Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course: Johns Hopkins University

August 4, 2016
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Course at Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Norma Day-Vines will explore the Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course at Johns Hopkins University, taught by Associate Faculty member, Dr. Lynn Friedman. At the time of the interview, Dr. Norma Day-Vines was the Program Lead for the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling Programs at Johns Hopkins University and a full professor.

Professor, Program Lead, Johns Hopkins

Dr. Norma Day-Vines

Today, she is an Associate Dean in the School of Education. Dr. Day-Vines is a leader in the interface between diversity and counseling strategies. Much of her work has focused on developing counseling strategies and conceptual frameworks for working effectively with diverse children and adolescents. Here’s more information about Dr. Norma Day-Vines.

To read the interview, on this psychodynamic therapy course at Johns Hopkins University, and learn about the course, and the course requirements, scroll down the page to the comments section and read. Have a question about registering for this course? Don’t ask it here. Instead, call the Johns Hopkins counseling program. Have a question about the content or the structure of the course? Feel free to ask it in the comments section, below. Please note, your comments will be made public. For individual questions that are unique to you, please reach out to the program. Here, online, we won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best. We look forward to seeing you on campus! And, welcome to the interview!

55 responses to “Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course: Johns Hopkins University”

  1. Hello Counseling graduate students and welcome! I’m Professor Norma Day-Vines,the Program Lead for the Counseling and Human Development Program here at Johns Hopkins. Today, I am going to interview one of our Associate Faculty members, Dr. Lynn Friedman about her innovative course in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

  2. Let me introduce Dr. Lynn Friedman. Dr. Friedman has taught, here, at Johns Hopkins since 1999; she’s been with the Mental Health Counseling Program since 2005. She’s a Washington DC-based, Psychologist and a Supervising Psychoanalyst who is in full-time private practice working with adults, adolescents and couples in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lynn Friedman.

  3. Dr. Friedman before you talk about the specifics of the course, could you start by telling where it will be held?

  4. I see. What are the dates of the course? What are the hours of the course?

    • The course is on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29. It’s from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm with a one hour break in the middle. It’s on the Rockville campus off of Shady Grove.

  5. Great. I’m sure our students would be very interested in the format of the course. It focuses on actual case material, right? Can you describe it.

    • Yes. Our students have been focusing on CBT and other approaches. So for many, the psychodynamic (aka psychoanalytic) approach seems foreign. They’ve read about transference and countertransference but, often, they have not been supervised from this perspective.

      So, I like to help students to have “hands on” experience.

      • The structure of the course entails having a psychoanalyst present a real live patient in psychoanalysis. I’ve modeled the course after the psychoanalytic fellowship program at my institute (which I Chair).

        Basically, the psychologist, psychoanalyst presents process notes. She reads actual sessions. 10 minutes into the session, I stop the psychoanalyst and I ask the group, “what do you think is going on here?”

        “What do you think that the patient was thinking? What do you think that the psychologist – psychoanalyst, presenter was thinking?”

        Together, we all toss around different theories of the case. Also, students have an opportunity to ask the presenter, how she was feeling. That is, what were her countertransference responses.

        I have an opportunity to point out examples of transference, countertransference, the dynamic unconscious and defense mechanisms practically in “real time”.

        It’s a very exciting format and we have a terrific presenter who I have worked with in the past. Students think that she is great and so do I!

        Lynn Friedman, Ph.D.
        Washington DC Psychologist

        • Just to say more about the format, I like to bring in “ringers” who are just a few years more experienced than our own graduate students. They’ve had experience working in the way, before. It’s sort of like a Montessori model where you include people at different levels of experience.

          Personally, every time that I use this format I learn something new. It’s wonderful to have bright, neophytes who don’t accept conventional wisdom, uncritically.

        • Erin says:

          I participated in Dr. Friedman’s psychoanalytic fellowship. I greatly enjoyed the experience and found it very helpful in terms of deepening my understanding of people and increasing my effectiveness with clients.

        • Michael Krass, PhD says:

          Dr. Friedman’s mastery of psychoanalytic concepts and her exceptional ability to present them in a straightforward and user-friendly manner makes her an excellent teacher. She has a full grasp on and a deep conviction about the applicability of psychoanalytic concepts to real-world issues and problems. Her enthusiasm about the topic and the clarity with which she presents these issues create ideal settings for learning complex and subtle concepts.

  6. I understand. So, a vital part of the course will entail a psychoanalyst actually presenting a real case. And, having an active ongoing discussion about it.

