Alan Stern, PhD

PCC Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst

“I had an unusual path to psychoanalysis. I am one of the few people who came from academia; I was a professor of political science at UNC, so I am the first non-medical, fully trained, clinical person in the PCC program. I changed careers because I found it exciting to help people on an individual level rather than in a group setting. The more I got into the clinical work, the more I fell in love with it.”

“In the long time I have been a member, the PCC has developed a wider and wider range of services, which I very much approve of. I think the core part is the education and training. The training I received was central to my professional development. I deeply believe psychoanalysis is the best technique and theory. Supervision at different levels is also a core aspect of what we provide. The supervision I received was really excellent. It’s great to get a different range of supervisors, and we have quite a few good people within the organization.

“If someone says psychoanalysis is outdated, they have not been reading recently. Many people, for understandable reasons, have a stereotype that was developed in the 1940s and 1950s. There are an extraordinary number of new advances in brain research, attachment theory, early childhood development, self-psychology and especially the relational approach of psychoanalysis. These advancements have changed the field in fundamental ways.

“I believe having the experience as a patient is critical. I came to respect my therapist very much. You don’t come out a perfect person with no problems, but I don’t think that exists in this world. If you’re lucky, you go down to a deep sense of what you’re like, you see what you have to live with, and you hopefully live with that more peacefully.

“Psychoanalysis also gives you room to experiment with other things. It blends well with other therapies. For example, mindfulness and psychoanalysis, when they work together, can give you more space to operate, allowing you to not react to a trigger the way you’ve always reacted. It gives you room to consider how you want to be, and I think that’s a pretty profound thing.”

Catherine Soriano, MD

Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

“Sometimes people ask me how I would describe psychoanalysis, and I like to share a story from my childhood, when I was visiting my uncle who had a fish farm. One day he took me to the ponds and said, ‘Can you see the fish?’ I could see only blue, the reflection of the sky. Then he handed me his sunglasses and suddenly I could see all the fish, teeming below the surface. To me, that’s what psychoanalysis is like: there’s a lot there just below the surface. You can see it, but you need a little help to get there. And once you do, it’s really fascinating.”

“Psychoanalysis is a kind of literacy. It provides fluency in the workings of one’s own mind. With that fluency comes a lot of understanding of others and the world around us. No other training offers this depth.

“Psychoanalytic training from the PCC helped me increase my patience and strength, to be there when patients are sharing difficult things. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the human mind. It has also helped me to always have in mind what’s possible.

“My own personal therapy has made me a better spouse, parent, and listener-all-around. Being listened to so deeply is something that isn’t typical. Now that I really understand what is going on with me, it’s less likely to cloud my judgment about what’s going on with others.

“We live in a very digital world where there is a lot of pressure, and we need to do work where we use our minds. Critical thinking is so important. Psychoanalysis allows you to stretch your mind.

“I like the fact that the PCC gives me access to a community of like-minded clinicians. The work we do is difficult; having meaningful contact with others who understand the challenges helps to keep me energized and focused. Instead of awkwardly mingling with people who are almost strangers, the PCC is a community that provides support and a place to share ideas and engage in ongoing learning. It helps you remember what you enjoy about this work.”

Heather Craige, MSW

Clinical Social Worker and Psychoanalyst
PCC Faculty and Supervisor
Circle of Security Leader

“Psychoanalytic work is very complex and can be disturbing to the therapist. When treating a person with childhood trauma, for example, the therapist can get pulled into an early scenario, like an actor in a play. The therapist’s work is to identify what is happening and become able to speak about it with your patient. That’s where help from colleagues who understand is truly invaluable.”

“It’s impossible to imagine how I would get through a single day without the skills and concepts I have learned through my psychoanalytic training from the PCC. Concepts like transference and defense, attachment and trauma are essential when you encounter thorny patches with your patient, and you always encounter thorny patches.

“As a therapist, you have to understand yourself first; you can’t take your patients into psychic territory where you’ve been afraid to travel yourself. Psychoanalysis can be a deeply supportive treatment, but it also challenges the way your personality is organized. It’s not magical; it requires honesty, self-reflection and hard work.

“In psychoanalytic treatment, we create a situation which is safe and profoundly respectful of each person we treat. We give each person an opportunity to listen deeply to themselves, an opportunity to flower into the person that they were meant to be. I became a psychoanalyst because I’ve benefited so profoundly from my own personal treatment.

“I donate my time and money to the PCC, because I want to ensure that psychoanalysis is always practiced and taught in the Carolinas. I wouldn’t want to live in a place where psychoanalytic treatment is not available.”

E. Scott Warren, PhD, LPC


“The greatest benefit I receive from being involved with the PCC is the camaraderie, fellowship and engagement with other professionals. A close second has been the quality of education, for example, reading multiple primary sources from diverse thinkers and having stimulating conversations relating to case material. I really believe in the quality of education and opportunities available from the PCC, particularly beyond one’s standard academic or medical training.”

