Certificate, Group Psychotherapy, Adelphi University (1983)
ABPP, Clinical Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology (1976)
Certificate, Psychoanalysis, Adelphi University (1975)
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts (1969)
I gave up a career as a professional drummer to become a psychologist/psychoanalyst and professor of psychology. I have never regretted my decision. In my teaching and in my clinical and research supervision, I work hard to make complex clinical and theoretical concepts simpler, clearer, and even fun. I believe that the artificial schism between mainstream psychology and psychoanalytic theory has been detrimental to both, and I appreciate that the Derner Institute is one place where the integration of psychoanalysis into mainstream psychology occurs every day.
(1).For over a decade I have been studying psychoanalysts' attitudes towards countertransference. Countertransference was originally defined by Freud, (1910) as the analyst's emotional reactions to the patient's transference. Freud believed that such reactions were an impediment to the therapy and that if they were present, the analyst needed to re-enter supervision and/or psychoanalysis in order to overcome them. Freud's definition held until the mid 1940's, when a number of British and American psychoanalysts began to view countertransference as helpful to the therapy. In 1966, Otto Kernberg coined the term ‘classicist’ for those psychoanalysts who continue to view countertransference in the way originally defined by Freud, i.e., as an impediment; he also coined the term ‘totalist’ for those psychoanalysts who view the use of countertransference as helpful to the therapy. I have devised an ‘Attitudes Towards Countertransference Scale’, (1992) which measures psychoanalyst's attitude towards countertransference. The ATC scale also includes items which measure how psychoanalysts actually work with countertransference in the therapy.
The ATC scale has been used to compare psychoanalysts trained in both classical and interpersonal institutes; the scale has been correlated with several personality constructs, e.g., locus of control, permeability of emotional boundaries and need for intimacy; it has been used to assess attitudes towards countertransference of clinicians practicing different clinical modalities, e.g., group psychotherapy and child psychotherapy; it has been administered cross-culturally, e.g., to samples of French and Indian psychoanalysts; it has been examined in the context of modifications of psychoanalytic technique, e.g., analysts self-disclosure. Studies now underway are looking at attitudes towards countertransference in specific clinical populations, e.g., eating disorders. It is my goal to continue to study attitudes towards countertransference so that we can more fully understand this important clinical concept.
(2.) In the past few years, I have become increasingly interested in exploring the psychology of love and in particular, those communication patterns in couples that encourage and/or discourage intimacy. I approach this work by attempting to integrate many years of clinical work with individuals and couples as well as my work in training a hundreds of psychologists and other mental health professionals in psychology and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In this vein, I recently completed a book, Psychodynamic Couples Therapy.
Billow, R. & Mendelsohn, R. , (1987). The Peer Supervisory Group for Psychoanalytic Therapists. Group, 1, 35-46.
Billow, R. & Mendelsohn, R. (1990). The Interviewer’s ‘ Presenting Problems’ in the Initial . Interview. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic., 54, 391-397.
Mendelsohn, R. Intimacy in Psychoanalysis., (1982). In, Fisher, M. & Stricker, G., Eds., Intimacy. New York: Plenum.
Mendelsohn, R., Bucci, W.& Chouhy, R. (1992). A Survey of Attitudes Toward Transference And Countertransference. Contemporary Psychoanalysis. 28, 2, 364-390.
Mendelsohn, R. Resistance to Countertransference., (1990). In, Milman, D & Goldman, G. Resistance. New York: Plenum.
Mendelsohn, R. (2006). Resistance. In, Skelton, R.,Ed., The Edinburgh International Encyclopedia Of Psychoanalysis.
Work in Progress
Psychodynamic Couples Therapy, (December, 2006).
A Psychoanalytic Approach To The Psychology of Affairs.
Member of the Executive Board, Adelphi University Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis And Psychotherapy.
Member and Former Chair, Education and Training Board, Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association
Member and Past President, Adelphi Society of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Delegate, National Council of Schools & Programs In Professional Psychology.
