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Romantic Bonds, Binds and Ruptures:
Couples on the Brink

coupleVirginia Goldner, PhD

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, 9AM to 4:30PM, 6 credit hours

Registration 9-9:30, Program 9:30-4:30

At the Washington School of Psychiatry, 5028 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington DC 20016

Virginia Goldner's description of romantic love as an attachment process highlights the dilemma we all face as lovers. In romantic relationships, unlike parent-child relations, each partner is both the one who needs and the one who is needed.

$180 Regular
$120 Current WSP Members
$60 Current WSP Students ​

Other graduate students or other registration questions, please check with the WSP office.

A history of relational trauma frequently sows the seeds for suspicion and distrust within the couple. In such a case, a distressed partner can experience any validation of the other's experience as a violent devaluation of her/his own psychic reality. Even a therapist's well-intentioned intervention can be experienced as a violation of empathy and trust.

When treating distressed couples, Dr. Goldner invokes a relational approach. Her authentic manner, which includes an acceptance of her own limitations, helps the partners in the couple better understand their power struggles and move toward greater comfort with their own vulnerable humanness.

Her presentation "Romantic Bonds, Binds, and Ruptures: Couples on the Brink" will bring together psychoanalytic, feminist, and systems theory. You will also see how she integrates Fonagy's work on mentalization, and concepts from strategic family therapies into her work with couples. Conference attendees will find Dr. Goldner's concepts and discussion of case material extremely valuable in their work treating distressed, traumatized, and challenging couples


​Virginia Goldner, PhD, is the Founding Editor of the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality, an Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Relational Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Dr. Goldner is on the faculty of the NYU Post-Doctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, the Stephen A Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis, and the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at CUNY. She is the co-editor of two books, Gender in Psychoanalytic Space (Other Press, 2002), and Predatory Priests, Silenced Victims (Routledge, 2007). Dr. Goldner has received awards for her distinguished contributions to psychoanalysis by Division 39 of the APA, and to family therapy by the American Family Therapy Academy. She is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, and is at work on a collection of her major papers. Dr. Goldner practices in New York City, and teaches and supervises nationally and internationally.

Case Presenter

Noa Ashman, MSW has a private practice in Bethesda MD where she sees adults in individual and couple psychotherapy. She is Secretary of the Board of Section VIII (Couple and Family Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association's Division (39) of Psychoanalysis.

Family and Couples Faculty have prepared this program:

  • Nancy Lithgow, MSW, Chair
  • Megan Flood, MSW
  • Joyce Lowenstein, PhD
  • Barbara Wayne, PhD


Cancellations and Refunds

Refunds will be made for cancellations received at the School office in writing at least 10 days before the seminar date and are subject to a non-refundable administrative fee of $50.

Who should attend?

The workshop is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, physicians, medical students, and other graduate students.


The Washington School of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Washington School of Psychiatry maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The School is approved by the Social Work Board of the State of Maryland as a provider of continuing education for social workers in DC, MD, VA and WV.

The Washington School of Psychiatry has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6388. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Washington School of Psychiatry is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

The School is accredited by MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School designates each session for a maximum of _ of AMA PRA Category I Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product.