2014 Yale Riggs Conference Presenters

Line Brotnow, M.Sc., is a research fellow at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center where she obtained her MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology in conjunction with the Anna Freud Center, London. Currently, she is involved in investigating the effects of prenatal maternal stress and protective maternal personality features on child development. She is also coordinating a mindfulness-based stress reduction RCT with parents of toddlers and preschoolers in New Haven, CT. Ms. Brotnow will pursue doctoral training specializing in developmental psychopathology and clinical work with at-risk children and families.

Lee Damsky, Ph.D., is a psychologist on the staff at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA. She completed her PhD in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research, and a post-doctoral fellowship in psychoanalytic studies at Austen Riggs. She has presented on topics including the body ego in projective psychological testing, the trajectory of change in psychodynamic psychotherapy, and the relationship between trauma and spirituality. 

Donna M. Elmendorf, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the Director of the Therapeutic Community Program at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.  Additionally, she is a supervisor of individual psychotherapy and group consultation. Prior to coming to Riggs, Dr. Elmendorf was on the staff of McLean Hospital and Simon’s Rock College. Dr. Elmendorf has published and presented on a range of topics, including the social dynamics of psychological disturbance, trauma and symptom formation, and adolescent development. In addition to her work at Riggs, she has a private practice that includes organizational consultation.

Samar Habl, M.D., is a staff psychiatrist, the director of psychopharmacology and a consultant in the therapeutic community program at the Austen Riggs Center. She is a group relation consultant and has worked on the staff of numerous group relation conferences as well as leadership development programs internationally. She has presented at numerous professional meetings and has a strong interest in family therapy.

Ania M. Jastreboff, M.D., Ph.D.,completed medical school and residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She completed her doctoral work in neuroimaging of obesity and clinical fellowship training in both endocrinology and pediatric endocrinology at Yale University. Now on faculty at Yale, she enthusiastically continues her research utilizing functional MRI examining neural correlates of obesity and relating the observed responses with insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. Today, she will share work which examines neural responses to food cues and stress in obese individuals.

Linda Mayes, M.D., is 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.

Dr Eamon McCrory, Ph.D., is a Reader in Developmental Psychopathology at University College London where he is Co-Director of the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit (www.drru-research.org). His research uses brain imaging and psychological approaches to better understand the mechanisms associated with response to developmental adversity and with resilience. Specifically, his work investigates the impact of maltreatment on children's emotional development and their risk of future mental health and behavioral problems. Dr McCrory is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Anna Freud Centre and has worked for 8 years in different settings with children presenting with severe behavioral problems following maltreatment. He is also Course Director for the UCL MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.

Thomas J. McMahon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine. As a clinician, he is interested in ways the principles of developmental psychopathology can inform the psychological assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and young adults with a history of child abuse or neglect. As a researcher, he is interested in the impact of substance abuse on family process, and he is curious about ways modern evolutionary theory can help explain high-risk production and parenting of children.

David Mintz, M.D., is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Medicine and the Cambridge Hospital/Austen Riggs Center Combined Residency Program.  He completed a Fellowship in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at the Austen Riggs Center, where he remained on staff and serves as a Treatment Team Leader. Dr. Mintz has published and presented widely on psychological aspects of medications, and is also interested in psychodynamic aspects of medical education, professionalism, and approaches to complex, treatment-refractory psychiatric illness.

Cathleen Morey, LICSW, is the Director of Clinical Social Work and a family therapist at the Austen Riggs Center. Ms. Morey coordinates, manages and provides supervision to the Center’s clinical social workers. She has published, presented, and taught on the topics of family therapy, intergenerational family dynamics, enactments of family dynamics, schizophrenia, suicidality, and psychodynamic treatment teams.

Eric M. Plakun, M.D., is Associate Medical Director and Director of Admissions at the Austen Riggs Center, and former Harvard clinical faculty member. Editor of 2 books, including Treatment Resistance and Patient Authority: The Austen Riggs Reader (Norton, 2011), and author of more than forty published papers and book chapters, he has presented over a hundred scientific papers. Dr. Plakun is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, past chair of its Committee on Psychotherapy by Psychiatrists and its Bylaws Committee, and chairs its Psychotherapy Caucus. He is a past member of the APA Assembly Executive Committee, and past chair of the Assembly Task Force on Psychotherapy by Psychiatrists. Dr. Plakun has been honored as the Outstanding Psychiatrist in Clinical Psychiatry by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. He is a leader in organized psychiatry and an advocate for the value of psychotherapy and other psychosocial treatments.

David Reiss, M.D., is currently Clinical Professor in the Yale Child Study Center. Formerly, he was the Director of the Division of Research and the Center for Family Research at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as well as Vivian Gill Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences there. An Erik Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge in 2007-2008, he has published many articles and books investigating the relationship between genetic and psychosocial factors and forming testable models of behavioral development across the life span. Also trained in psychoanalysis, he has been committed to postdoctoral research training in psychiatry and the behavioral sciences.

Jeremy Ridenour, Psy.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychoanalytic Studies Program at the Austen Riggs Center. Dr. Ridenour earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at the George Washington University and received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Texas. Before coming to Austen Riggs, he completed his predoctoral internship at Pathways Community Health in Missouri. His research interests include the psychoanalytic treatment of individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders. He is an active member of The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS-US) and is currently working on The Pathways to Psychosis Project with Dr. Marilyn Charles. He has written and presented on schizophrenia, domestic violence, trauma and personality disorders. 

Helena Rutherford, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at Yale Child Study Center. She is also the Course Tutor for the University College London and Yale University MSc course in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology. Dr Rutherford's research focuses on the neurobiology of parenting, with a specific interest in how addiction impacts parenting.

Hanna Stevens M.D. Ph.D., is a developmental neuroscientist and child psychiatrist at the Yale Child Study Center. She is currently directing a program of research on model systems of early brain development. She is particularly interested in the impact of prenatal genetic and environmental factors on childhood behavioral problems and how early events in brain development relate to the onset of major mental illness, such as depression and schizophrenia, in adolescence and adulthood. The long term goals of her research program are to better understand the etiologies of child and adult mental illnesses and to improve outcomes for pregnant mothers affected by mood and anxiety disorders.

Jennifer Stevens, Ph.D., is the Director of Training for the Erikson Institute at the Austen Riggs Center. She also continues her longstanding position as Associate Editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, the journal of the William Alanson White Institute.  She has held several positions at the Austen Riggs Center; psychotherapist, clinical supervisor of psychotherapy, teaching faculty member, psychotherapy consultant, admissions officer and served as the Chair of External Education for three years.   

Jane Tillman, Ph.D., is the Evelyn Stefansson Neff Director of the Erikson Institute at the Austen Riggs Center. She is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tillman is on the Board of Trustees for the Accreditation Council of Psychoanalytic Education, Inc and serves on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Psychology and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Her primary area of research is the effect of suicide on clinicians and also states of mind preceding a suicide attempt.

Elizabeth Weinberg, M.D., is a staff psychiatrist at the Austen Riggs Center, and is on the faculty of the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute.  Dr. Weinberg has taught and presented on the subjects of self-injury, suicide and borderline personality disorder.