Object Relations Theory and Practice

The Two-Year Certificate Program in Object Relations Theory and Practice provides a concentrated immersion in object relations theory and practice.

Thank you for your interest in the Object Relations Program at the IPI.

Our 2024-2025 Class is full.

Apply by April 1, 2025 to be considered for the next class – starting June 2025.




Program Overview

2024-2026 can be completed on Zoom  (onsite attendance will be optional when IPI offers hybrid learning events)

This is the place to start your training at the IPI.  Object Relations theory and practice using our innovative affective learning model are at the heart of the organization.

The Two-Year Certificate Program in Object Relations Theory and Practice provides a concentrated immersion in the fundamentals of object relations theory and therapy. The two-year program is designed in a modular, block training format, consisting of summer institutes offered in late spring or early summer each year, and eight three-day weekend conferences over the course of two years.

Typically, the first and fourth weekend each year will be offered as a hybrid conference with the option for onsite or online participation. The onsite location for the 2024-2025 year will be in Rockville, Maryland, USA.

2024 Summer Institute will be June 23 through June 27 from 8am-12pm US ET daily

Once monthly videoconference seminars are offered as an ongoing link between the weekend conferences. Optional participation in the monthly online Master Speaker Seminar Series and the Foundations of Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy Videoconference Series is included at no extra cost.

Come study and learn from experiences with internationally acclaimed object relations experts, IPI faculty, and other program participants. Teaching methods include lectures, videos, clinicalcase presentations by faculty and participants, and an Affective Learning Group (GAM GROUP) small group learning experience.

Program Chair

Lorrie Peters, LCSW

Program Date(s):

June 23, 2024 - April 30, 2026

Program Components

There are three main components to the Object Relations Theory and Practice program:

  • Monthly Videoconference Sessions with small group throughout the academic year – distance learning via Zoom 1 Wednesday per month from 8pm-10pm US ET
  • Summer Institutes (1 week each June in both years of study – 2 total) – distance learning via Zoom
  • Weekend Conferences (4 each year in both years of study – 8 total)- distance learning via Zoom with option to attend onsite when IPI offers hybrid learning

Major Topics of Study:

  • Attachment and mentalization
  • Psychic structure
  • Projective and introjective identification
  • Therapeutic frame/setting
  • Transference/countertransference
  • Enactments
  • Analytic listening
  • Winnicott’s major concepts
  • Resistance and impasse
  • Psychoanalytic group theory

Monthly Videoconference Seminars

  • Distance learning via a secure Zoom platform
  • One Wednesday of each month for 2 hours (8-10pm US ET).
  • includes small group affective learning session
  • Instructions for joining the meeting will be provided to registered applicants.

Summer Institutes

(2024 and 2025 will be online via Zoom)

  • June 23-27, 2024: Infant Observation and Developmental Contributions to Object Relations Theory and Practice. Infant observation, development, attachment, and neuroscience research as applied to the use of containment and countertransference in clinical work. 

    • – zoom meetings will run from 8am to noon each day.
  • June 2025: Object Relations Theory and Practice.  This institute will cover the basics of object relations theory from Kleinian and British Independent object relations points of view as applied to clinical practice.

Weekend Conferences

Students in the Object Relations Theory and Therapy certificate program attend IPI’s Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Weekend Conferences during each of the two academic years. 

The conferences feature guest contributors of international repute whose work is at the leading edge of contemporary object relations theory and IPI faculty. Advanced program participants are encouraged to prepare themselves as teachers by giving clinical presentations. These conferences are attended by the IPI community (faculty, students from other certificate programs, fellows, and guests) at large.

2024-2025 Academic Year Weekend Conferences:

IPI’s Weekend Conferences are offered online via Zoom with the option to attend onsite when a hybrid experience is available.

