Thu, Sep 12, 2019 to Thu, Oct 17, 2019
7:15 - 9:00 pm

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis (SFCP)

444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Diane Donnelly, Ph.D.
CE Credits: 
Participant Limit: 

$365 General Public
$260 Full Members
$230 CMH Members
$210 Associate Members
$155 Student Members
$155Scholarship (prior approval required to register at this fee)

Tuition listed above is for early registration ($40 discount off full fee, $15 discount for NCSPP Student Members). For registrations received after the deadline, full tuition will be applied to all registrations.

Tuition does not include the cost of readers.

Early Registration Deadline: 
August 29, 2019
NCSPP offers online course registration and payment using PayPal, the Internet’s most trusted payment processor. All major credit cards, as well as checking account debit payments, are accepted.


Implications for Clinical Work

Course Overview: 

Mutual love, while inducing great happiness, weakens higher mental functions and, so, is paradoxically traumatic. We will begin with the clinical observation that experiences of satisfaction, especially when mutual, make people happy but anxious. We will look at a literary example of the traumatic aspect of mutual love, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), and consider Freud’s two-stage theory of trauma. Next, we will read papers by Freud, Weiss, and Laplanche that shed light on why mutual love is traumatic. Finally, we will examine the clinical implications of this phenomenon, including its ramifications for the therapeutic relationship where, if things go well, mutual love naturally develops. We will discuss how to help patients understand this phenomenon and recognize  techniques they can use to cope with it. The goal will be to help them replace self-defeating behaviors with more adaptive ones in the face of mutual love and other significant successes in their lives.

Course Objectives: 

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe, in your child and adult patients, instances in which their anxiety symptoms are preceded by an experience of heightened success and gratification as in mutual admiration/love
  • Apply theories of Freud, Laplanche and Weiss about the nature of trauma, the origins of infantile sexuality and the dangers to higher mental functioning of success and heightened gratification as in mutual love.
  • Apply specific techniques people use to cope with success/happiness as in mutual love.
  • Demonstrate ways in which the therapist/analyst can help patients become more familiar with the phenomenon that success (as in mutual love) induces great anxiety.
  • Demonstrate ways in which the therapist/analyst can help patients recognize techniques they use to cope with success (as in mutual love) and help them distinguish self-defeating vs. adaptive methods of coping.
Empirical Reference: 
  1. Bartels, A. and S. Zeki (2004). The neural correlates of maternal and romantic love. NeuroImage21(3), 1155–1166. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.11.003.
  2. Høglend, P, A. G. Hersoug, K. Bøgwald, et al. (2011). Effects of transference work in the context of therapeutic alliance and quality of object relations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology79(5), 697–706. doi: 10.1037/a0024863.
  3. Gilbert, P. , McEwan, K. , Catarino, F. , Baião, R. and Palmeira, L. (2014), Fears of happiness and compassion in relationship with depression, alexithymia, and attachment security in a depressed sample. Br J Clin Psychol, 53: 228-244. doi:10.1111/bjc.1203

Diane Donnelly, Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst on SFCP’s faculty. She practices in San Francisco and Marin where she sees adults and children. In 2012, she received JAPA’s New Author Prize for her paper “The Function of Suffering as Portrayed in The Scarlet Letter and Reflected in Clinical Work.”

Target Audience & Level: 

This intermediate course is for mental health clinicians with moderate to extensive clinical experience and a background in principles of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Continuing Education Credit: 

LCSW/MFTs: Course meets the requirements for 10.5 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPS, as required by the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences. NCSPP is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider Number 57020), to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCS, and/or LEPs. NCSPP maintains responsibility for this program /course and its content.

Psychologists: Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for these programs and their content.

Cancellation & Refund Policies: 

Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time. Transfer of registrations are not allowed.

Contact Information: 

For program related questions contact Clara Brandt, Psy.D at or 415-685-0488. 

For questions related to enrollment, locations, CE credit, special needs, course availability and other administrative issues contact Michele McGuinness by email or 415-496-9949.

Education Committee

The Education Committee is responsible for the development of a variety of courses and workshops given throughout the year in San Francisco and the East Bay.

Asya Grigorieva, Ph.D., Chair
Clara Brandt, Psy.D.
June Lin-Arlow
Cameron Murphey, MFTi
Anna Zozulinsky, Ph.D.