Information on Psychotherapy & Support Groups

6 week Supervisory Group with Six Experiential Dimensions

Tuesdays, 3pm–4:15pm
Starts last week in October, fee – $360 / 6 weeks

Conducted by Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, DLitt, NCPsyA, senior supervisor and training analyst, author and theorist, founder and executive director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, 39 years in practice

115 East 9th Street, 12P, NYC, 10003

This six week supervisory experience will be unique in the variety of ways. It is offered for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts to experience the internal world of their patients, while also becoming aware of their own subjective experience when in the room with their patients.

Role-playing, in vivo writing, guided meditative visualization, process presentation, reading and discussion of Dr. Kavaler-Adler's journal article on "Pivotal Moments of Surrender to Mourning the Parental Internal Object," and body awareness focus on "being in the moment" with the patient, will all be part of this six week workshop experience. During the course of six weeks, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will help each participant formulate and integrate their experience through teaching psychoanalytic and object relations concepts, theory, and clinical technique.

In vivo role-playing, experiencing the patient from the inside out, through living the patient's way of being in a session.

One person in the group will volunteer to play the role of a patient they wish to know better, while Dr. Kavaler-Adler will play the role of the psychoanalytic therapist, who will intervene with the patient as she experiences the patient in the moment. This kind of clinical role-play has been very successful when used in classes, open houses, and workshops, to help therapists feel their patients from the inside/out, and to help them experience the kind of fears, aggression, and losses that their patient would be experiencing when in the session. Dr. Kavaler-Adler will engage with each role-played patient to open a dialogue, or to expose the profound resistances to dialogue. Discussion of the role-play helps everyone in the group to learn from the therapist's experience of being the patient, and from Dr. Kavaler-Adler's comments on her interventions, and on the psychodynamics and developmental issues of the patient who has been role-played.

In vivo writing

Dr. Kavaler-Adler is a prolific writer, who lives deeply in the writing process, and she likes to help others to do so. She has had writing groups in her practice for at least 30 years, and she has published six books and approximately 60 journal articles and edited book chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and object relations theory. She has also done memoir essay, short story, and other forms of writing. In her current ongoing monthly writing group she uses an exercise in in vivo writing in the group session. She offers a topic and everyone in the group writes for ten minutes and then shares their writing, linking it to ongoing writing projects. In this one session on writing, Dr. Kavaler-Adler (Susan) will ask participants to write about their internal experience of a patient they are thinking about. Putting these subjective experiences of the patient into words can help participants to speak to their patients in a new and more empathic, as well as more challenging, way. Also, the "objective aspects" of countertransference experience can be understood in this way, as well as the countertransference related to the therapist's own history.

Meditative Visualization Experience of Being with the Patient.

In this supervisory exercise the group members will experience the mode of psychic visualization that Dr. Kavaler-Adler has used in her monthly four-hour psychotherapy and mourning group for 19 years now. However, the focus here will be on having internal dialogues with the patient, while breathing deeply and closing their eyes. Dr. Kavaler-Adler will guide the group through the process of closing their eyes and meditating, while they allow the patient to emerge before them in their minds, from which new and meaningful therapist/patient dialogues can emerge.

Process Case Presentation

This session will be a traditional case presentation by a group member, with feedback, and exploration of the therapist's feelings and thoughts related to the time treating the patient. Dr. Kavaler-Adler will comment on the psychodynamics of the patient, distinguishing repression from dissociation, and psychic conflict from primal trauma developmental arrest issues.

Reading and discussion of one of Dr. Kavaler-Adler's journal articles, "Pivotal Moments of Surrender to Mourning the Parental Internal Objects," in Psychoanalytic Review, 2007, 94: 763-789.

By discussing this paper participants will learn about fundamental issues of psychic transformation taking place in the clinical moment and the clinical session. They will also learn about theories of "developmental mourning" vs. the pathological mourning of the "demon lover complex" (where there is an addiction to an eroticized "bad object" that forestalls the potential for healthy developmental mourning).

Body Awareness Experience (to help therapists focus on "being in the moment" with the patient).

Drawing on her background as a trained dance therapist and her life time of self-expression through Argentine tango, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will introduce participants to the ways of relating to split-off elements of their patients' psyche, through focusing on their own body awareness and on their mental associations. This will help identify countertransference blocks, and open the doorway to a fuller experience of the patient in the moment, without intruding mental thoughts. This will help a true free association (free-floating attention) process to emerge in the therapist, while silently processing, as in Bion's psychic "container," the split-off and dissociated affect states, and internal world dramas, which go on inside the patient. Dr. Kavaler-Adler will share her acute awareness of visceral sensations as cues to the patient's internal world with the therapists in the group.

For more information and to register, please contact Dr. Kavaler-Adler by email ( or by phone (212-674-5425).

Monthly Supervision Group

Monthly In-Person Supervision Group, with Role-playing and Teaching Clinical Theory

Schedule: 1st Friday of the month, 2:00-3:30pm (Note change of time!); September through June
Location: 115 E 9th Str., 12P, NYC
Fee: $75/ month. Group is ongoing & open for new members. All mental health practitioners are welcome!

In this monthly group, group supervision is combined with experiential role-playing, as well as with Dr. Kavaler-Adler's own teachings on object relations theory as applied to clinical and developmental processes. Members of the group benefit from explanations of concepts related to borderline, schizoid and narcissistic character disorders, distinguishing between splitting, projective identification, and neurotic modes of blocked affect and blocked psychic fantasy, due to repression and unconscious psychic conflict.

Other important concepts of the object relations clinical theory are discussed, such as: "projective-identification," therapist's "object survival," the analyst as a "psychic container," "the holding environment," "primitive" vs. neurotic transferences, "primal envy" and its manifestation in treatment, "the transformational object," "object internalization," "objective vs. subjective countertransference," empathy developing through the Winnicottian "capacity for concern" and Kleinian "depressive position," capacity to process loss, and "existential guilt," self-sabotage related to "unconscious loyalties" to patient's internal parental objects, "the true self," and "the capacity to be alone," as well as such challenging topics as developmental mourning, envy, and erotic transference.

During the role-play, Dr. Kavaler-Adler takes the role of the psychotherapist, allowing the presenting group member to experience the process of being "inside the skin" of the patient. This allows the group member who is presenting a case process to feel his/her patient from the inside out, while this allows other group members to vividly experience the presented case, so that their own thoughts and feelings can become part of the dialogue about the process with the patient. Objective and subjective forms of countertransference are discussed. References to readings in the psychoanalytic and object relations literature are offered.

Monthly Virtual Supervision Groups

Schedule: First Friday of the month, 11:30am–1pm NEW; September – June
Schedule: Second Friday of the month, 11:30am–1pm; September – June
Location: Virtual participation -via Internet/phone – using Go-to-Meetings
Fee: $75/ month. Group is ongoing group & open for new members. All mental health practitioners are welcome!

This virtual group was begun at the request of two practitioners in Chicago. It operates through audio-video "Go to Meetings" (through Internet or phone) and offers all the benefits of the other monthly Friday supervision group, in terms of role-playing with Dr. Kavaler-Adler and theoretical teachings related to psychopathology, developmental issues, and clinical process theory. Members take turn presenting as in the other monthly Friday group.

This group is open to mental health professionals both outside the New York area, such as our Chicago members, and also to all those in New York City. Computer expert is on call for technical support, if needed.

Please note:

Individual supervision

(case-by-case or on-going) is available via video and audio conferencing.

These can be requested by email at or by phone 212-674-5425.

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