Psychoanalytic Explorations Program

The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis (CCP) is pleased to announce a new series of opportunities for growth, learning, and connection in the 2023 – 2024 Psychoanalytic Explorations program.

Each of the Psychoanalytic Explorations courses is open to all and allows participants to learn from seasoned psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically-oriented practitioners who have selected topics based on their particular interests and expertise.

Five different 12-hour courses will be offered in the upcoming academic year.  Most will meet virtually, via Zoom, weekly for two hours on six dates.  Class size is highly limited in order to facilitate each individual’s learning and participation.  There is a separate registration process for each class; you may register for one or more classes, depending on your own interests and needs.

Twelve (12) Illinois CE credits are available for each course. All CCP programs and course offerings qualify for (Illinois) Continuing Education (CE) credits for LCSW, LCPC, PhD, PsyD, and LMFT licensed clinicians.  The cost of each course is $500.00.  If you would like more information, please contact Peter Reiner, PhD, Chair of the Psychoanalytic Explorations program at

To register for one or more courses, please use the form at this link: 

Psychoanalytic Explorations Program Registration

(Please note:  Refunds for registrations cancelled at least 3 weeks before a course begins are issued as credit for CCP memberships, courses, and programs.  There are no refunds for registrations cancelled within 3 weeks of a course’s start date.)

These are the five topics:

  • Our Therapeutic Frames:  Reconsidering What’s Elemental
  • Zen Buddhism and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Trauma, Shame and Mourning
  • Thoughts and Thinkers in Neuropsychoanalysis
  • Psychoanalytic Engagement in the Context of Our Socio-Cultural Identities

Here are the details:


Course Title: Zen Buddhism and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (12 CE credits, IL)

Instructor: Zak Mucha, LCSW

Meeting dates (2023): September 23, 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28

Meeting time: Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – noon (CST), in person

Meeting location:1122 W. Catalpa Avenue, Chicago, IL   60640

Course Description:

In this in-person course, we will explore how the basic tenets of Zen Buddhism closely align with those of psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Clinical examples will be used to illustrate how the practices of Zen and psychotherapy can support and enhance one another, both for ourselves as clinicians and for our clients.

Zen is not about finding a blissful state of enlightenment, nor is it a nihilistic stance toward the world.  Rather, Zen is a means of actively participating in life by paying attention to our mind/body in order to better understand the difference between pain and suffering and to guide us in living with less anxiety.  The means of developing this through the Zen practices of mindfulness, acceptance, and non-attachment dovetail with the teachings of various psychoanalysts and psychodynamic psychotherapists, notably Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Mark Epstein, and Barry Magid.  We will consider their writings and their clinical examples to develop a fundamental understanding of the Zen Buddhist principles that can augment and deepen our clinical practices.

Biographical Information:

Zak Mucha, LCSW is Visiting Faculty and a Board Member at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis.  He is a psychoanalyst in private practice.  Previously, Zak was the supervisor of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program that provided 24/7 services to persons suffering from severe psychosis, substance abuse issues, and homelessness.  In addition, he has served as a counselor and consultant for U.S. combat veterans undergoing training for digital forensic investigations in child pornography.

Before becoming a clinician, Zak worked as a freelance journalist, truck driver, furniture mover, construction worker, union organizer, and staff member at a juvenile DCFS locked unit.  He is the author of Emotional Abuse:  A Manual for Self-Defense (2016) as well as the forthcoming Swimming to the Horizon:  Crack, Psychosis, and Street-Corner Social Work.


Course Title: Trauma, Shame and Mourning (12 CE credits, IL)

Instructor: Peter Shabad, PhD

Meeting dates (2023): November 7, 14, 21, 28; December 5, 12

Meeting time: Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (CST), via Zoom

Course Description:

In this course we will explore how traumatic and chronically disillusioning experiences have profoundly inhibiting effects on the passion necessary to grow and change throughout life.  We will devote special attention to how human beings transform their traumatic experiences outside of their control into shameful failures, in which they “blame the victim” in themselves for being a victim.  After describing how the “intimate creation” of one’s unique constellation of symptoms is a means of both communicating and memorializing such traumatic experiences, we will examine how shame leads to character passivity and interrelated dynamics such as self-pity, resentment, entitlement, envy, perverse spite, and regret. 

In the clinical section of this course, we will explore how the patient’s passivity and ambivalence towards therapeutic change is closely intertwined with his/her chronic struggle between the freedom to desire and obeying a tyranny of shoulds.  In this regard, we will also highlight important clinical tensions between developmental determinism and freedom of will, and corresponding countertransference tensions of love versus respect in the analyst’s attitude toward the patient. 

Finally, we will discuss how the mourning process of accepting and reintegrating one’s shamed desires paradoxically facilitates the generosity of relinquishing the necessity that those desires be fulfilled. In addition to analytic readings, we will also read Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych.

Biographical Information:

Peter Shabad, PhD is Faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis and Clinical Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Feinberg School of Medicine -- Northwestern University.  He is also Teaching and Supervising Faculty at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.  Peter is also Supervising and Training Analyst at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

He is an Associate Editor on the Editorial Board of Psychoanalytic Dialogues.  Dr. Shabad is co-editor of The Problem of Loss and Mourning: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (IUP, 1989) and is the author of Despair and the Return of Hope: Echoes of Mourning in Psychotherapy (Aronson, 2001).  Peter has authored numerous papers and book chapters on diverse topics such as the psychological implications of death, loss and mourning, giving and receiving, shame, parental envy, resentment, spite, and regret.  He is currently working on a new book entitled Seizing the Vital Moment: Passion, Shame, and Mourning, to be published by Routledge.


