Three Special Interest Group Meetings at the IARPP Santiago Conference

Mary-Joan Gerson  (USA)

MJGersonwwwThe IARPP Santiago meeting was host to three special interest group meetings in which participants shared their work and forged connections.  These groups were: Couple therapy, Child and Family, and  Group Psychotherapy.  I led the meeting of couples therapy with Phillip Ringstrom, which I will briefly describe and I asked representatives of the other groups to summarize their proceedings.

The meeting of those interested in couples therapy was lively.  Phillip Ringstrom described the focus and content of his forthcoming book, A Relational Psychoanalytic Perspective on Couples Therapy, which will be published by Routledge in March 2014.  He described the six steps that his model of treatment entails, beginning with attunement and including a focus on subjective reality, enactments and other key clinical dimensions.  I presented my current treatment of a couple with intense conflict and affect, describing my approach to countertransference and the creation of new experience, detailed  in my 2009 book, The Embedded Self.  Participants in the meeting asked stimulating questions and another future meeting would be very enriching.  For questions or suggestions, please contact me

With over 40 attendees, the child and adolescent interest group meeting was the largest meeting of this group to date, in part because of the growing presence of child clinicians who are active within IARPP, and in part because of the attendance of the dynamic child interest group, led by Sebastian Leon within the IARPP Chile chapter. In the meeting, Neil Altman and Ann Marie Sacramone offered a short history of the group since there were so many new members.  Marco Bernabei and Ingrid Pedroni from Italy spoke about the parallel individual therapies that they do with adolescents and with their parents.  Roy Aldor and Ruth Sharabany spoke about their work, also systemic with Arab children in Israel.  There was an intimation that all of this work was related to activism and that the group has an interest in defining activism from the point of view of child contact: ,


IARPP Special Interest Groups luncheon, Santiago

All participants in the IARPP meeting were  invited to  a lunch focussed on group psychotherapy. There were 25 people from different countries that met and  shared their experiences as group psychotherapists, and altogether had a very successful encounter.

They hope to maintain communication via mail and to have future  encounters. One idea proposed by the Brazilian fellow, Carla Penna,  that emerged after the meeting was to write a  about the South American history of group psychotherapy. email:  Edgardo Thumala,

I think these meetings allow for informal and creative discussion of clinical issues by clinicians with particular interests and concerns.