  • October 4-October 6, 2024 – hybrid – Andrea Celenza, PhD
  • November 08-10, 2024 – online- Virgina Ungar, MD
  • February 21-23, 2025 – online – Juliet Mitchell, FBA
  • April 25-27, 2025 – hybrid – Damian McCann, D.Sys.Psych and Kate Thompson

see the Weekend Conferences page for more information about weekend conferences at the IPI


Optional Components

Consultation and Personal Therapy (optional)

While consultation and therapy are not required for this two-year certificate program, ongoing consultation is recommended and available individually or in groups in cities with IPI faculty or anywhere by telephone or videoconference. Faculty will be offering group consultation by telephone or videoconference for participants in order to facilitate clinical application of object relations theory. Participants often undertake personal therapy by choice.

Master Speaker Series (optional – FREE)

Participants in the Object Relations Theory and Practice program are given free admission to our popular Master Speaker Series.  Learn more about the current Master Speaker topic here: Master Speaker Series

Foundations of Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy (optional – FREE)

Participants in the Object Relations Theory and Practice program are given free admission to our Couple Therapy Videoconference Series.  Learn more about it here: Foundations of Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy

Special Topics Lectures (optional – FREE)

Participants in the Object Relations Theory and Practice program are given free admission to our Special Lectures featuring a variety of guest speakers.  Learn more about it here: Special Topics

Program Faculty

Lorrie Peters, LCSW

Jim Poulton, PhD

Sheila Hill, MSW

Ana Maria Barrosso, MD

Andi Pilecki, LPC

Michelle Kwintner, PhD

Matt Rosa, MD

Flora Barragan, MA

Caroline Sehon, MD

Norma Caruso, PsyD

Paul Bosco, MSW

Kelly Seim, LCSW

Karen Fraley, LCSW

Charles Ashbach, PhD

Janine Wanlass, PhD

Pat Hedegard, MA

David Scharff, MD

Jill Scharff, MD

Anne Taylor, LCSW

Karen Sherwood, MSW

Michele Reed, MSW

Mike Stadter, PhD


The Affective Learning Model is an educational format derived from object relations principles. Faculty and students learn together from didactic material and from experience to integrate cognition and affect, theory and technique, intrapsychic and interpersonal dimensions. Small affective learning groups are an essential element of The Affective Learning Process. Participants meet in these groups twice daily during summer institutes and during weekend conferences in order to integrate their intellectual and emotional reactions to the material at individual and group levels, and to apply it to their clinical situations. The small affective group retains the same membership and leader over the two years of the course. This ensures a committed, intense integrative experience for which participants need to be physically and emotionally resilient. Participants say that the small group is the place where they discuss, argue, wrestle with, experience personally, and take in the concepts that become a natural part of their way of working.

Learn more about this integral part of our organization here: https://theipi.org/about-ipi/#GAM

Attendance Policy

The IPI is an APA-approved provider (sponsor) of continuing education (CE) credit that specifies standards by which CE credits can be awarded for learning activities. The APA only awards CE credit for actual instructional time; variable credit for partial attendance may not be awarded. IPI expects 100% attendance for a student to receive CE credit. A student enrolled in the Object Relations Theory and Practice (2-year CORE program) would not receive credit unless the student were to attend all of the classes.  The faculty maintains attendance records at each class. In the very rare instance when a student would have to miss a class, that student would be expected to complete a make-up assignment with specified learning objectives as part of IPI’s adherence to APA standards for awarding credit.


Applicants should submit:

  • current C.V.
  • completed application form
  • reference letter from a supervisor/consultant, employer, instructor et. al.

IPI does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender, sexual preference or physical handicap.

Selection of Applicants

This program references and discusses clinical material. Therefore, we can only accept applicants who meet the following requirements:

    • have an active caseload (currently practicing)
    • a letter of reference from a current or former supervisor, employer, instructor or similar person who can vouch for your ethical character
    • hold a license or be working towards a license that is appropriate for the level of education completed

Selected participants are mental health professionals or advanced students who are accepted on the basis of their interest in object relations theory and commitment to group learning. We recruit a diverse body of participants at various levels of experience and from all mental health disciplines.

Tuition and Fees

Annual tuition is $3,235.

Annual tuition includes:

Limited scholarship funds are available for this training: https://theipi.org/scholarships/

Should you have any questions about the program or the application process, please feel free to contact:

Core Program Chair - Lorrie Peters - core@theipi.org

Continuing Education Information

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.