Southwest Center for Psychodynamic Study and Applications

Southwest Center for Psychodynamic Study and Applications


Mission: To provide a venue in New Mexico for the study of psychodynamic paradigms and techniques to facilitate a deeper understanding of the patients we treat


Vision: Located within the UNM Department of Psychiatry, the SCPSA will work with   licensed professionals from different backgrounds to facilitate their work with patients through a psychodynamic lens. This may include exposure to traditional psychodynamic concepts, short-term psychodynamic paradigms, the common factors of all psychotherapies, and the intersection of philosophy, religion, creativity, spirituality and the humanities with psychodynamic paradigms


What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Considered broadly, we work with the following definition used in the literature to demonstrate the growing evidence base of psychodynamic interventions. This include therapies with the following characteristics: 

  • A focus on affect
  • Exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings
  • Identification of recurring themes and patterns
  • Focus on early developmental experiences and the impact of these on later development
  • Focus on the therapy relationship
  • An exploration of fantasy life


Shedler,  Jonathan, “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy” American Psychologist February–March 2010 


  1. Peer Supervision Group – Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy – Advanced Composed of experienced therapists from the community of New Mexico and the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, as well as advanced psychiatry and psychology residents with an interest and background in intensive short term dynamic work. The majority of members in this group have received or are receiving hours toward certification in ISTDP. Work includes both local peer supervision as well as training from internationally recognized experts via telesupervision
  1. Peer Supervision Group and Introductory Workshop – Taught once annually, a ten-week introduction to the concepts of psychodynamic psychotherapy generally and intensive short term dynamic psychotherapy specifically. Groups may go on to form more advanced supervision and learning communities. Next group anticipated to begin this coming summer.
  1. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy training for Psychiatry Residents – The center lends teaching expertise to provide outstanding training in psychodynamic psychiatry for residents in the general adult program. This includes a one-year introduction to communication processes in the first year of the program focused on exploring the doctor patient relationship. The second year of training features exposure to the common factors of psychotherapies through a unique didactic curriculum including work with simulated patients. This branches out to more specific concepts in psychodynamic and CBT trainings toward the second half of the year consistent with the “Y” model of training. During the second year, residents also have the experience of taking care of patients throughout the year using supportive psychodynamic psychotherapy. The third year features an in depth exploration of psychodynamic forces that shape us individually, within couples, families, groups, and organizations, with a later focus on leadership. Residents also connect with psychoanalysts around the nation through telesupervison in a unique case conference group format meant to deepen a psychodynamic understanding of our patients.
  1. Humanities in Psychiatric Training: A fundamental belief of this center involves the idea that we all can understand others in a more genuine way through an understanding of ourselves. The humanities offer us a way to do this through film, philosophy, ethics and spiritual understandings. The center offers us a venue to understand ourselves through various presentations and courses in these areas offered at different times throughout the year.
  1. Monthly Psychodynamic Reading Group – Open to all interested, we will review a paper each month for an hour long discussion
  1. Quarterly Case Conference – The program will organize a quarterly case conference to be discussed. This can then be written up for publication with the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Academy of Dynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis
  1. Improvisational Theater program – A program using improvisational theater to help therapists become more apt to think on their feet, to have access to spontaneous ideas in the moment, and greater comfort with the experience of making mistakes to develop their sense of collaborative capacities. This has been incorporated into resident training and has been made available for workshops for interested therapists in the community and nationally

National affiliations – the Southwest Center for Psychodynamic Thought features a strong connection to organizations throughout the nation. The Department itself was recognized as a leader in providing psychodynamic education in unique formats as the recipient of the Victor Teichner Award, a recognition provided jointly through the American Association of Dynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis and the American Association of Psychiatric Residency Training. SCPS is also closely affiliated with the New Mexico Psychoanalytic Society, a New Mexico based Division 39 branch of the American Psychological Association. The program aims to be the first department hub of the American Academy of Dynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis.


Affiliated Faculty

Pamela Arenella, MD

Lucas Dunklee, MD

Rodrigo Escalona, MD

Cynthia Geppert, MD, PhD

Jeffrey Katzman, MD

Rhoshel Lenroot, MD

Ann Waldorf PhD

Hammam Yahyah, MD