    • Yes! I think that our graduate students really enjoy learning from actual clinical material. I integrate some lecture into the format as well.

      I should mention that because we are so concerned about CONFIDENTIALITY the cases are presented under very heavy disguise. I think that it’s important to say that because without confidentiality we can not work effectively.

  7. You mentioned that you are bringing in a number of doctoral students from other programs to participate in the discussion with our students. How do you feel that will enhance the learning experience for our students?

    • Yes. I hope to include students who are further along on their professional journey. Some may be practicing clinicians. It depends on who is available. But, the thing that these students bring to the table is not only clinical experience but experience working with this particular teaching method.

  8. You mentioned that one of your very gifted, younger colleagues will be presenting the case. Can you tell us about her?

    • Oh, yes. I am delighted that Johanna Arenaza, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, will be presenting. Last year, she presented at the Washington Psychoanalytic Center, Fellowship Program, the one that I run.

      She is an excellent presenter. There are several things that make her a good presenter. First of all – and, most importantly, she really gets the business about confidentiality. All of her cases are presented under very heavy disguise. Obviously, I wouldn’t work with anyone who was not very careful about this. But, I really appreciate the depth of her discretion and care.

      Second, she is an incredibly open presenter. She’s honest with graduate students when she feels that she has made a mistake. She’s forthright about her reactions to the patient. In the past, this has been really important to students. Because, in truth, we all make mistakes with patients and being open and honest about them strengthens the therapeutic relationship with the patient. With students it also let’s them know that honing our craft is a life long journey.

      Third, she’s warm, friendly, funny, welcoming, gracious. I could go on but you get my drift. I’m really pleased that she has agreed to come.

      She has a busy practice in Washington DC where she practices psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy so I am appreciative that she is willing to take time a way from that enterprise to talk with our students.

      • Michael Young says:

        I participated in the Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Fellowship directed by Dr. Friedman. Dr. Arenaza was a high quality presenter who has a sophisticated understanding of psychodynamic concepts and a special ability to explain her thinking to others clearly. The fellowship was a great experience. -Michael Young MD, Sheppard Pratt

      • Raquel says:

        I participated as a second year fellow in the psychoanalytical fellowship, and was exposed to what seemed like a whole new world of counseling. I found this particular format to be very engaging. Johanna is a great presenter! She was very honest about her counter transference and what she was thinking in the moment, which helped me learn tremendously and reflect on my own thoughts with clients.

  9. I know it’s only a one credit course, but can you tell me what are the key take aways from the course?

    • Sure. That’s right. It is only a one credit course. Our students are schooled in CBT and other approaches. I want them to get a preliminary glimpse of what psychodynamic psychotherapy has to offer.

      1. I would like them to come away knowing what the unconscious is – and, to have several “real life” examples of it.

      2. I would like them to know what transference is and to have several examples of how it shows up in clinical work.

      3. I would like them to know what countertransference is and to have several examples of how it shows up in clinical work.

      4. I would like them to learn about defenses …. and, to have examples.

      For those who are drawn to this orientation, I would like to whet their appetite so that they can pursue more opportunities to learn about it in the future.

      For those who will be adopting a CBT approach, I’d at least like them to know a little bit about this approach – so that they might consider it for patients for whom they think it is appropriate.

      Mostly, I want them to have fun learning!

  10. I don’t want you to give away all of the content in this interview but can you tell me, what is transference?

    • Of course. When we are very young (think babyhood and todderhood), we learn about the world from our primary caretakers. Those with nurturing parents, unconsciously, anticipate caring teachers or caretakers. In contrast, those with strict, cold parents expect cold, unfriendly, ones.

      As the small person goes out into the world, he or she learns that not everyone is like their parents. However, at a level quite outside of our awareness, we expect others to respond just like our parents did. In fact, we inadvertently provoke this repetition. This is good news if you have had kind and nurturing parents. However, it is more problematic if you haven’t because then you have to unlearn less adaptive ways of relating to others. Most insidious all of these behaviors are driven by experiences and memories that are quite outside of our awareness.

      Expectations that arise, not from our interactions with real people in the “here and now” but from an earlier well are known as “transference”.

      Transference is most intense in our closest relationships and in ambiguous situations.

      The psychodynamic or psychoanalytic approach is designed to help people to become aware of their unconscious transferences and to overcome them. This is challenging because by definition our transferences are outside of our awareness.

