Robert Winer, M.D.

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About Me

I had my first experience in this field as a college student. Taking a course called Field Work in Mental Health at Harvard, I was assigned to meet with a young schizophrenic woman at a state hospital once each week, and to try to get to know her. I learned a shocking lesson about ambivalence when I returned to the ward after a long Christmas break and she hurled at my head a wallet she’d lovingly made for me in occupational therapy. Later that year, along with five classmates and our teacher, we opened a halfway house for patients from that hospital – we lived there, while attending classes, and operated the facility. Wellmet House was one of the first halfway houses in the nation, and it is still successfully in business in Cambridge, Mass.

After medical school and my psychiatry residency, both at Yale, I came to the National Institutes of Health and worked for two years on a ward that treated adolescents and their families. I learned a good deal about family process there, and went on to organize and chair a postgraduate training program in family and couple therapy through the Washington School of Psychiatry which trained over 100 clinicians over the course of 26 years.

In the 1970’s I took training in adult psychoanalysis at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. My private practice over the last three decades has included individual therapy and psychoanalysis with adolescents and adults, couple therapy, and family therapy. I’ve written a well-received book about my work, “Close Encounters: A Relational View of the Therapeutic Process.” Reading it would give you a good sense of how I work and think. I’ve also started and chaired a number of training programs for postgraduate professionals, most notably a national program in psychological writing, New Directions, which is based in Washington.