The Yale-Riggs Infant & Family Mental Health Training Program - Presenters

The Yale-Riggs Infant & Family Mental Health Training Program - Presenters

Yale Faculty:

Nancy Close, PhD, IMH-IV, is co-director of the Yale-Riggs Infant & Family Mental Health Training Program. Dr. Close is an educator and clinician and endorsed infant mental health mentor with the Connecticut Association of Infant Mental Health. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of children under age five and mental health consultation to preschool programs. She teaches Yale college students and fellows in training at the Child Study Center. Dr. Close is a co-director of the Minding the Baby Program, an evidenced based home visiting program, which focuses on child and maternal health and mental health, supporting parent child attachment and the development of the reflective function. Dr. Close is engaged in international work in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. She is the director of a fellowship in Early Childhood Development that is sponsored by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.

Lauren Dennehy, LCSW, is an assistant clinical professor and member of the early childhood faculty at the Yale Child Study Center since 2008.  She enjoys relationally oriented therapy focusing on improving attachment outcomes and healing trauma suffered by young children and their parents.  Ms. Dennehy also is the developmental consultant to Mothering from the Inside Out, a mentalization-based clinical research program supporting mothers with substance abuse issues who are raising young children, and she also has a part-time private practice in New Haven.  She is raising a toddler and has another child on the way, spending the majority of her time and energy appreciating the needs of the very young - and their parents!

Megan Lyons, MSW, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical instructor of social work and speech-language pathologist at the Yale Child Study Center. She earned her MSW at The Ohio State University and graduated with an MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Southern Connecticut State University. She completed clinical fellowships in both social work and speech-language pathology at Yale. Within the Yale Autism Program, she conducts speech, language and communication evaluations as part of several clinical and research teams. She also provides training and supervision to Fellows in training in the Harris-Provence Child Development Unit at the Yale Child Study Center.

Norka Malberg, PhD, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor in Connecticut. She works with both children and adults. She is a graduate of the prestigious Anna Freud Centre in London where she trained as a child and adolescent psychotherapist.  She obtained her clinical doctorate from University College London with a focus on working with adolescents suffering from chronic illness. She also holds graduate degrees (EdM, MS, MsC) in the areas of developmental and counseling psychology from the Harvard School of Education, Florida International University and University College London respectively. She is currently in the clinical faculty of Yale's Child Study Center. She also lectures regularly in London and New York City. Dr. Malberg has lived in many countries, including Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Chile, UK, and Switzerland. Her multicultural background informs her clinical work. She is fluent in Spanish.

Linda Mayes, MD, is the interim director of the Yale Child Study Center and the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Sewanee, The University of the South. She is also a child and adult psychoanalyst and member of the faculty of the Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute where she completed her psychoanalytic training. Her scholarly work focuses on the impact of early life adversity and chronic stress on child and adult social development.

Christiana Mills, LCSW, IMH-IV, is co-director of the Yale-Riggs Infant & Family Mental Health Training Program. Ms. Mills is a licensed clinical social worker and endorsed infant mental health mentor with the Connecticut Association of Infant Mental Health. She has 15 years of experience working with young children and their families at the Yale Child Study Center, where she was trained and later became clinical faculty. 

Virginia Shiller, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut. She is a clinical instructor at the Yale Child Study Center where she supervises the child psychiatry residents who are conducting dynamically oriented therapy with young children. Dr. Shiller has particular interests in attachment, children exposed to trauma, anxiety in children and positive parenting approaches. 

Arietta Slade, PhD, is a clinical professor at the Yale Child Study Center and co-director of the Minding the Baby Program. She is also a professor emerita in the department of Clinical and Developmental Psychology at The City University of New York. Dr. Slade is a clinician, researcher, and teacher who has for the past 30 years worked to integrate the domains of attachment research and dynamically oriented clinical practice. Her research on mother-infant attachment resulted in the elaboration of a crucial construct in attachment/mentalization theory, that of parental reflective functioning.

Austen Riggs Center Faculty:

Ilana Ackerman, MSW, is the Director of the Austen Riggs Nursery School. She is also a certified Postpartum Doula and Prenatal Yoga Instructor. 

Christina Biedermann, PsyD, is the director of psychological testing and a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy at the Austen Riggs Center.  She has lectured about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, the intergenerational transmission of trauma, psychological and neuropsychological testing, and treatment resistance, and is involved in research using psychological assessment measures to identify risk factors for suicidality.  She is an assistant clinical team leader, a contributing editor for the Division/Review, a publication of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association and has a private practice.

Lee Damsky, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Austen Riggs. She is a member of the Austen Riggs Suicide and Self-Destructive Behaviors Research Lab, and is currently leading research on the assessment of suicide risk in psychological testing. She is writing on the relationship between trauma and experiences of the sacred in both individuals and social groups. With graduate training in both psychodynamic psychotherapy and dialectical behavior therapy, she is developing approaches to the use of mindfulness-based skills in psychodynamic treatment.

Donna Elmendorf, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, director of the therapeutic community program, psychotherapist and psychotherapy supervisor at the Austen Riggs Center. She is also the head of the Erikson Institute Consultation Service. She has written and presented in the areas of self-harm, eating disorders, and competence and regression in group dynamics. Dr. Elmendorf is actively involved in the Berkshire community, having served on the board of several local and state organizations involved with mental health, education, and environmental conservation.

Margaret Kotarba, LICSW, is a senior social worker at the Austen Riggs Center.  Her interests include Psychodynamic Family Therapy and the dynamics of the co-therapy process.  In addition to her role as a clinical social worker, Margaret has been active in the Therapeutic Community Program throughout the years and is a former program manager of the Lenox Program.

Elizabeth Weinberg, MD, is a board certified psychiatrist, on staff at the Austen Riggs Center and is certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association in adult psychoanalysis.  Dr. Weinberg is a member of the faculty of the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute and of the faculty of the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute. She has lectured and written on the treatment of personality disorders.

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