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An Interview with Joshua Lerner, MA, LCSW, on the History of Object Relations Theory

David Van Nuys, Ph.D.
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Joshua Lerner, LCSWObject Relations Theory is an important development of psychoanalysis which is widely supported today within the psychoanalytic community. The term "object" is really a stand-in word for "people", as the theory really speaks to the importance of how a person's early relationships, particularly with caregivers, strongly influence their psychological development. The importance Object Relations Theory applies to early relationships is in contrast to Freud's original conception of child development which was understood to be more biologically or instinctually driven. In this Wise Counsel interview, Joshua Lerner, a social worker and psychoanalyst, talks about the historical development of Object Relations Theory; its origins with analysts like Melanie Klein, and how it developed over time under the influence of other analysts including Winnicott, Balint, Fairbairn, and Bowlby.

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host.

On today's show, we'll be talking about object relations with Joshua B. Lerner, a psychoanalyst practicing in New Jersey. Joshua B. Lerner has a masters in clinical social work from the University of Michigan. Subsequent to this, he studied for eight years at the British Psychoanalytic Society/Institute of Psychoanalysis in London to become an adult psychoanalyst. He also spent four years studying at the Anna Freud Center in London in their training program in child and adolescent psychoanalysis. He is board certified and a fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He provides individual psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to children, adolescents, and adults. He also treats couples in marital therapy and works with families in family therapy. He has 33 years of experience working with a wide variety of presenting problems. Now, here's the interview.

Joshua Lerner, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Joshua Lerner: Thank you, David. It's my pleasure to be here.

David: Well, let's start out with a bit about your background. First, I notice you have an LCSW. What drew you into social work?

Joshua Lerner: Well, both of my parents were what in those days were known as psychiatric social workers. Both of them graduated from Smith College of Social Work. My mother went out to become a psychoanalyst. So I grew up in a home environment where social work, psychoanalysis, were the main focus.

David: Well, that anticipates my next question, which was going to be about how you got into psychoanalysis, so you really came by it honestly - following in your mother's footsteps.

Joshua Lerner: Yes, she actually was a student of and an analysand of Richard Sterba, who was one of Sigmund Freud's inner circle. And he fled the Nazis and moved to Detroit, which was where she was at at the time, and the Sterbas were opposed to the current US psychoanalytic position of not training non-medical people, and so she as a social worker was trained by both of Dr. Sterba and Mrs. Sterba as a psychoanalyst.

David: Well, that's fascinating, and you mentioned Detroit, and I notice that you were in the social work program - at least for a while - at the University of Michigan, and I was in the clinical psychology program there for my Ph.D., and at the time, it was a hotbed of psychoanalytic thought. But I seem to recall that the school of social work was already fairly behavioral in its orientation.

Joshua Lerner: Well, actually the clinical program was absolutely psychoanalytic in its orientation. There's always been a split between sort of community social work and social workers as individuals who work in social agencies, in welfare departments, that sort of thing, and those people who were psychiatric social workers who really did much of the therapy around the country. And the Clinical Department, which it came to be called, was profoundly psychoanalytic.

David: Well, that's fascinating. I didn't know that. I had one good friend who was in a doctoral program in social work, and he must have been in that more community aspect. I think actually Detroit - and I'm not sure what years you were there - but when I was there, I think Detroit generally, I guess, was getting a strong psychoanalytic influence from more than one refugee from Germany who had settled in this country.

Joshua Lerner: Yes, actually Fritz Redl, who was a child psychoanalyst from Vienna, as well he was an analysand of Richard Sterba - he moved to the Detroit area and set up at Wayne State University, worked around children from a psychoanalytic point of view, and my mother actually worked with him. He was a supervisor for several years, and I grew up spending a lot of time with Fritz and hearing stories about training with Anna Freud and what Vienna was like, etc.

David: Wow. You know, that name rings a bell for me, and I think he might have been a consultant at the University of Michigan psychology department when I was there, and I think he was influential in the formation of something that was called the Fresh Air Camp, which was a camp for emotionally disturbed boys in, of all places, Hell, Michigan.

Joshua Lerner: Absolutely.

David: And I served as a counselor there for a summer or two.