  11. How does deepening your understanding of transference help you, clinically?

    • When a clinician recognizes the patient’s transference it helps in many ways. First, for the clinician, it helps you to not take the patient’s behavior personally. So, for example, if a patient is chronically late, you can understand with them what their lateness means. Are they afraid of learning more about themselves? Are they afraid of intimacy? There could be 1000 meanings for this behavior.

      Recognizing that the, in this case, lateness behavior has nothing to do with you can help you to really work with the client to understand what purpose this behavior serves.

      Actually, I wrote a blog post – years ago – about the patient’s lateness. Here it is:

      Second, understanding the patient’s transferences to you is essential in helping them to become aware of how these transferences drive their behavior. Transference is the cornerstone of psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

  12. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    Can you explain the concept of countertransference? Or, at least provide a link to something that you have written about it?

  13. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    I understand that you also cover the concept of the unconscious and you talk a bit about defense mechanisms. How do you feel that a course in psychodynamic psychotherapy will help our graduate students, clinically.

    • Thinking about psychodynamics and unconscious process can be incredibly helpful in understanding why clients, and even ourselves, behave in ways that seem self-sabotaging. For example, take the very bright, successful, man who consistently chooses women who are unable to make a commitment. All of his friends can see that these women are unreliable but it’s not obvious to him. Odds are he’s driven by things outside of his conscious awareness – likely from his past. Understanding how seemingly non-sensible behavior can make sense can be enormously useful, clinically. If we understand it, we can help our patients to better understand themselves.

      Similarly, this perspective can help us to understand why people behave in ways that can, at times, undermine their own therapy. When we better understand this behavior on the part of our patients or clients, we can move from a place of frustration to a place of empathy.

  14. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    I can see that this course could be interesting for our clinical mental health counseling students. Do you think that it would be useful for school counselors, and, if so, why?

    • Yes. Actually, I do a lot of work in independent schools (private schools) and I’ve written pretty extensively for the National Association of Independent Schools on the role of transference in the schools.

      School counselors have a more challenging task then those of us who work in private practice. They not only have to counsel kids, they have to work with their families. And, they have to do this in the context of a larger system. That is, they have to deal with the entire school system, their boss, the bosses boss, the county, etc.

      Understanding that lots of behavior (and, not just on the part of the kids, but on the part of families, colleagues and bosses) is transference driven can be incredibly useful.

      Of course, this class is designed with an eye toward the clinician. That said, I predict that it could be useful to the school counselor. Having devoted a lot of time to the school world, I enjoy having school counselors in the group.

  15. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    You say that you spend a lot of time in schools as a consultant and as a board member. Can you say a bit about how you fit together counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and schools?

    • Yes. For me, psychodynamic (or, psychoanalytic) thinking is one of the lenses through which I think about individual, group and organizational behavior. As you know, I trained in a CBT, family systems oriented, clinical psychology program; and, I value those paradigms, too. But as a psychologist, psychoanalyst, I apply psychodynamic concepts to each.

      Although I devote most of my time to psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and supervision, I do provide organizational consultation to heads of schools and other educational and non-profit leaders. I find my training as a psychoanalyst (and, as a psychologist) to be very useful in these settings. Transference and countertransference are nearly ubiquitous. Recognizing and understanding them can be very useful.

  16. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    I know most of our students are trying to balance a lot of competing demands at work and at home. So, I know that they are wondering, what are the requirements of the course?

  17. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    So, I gather that class participation is a critical ingredient of the course and because it’s “hands on”. Students must attend both days from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm to derive the full benefit of the class.

    • Yes. Coming on time is vital because the case presentation unfolds. When a student comes late, they have missed out on crucial pieces of the narrative. For this reason, we ask students to arrange to arrive early. 🙂

  18. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    So, is attendance, coming on time and thinking about the material part of their grade?

    • Yes. Attendance is a major part of the grade.

      My experience with our students it that they bring a wealth of experience to class. Therefore, I have designed a highly interactive class. So, it’s essential that they attend both classes and that they be on time. In this way, we can learn from each other.

      Also, discussion, is the other major component of the grade.

      Attending class, being thoughtful, awake and alert – and, expressing your own ideas are important elements of class participation. Allowing others in the room to speak and formulate their ideas and reacting thoughtfully to what they say are also the critical ingredients of class. Therefore, listening thoughtfully as well as reflecting about what is being said are both crucial aspects of the course grade.

