Since childhood, I’ve been interested in factors that shape infants and children into adults and parents. As director of Stress, Trauma, and Resilience Service at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, I help children and their parents understand and overcome the frightening and sad hurdles that life throws at them.
Early development, beginning before birth and continuing to age 5, is a vast and busy time of plasticity and potential—a precious time that sets the stage for the rest of a person’s life. When a parent or child experiences trauma, it has the potential to affect the child’s mental and physical health during this critical period of growth.
I work with people of all ages who have stress-related, anxiety, and mood disorders, though I specialize in parent–infant relationships and early childhood mental health. I aim to improve the application of existing evidence-based assessments and interventions for stress-related disorders, and develop new evidence-based interventions to help families with infants and young children.
My research complements my clinical work—I examine the psychobiological effects of parental violence-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the parent–infant relationship. In particular, I focus on how it impacts the early sensitive periods of child social–emotional development, and subsequent child developmental psychopathology.
Because many mental health problems originate in infancy and early childhood, my goal is to help infants and very young children grow into happy, healthy, and successful individuals. This often involves helping parents to determine what is stressful for them and their children, reduce that stress, and understand their child’s developmental needs.
My teams and I consider our patients as individuals, each with his or her own rich and complex story that we seek to understand and help them communicate. In addition to reducing and relieving stress, suffering, and impairment, we help our patients develop coping skills and make better sense of themselves and their closest relationships. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for mental health. Responsible clinical practice demands that we ask what works best for each person and understand the benefits and limitations of existing interventions so that we can use the best of what we know to work and, through research, help people even more in the future.
I am honored that my work has earned me the respect of many of my colleagues: I am a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Psychiatric Association. I am a three-time recipient of the AACAP Norbert and Charlotte Rieger Psychotherapy Award and the International Psychoanalytical Association Research Award. I am also a recipient of the Pierre Janet Scientific Paper Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.
Conditions and Treatments
- Barakett Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Director, Stress, Trauma and Resilience, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology - Psychiatry, 2017
Education and Training
- Fellowship, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Psychoanalysis, 2003
- Fellowship, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Psychosomatic Med, 2002
- Fellowship, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Child & Adol. Psych., 1999
- Residency, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Psychiatry, 1996
- MD from Columbia University, 1991
Locations and Appointments
- United Health Care Options PPO (NYU Langone Health Employees)
- United Healthcare Choice (NYU Langone Health Employees)
Research My Research
PTSD, Dissociation, Parenting, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Interpersonal Violence, Developmental Neuroscience, Stress Physiology, Emotion Regulation, Intergenerational transmission of trauma and violence, Attachment, Parent-infant interactions, Mentalization, Psychotherapy
Research in developmental disabilities. 2018 Nov 15; 82:67-78
Frontiers in psychiatry. 2018 Aug 07; 9:358-358
PLoS one. 2017 Aug 2; 12(8):e0181066-e0181066