IASP Conferences


Patients and Their Significant Others: 

Helping Patients Improve Their Relating and Relationships Through Individual and Couple Treatment

Presented by: Dr. Carla Leone

George Ignatieff Theatre, Saturday, April 25, 2020

Whether we do couple therapy or not, we all work with patients who bring relationship concerns or complaints to their treatments, and for whom healthier relating is a major treatment goal. This workshop will focus on addressing relationship complaints psychoanalytically in both modalities, by considering the following questions:

  • How can individual therapists best respond to patients’ relationship complaints when they have never met the patient’s spouse or significant other, heard that person’s side of the story, or watched the partners relate? 
  • How might our own relationship histories influence how we hear, take up and respond to patients’ relationship complaints?
  • When and how should individual therapists refer for couple therapy and what conscious and unconscious factors might influence the decision to do so – or not?
  • How can couple therapy help? This section will provide an overview of a model of couple therapy influenced by contemporary self psychology.
  • Should the therapists of patients in concurrent individual and couple therapies consult with each other? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Drawing both on her work on the “unseen spouse” of patients in individual treatment  (Leone, 2013b), and on the application of contemporary self psychology to couple and family treatment (Leone, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2013a, 2019), Dr. Carla Leone will address these and other    questions, illustrate her perspective with clinical examples, and facilitate   audience discussion. 

Conference Schedule

  • 8:15 Registration
  • 9:00 Welcome and Introduction
  • 9:15 – 10:30 Presentation Part 1:  Individual therapy
  • 10:30 – 10:50 Coffee Break
  • 10:50 – 12:00 Presentation Part 2: Couple therapy
  • 12:00 – 1:15 Lunch (included)
  • 1:15 – 3:00 – A case presentation, by Dr. Heather MacIntosh, followed by a discussion with Dr. Leone.  A video will be shown.
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Questions and Discussion
  • 3:30  Closing Remarks

About the Presenters: 

Carla Leone, Ph.D., is the director of a group private practice just outside of Chicago, on the faculty of Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago and the director of a one year certificate program in Integrative Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy, which is co-sponsored by both institutions.

 She was recently elected Secretary of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (IAPSP), co-chairs its Membership Committee and Online Education Committee, and is a co-founder and former chair of its Couples Therapy Interest Group.  

She is the author of several published papers on couple and family therapy and one on the “unseen spouse” of patients in individual therapy, andis currently working on a book, tentatively titled Rebuilding Connections, Repairing Ruptures:  A Self Psychological Couple Therapy Casebook.

Dr. Leone has taught and presented widely nationally and internationally on these topics and is known as a lively and engaging presenter.

Heather MacIntosh, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Director of the MScA Couple and Family Therapy Programme at McGill University where she is the recipient of the H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Distinguished Teaching.

In 2019 she released her book — Developmental Couple Therapy for Complex Trauma: A Manual for Therapists (Routledge Press), which outlines a psychoanalytically informed, evidence based treatment model for working with couples dealing with the impacts of complex trauma.

Dr. MacIntosh has authored numerous articles and chapters that focus on trauma and couple therapy.