The Institute for Clinical Social Work


ICSW Student Marissa Sappho Presents at Annual Renfrew Center Conference


ICSW Fourth-Year Student Marissa Sappho, LCSW, presented a paper at the 23rd Annual Renfrew Center Conference in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 10, 2013. Her presentation with colleague Melainie Rogers, MS, RD, was titled Treatment in Fluidity: A Relational Approach to the Choice and Timing of Therapeutic Interventions for Binge Eating Disorder Patients.

The selection and timing of different therapeutic interventions presents an ongoing challenge for even the most experienced clinicians dealing with the complexity of eating disorders. The cycle of rupture and repair which occurs in the patients internal life is often mirrored in the therapeutic dyad, and unanalyzed enactments contribute to stalls in treatment. Using a relational theory model, this presentation will provide an integrative team approach to working with patients with binge-eating disorder, offering a didactic experience to creatively address the complications which can arise during the course of treating those with BED.

An audio CD of the presentation is available for purchase on the Renfrew center conference website.

Marissa will be teaching a four session mini-course webinar for The Center for the Study of Anorexia & Bulimia. Contact her directly if you are interested in learning more.

ICSW Faculty Featured at Forms and Transformations of Connectedness Conference


Several ICSW faculty member's are participating in International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology's Forms and Transformations of Connectedness, including former Dean Amy Eldridge, who is co-chairing the conference.

  • Faculty member and alum Ida Roldan is giving a paper entitled "Psychoanalytic Training and the Quest for Integrated Selfhood."  Alum Thetis Cromie is moderating the session. (Saturday, 4:15–5:45 pm)
  • Faculty Emeritus Lynn Borenstein is giving a paper entitled "Empathic Alertness:  Forward Movement in Child Psychotherapy," followed by a discussion lead by alum William Gieseke.  (Saturday, 2:15–3:45 pm)
  • Visiting Professor Carla Leone is presenting a pre-conference workshop entitled "One Couple, Three Perspectives:  Comparing Contemporary Psychoanalytic Approaches to Couples Treatment." She is also giving a paper entitled "Forms and Transformations of Connectedness in Couples:  How Self Psychology and 'Emotionally Focused Therapy' Can Inform Each Other." (Thursday, 8:30–11:30 am and Sunday, 8:00–9:30 am)
  • Visiting Professor Jeffrey Stern is presenting a paper entitled "Forms and Transformations of Loneliness." (Sunday, 8:00–9:30 am)
  • Faculty Emeritus R. Dennis Shelby is discussing a paper entitled "The Suffering Stranger and the Suffering Therapist." (Saturday, 2:15–3:45 pm)
  • In addition to co-chairing the conference, former Dean Amy Eldridge is presenting in a pre-conference workshop  entitled "Ethics in the Digital Age".  She is also offering a Conference Summation in the Final Plenary on Sunday. (Thursday, 1–4 pm and Sunday, 12:00–12:45 pm)

Event Details

International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology Presents:
Forms and Transformations of Connectedness
October 17-20, 2013
Palmer House Hilton
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Conference Co-chairs: Amy Eldridge, PhD, MSW & Scott Davis, MD

Heinz Kohut established the primacy of connectedness in the analytic process with his delineation of the self object function and experience. Subsequent to Kohut, therapists now have additional models within or relevant to self psychology to facilitate connectedness. These models include: infant research; attachment research; the implicit and explicit domains of organizing and communicating experience; dynamic systems theory;  neurobiology; intersubjectivity; and motivational systems theory. The 36th IAPSP Annual International Conference will explore the following questions: How do these models provide new opportunities for the therapist to understand and facilitate connectedness? What, if any, are the potential problems of utilizing aspects of these models in enhancing connectedness? In addition, in this digital age of connectivity, therapists have the use of e-mail, text, and Skype to facilitate and enhance connectedness. What opportunities and pitfalls do these n ew forms of communication generate?


Fall Semester Launches with On-site Weekend and Opening Party


ICSW’s On-site Weekends brings all Master’s, On-site and Distance Ph.D.  students together twice each semester for an  intense weekend of classes, case consultations and socializing. The 2013-2014 Academic Year was kicked off with an On-site Weekend that began Friday, September 20th.

