About IPI

The International Psychotherapy Institute presents national certificate training programs that bring mental health professionals and institute faculty together to study with international contributors at the leading edge of the field, such as Otto Kernberg, Christopher Bollas, Peter Fonagy, Alessandra Lemma, Ted Jacobs, Virginia Ungar, and Jill and David Scharff. IPI offers quality programming in a variety of formats – short courses, multi-year training programs in theory and technique, and advanced clinical training – all with continuing education credit.

Our Mission

The International Psychotherapy Institute and its members are committed to:

Providing a vibrant learning community with a broad range of programs in theory and clinical skills for the professional growth of mental health professionals;

Offering training and educational opportunities for professionals at all levels of experience, from new therapists to seasoned clinicians;

Assuring open access, by welcoming new and occasional participants, and by offering extensive affiliate programs in national and international locales;

Mentoring program graduates to help them assume leadership roles in clinical, educational and supervisory contexts, both in their local communities and on the national and international scene;

Maintaining a spirit of intellectual openness and curiosity while remaining grounded in an Object Relations approach to thinking, learning and teaching;

Expanding therapists’ understanding of the use of self, through training in the Institute’s Group Affective Learning Model;

Incorporating community service and diverse membership throughout the Institute.

IPI's Teaching Objectives

To teach dynamic psychotherapy from the standpoint of the theoretical and clinical contributions of Fairbairn, Klein, Bion, Winnicott, Bowlby, Fonagy & Target, Sutherland, Bollas, Ogden, Ferro, Scharff & Scharff and other contemporary theorists.

To understand the original theories of object relations: Fairbairn’s view of the personality as a system of self and object in dynamic relation; Klein’s projective/introjective identification and intrapsychic positions; Winnicott’s study of the mother-infant dyad; Bowlby’s attachment theory; Bion’s container/contained.

To understand advances in theory such as the analytic third, extractive introjection, parent-infant development, neuroscience, affect regulation in the growth of self, psychic genera, trauma and regeneration, chaos theory, the geography of transference and countertransference, attachment patterns, Pichon-Riviere’s idea of the link, mentalization, and the growth of self reflection.

To apply object relations theory to technique in individual, family, couple and group therapy and to work with institutions, businesses, and organizations.

To integrate theory with personal and clinical experience in small group settings.

To apply the use the therapist’s self to the clinical situation, through understanding transference and countertransference, listening to the unconscious, responding interpretively from inside your own experience, and providing a holding environment.

To further public understanding and acceptance of the role of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in the mental health of individuals, families and institutions.

Affective Learning and the Small Group

The Affective Learning Model is an educational format derived from object relations theory that incorporates ideas from group analysis, neural development, systems theory, chaos theory, and affect regulation. Within our learning community, guest presenters, faculty, candidates, fellows, students and weekend attendees learn together, combining didactic material and experience through group process to integrate theory and technique, cognitive and affective elements, and intrapsychic and interpersonal dimensions.

IPI’s affective learning groups represent a core component of our weekend conference learning experience. Each participant meets in a consistent small group, twice daily and once on Sunday morning during the weekend conference. Faculty members act as group facilitators, and the group as a whole gives participants an effective way to gather and integrate intellectual and emotional responses to the didactic material at both individual and group levels. Unpacking and understanding the material as it emerges in the group process facilitates deeper learning, with implications for both personal understanding and clinical applications of the concepts. Participants value the small group as a place that fosters their development as clinicians, by giving the learner a close-in opportunity to discuss, argue, and wrestle with concepts and emotional responses to the material. Although elements of this group process can be therapeutic, it differs from a therapy group in the shared focus on learning concepts and ideas rather than addressing personal issues and concerns.

Download the Scharff’s original article “Group affective learning in training for psychotherapy and psychoanalysis” from IPI ebooks.

or download the final edited version published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1111/1745-8315.12638



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A standing IPI committee that serves IPI members as a consultative and/or problem solving resource.

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Continuing Education Credit

The International Psychotherapy Institute, IPI, is approved by The American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. IPI maintains responsibility for the program and its content. The International Psychotherapy Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6017. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The International Psychotherapy Institute is responsible for all aspects of the programs. The International Psychotherapy Institute is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education learning activities and maintains full responsibility for this program. This training qualifies for Category I continuing education units. The International Psychotherapy Institute is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0299.
Participants are responsible for verifying that IPI CE credit is accepted by the licensing boards in their own states.


ACEP No. 6017



IPI also offers community-based training modules through its affiliate programs in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Panama City Panama, and the Washington DC area.

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