Joshua Lerner: Yep, then you worked with - either at the time Fritz was running it or it was after that, but he certainly helped set it up, and he published a number of books around working with delinquent children, delinquent adolescents, from a psychoanalytic point of view, which there had been a lot of that work begun in Vienna.

David: Well, that's fascinating, yeah. He wasn't running the camp at the time that I was there, so I must have been - come along at some later point. Now, we originally - I say we at Wise Counsel - we originally heard from you when you responded to one of my prior interviews. I'm not sure who it was with, but it had to do with object relations theory. And I believe you wanted to make some clarifications differentiating Kleinian theory - that is, of Melanie Klein - from other object relations theorists such as Winnecott, Balint, Fairbairn, Bowlby and so on. So let's start with Melanie Klein, whose work, I gather, is revered by some and castigated by others.

Joshua Lerner: Absolutely. She's been a very controversial figure in psychoanalysis. Probably up until 15 years ago, she was an anathema in the American psychoanalytic community, whereas she has been probably the dominant force in British psychoanalysis and in South American psychoanalysis. Melanie -

David: Well, tell us about those two sides. Why do some people revere her and other people not?

Joshua Lerner: Well, she was one of the - what shall I call it? - people who while believing that they were Freudian, made some very strong changes in Freudian theory, particularly around child development and particularly around the process of the relations between people, which is what objects are. Objects aren't, as we would think of them in our common parlance, a bottle or a chair or whatever. Objects in psychoanalytic terms are people. So object relations theory is the relations between people.

David: Yes. I've always found that terminology a bit troubling, but I do understand it.

Joshua Lerner: Well, I mean we're talking about translations from German, which is what Freud wrote in, to English, so that the Ego, the Id, and the Superego are the I, the Over-I, and the It. So that's not how they got translated by Strachey into English, but that's an exact sort of meaning that the Germans had. So a number of things were translated in ways that probably weren't the best.

David: Oh, okay, good point.

Joshua Lerner: So we're actually stuck with Strachey's translation.

David: Oh, okay, good point.

Joshua Lerner: So that what object relations theory is really about is that it says that the emphasis isn't as much on the sort of innate development of the child, but more so on the relations of objects in the child's early years. So that we go from Winnicott, who was a pediatrician and an expert on working with children from that standpoint - he actually was a very well known pediatrician and influenced a lot of the people who were writing in the 1950s. Who is the American pediatrician who wrote - the famous one who wrote about the babies?

David: Are you talking about a book called Children Without Fear?

Joshua Lerner: No. It was for a lay audience. It was about child development.

David: Okay, I'm not -

Joshua Lerner: A dominant force.

David: I'm not going to be able to pull it up, but that's okay.

Joshua Lerner: Okay, but anyway, Winnicott was an expert with children and -

David: Was it Dr. Spock?

Joshua Lerner: Spock, exactly.

David: Yeah, okay. I did pull it up.

Joshua Lerner: Right. Dr. Spock was a student of Winnicott.

David: Oh, okay.

Joshua Lerner: And a student in pediatrics, and Winnicott was one of the influential figures - at that time he was a Kleinian - in bringing information and ideas around the relations between the child and the parents. And Melanie Klein postulated a number of ideas in terms of child development, the importance of early mothering. She originally came up with ideas about the good breast and the bad breast in terms of relations, of how the child felt about the mother. And she really began to focus a lot of attention on mother-child relations.

And whereas Freud had a much more - what shall I call it? He saw child development as much more about certain objective developmental stages that the child went through; not that Melanie Klein didn't see that as well, but that he was less focused on the relation between the parent and the child in reality. He was more in terms of the oral stage and the movement from oral and anal and then phallic, and he saw that as sort of predetermined; not that he didn't see that there was influence from the parents, but he saw that stage by stage movement as the dominant force in terms of the development of a child.

And I think Melanie Klein really began to bring in more about the relations in terms of what effects the mother had on the child, and Winnicott talked about the whole idea of good enough mothering and what the child needed and if there were impingements from the mother's interaction with the child which pushed the child in ways that weren't the way they wanted to progress. There was the development of his idea of the false self, where the child had to deal with the mother and the world in such a way as they developed a sense of front, which is how they survive the interferences in their normal developmental process. So a lot of the object relations focus was on the interactions between child and parent.

David: And was there less emphasis, then, on the unconscious than Freud had put on the unconscious?