Over the course of 2 ½  days, 45 classes were taught by 24 faculty members for 71 students. Alumni and visiting professors joined with students and faculty for an Opening Party on Saturday evening. Now, everyone is back to work!

Welcome to our newest students and it was great to visit with our returning students. See you all again in November.

Click here to view more photos from this event.

ICSW 2013-14 New Student Orientation


On September 7, ICSW welcomed this Fall’s newly admitted Master’s and Ph.D. students. Orientation not only provided students with information about their programs and Institute policies and practices, it also and created an opportunity to meet classmates, professors and administrators. Their expressions tell it all: they learned a lot, liked each other and were ready for school to begin.

Three Graduates Receive Doctorates at 2013 Commencement Ceremony


Andrea Alpert, Mary-Beth Golden, and Maria Nanos completed their dissertations and were awarded their doctorates at this month’s commencement ceremonies, held June 1 at the Robert Morris Auditorium at 401 S. State St. in Chicago.

ICSW's 2013 Graduates

Andrea Alpert (Jennifer Tolleson, Dissertation Advisor) examined the vicissitudes of hope in five seasoned clinicians over the course of their professional lives. From the data that she collected, Dr. Alpert constructed a detailed psychoanalytic understanding of the meaning of hope for these participants.

Dr. Alpert found that the sense of hope for these participants stemmed from a larger and more expansive experience of the self. She learned that hope develops over time through the integration of experiences, of which professional experience is but one facet. The vicissitudes of hope were found to be an inevitable and valuable part of the treatment process and that they could be used to facilitate the treatment process and deepen the participants’ self-understanding. Dr. Alpert also explored how the participants actively regulated their hope over time to maintain hopefulness through an ongoing process of self-expansion and self-protection.

Mary-Beth Golden (Joan DiLeonardi, Dissertation Advisor) explored how the adult daughter and mother relationship changes when the daughter requires IVF to get pregnant. Through employing a mixed-methods approach in which she gathered quantitative data and qualitative data, Dr. Golden explored how the adult daughter understands the complexity of the relationship with her mother and whether the IVF process changed that dyad. Her research encompassed concepts in developmental psychology and psychoanalytic theories. Dr. Golden found that adult daughters felt that going through the process of IVF did change the relationship with their mothers and that an earlier close relationship with their mothers continued through the process of IVF despite unexpected disappointments in the mother. Conversely, Dr. Golden found that if the earlier relationship with their mothers was distant and strained, adult daughters did not look to their mothers for emotional support when trying to get pregnant via IVF.

Maria Nanos (Joan DiLeonardi, Dissertation Advisor) conducted a study that employed a narrative approach to interview African-American grandmothers who have taken legal custody of their grandchildren. From these rich and enlightening in-depth interviews, Dr. Nanos developed an understanding of that experience from the grandmother’s point of view. Using a self-psychological framework to interpret the interviews, five themes emerged; grandmother’s sacrifices, the event that precipitated placement, the grandmother’s vs. mother’s role, legal issues, and life today. Dr. Nanos’ research provides us with a more full and detailed understanding of the dynamics and experience within a heretofore understudied family form.

Commencement Speakers Marcia Dobson and John Riker

Marcia Dobson has taught at Colorado College in the Classics Department since 1976. In addition to a PhD from Harvard University in Classical Philology, Professor Dobson received a second PhD, in Clinical Psychology with an en emphasis on depth psychology, where her dissertation crossed the lines of disciplines, focusing on ancient Greek epic and tragedy in relation to modern psychological notions of transitional space and experience. Dr. Dobson initiated the psychoanalysis minor at Colorado College, and now teaches classes in contemporary psychoanalysis at Colorado College and at the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago during the summer. Her recent research and publications consider classical texts in their relation to psychoanalytic thinking and theory. She is also an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology.

John Riker has taught philosophy at Colorado College since 1968. He chaired the department for 14 years and has been named the Judson Bemis Professor of Humanities. Dr. Riker was also the Kohut Professor at the University of Chicago (Fall 2003). He has been named teach of the year four times, advisor of the year once, and was the initial recipient of the victor Nelson-Cisneros Award for the person most involved with aiding diversity on campus. His areas of interest in philosophy are ethics, history of philosophy, Greek philosophy, psychoanalysis, American philosophy, and metaphysics. His research interests center of the intersection of a psychoanalytic understanding of human nature with ethics.