My book, titled Freudian Thought for the Contemporary Clinician: A Primer on Psychoanalytic Theory, has been published by Routledge Press. This book uses clear language, modern contexts, and key psychoanalytic concepts to show how Sigmund Freud’s thinking and legacy is directly relevant to today’s therapists. Much of the work for this book is based on the course that Professor Mendelsohn teaches to first year candidates in Adelphi University’s Clinical Psychology PhD Program, The Freudian Legacy…”
A Three Factor Model of Couple Therapy
Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefiled (2017)
Couple psychotherapy extends the work of the psychotherapist to the patient’s most significant committed adult relationship, yet the therapy is difficult both conceptually and technically. One major reason for this difficulty is that in every couple’s treatment there are several transference and counter- transference relationships, a confusing array of psychological defenses as well as regressive and nonregressive couple object relations. Further, many of these processes are occurring outside consciousness as well as at the very same time.
This book is an attempt to clarify all the confusing issues by presenting a three-factor model of couple psychotherapy within a psychodynamic frame- work. This model has been found to be very effective with many different kinds of couples. The book suggests that there are three powerful couple dynamics that shape every couple’s treatment: (I) the quality and quantity of the couple’s projective identifications; (II) the level of their “couple object relations”; and (III) the presence or absence of the defense of omnipotent control. These three variables are the most important factors in the therapy; they determine the success or failure of every therapy with every couple. These dynamics also determine quite a bit about how to conduct couples therapy with regard to the therapist’s level of activity, tone, the way of sorting the material in his or her head, and even the kinds of interventions he/ she chooses (whether or not, for example, the therapist will use certain resis- tance techniques). Understanding these three variables and how they interact is key to the success of the therapy.
Lipner, L.M., Mendelsohn, R., & Muran, J.C. (2016). Psychoanalysis. In A.E. Wenzel (Ed.) (Eds.). Sage Encyclopedia of Abnormal & Clinical Psychology. New York, NY: Sage Publications..
R Mendelsohn (2014). Clutching defeat from the jaws of victory: failure, self-destrution and the Icarus myth. In Willock, B, Curtis, R. & Bohn, L (Eds.). Understanding and Coping with Failure. (pp. pp 72-80). New York: Routledge.
R Mendelsohn (2013). Sigmund Freud. In R Cautin and S Lillienfeld (Eds.). Enclyclopedia of Clinical Psychology. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mendelsohn, R (2006). Resistance. In . Resistance. In, Skelton, R.,Ed., (Eds.). Edinburgh International Encyclopedia Of Psychoanalysis. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.
R Mendelsohn (2006). Anal-sadistic stage. In R Skelton (Eds.). Edinburgh International Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.
Mendelsohn, R.. (1990). . Resistance to Countertransference. In Milman, D & Goldman, G. Resistance (Eds.). . Resistance. New York: :Plenum..
R Mendelsohn (1990). Beginning a group psychotherapy practice: practical and clinical considerations. In E Margenau (Eds.). Encyclopedic hnadbook of private practice. New York, NY: Gardner Press.
R Mendelsohn (1990). Resistance to Countertransference. In D. Milman and G Goldman (Eds.). Resistance. New York, NY: Plenum.
Billow, R. & Mendelsohn, R. (1982). Intimacy in the Initial Interview. In In, Fisher, M. & Stricker, G., (Eds.). Intimacy. New York, NY: Plenum.
Mendelsohn, R. (1982). Intimacy in Psychoanalysis. In Fisher, M. & Stricker, G., Eds., (Eds.). Intimacy. New York, NY: Plenum.
R. Mendelsohn (2104), Collusive Infidelity, projective Identification and Clinical Technique. Psychoanalytic Review, 101:4, 517-546.
R. Mendelsohn (2014), Revisiting the SadoMasochistic Marriage: The Paranoid-Masochistic Relationship. Psychoanalytic Review, 101:5,647-674.
Review of Couple Dynamics, by Aleksandra Novakovic International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 2017
Review of Sibling Abuse Trauma by J Caffaro International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 2014
Review of Peer Supervision Groups by Lee Kassan International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 2012
R Mendelsohn (2014), Five Types of Object Relations Typically Seen in Couples Therapy. Psychoanalytic Review, 101:1, 95-129..
R Mendelsohn (2013), Playing with the projective identification in couples therapy. Psychoanalytic Review, 100:5, 741-766., 100.
R. Mendelsohn, (2012), Parallel process and projective identification in psychoanalytic supervision. Psychoanalytic review, 99:297-314.
R. Mendelsohn, (2011), Projective identification in borderline couples. Psychoanalytic Review, 98, 3, 375-400..
R. Mendelsohn (2009), The projective identifications of everyday life. Psychoanalytic Review, 96,6, 871-894..
R Mendelsohn (2009), Gordon F Derner and NCSPP. NCSPP Publications.
