The Relational Psychoanalytic Sensibility



Live Interactive Webinar | February 8, 2022, Noon - 3:15 p.m. ET
Instructor: Yvette Esprey, M.A.

Level: Intermediate
CEs: 3 CEs are available for $5 fee
Review CE accreditation and approvals for this course.


This interactive webinar offers an introduction and deepening discussion around the relational turn which has gained momentum in psychoanalytic thinking and practice - particularly in America - over the last four decades. Unpacking the integrative theoretical origins of the paradigm, the workshop will focus on the key principles which scaffold relational thinking and practice. The workshop begins by tracing the origins of the relational tradition, highlighting its integrative foundations in which can be found the influences of object relations, interpersonal, as well as sociological theories. The workshop will spotlight some of the core tenets of the relational frame. In particular, and drawing on clinical vignettes, we will explore notions of co-construction in the therapeutic relationship, non-neutrality and the subjectivity of the therapist, intersubjectivity and thirdness, multiple self-states, social-constructionism, and the significance of the social context against which the encounter unfolds. In discussing these central principles, the relevance of a relational sensibility to the field of clinical social work will be emphasized. The workshop will close with a discussion of the potential of relational thinking and practice to contribute to social justice imperatives, linking relationality to feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, and positing its potential activism role within the socio-political movements which define our contemporary times.  The workshop will consider the contribution which relational psychoanalytic work can make to the social justice issues of our time, and how relationally-oriented therapists can participate in social activism through the clinical encounter.

Target Audience: 

Social workers and other social service providers

Course Delivery Method, Format and Instructor Interaction :

Live interactive webinar with discussion. Instructor will use chat and verbal discussions for Q and A. Login information will be emailed immediately after registration to the email address entered during registration. Attendees are visible to one another in Zoom meeting and are encouraged to be active participants with their camera and/or microphone in order take part in discussion.

System Requirements:

Attendees will need access to a computer with working camera and microphone. All courses are offered using Zoom conferencing software. 

Registration Fees and Deadlines:

Early registration by December 17, 2021: $65
Regular registration by February 7, 2021: $75

CEs: 3 CEs are available for $5 fee 

Learning Objectives:

  1.  Describe the theoretical foundations which inform relational psychoanalytic thinking
  2. Identify the basic principles which underpin the relational tradition, including co-construction of relationships, multiple self-states, intersubjectivity and thirdness
  3. Explain how relational psychoanalytic practice lends itself to impacting on current social justice issues


  • Noon - 12:15 p.m. ET: Introduction of topic and facilitator
  • 12:15 - 12:45 p.m. ET: The theoretical origins of the relational turn
  • 12:45 - 1 p.m. ET: The centrality of context
  • 1 - 1:15 p.m. ET: Introduction of illustrative clinical vignettes
  • 1:15 -1:30 p.m. ET: A co-constructed, intersubjective relationship
  • 1:30 - 1:40 p.m. ET: BREAK
  • 1:45 - 2 p.m. ET: The non-neutrality of the therapist
  • 2 - 2:15 p.m. ET: The relational mind: multiple self-states
  • 2:15 - 2:45:  Social constructionism - considering race, gender, sexual orientation
  • 2:45 - 3 p.m. ET: Relational psychoanalysis as social resistance
  • 3 - 3:15: Concluding questions and thoughts​

About the Instructors:

Yvette Esprey, M.A., is South African clinical psychologist in private practice and who has been in the field for over 20 years. She previously held the post of head psychologist at Tara Psychiatric Hospital in Johannesburg, and head of wellness at The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. She was a senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersand and The University of Cape Town, and has taught as an adjunct professor at Smith College School for Social Work. As a white identified clinician practicing in South Africa, she believes deeply in the importance of having a race-conscious practice. Her areas of interest are in intersectionality and in particular in the impact of race on professional and clinical work. She has published internationally in this area, in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Smith College Studies in Social Work.

Completion Requirements for Live Interactive Webinars

Live, interactive webinars are synchronous, virtual courses held in Zoom Meeting. To receive a CE certificate, you must attend the entirety of the webinar. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the training. Participant attendance is tracked through Zoom. To earn CE credit, participants must also complete an evaluation. A link to the online evaluation will be emailed to participants within 24 hours of the conclusion of the course. It is attendee’s responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements. Receiving CEs is contingent on attendance and completion of the evaluation.

How Will a CE Certificate Be Awarded?

Upon completing the webinar evaluation, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of webinar completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records.

Continuing Education Credits and Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits offered vary by course. This course only offers the CE credits listed below.  It is the attendees' responsibility to contact their licensing board to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

Social Work
  • Smith College School for Social Work, #1755, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Smith College School for Social Work maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 11/19/2021-11/19/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 3 continuing education credits.

  • Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School’s Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
  • Smith College School for Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0169.


  • Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Due to changes in continuing education requirements for NY licensed psychologists, APA CE Sponsor credits may not be accepted for re-licensure at this time. Please check the NY Psychology Board regulations for CE requirements currently in effect.
Not Approved for Counselors (LMHC/LPC)
  • Smith College School for Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7110. This program does NOT qualify for NBCC ACEP approval. 

SSW Professional Education Policies

Further information on policies and CE accreditation can be found here.

Contact SSW Professional Education


Lilly Hall
23 West Street,
Northampton, MA 01060 | 413-585-7970

Director of Professional Education

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P: 413-585-4198