Joshua Lerner: No, not at all. This is all seen as affecting the unconscious. This is - you know, it's not that any of them were seeing this as conscious decision making on the child's part in terms of how they would respond, but rather unconscious responses to the environment.

David: In the sense of automatic.

Joshua Lerner: Well, in the sense of that the child taking in the influence of the parent - their good aspects, their bad aspects - and responding to those not consciously, but unconsciously.

David: Okay.

Joshua Lerner: And those responses moving the child forward in various developmental ways, so that how they then develop had a great deal to do with the actual interaction that was taking place between the parent and the child.

David: Okay. So I take it that those who were disapproving of Melanie Klein felt that she was being heretical for not following Freud's ideas strictly.

Joshua Lerner: I think that's part of it. She came up - I think the most controversial thing that she came up with was she saw children as developing much more rapidly than Freud did. Freud's moving from the oral stage to an anal stage to a phallic stage saw that as taking three and a half, four years; whereas Melanie Klein saw that as all taking place within the first year of life. And that just seemed absolutely bizarre to most of those people who considered themselves Freudian. They didn't see it either in their clinical situations - those who worked with children - and they also saw it as a major revision of Freudian theory. And that continues to be one of the important points of difference between those who consider themselves classical Freudians or ego psychologists and those who consider themselves Kleinian.

David: Fascinating. I had no idea. I sort of thought the world had pretty much - the psychoanalytic world - had pretty much accepted object relations and gone down that path.

Joshua Lerner: Well, it certainly accepted a lot about object relations, but it hasn't necessarily agreed with much of the Kleinian perspective in terms of the development taking place within the first year of life. And I think that's at least one of the major differences that there still exists. I think the majority of American psychoanalysts would see the development going as Freud would say it - less on the sort of biologically dictated and more in terms of object relations - but that the development of moving from oral, anal, to phallic, is something that goes on for three to four years as opposed to Melanie Klein's view that all of that is taking place in the first year of life. That's a major difference. You know, when does object constancy develop? When does the child begin to have a three person relationship - mother, child, and father? So when does an oedipal stage come about? All of those things are differences as to not the sequence, but at what stage in the child's life sequence takes place.

David: Hmm. Now, I had somehow thought that maybe oral, anal, and phallic had kind of gone by the way, that those ideas had been sort of discarded.

Joshua Lerner: No, I don't think they've been discarded. They simply aren't seen as biologically determined any more. There's much less of a focus on drive and instinct, and much more of a understanding of the importance of actual relations that take place between parent and child. So that I think Freud was a bit overly biologically determinist, and there's been changes in that in the psychoanalytic world. It's just that - I mean I think that in fact Melanie Klein is still much more biologically determinist than the rest of the psychoanalytic world. She just has it sort of all compounded in the first year of life.

David: Okay. Now, what do Winnicott, Balint, Fairbairn, and Bowlby bring to it? Are they all sort of generally Kleinian but modify her?

Joshua Lerner: Originally Winnicott was a Kleinian, but he eventually broke away from her. Balint was a student of Ferenczi, who was in Budapest and who was one of the most brilliant of Freud's initial inner circle. And he was focusing a great deal on real relations between people. So Ferenczi was focusing much more on actual relations in the development of children, and Balint, who was one of his probably most well known students, continued that work.

So that I think that one of the differences that Winnicott and Balint brought to object relations was that they began to focus much more on the actual relations between parent and child and the effects on the child of this relationship, and moved away from drive theory, instinct theory, however you want to characterize it. So that while Melanie Klein focused a great deal on actual relations, she did not in any way give up drive theory. She just compounded it all in the first year of life.

David: Okay. And in your note to us, you also mentioned Fairbairn and Bowlby. Maybe you can say something about them.

Joshua Lerner: Okay. Fairbairn essentially tossed out the entire meta-psychology of Freud and redefined ego, id, and superego in a quite idiosyncratic way. There aren't very many Fairbairnians at the moment, but one of the things that I think his influence did is it was a major step forward in moving away from a biological orientation in Freudian theory to a much more actual orientation of real relations that take place within first the dyad of mother-child and then the triad of mother, father and child.