      If you are shy and have a hard time speaking up, please let me know that, privately, so we can figure out some strategies that allow you to participate. Similarly, if you are the friendly, loquacious sort, please make sure to share the floor with your classmates.

      I am looking forward to meeting everyone and working together!!!!

  19. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    I see you as a local leader in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Can you tell us a bit about your teaching and clinical activities outside of Johns Hopkins?

    • Sure. I am a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and a master career counselor, in full-time, private practice in Washington DC (actually, the border of Chevy Chase, Maryland), in Friendship Heights near the red line.

      My specialties entail, anxiety, depression, relationships, abandonment concerns, and workplace challenges (career). I provide psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and career counseling.

      Beyond this, I have a special interest in the interface between career counseling and psychotherapy and I have written on this topic in a national venue. The Role of Transference in Career Counseling:

      With the psychoanalytic world, I am a Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. In this capacity, I supervise psychoanalysts-in-training. Also, I supervise licensed clinicians wishing to develop or hone their skills in psychodynamic (or psychoanalytic) psychotherapy. Clinicians seek me out through these programs and through my practice. I am the Chair of the WCP’s Fellowship program.

      Finally, I have provided organizational consultation to independent schools (private schools) and educational associations for many years.

      Beyond this, I serve as a Trustee for the McLean School of Maryland, a wonderful school with an exceptional head of school and an institutional heart.

      • Noreen Honeycutt, Ph.D. says:

        Wonderful interview! Dr. Friedman has a special talent in taking her very sophisticated psychoanalytic training and applying it in the most understandable, relatable and practical ways. She has successfully treated scores of clients, helping them to be curious and to understand their thoughts, feelings and conflicts. Dr. Friedman is able to integrate her clinical skills and her career expertise seamlessly. Most importantly, Dr. Friedman’s attunement and empathy helps her to connect sensitively with everyone fortunate enough to work with her. She is an extraordinary colleague.

  20. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    Over the years, I know that you have found many of our students VERY LOW FEE psychoanalysis. What is psychoanalysis?

  21. I understand that you have helped our graduate students find psychoanalysis with a good clinician. In fact, you have helped some obtain it on a sliding scale basis. Based on need, some have have gotten it on a very low fee basis. How might students who are interested in obtaining a psychoanalysis find it at a fee that they can afford?

    • I have helped some of our students to find psychoanalysis, including some who required a sliding scale or even a very reduced fee.

      Here in Washington DC there are a number of low fee psychoanalytic clinics. These are virtual clinics. Typically, the care takes place in the psychoanalysts practice. When my students approach me I encourage them to take one of two routes.

      If they would like me to help them find someone, I’m glad to do my best. I’m usually successful finding people in DC, Montgomery County and Northern Virginia. For those in Baltimore, I can usually point them in a direction.

      Typically, if they need a sliding scale, I hook them up with our psychoanalytic clinic. However, sometimes experienced clinicians are willing to work on a sliding scale basis, too.

      Some students prefer to pursue these resources on their own. Of course, they are free to pursue this own their own. The Washington Psychoanalytic Center has a psychoanalytic clinic as does the Baltimore Washington Psychoanalytic Institute and the Contemporary Freudian Society as well as others.

  22. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    O.K. That just about answers my questions. We welcome not only our students but others in the community who wish to enroll in this course. Members of the community will apply as graduate special students (GSS). A GSS is a non-degree seeking student. Here’s the link where they sign up: And, here’s where they can call if they have questions about registration (Ms. Sharon Myers:, (410) 516-4027).

  23. Norma L. Day-Vines, Ph.D. says:

    Is there anything that you would like to add?

    • I would welcome anyone interested in the course to feel free to ask a question here or to reach out to the contact people above.

      I love teaching this course and I look forward to working with our graduate students.

      Thank you so much, Dr. Day-Vines.

  24. Ann Cochran says:

    Dr. Friedman has a sincere desire for the success of everyone she teaches, works with and befriends. Her focus is always on making sure the discussion is stimulating and people walk away with renewed focus. As a lay person who writes about health and medical issues, I have used Dr. Friedman as a resource many times. She excels at explaining complex topics so that the nonprofessional can understand and process the information quickly. She also respects and is interested in all points of view.

  25. ASHEENA KEITH M.D. says:

    I attended the psychoanalytic fellowship with Dr. Freiedman that was the exact format as this course. It deepened my understanding of drives, defenses, and development.

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