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Course Details
Price $119.00

Psychodynamics of the Therapeutic Relationship (8 CE Credits)

The therapeutic alliance, transference, countertransference, defenses, and resistances form the cornerstones of psychodynamic psychotherapy.  By monitoring, examining, and exploring these concepts, the therapy is moved beyond the day-to-day examination of circumstances and events into the reality of meanings, conflicts, and imagination.


Course Objectives

As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:  

  • list seven levels of ego defensive functions,
  • describe several forms and functions of resistances in the clinical setting,
  • describe several ways to manage resistances in the clinical setting,
  • describe the nature and function of the transference in the clinical setting,
  • distinguish between positive and negative transferences,
  • describe how the transference neurosis can be used to facilitate treatment,
  • distinguish between neurotic transference and psychotic, borderline, and narcissistic transferences,
  • describe ways in which the clinician can effectively respond to clients’ transferences relative to cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity,
  • compare and contrast the transference relationship with the working alliance relative to cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity, and
  • describe how the clinician can make use of the countertransference to benefit therapeutic work with diverse clients.


Course Content and Details

Product Description

Psychodynamics of the Therapeutic Relationship

Therapeutic RelationshipUnderstanding the psychodynamics of the therapeutic relationship can deepen the work of all clinicians.  The therapeutic alliance, transference, countertransference, defenses, and resistances comprise the cornerstone of psychodynamic psychotherapy, but they are relevant to virtually all forms of psychotherapy.  

Our terms and constructs about the mind, our affects, and behaviors remain sterile and stagnant until we frame them in the context of the interpersonal relationship.  As participant-observers, psychotherapists promote a living and dynamic process that helps facilitate healing and growth for all members of the interaction.  We are afforded the potential to engage with a virtual stranger at a level of intimacy that is rarely achieved in a lifetime.  This brings an enormous responsibility that demands a careful and thoughtful respect for the complexity and power of the therapeutic relationship.

The therapeutic alliance is the conscious, deliberate, and directly expressed agreement between the patient and therapist to pursue treatment aims and goals.  The therapeutic process involves many levels that go beyond this conscious intention.  In this course, Dr. Michael J. Gerson will provide you with knowledge and case examples to help you differentiate each of these components and how they may impact your clinical work.



Michael J. Gerson, PhDThe Instructor is Dr. Michael J. Gerson, an experienced Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in California.  He has been training clinicians for over 30 years, both in his private practice, in community counseling centers, and as a professor of Psychology in graduate programs.  He is a core faculty member of the Graduate School of Psychology at California Lutheran University and is renowned for his depth of understanding of the therapeutic process and for his keen ability to translate complex concepts into terms that are clear and that can be applied to the clinician’s own work.


Program Information


Conflicts of Interest or Commercial Support

There is no commercial support or other potential conflicts of interest for this program, presentation, or instructor.


Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility

We are committed to respecting diversity in all of its forms, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. We also strive to make all of our activities accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. Please contact the Director at if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any of our programs.


Sources and Relevance

Our programs and teaching methods are supported by current, empirically-based scientific literature, and are designed to provide continuing education that is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or research, so that psychologists may maintain and expand their ability to serve the public and contribute to the profession.


Target Audience

Our courses are designed for postdoctoral-level psychologists; this course is an intermediate-level course. All mental health professionals, educators, and researchers have a variety of educational backgrounds and needs—if you have any questions about whether this course could benefit you and/or would be appropriate for your level of training, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may contact the Director directly at with any questions or concerns.


Course Schedule

This course will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will be able pace yourself in a manner that is comfortable for you.


Cost and Refund/Cancellation Policy

The cost of the course is noted below; there are no additional fees. Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not satisfied with a course, please let us know immediately—we will cancel your order and gladly offer you a full refund.


Course Format Summary

The course includes an online written manuscript and accompanying audio files, for optional review in multiple modalities.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow completion of the course for 8 CE credits.  Intermediate level.  A brief video provides opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.  This course may be applied to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.  $119.


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