Bowlby is the person who initiated the movement around attachment theory. Bowlby was a very well known psychoanalyst, the head of the children's department at the Tavistock Clinic in London, and he focused a great deal of emphasis on actual attachment issues and wrote a three volume work on separation, attachment. And so the whole movement in the field of psychology around attachment issues comes from Bowlby. So he had another sort of way into the issue of child development with the focus being on attachment issues and difficulties with attachment, interferences with attachment, etc.

So that all of this movement around object relations began bringing the actual relations between child and parents into the focus. And I think that whatever the sort of differing views of sort of psychoanalytic theory are within the broader psychoanalytic community, that's been a prominent theme, which is the actual relations and the influence and importance along child development. Again, I'm not talking about the actual relations as the child consciously is aware of, but rather how the actual relations either aid in or interfere with the unconscious development of a child.

David: Yes, I have the impression that attachment theory has been enjoying a fairly wide acceptance among therapists.

Joshua Lerner: Yes, I think it's certainly accepted by a broad group, far beyond those who consider themselves psychoanalytically or psychodynamically orientated.

David: Yes, exactly. Now, you mentioned Fairbairn moving away from the sort of biological model. I've recently learned that there's a whole branch of psychoanalytic thought that I think is called neuro-psychoanalysis or something along those lines.

Joshua Lerner: Right, right. That is a development which has been going on probably for 25 or 30 years now in trying to mesh our increased understanding of the actual functioning of the brain and look at the correlation between our understanding of that with psychoanalytic theory of functioning of the individual on a psychological level. And there's been a lot of work, a lot of research to show how in very many ways neurological understanding of the functioning of the brain has in fact supported a lot of analytic understanding of child development, of the functioning of the unconscious, etc. There was work by Fred Shevin at the University of Michigan. There was work by Mark Solms in London. Daniel Stern comes from that orientation in terms of looking at child development from a neurological point of view. So it's very much in a focus of a lot of work in the recent years.

David: Yes. As a matter of fact I just recently interviewed Wilma Bucci. I don't know if you're familiar with her work, but -

Joshua Lerner: No, I'm not.

David: Oh, yeah, she's written a book that very impressively ties together psychoanalytic thought with cognitive science.

Joshua Lerner: Well, that's certainly been a very real interest. I mean Freud was of the opinion that at some point we would know enough about the functioning of the brain that we would be able to - whether it would be with drugs or other ways - be able to work on the functioning of the brain so that a number of problems could be solved. I don't think currently that's the dominant view, but certainly the interaction between our understanding of the brain's functioning and the mind's functioning has been a very important one.

David: Yeah, yeah. Now earlier you mentioned London and the Tavistock Clinic, and I notice, from your CV, that you spent a considerable amount of time in the UK. How did that come about?

Joshua Lerner: Well, one of the - what shall I call - unfortunate, in my view, developments of psychoanalysis from an organizational point of view was that, while Freud was in favor of anyone being trained to be a psychoanalyst, in the United States the psychoanalytic association was hijacked by the medical doctors, and they saw to it that no one was allowed to be trained by the American Psychoanalytic Association and its various institutes around the country unless they were medical doctors - contrary, as I said, to Freud's view.

Freud's view was that all you needed was a basic college degree to then be trained as a psychoanalyst, and he called those people lay analysts. And for instance in England you don't have to be a medical doctor to be trained. One of my classmates had a Ph.D. in English literature. One of the very important Winnicottians who's currently a leading psychoanalyst, Christopher Bollas, has a Ph. D. in English literature as well as an MSW in social work. But he's an important analyst in London, which is a -

David: And, in fact, I think, some of Freud's inner circle - right? - they weren't all medical doctors.

Joshua Lerner: No, they weren't. One of the well known ones came to the United States, and one of the reasons that New York has always had non-medical analysts is that Theodore Reich, who was a student of Freud's and one of the inner circle, came here and was himself a Ph.D. in psychology and was very upset that he wasn't going to accepted as a full member of the New York Psychoanalytic, so he went away and established the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, and they began training non-medical people as psychoanalysts. And then Sullivan and Karen Horney and Eric Fromm, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, etc. all began to train non-medics. So in New York, really, it was up until 1990 was really the only place that had any large number of non-medical psychoanalysts.