“PCC training courses are second to none, and even if one is not committed to identifying as a psychodynamic therapist, they offer the best value for the quality of the education and the depth of engagement with the material. My studies have allowed me to be much more patient and accepting of ambiguity in my work, and tolerant with my own ‘not-knowing,’ rather than foreclosing on the client’s description of their own experience too early. I’ve cultivated a wide range of lenses with which to view clinical phenomena, and I am more open to a plurality of conceptualizations.

“My training through the PCC has become so interwoven with the way I work that I would find it difficult to articulate any way that it doesn’t. It permeates how I conceptualize client problems and has given me multiple lenses with which to think about my clients, influences my techniques and how I allow myself to be with others. It even contributes to how I approach the logistics and business affairs of private practice.

“If you are even considering PCC membership, try it, and strive to engage with your full body and mind. Contrast the quality of education, support and professional development with what you might find elsewhere. Allow yourself to be genuinely open to new learning and relationships … and trust yourself.”

Tricia Wilson

Circle of Security Leader
Community Member
Author of Adopting Grace

“Through my own therapy, the therapy of my children who have trauma history, and my own research, I pieced together over a span of 10 years some of the components of analysis. I began to understand the attachment needs of children, what am I bringing to the table as a parent, and my role as a parent. Then I found the Circle of Security Parenting through the PCC. While I had little pieces from different places, Circle of Security beautifully distilled the foundations of psychoanalysis in a package accessible to all. I am now a Circle of Security group facilitator, helping parents who are looking to improve their relationships with their children.”

“Circle of Security Parenting has improved so many parent/child relationships, and it stands solidly on attachment research. I saw changes in my children after I started the work and wish I had had these tools when my first child was born. My children, now adults, joke that I want Circle of Security Parenting for everyone for Christmas.

“Psychoanalysis therapy has been an invaluable experience in my life. It has radically changed me as a person and changed my family as well. It is cycle-breaking, healing, life-giving, hard work, but well worth it. As a parent educator, a writer, a blogger, a mom, wife and human being, the psychoanalytic angle has allowed me to have a deep understanding of how my childhood affects me in all my relationships today. Through much hard work, I’m a more secure person in each and every relationship in my life. I experience a lot more happiness, and that has not always been my experience. There is a lot more joy and life-giving than there is pain if you stick with it long enough.

“I’m very grateful for the PCC to have the vision to bring Circle of Security Parenting into the community and support it so strongly. It’s so simple and accessible yet it’s such important, deep work to do.”

Dhipthi Brundage, MD

Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst
PCC TEC Director
PCC Psychotherapy Track Director

“Training and supervision from the PCC have helped me improve my clinical practice. Supervision deepened the way I think and has allowed me to be a better listener with my patients. It has taught me to listen for what a patient is communicating underneath the surface. I am also more open to the idea that things evolve over time because of my psychoanalytic training. It’s the most in-depth training you can get about how our minds work and I find myself using this training in all kinds of interactions with patients.”

“I also enjoy the sense of community at the PCC. It’s nice to be around people who practice in a similar way because you have a community of people who understand what you do on a daily basis. I attend the scientific meetings, which are always enlightening and enriching. Speakers from other parts of the country who are well-known and published bring new ideas and thoughtful dialogue.

“My own treatment has been the single most influential part of my life. It has been life-changing and has allowed me to live more fully. It has affected every part of my world.

“I believe psychoanalysis is more important now than ever because people feel more and more alienated from one another. Psychoanalysis helps people understand themselves and how they relate to love, work and play. It helps us develop connections to ourselves and to others that are meaningful and sustainable, something that is much needed in today’s world.

“I encourage everyone to look into contemporary theories of psychoanalysis. It has evolved over the past several decades; many different theories have roots in Freud, but they don’t stop there. It’s an exciting time to be a psychoanalyst. We’re looking at how neuroscience integrates with the psychoanalytic theory of the mind. We are also finding ways to integrate with other modalities, opening up to new technologies to further research, and finding new ways to approach old issues.”

Steve D. Bennett, PhD

Psychologist, Psychoanalyst
Director, Center for Psychological and Family Services
PCC Faculty and Supervisor
PCC Past President

“Being a part of a professional community and one that seeks to practice mindfulness is one of the greatest benefits of PCC membership. I’ve found the people in this community to be serious about their self-examination, honesty and ability to be thoughtful in how we work together. The organization provides collegiality and accountability. It’s comprised of individuals who value the development of themselves – and the field – through the latest research and study groups.”

“As a part of a group mental health practice, my training from the PCC has helped me tolerate disappointments and losses that have occurred in my own professional experience. It has helped me to understand group dynamics better. My PCC colleagues understand the challenges that we all face in our practices. Being a part of a professional community like this is something I would advise anyone to do.

“Anyone benefits from analysis by achieving great freedom and self-awareness. My own personal treatment has greatly influenced the work I do with patients. Through one’s own analysis, there is the opportunity to understand and manage one’s own anxieties better. And out of that to be able to provide a sense of space for patients to bring more of themselves to the room over time. I think that can deepen the work and allow us to work on a broader part of the person’s self.

“It has helped me to recognize the primitiveness within us all and my own defensiveness. As I’ve tried to be aware of that, I’m better able to distinguish what I might be bringing to a relationship with a patient versus what they’re bringing. It has provided greater objectivity.

