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Donna M. Elmendorf, PhD

Director of Therapeutic Community Program

Donna M. Elmendorf, PhD

Director of Therapeutic Community Program

Education

  • BA from Wellesley College
  • MA in clinical psychology from the University of Denver
  • PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Denver
  • Internship in adult clinical psychology at Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital
  • Two year-long fellowships at Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital in adolescent and family treatment and psychological assessment
Donna Elmendorf, PhD, is the director of the Therapeutic Community Program and the Activities Program at the Austen Riggs Center. Dr. Elmendorf also serves as a psychotherapist and a psychotherapy supervisor in the Center's Adult Psychoanalytic Training Program and Fellowship in Hospital-Based Psychotherapy. She provides group consultation and supervision and leads the Center's consultation service. She also leads the Human Development Initiative, bringing developmentally informed, relationship-based interventions to our local Berkshire community.
Dr. Elmendorf’s work as an organizational and group relations consultant supports her efforts to better understand the social dynamics of psychological disturbance within the Therapeutic Community at Austen Riggs. Prior to coming to Riggs, her experience at the Adolescent and Family Treatment Center at McLean Hospital as well as her work at the counseling center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock deepened her understanding of the developmental transition from adolescence to adulthood.
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. She is working with several colleagues to develop an understanding of how tuning into emotional experience and sharing such experience in relation to the task of a group or organization is an often overlooked and underappreciated aspect of leadership.

Professional Affiliations/Organizational Memberships

  • International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO)
  • Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS)
  • A.K. Rice Institute
  • American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA)

Certifications/Appointments

  • Chair of the Leadership Committee of the American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA)
  • Certified Consultant, A.K. Rice Institute
  • Co-founder and Faculty, Leading from Experience

Awards/Recognitions

  • Anna Freud Educational Achievement Award from the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) (2017)
  • John Leopold Weil and Geraldine Rickard Weil Memorial Charitable Foundation, Inc. grant recipient (2017, 2018, 2019) in support of Human Development Initiative

Research Interests

  • Symptomatic behavior as interpersonal communication, competence and regression in group dynamics, and social cognition in young children.