So the long of it is that, as a clinical social worker, I couldn't train at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. At that point I wasn't interested in living in New York and so I needed to train at some institute that was a part of the International Psychoanalytic Association, which is the accepted international body of psychoanalysts, but that it couldn't be in one of the institutes of the American Psychoanalytic.

So I considered Toronto; I considered the London Psychoanalytic; I considered Australia. And I was lucky enough to get accepted at the British Psychoanalytic, which is the oldest psychoanalytic institute in the world. It was started by Ernest Jones, who was one of Freud's five or six inner circle people, all of whom were in different cities, aiding in the development of psychoanalysis throughout Europe. And so I was accepted at the British Psychoanalytic.

And unlike in America, where psychoanalysis has really been losing influence since the '60s, psychoanalysis is still one of probably the two major orientations of psychotherapists in England. And the British Psychoanalytic is the only psychoanalytic institute accepted by the International Psychoanalytic Association to train psychoanalysts in all of the UK. So that's why I moved there, or at least that's half of the reason I moved there.

The other was is that I have always been interested in object relations theory, was never one who was terribly biologically determinist, and wanted to train with people who worked, whether it be from a Winnicottian or a Balint orientation. I was very interested in Klein's work, and as well interested in the students of Anna Freud, who were trying to sort of combine some of the understanding of Klein and Winnicott with a more traditional, classical psychoanalytic point of view that Anna Freud had. And so I moved. I picked up my practice after having been in private practice for 10 years and moved to London in 1989 and trained at the British Psychoanalytic, which is a very rigorous program. It took me eight years to do all of my study there.

David: Wow.

Joshua Lerner: And classes four nights a week; three patients in five time a week psychoanalysis; three supervisions a week, plus my own five day a week psychoanalysis, so it was a fairly rigorous program.

David: I would say so.

Joshua Lerner: Plus at the same time, of course, I had to work full time because, you know, it's a - they don't pay you to train as an analyst.

David: Wow, yeah. That had to have been a very expensive proposition. Was it worth it?

Joshua Lerner: Well, actually, the training is incredibly cheap. I mean they view it - analysts in London view it as their responsibility to pass on psychoanalysis, so I think it probably cost me less than £1,000 a year for the training. And even with discounted student rates, psychoanalysis isn't cheap; although it's much cheaper in England than it is in the United States. So the pain of those two things, along with surviving in London with my family.

So I went to work first at a children's guidance clinic, Norwich Out Care, and then after a year or so, I moved to the Portman and Tavistock Clinics, where I was there for six years doing work with - the Portman is a specialist therapy clinic all made up of psychoanalysts. Everyone there is a psychoanalyst. And it focuses on perversions and delinquency. So the patients that I worked with there were everything from murderers, gamblers, pedophiles, con men, diaper wearers, sadomasochistic oriented individuals - the whole range of psychopathology around delinquency and perversions.

David: Well, you know, I had thought that we would get into that in today's interview, but I don't think we're going to have time to go into as much depth in that particular work as I would like to, so if you're open to it, I think maybe we'll schedule a second interview where we can talk about your work with pedophiles and sexual perversions and so on. Would you be up for that?

Joshua Lerner: Sure, I'd be very interested in doing that.

David: Okay, well, continuing on with this interview, let me just ask you a little bit more about psychotherapy under the National Health Services in the UK. How does accessibility and coverage differ there compared to the US?

Joshua Lerner: Well, as you know, the National Health Service is completely free for any resident of the UK or even those people who are visitors. If you go to England and get sick while you're in England, you get free medical care. Well, the view of the National Health Service has always been that health service is not just about body; it's about mind. So every individual has available to them psychotherapy by trained therapists. And I suppose one could think of it as you either have a choice of going to a cognitive behaviorally oriented psychologist or going to a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist.

The British Psychological Association is - I think probably three-quarters of them are cognitive psychologists. The clinical social workers, the other grouping within psychology, and almost the completely the psychiatrists are all from a psychoanalytic or psychodynamic point of view. So people are able to go and get treatment. It's not full psychoanalysis; they don't go five days a week. But if you desire it, you're usually able to get two or even three days a week of psychotherapy, which costs nothing.

David: Well, as you know, psychoanalysis has a pretty negative image in this country of late, and I gather it's less controversial in the UK, but CBT is strong over there too. What are your thoughts - we might be able to guess them - but what are your thoughts about the state of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in a managed care world, as in the US, where cognitive behavioral therapy is the "approved" treatment modality by insurance companies and also by graduate departments of clinical psychology and clinical social work?