“I think that mental illness is not just a product of genes or biochemical imbalances, but in many ways, it is a deficit in emotional intelligence. Psychoanalysis seeks to develop self-reflectiveness and agency in order to develop emotional intelligence. The ability to self-reflect is central to having secure attachments.”

Katherine Broadway, MDiv, LPC

PCC Faculty Member
Candidate in TEC Program
PCC Referral Service Volunteer

“There are a wide range of services for PCC members. You know where you can go to get a good supervisor.”

“I think the referral service is another great offering from the PCC. People can call in and tell us about what they need. Then all PCC members are contacted, and the person is placed with a therapist who fits their individual needs. This allows for placing a patient with the right therapist in a way you can’t do by going online and looking at a website. It’s a way for our members to find new patients and a way for people in the community to find someone who matches their needs. And of course, it’s free.

“There is an emphasis on short-term therapy in the mental health community today, but the people I work with have a lot of pain in their background. Short-term therapy may help them, but psychoanalysis helps get to the root of the pain. It’s like an infected wound; you have to heal the wound at its depth. It helps people learn to respect and care for themselves.

“My personal psychoanalysis therapy literally saved my life. I was very depressed for many years and didn’t want to live. It was only through analysis that I was able to heal the pain that was pushing my desire not to live. My life has been transformed. I can now enjoy a content, happy life and cope with my problems without depression or misery.

“I believe in what we do. I believe in this vast body of knowledge. We’ve had 100 years of brilliant minds thinking about and improving on this discipline. The PCC is keeping that alive and passing that on to people who want to know more. To anyone considering PCC membership, I would advise them to come with an open mind and the purpose of getting to know people.”

Peter Buonaccorsi, MD

Child and Adult Psychiatrist
PCC Faculty Member
PCC Scientific Programs Director

“The psychoanalytic perspective is more important than ever. We are losing touch with human beings day-to-day in today’s world, and the effects of that are seen in the levels of depression and low morale. People are starting to be incapable of relating well to other people. The process of psychoanalytic therapy helps to relieve all these things. Daily, face-to-face interactions and spending time on the importance of emotions is something that many people just don’t do.”

“Very few of our patients are simplified when they come in the door, yet many studies deal with simplified situations. Training from the PCC gives you tools for situations that aren’t cookie cutter. It gives you a lot of ways to understand things that would otherwise be confounding. The advantages of psychoanalysis training never go away.

“The relationship between doctor and patient is devalued in many mental health fields. It’s important on the side of the patient to feel heard but also on the side of the provider to feel effective. Sometimes change takes a lot of time, it’s important to be able to feel effective when things are moving slowly.

“My training from the PCC has allowed me to deepen my practice, even in areas where I’m not doing providing direct psychoanalytic treatment. It has really helped me to relate to my patients in a deeper way. I’ve been able to connect with people quickly, and it has greatly deepened my empathy. It has enabled me to help people with their relationships.

“When you’re alone in an office all day, it’s nice to go and meet with colleagues and talk through things with people who have similar experiences and similar frustrations. The PCC is a community where you can get new ideas and different viewpoints.

“I want there to be more people who appreciate this way of looking at things. I do this because I think psychoanalysis is the best way to approach trying to heal people. You do good when you help people to relate more deeply to each other, it’s a fundamental good.”

Natalie Peacock-Corral, LCSW, CGP

Psychiatric Social Worker
PCC Faculty Member
Mindplay Program Director
Judy Byck Scholarship Committee Chair

“The PCC gave me the opportunity to grow up. I received high-quality supervision from someone who has become my mentor and whose input into my career has been profound. My supervisor encouraged me to teach, which opened up further opportunities and helped me find my love of teaching. It has also helped me fulfill my desire to flex my theater skills as the director of the PCC’s Mind Play program.”

“The outstanding training that I received from the PCC opened an entire new world to me. I really fell in love with understanding patients through a psychoanalytic lens. As a PCC member, you have the opportunity to be around a wide range of treatment professionals and you can learn a great deal from them. Becoming a psychoanalytic psychotherapist isn’t about technical training step by step. How boring that would be! It’s about finding yourself as an artist and then expressing that.

“One clear example of how my training contributes to my professional practice is the understanding I gained of the word ‘transference.’ Transference, counter transference and the unconscious are the cornerstones of psychoanalytic psychotherapy that any modality can benefit from. I use them as my guide map daily. After encountering a very challenging case, understanding these concepts through my training from the PCC allowed the case to become enlivening and fascinating instead of deadening and intolerable. I believe the treatment would have failed without the training I had.

“I also appreciate the huge emphasis on getting your own psychoanalytic-oriented treatment. How can I possibly work on my patients if I haven’t done the same work? I’ve seen so many mistakes from therapists because they did not seek out their own treatment.

“To those who say psychoanalytic psychotherapy is outdated, I ask: Is classical music outdated? Is Chinese medicine outdated? Psychoanalytic-oriented treatment is the classical music of the mental health world.

“I continue to donate my time and money to the PCC because I get so much from it. In all my years as a member, this is truly the best the PCC has ever been.”