#376 – A Psychodynamic Understanding of Personality Structure with Nancy McWilliams PhD

Nancy McWilliams


Nancy McWilliams PhD, who teaches at the Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is author ofPsychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process (1994, rev. ed. 2011), Psychoanalytic Case Formulation (1999), andPsychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner’s Guide(2004), all with Guilford Press, and is Associate Editor of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (2006). She is Past President of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association and is on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Psychology.

Recipient of many awards, Dr. McWilliams specializes in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision; the relationship between psychodiagnosis and treatment; alternatives to DSM diagnostic conventions; integration of feminist theory and psychoanalytic knowledge; the application of psychoanalytic understanding to the problems of diverse clinical populations; altruism; narcissism; and trauma and dissociative disorders.

Check out the following Psychology CE Courses based on listening to Shrink Rap Radio interviews:
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 1 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 2 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 3 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 4 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 5 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Package of the Five Above (33 CEUs)
Wisdom of The Dream (4 CEUs)
Positive Psychology (6 CEUs)
Pros and Cons of Positive Psychology (5 CEUs)
Body-Mind: Goodbye to Dualism (6 CEUs)
Brain: Insights from Neuroscience (8 CEUs)
Meditation & Psychotherapy (8 CEUs)
Insights from Neuroscience (8 CEUs)
Neuroscience and Healing (8 CEUs)

Get our iPhone/Android app!

Get 10% discount on all lectures at The JungPlatform using our discount code: DRDAVE

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2013: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Dr. Michael Ocana
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I very much valued Nancy’s books during my training (as a psychiatrist). They were a treasured resource. Loved the interview. I enjoyed the image of a crowd of clinicians (despite their depressive personality organization) descending on the researchers of academia demanding to have a say in the direction of that research. LOL!

  2. John Knight
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Blimey… I was looking for my first podcast to catch up on since being on a break from uni; I gravitated straight towards this one, and boy did I pick a doozey! This episode had a whole bunch of sentiments that have brewing within me for the last few years and it really resonated.

    Firstly, I could really relate to Nancy’s bringing up of the bad-old days of rat running and the narrow, dogmatic spectrum the Behaviourists were drilling into everyone at the time. I think much of the so-called ‘evidence-based’ drives we’re having now mirror that period, but like then, I hope it eventually implodes! 😉

    Secondly, although I came into the psych world through the Jungian perspective, lately I find myself increasingly drawing on the Freudian perspective, especially in relation to lower-level ‘hardware’ stuff (to use a vulgar computing analogy). Although “Psychodynamics” is usually a term reserved for the Freudian discipline in our psych text books, I prefer to use it as an umbrella term for all of these techniques that are based on the structure and dynamics of the psyche, and as such, I also use the term to relate to Freud, Jung, Klein, Adler, and others. I’ve always wanted to merge these approaches under the term ‘Psychodynamic’, and the way Nancy uses the term seems to do just that. I really like her wise, multi-discipline viewpoint, and it’s nice to hear a Freudian who’s not afraid to throw in a little Jung here and there! 😉

    I really liked how Nancy amplified on the original meaning of ‘diagnosis’, and found her explanation of primitive and higher-order defence systems incredibly practical.

    I’m going to take on the internet pornography episode next, and may I say that I was really impressed by your listener’s observation about unrealistic sexual influence on females regarding romance novels. I think qualitative studies looking simultaneously at the influence of internet porn on men and romance/erotic novels on women may yield some interesting results.


  3. Andrew Dahlstrom
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    First off I wanted to say Huzzah!

    I am listening to this interview for the first time and I am thrilled. As you may recall in our email correspondence Dr. Dave, I am in my third year of a PsyD program after completing my Master’s and getting licensed and am feeling rather disillusioned regarding the content and general feel I am getting in the program and in the field of psychology. The general push has been towards the CBT/medical model focus and that has just never sat well with me. I continue to feel that it may create the mindset of band-aid therapy (not to sound discriminatory because techniques and CBT and all that can do wonderful things and be of immense help to those with whom suffering is a constant companion) and a production based widget psychology approach to working with individuals (production-based medical model feel). I hope that I do not offend those who practice within these models as that is not my intent because I am sure they do great any amazing things, but overall it just makes me nervous for where the field is going (diagnosis-focused therapy versus person-focused therapy). I am betting my snarkiness is shining through here, my apologies.

    Hearing Dr. McWilliams has reinvigorated me and I find myself saying, “Yes!” to many of her perspectives and deeper insights. I have been struggling to find my own therapeutic voice amidst all that is going on and it is so reassuring to hear that my thinking is not alone (I had similar reactions to your interviews with other depth and humanistic psychologists. It thrills me to feel this support and has given me a new lens for which to see my clients’ concerns. I have read her Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Diagnosis 2nd ed books and am loving it. I appreciate the comments and deeper perspectives that Dr. McWilliams takes in this interview and hope you would consider having her back on again (if you haven’t already). Thank you for all that you do Dr. Dave!



Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *