The Masterson Approach

Workshop 09 – 10 June 2023: “The Masterson therapist in the clinical setting”

The aim off this workshop is to address and illustrate how Searles’s comment is missing the core of the Masterson approach. Four senior faculty members will share their personal experience through case presentations. The focus will fall on the therapeutic process, countertransference and countertransference acting-out behaviour as experienced by the therapist. There will be four presentations: Borderline-, Narcissistic- and Schizoid Disorder of the Self and a complex trauma case. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussion taking place throughout the workshop.


Psychoanalytic theory and praxis has always played a defining role in the practice and thinking of South African clinicians. Today, given a greater awareness and need for psychotherapeutic services in South Africa, the importance of continual development for the psychodynamic orientated practitioner has become an imperative. It is with this imperative in mind that the South African Institute for the Study of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy will strive to provide a structure, both clinically and academically, to support both the experienced and budding psychotherapist in expanding not only their personal knowledge base of psychoanalytic theory, but especially to add to their own clinical practice and case management.

The Masterson Institute (IMI) was headed by Dr. James F. Masterson and clinical staff since the early 1980’s until his death in 2011. Since then, Dr. Judith Pearson has been the clinical director of the International Masterson Institute. Before Dr. Masterson passed away, he was approched by the current clinical director of the South African Masterson Institute, William Griffith and Dr. Loray Daws. They wanted to attend the three year Post Graduate Course. due to limitations it was negotiated with Dr. Masterson to present the course to international students via skype. The exam and graduation would be done in New York but the material, supervision and discussion would be arranged and managed through the electronic medium.

The IMI faculty currently consists of clinical psychologists from countries accross the globe including USA, South Africa, Turkey, Canada and Australia. The Masterson Institute of South Africa (MISA) have evolved as an institute in its own right. Since 2009, 15 clinical psychologists from South Africa have graduated from the three year Post Graduate Course through the Internaional Masterson Institute.

Since 2018, the South African Masterson Institute is presenting a six month course (including CPD points) in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Borderline Personality structure. The faculty provides supervision to accompany the course work.