Deconstructing Relationships 101

Deconstructing Relationships 101

Taught By Dr. Todd Pressman

Worth 3 CE Credits

Q&A At The End

Live On Zoom

Duration: 3 Hours 15 Minutes

Tuesday, February 15 from 6:45-10pm (Eastern Time)

Thursday, August 4 from 6:45-10pm (Eastern Time)








NOTE: You must take the 101 seminar, or have sufficient experience with the core fear and chief defense principles, before signing up for 201, 301, or 401.

February 15, 2022


August 4, 2022


“The seminar is recorded and sent out to registrants. If you are unable to attend live, you can still watch the seminar recording.”

Save $99 by purchasing the Relationships Seminar Bundle (101, 201, 301, and 401) by clicking here.



Finding the Core Fear and Chief Defense in your Relationships

The 101 seminar (or sufficient familiarity with the core fear and chief defense principles) must be taken prior to taking 201, 301, or 401.


Have you ever felt like you’re just “passing time” with your partner?  Perhaps you feel they are not meeting your needs, that you are bored with them, or that the relationship has grown a bit stale.  Maybe your relationship has become subtly or openly abusive, but you feel trapped with no idea what to do about it.

There’s no question…relationships make the world go ‘round.  They can be our greatest source of fulfillment in one moment, and our greatest source of suffering in the next.  As the saying goes: “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them!”.  

Given the importance of relationships in our lives, we need new solutions, something beyond resigning to our “fate” or living with unending volatility.  

The Deconstructing Relationships Series gives you these new solutions.

Based on Dr. Pressman’s award-winning “Deconstructing Anxiety” program, this new seminar series starts with the profound discovery that there is a single “core fear” at the root of any struggle we may have.  When applied to relationships, we see that the core fear is responsible for projecting how we view our partner, where we get tangled up in false assumptions about them, etc.—and how we do this to ourselves as well.  

 We then react to the core fear with a “chief defense’, an automatic habit that is designed to get us the love (or fulfillment or success) that we seek with the other, but which always backfires!  The chief defense is responsible for EVERY relationship struggle we have, even when we are certain the other person is “wrong”.  

And this is good news because it means there is always a new option, a new doorway to walk through, that will bring healing, understanding, empathy and fulfillment between you.  This is where relationships become the vehicle for extraordinary growth and the realization of our highest potential.

Come join us for this exciting new seminar series which offers real solutions for resolving problems and finding wholeness in your relationships.  By exposing the core fear and chief defense responsible for the turmoil behind the scenes, you will discover everything you need to take back control and create a relationship that really works!


⇒ 6:45-7:15 PM – Understanding the core fear and chief defense
7:15-8:00 PM – Finding the core fear
⇒ 8:00-8:15 PM – Finding the chief defense
8:15-8:30 PM – Break
8:30-9:45 PM – The core fear & chief defense at work in relationships
9:45-10:00 PM – Q and A 

“The seminar is recorded and sent out to registrants. If you are unable to attend live, you can still watch the seminar recording.”

This is a highly experiential program. Come prepared for a deep exploration into how the core fear and chief defense play out in your relationships . . . and learn what to do about it!

Who this seminar is for:

This seminar is appropriate for any kind of relationship, including parent-child relationships, peer relationships, work relationships, romantic relationships, dating relationships, our relationships with a group of people, relationships between friends, and even our relationship with ourselves or with a “higher” source.

Ideal for

  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists
  • Counselors
  • Anyone interested in discovering all that is possible in their relationships

CE Credits Information

Worth 3 CE Credits!

​​There is a separate fee and separate registration form to apply for the CE Credits. The CE Credits are only for those who apply for them.

​Please do not contact the CE company with questions about the seminar. All seminar-related questions should be sent to

​Answers to your questions related specifically to CE credits through R. Cassidy can be found by clicking here.

​Click this link to register for CE credits. Be sure you select the correct seminar name and date.

​CE Credit Registration Click Here.


Describe the concepts of the core fear and chief defense.
● Apply these concepts to the discovery of clients’ core fears and chief defenses
● Translate the dynamics of clients’ relationships in terms of their core fears and chief defenses


This seminar builds on the concept, as demonstrated by research in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Burns, Gillihan, Beck), that there is a “core fear” driving our resistances and creating our conflicts. When applied to relationships, we see that this core fear is responsible for projecting how we view our partner (or others in a group we are relating to) to create false assumptions about them, and how we do so with ourselves as well (Johnson, Park).  

We then react to the core fear with a “chief defense” (Davenloo), an automatic habit that is designed to get us the love (or fulfillment or success) that we seek with others, but which inevitably backfires. In this sense, it is more precisely the chief defense that is responsible for our relational conflicts, even when we are certain the other has done something “wrong” (Fernanda).  
These premises lead to the realization that in any relationship, there are new alternatives for what we project and how we respond. Seeing this, we may choose those perceptions and responses that will bring understanding, empathy and the opportunity for “flow” (Seligman, Cikszenthmihalyi). As such, relationships afford a unique opportunity for finding meaning (Costello) and the mindful discovery of how to negotiate life’s challenges more successfully (Kabat-Zinn, Roemer).  

● Each of us has a single core fear, a primary interpretation of how life can threaten our purposes. 
● We respond to this core fear with a chief defense, our overarching strategy for how to protect ourselves from the core fear. 
● The chief defense backfires, creating more of the difficulties it was designed to protect us from. 
● “Doing the opposite” of the chief defense provides new solutions for resolving our challenges. 
● When applied to relationships, this model reveals how each person projects their core fear onto each other, and responds with their chief defense. This is the source of conflict in relationships. 
● To resolve relational conflicts, therefore, one must “do the opposite” of the chief defense.

dr todd pressman



Dr. Pressman is a clinical psychologist and international seminar leader. He is widely known for his work with Deconstructing Anxiety, Transpersonal Breathwork and A Course in Miracles.

He graduated with degrees in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and Saybrook Institute. His books Deconstructing Anxiety: The Journey from Fear to Fulfillment, Radical Joy: Awakening Your Potential For True Fulfillment and The Bicycle Repair Shop: A True Story Of Recovery From Multiple Personality Disorder have all received high acclaim. In 1982, he traveled the world to study the great wisdom and healing traditions, including with a Zen master, a Jain family, a Zoroastrian high priest and a Sri Lankan firewalker. His education also includes an internship under Stanislav Grof, M.D. at the Esalen Institute.

With a background deeply rooted in tradition (he was groomed by a father whose teachers were taught by Sigmund Freud), he has integrated this wide-ranging experience into a new program of psychological development called “Deconstructing Anxiety“. His working model is based on Michelangelo’s ideal: to release the statue from the stone, the authentic Self from the overlays of imposed identity, into the discovery of freedom, joy, and fulfillment.


This will close in 40 seconds