Faculty Profiles

Robert Mendelsohn

Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology

Hy Weinberg Center 304

General Information



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)

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

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.


Research Interests

(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.

Selected Publications


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.


Professional Activities

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.

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