Joshua Lerner: I think unfortunately, in my view, there's a lot about the training of psychologists and clinical social workers that has to do with trying to face the reality of managed care, which is that unless you go along with managed care, you're not going to be able to treat people in an acceptable way to the insurance companies. So that I think part of the motivation - only part - but part of the motivation for cognitive behavioral therapy being the dominant force within trainings has to do with the reality that if you don't function from that point of view, insurance companies are liable to say we're not going to pay for it, and then clinicians don't have patients.

I'm not saying that there isn't intellectual integrity among most clinicians and that they do believe in CBT as the way to proceed, but I think that everyone would agree that CBT is about changing the way an individual functions, with the presumption that as the functions change, so inevitably does the psychology change. I think from a psychoanalytic point of view I would have to disagree with that and say that while we might be able to, through CBT, change some of the symptoms, that the underlying causes for those symptoms doesn't get touched, and inevitably we have recidivism; we have people continuing to function in the same sort of perhaps self-destructive or sadistic or obsessive compulsive ways that they were prior to the treatment.

And so I think that it's a very - the fact is that most managed care programs will pay for 20 or 30 sessions a year. I think, in general, 20 or 30 sessions is enough to begin to develop real trust between the patient and the therapist, but certainly not enough to make changes on problems that have been ongoing for 10, 20, 30 years; and that unless one is able to look at and try to engage the underlying issues that are causing the symptoms, you're not really going to make changes that are necessary.

And so, unfortunately, that means like myself, I'm not on any panel. I don't participate with any insurance companies; so unless the individual has a PPO or a traditional insurance plan and can go to someone out of network, they can't see me unless I can reduce my fee to a bit lower than I'm usually able to do. So that it really excludes the vast majority of people who are covered with HMOs or EPOs, where you can't go out of network. And I think that the reasons for the dominance of CBT are, in part, the economic realities of the marketplace, which says that the clinician is not going to be able to survive unless they do short term, cognitively orientated work.

David: You know, I have a son who just took a visit to Argentina, and he was reading to us from a book, kind of a guide about Argentina and about Buenos Aires. And according to this book, everybody there - How to say this? Being in therapy and being in psychoanalysis in particular seems to be very accepted, at least in Buenos Aires.

Joshua Lerner: Oh, there are probably in South America 50 to 60 psychoanalytic institutes. Psychoanalysis is going great guns in South America. It is the accepted form of psychotherapy, and I think Brazil has seven or eight institutes; Argentina has several; Chile has them; Peru. I mean, they're all over the place. Psychoanalysis is the dominant form of psychotherapy throughout all of South America.

David: Well, that's fascinating. Maybe we can discuss that the next time that we speak, so let's make sure that we schedule another conversation before very long. And so I really want to thank you for your time today, Joshua Lerner. Thanks so much for being my guest on Wise Counsel.

Joshua Lerner: My pleasure, David.

David: I hope you enjoyed this interview with psychoanalyst Joshua B. Lerner. Our conversation sharpened up my knowledge about Melanie Klein's contributions. I'm looking forward to talking to Joshua again relatively soon to follow up on both why he thinks psychoanalysis is so popular and widespread in South America and also to find out about his work with pedophiles and related disorders. I hope you'll join me then.

You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC.

If you like Wise Counsel, you might also like ShrinkRapRadio, my other interview podcast series, which is available online at Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.

Links Relevant To This Podcast:

  • Joshua Lerner is in private practice in New Jersey, USA (with offices in Ridgewood and Oradell) offering psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. You can contact him at (201) 265-7373.

About Joshua Lerner, LCSW

Joshua Lerner, LCSWJoshua B. Lerner, LCSW, BCD, FIPA, has a Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Michigan. Subsequently to this he studied for 8 years at the British Psychoanalytic Society/Institute of Psychoanalysis in London to become an Adult Psychoanalyst.

He also spent 4 years studying at The Anna Freud Centre In London in their Training program in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. He is Board Certified and a Fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

He provides Individual Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis to children, adolescents and adults. He also treat couples in Marital Therapy and works with families in Family Therapy. He has 33 years experience working with a wide variety of presenting problems.