes our fellows to become involved in our professional organization which offers continuing education opportunities and professional support in sponsoring talks, case presentations, and symposia.

The first year classes meet monthly on Sunday mornings, from 8:45am-noon, September through June, and are held at the homes of class coordinators. Each half-year has two faculty coordinators present at all classes in addition to the faculty guest speaker there to teach that month’s topic. This is to offer a window into the differences in approach that various senior clinicians take, and to allow for continuity of themes between classes. The classes are taught in the manner of a post-graduate seminar with active participation by the fellows both in exploring the theory presented and around discussion of clinical examples. A syllabus and readings are provided in advance for each meeting. There are a total of 10 sessions. There is an orientation brunch for fellows and faculty before the first class meets in September.

In addition to the monthly class meetings, fellows will be divided into small groups of 3 or 4 clinicians and assigned to a consultation group leader, a senior faculty member with whom they will meet monthly for two hours on Sundays following classes. This provides an opportunity for ongoing case discussion of the fellows’ work as it evolves over the course of the training program.

Topics covered in the first-year class include:

• Psychoanalytic and systemic frameworks for couple therapy

• Formation of the therapeutic alliance in
couple therapy

• Evaluation and formulation of couple cases

• Transference and countertransference in
couple therapy

• Therapeutic action in couple therapy

• Couple development

• Defensive processes in couple therapy

• Sex in couple therapy

• Working with affect in couple therapy

• Addressing “isms” and microaggressions with interracial couples

Learning objectives and class schedule available at


Tuition and Fees

The annual tuition is $1750.00.  A non-refundable deposit of $100 is due with the application.  Private supervision can be arranged at a reduced fee with any of the faculty.  Equity rate and scholarships are available.  To learn more, go to the website at

Continuing Education Credits

The Psychodynamic Couple & Family Institute of New England (PCFINE) has been approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PCFINE maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Social Workers may telephone 781-433-0906 or email to get CE information.


Susan Abelson, Ph.D.

Stephanie Adler, Ph.D.

Jenn Bortle, Ph.D.

Linda Camlin, Ph.D.

Wendy Caplan, LICSW

Larry Chud, M.D.

Arnold Cohen, Ph.D.

Meg Connolly, Ph.D.

Addy Dettor, LICSW

Sherry Dickey, Ph.D.

Paul Efthim, Ph.D.

Tamara Feldman, Ph.D.

Magdalena Fosse, Psy.D.

David Goldfinger, Ph.D.

Keith Irving, Ph.D.

Mary C. Kiely, Ph.D.

Stephen Knowlton, Ph.D.

Marina Kovarsky, LICSW

Carolynn Maltas, Ph.D.

Alistair McKnight, Psya.D., LMHC

Oona Metz, LICSW

Katie Naftzger, LICSW

Justin Newmark, Ph.D.

Dina Pasalis, LICSW

Sejal Patel, Psy.D.

Brent Reynolds, LMHC

Daniel Schacht, LICSW

Michelle Schuder, Ph.D.

Rachel Segall, LICSW

Joe Shay, Ph.D.

Jennifer Stone, Ph.D.

Risa Weinrit, Psy.D.

Other Application Information or Requirements

Trainees must be independently licensed or working under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Please submit current curriculum vitae, certificate of malpractice insurance, and license if you have one by email to

If you are applying for the equity rate of $750, please email a statement explaining how you meet our criteria by (1) identifying as belonging to a racial or ethnic group with historical barriers to access and/or (2) primarily working with low income individuals or those who have also endured historical barriers to access by virtue of their race or ethnicity. Send email to Alice Rapkin, PCFINE Administrator at

Call Alice Rapkin, PCFINE Administrator, with any questions at 781-433-0906, or send her an email at

PCFINE | 22 GROSVENOR RD., NEEDHAM, MA 02492 | PHONE: 781.433.0906  |  FAX: 781.433.0510  |  EMAIL | SITEMAP

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