Mendelsohn, R., Bucci, W.& Chouhy, R. . (1992), Mendelsohn, R., Bucci, W.& Chou A Survey of Attitudes Toward Transference And Countertransference. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 28, 2, 364-390.
Billow, R. & Mendelsohn, R. (1990), The Interviewer’s ‘ Presenting Problems’ in the Initial . Interview. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic., 54, 391-397.
Billow R and Mendelson, R (1987), The peer supervisory group for psychoanalytic therpists. Group, 1.
R Mendelsohn (1981), Active attention and focusing on the traference/countertransference in psychotherpay of the borderline patient. Psychotherapy:theory, research and practice, 18.
R. Mendelsohn (1981), When Groups Merge: Transference and Countertransference Issues. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, XXXI.
R Mendelsohn (1978), Critical factors in short-term psychotherapy: a summary. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 42.
R Mendelsohn and M Harmatz (1977), Length of stay and behavior patterns of schizophrenic patients. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 28.
M Harmatz, R Mendelsohn and M Glassman (1975), Gathering naturalistic objective data on the behavior of hospitalized schizophreinc patients. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 26.
Webinar: Self-care for COVID-weary clinicians; what we are learning from these challenging times, February 18, 2022
“…Mental health clinicians are not immune from the psychological stresses of the ongoing pandemic. Explore how the pandemic has potentiated our clients' stress, contributed to our vicarious trauma, and challenged our own self-care. Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, Adelphi University and Dr. Pete Caproni, Nova Southeastern University will discuss our current situation with an emphasis on both building clinicians' self-care capacity and preparing us for what’s to come…” Over 200 hundred mental health clinicians participated.
Mendelsohn, R. A Three Factor Model of Couple Therapy (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) presented to the Southeast Florida Association of Psychoanalytic Psychology/The Department of Clinical and School Psychology, at Nova Southeastern University on January 18, 2020, Invited.
“Five Types of Couples Seen in Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy,” paper presented at the American Psychological Association- Division of Psychoanalysis 38 Annual Spring Meeting, New Orleans, La. April 19, 2018.
R Mendelsohn, J Newirth, A Eig and Jacques Barber (2012). Playing with the projective identification in couples psychotherpay. In Division of psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association. Santa fe, NM.
R Mendelsohn (2011). Use of transference/countertransference matrix in psycoanalytic supervision. In Adelphi University Postgraduate Program in Supervision. Adelphi Uinveristy, Garden City, NY.
Robert Mendelsohn (2010). Clutching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory; Self-Destruction and the Icarus Myth. In Fifth International Conference. Edinburgh, Scotland.
Robert Mendelsohn (2009). The Use of Countertransference in Psychoanalytic Supervision. In Postgraduate Programs in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (pp. 15). Garden City, New York.
Robert Mendelsohn (2009). The Use of Countertransference and Parallel Process in Psychoanalytic Supervision. In New York State Psychological Association (pp. 15). Saratoga Springs, New York.
Robert Mendelsohn and Joseph Newirth (2009). Men; An Endangered Species. In Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association (pp. 20). San Antonio, Texas.
Robert Mendelsohn (2009). Shoved Up the Rannks-What I Learned as Dean of a Professional School of Psychology. In National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (pp. 15). Puerto Vallatra, Mexico.
R Mendelsohn and J Newirth (2002). Just Joking-humor and what it tells us about gender difference. In American Psychological Asociation. Chicago, Il.
R Mendelsohn, J Newirth, A Eig and Jacques Barber . (2013, May). R Mendelsohn, J Newirth, A Eig and Jacques Barber (2012). Playing with the projective identification in couples psychotherapy. Adelphi University Postgraduate Programs, Garden City, NY.
R Mendelsohn (2012, May). Using the transference/countertransference matrix in psychoanalytic supervision. Adelphi University Postgraduate Program in Supervision, Garden City, NY.
R Mendelsohn and J Newirth (2005, December). In the beginning was the word-Freud and Jewish Humor. Jewish Museum, New York, NY.
Sibling Abuse Trauma by J Caffaro Reviewed for International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Volume 64, July 2014
Peer Supervision Groups by Lee Kassan Reviewed for International Journal of Group Psychotherapy
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