Course Title:  Our Therapeutic Frames:  Reconsidering What’s Elemental (12 CE Credits, IL)

Instructor: Edurne Chopeitia, MA, LPC

Meeting dates (2024): January 24, 31; February 7, 21, 28; March 6

Meeting time: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (CST), via Zoom

Course Description:

This interactive course will focus on the theories and clinical applications of the frame—including both internal and external aspects--that strongly influence our psychotherapeutic work.  These aspects will be considered through the lenses provided by Jose Bleger, an Argentinian psychoanalyst, who wrote extensively about their importance in shaping psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Until recently, physical realities and elements--such as bodies, offices, and furniture--have been foundational in the conceptualization of the psychoanalytic situation.  The shift to teletherapies, however, has introduced virtual elements and has prompted an examination of basic assumptions about what is, indeed, foundational.  Clinical vignettes—including those offered by course participants--will be used throughout to illuminate the unconscious assumptions and maps of meaning that impact therapist-client dyads, and to illustrate what may occur when these become, or are made, explicit.

Biographical Information:

Edurne Chopeitia, MA, LPC is Visiting Faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis.  Edurne is a clinical psychologist from Uruguay who has been living in the United States for 25 years and is licensed as clinical mental health counselor.  She is an advanced candidate in the Adult Psychoanalytic Program at the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute.

Edurne was Adjunct Faculty at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay (UCUDAL) where she taught Psychodynamic Assessment and Psychodiagnosis, Psychodynamic Organizational Psychology, and Psychoanalytic Psychopathology.  She maintains a private practice in Georgia and offers therapy and consultation in-person and by telehealth with adults and couples, providing brief and long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, and sex therapy, in English and Spanish.


Course Title: Thoughts and Thinkers in Neuropsychoanalysis (12 CE credits, IL)

Instructor: Derrick Hassert, PhD

Meeting dates (2024): January 29, February 5, 12, 26; March 4, 11 

Meetings time: Mondays, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (CST), via Zoom

Course Description:

Neuropsychoanalysis attempts to integrate insights derived from the study of the brain with the clinical findings of psychoanalysis to enrich our understanding of human experience and behavior, and offers a more detailed picture of the biological underpinnings of subjective experience. This course will provide an overview of the essential theoretical contributions that have emerged from the incorporation of neuroscientific findings into psychoanalytic thought.

After reviewing the basics of brain functioning, participants will discuss key concepts derived from the work of Mark Solms, Jaak Panksepp, Allan Schore, and Jeremy Holmes.  We’ll also appraise Otto Kernberg’s recent reflections about the implications of these findings for certain theoretical and clinical concepts, notably those regarding the centrality of emotion in clinical work and in the formation of the self.  Finally, participants will consider how debates in psychoanalysis have influenced research in the affective and cognitive neurosciences.            

Biographical Information:

Derrick Hassert, PhD is Visiting Faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy at Loyola University Chicago, and Professor of Psychology at Trinity College in Palos Heights, Illinois.  He is an advanced candidate at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis and a Clinical Fellow of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society.   Derrick received training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy through the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology and the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  He maintains a private practice of psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy in Matteson, Illinois and by telehealth.


Course Title: Psychoanalytic Engagement in the Context of Our Socio-Cultural Identities (12 CE credits, IL)

Instructor: Susan Rios, MS, LCSW

Meeting dates (2024):  March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1, 8

Meeting time: Mondays, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (CST), via Zoom

Course Description:

From an interpersonal psychoanalytic perspective, this class will consider the patient within the context of the larger socio-political world we currently inhabit. We will examine attitudes, values, and prejudices we all bring into the intersubjective space of therapy, while encouraging Sullivan’s idea that “we are all more simply human than otherwise.”

We will review and discuss psychoanalytic writings and other published work on race and ethnicity. Racialized dynamics such as cultural/ethnic transference and countertransference, disavowed or dissociated racial/ethnic self-states, and the collusion or accommodating of internalized oppressive identifications will be considered in our work with cross culture/color and white/white dyads.

By forgoing cultural assumptions and examining exact meaning and implication for each individual’s cultural subjectivity, we increase our patient’s opportunity for self-coherence in the creation of their evolving narratives and shifting identities. Stern’s ideas (2009) on having a witness to our life stories and our very human need to believe that we are “known by the other,” feels most fitting for a psychoanalytic exploration of the racial/ethnic experience lived in America.

Those choosing to take this course should come with a desire to use a cultural lens as a means of better understanding what we co-create with our patients as intersubjective beings engaged in the process of effecting change.

Biographical Information:

Susan Rios, MS, LCSW is Visiting Faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis.  She is Faculty, Training and Supervising Analyst at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP), and facilitator of the Affective Learning Process Group in MIP’s One Year Program: Psychoanalysis and the Sociopolitical World. She is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City.

To Register:

Please register using the form below:



If space is still available, you can register and pay online easily (link above).

"Nothing human is alien to me"  --Terrence

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