Infant-Parent Training Institute
Sarah Birss, MD
Dr. Birss is a child and adult psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, with training in developmental pediatrics. Dr. Birss has an interest in early emotional developmental theories, including attachment and psychoanalytic theories, and in applying this interest to clinical work with young children and parents. She has consulted to Early Intervention and to therapeutic preschools. She was co-director with Dr. Epstein of the Infant Mental Health Training Program at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy for four years. Dr. Birss is a clinical instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and is on the faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Birss has a private practice in child and adult psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Cambridge.
Jessica Boyatt, PsyD
Dr. Boyatt is a clinical psychologist with interests in infant mental health, bilingual, bicultural psychological assessment, and the interface between psychological change, attachment theory, and the brain. Her training includes learning about brain behavior relationships at the Brigham and Women’s Behavioral Neurology Group and a postdoctoral fellowship at the JF&CS Infant-Parent Training Institute. In addition to her private practice providing adult and dyadic psychotherapy through a relational psychoanalytic lens, she runs the Latino Assessment Team at the Brenner Center, which provides psychological and neuropsychological assessment to the underserved Latino population in the Boston area.
Ann Epstein, MD
Dr. Epstein has an interest in applying psychodynamic principles to clinical work with parents and young children. She has done research in attachment over the life cycle. She has consulted to Early Intervention programs, preschool programs, and a Pediatric Failure to Thrive Clinic. With Dr. Birss and Ms. Arons, she ran the Infant Mental Health Training Program at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy for five years. Dr. Epstein is a psychoanalyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute; she practices child and adult psychiatry in Cambridge. She has been involved in teaching and supervising residents and fellows at Harvard Medical School for more than fifteen years. Dr. Epstein is a clinical instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW
Ms. Kaufman is the founding director of the Center for Early Relationship Support of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. With a background in perinatal emotional health and the growth and development of parents, her interests include the earliest relationships. Ms. Kaufman is the recipient of multiple awards for her groundbreaking programs and her commitment to increase awareness of postpartum depression and maternal mental health. Ms. Kaufman has extensive experience in training and has taught at Bank Street College, Lesley University, and Wheelock College where she was adjunct faculty for more than 25 years. Clinical practice, consultation, and supervision continue to be a major part of her work and interest.
Kelly Mitchell, PsyD
Dr. Mitchell is a clinical psychologist with an interest in psychodynamic attachment and developmental theories, particularly as they are understood through real relationships. In her clinical practice, she works with children, adolescents, adults, and parent-infant dyads. She has a special interest in working with new and experienced parents as they navigate the complex path of their own individual development while fostering the growth of their children. She is a graduate of the Infant Mental Health Fellowship at the Infant-Parent Training Institute, a program of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Dr. Mitchell is a staff psychologist at Human Relations Service where she works with individuals, couples, and families and supervises clinicians-in-training. Her private practice is located in Wellesley.
Judith Semonoff, LICSW
Ms. Semonoff is a clinical social worker with twenty years of experience in Early Intervention. Ms. Semonoff has served as a clinician and clinical supervisor and has a particular interest in supporting families who have a child with developmental delays or disabilities. Her clinical interests also include providing home-based parent-infant psychotherapy as well as integrating reflective supervision practices for staff from all disciplines that work with vulnerable families. Ms. Semonoff served as the training coordinator for the RI Early Intervention Training Center where she developed the training curriculum for multi-disciplinary staff and clinical supervisors; she has consulted to Early Intervention programs in RI and MA. Ms. Semonoff is a graduate of the Infant Mental Health Fellowship at the Infant-Parent Training Institute, a program of Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
Susan Sklan, MEd, LICSW
Ms. Sklan is a clinical social worker with a background in child development from her years of experience in Early Intervention and overseeing a program for adolescent parents. She is a graduate of the Infant Mental Health Fellowship program at Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. Her practice and interests include therapeutic supports for the parent-infant and parent-child relationship, home visit based psychotherapy, consultation to early childhood programs, and the provision of clinical services to under-served populations. She is currently the clinical director of the Parents Program of the Newton Community Service Center and she has a private practice.
Eda Spielman, PsyD
Dr. Spielman is the clinical director of the Center for Early Relationship Support of JF&CS. She holds a certificate in Infant Mental Health and came to JF&CS to develop Early Connections, a program of home-based mother-baby psychotherapy for dyads facing early relationship challenges. She is currently involved in a federally funded project at CERS developing an adaptation of the evidence-based practice of child-parent psychotherapy to support trauma-exposed mothers and their young children in residential treatment for substance use recovery. She taught a clinical integrative seminar at MSPP for many years; has served as a consultant to Early Intervention, Early Head Start, and Healthy Families; and is in private practice in Newton with a specialty in issues of pregnancy and parenting.
Sarah Torrey, LICSW
Ms. Torrey is a clinical social worker currently in private practice in Providence, Rhode Island with more than 25 years of experience working with children, families, and adults. She has an interest in perinatal women’s health, infant mental health, and attachment theory across the life span. She does dyadic work with new mothers and their babies, sees toddlers and young children with their families, and works with adopted children of all ages with a range of attachment difficulties. Her adult work pays particular attention to the complexities of parenting and family life. Ms. Torrey is a graduate of the Infant Mental Health Fellowship at the Infant-Parent Training Institute of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. In the past she has worked providing intensive home-based treatment for families, in a therapeutic preschool setting, in Early Intervention, and on intensive reunification work with parents whose infants and young children are in state care. Her interests include infant observation, supervision, play therapy, and attachment based relational work.
Judith Arons, LICSW (1947-2014)
The Infant-Parent Training Institute remembers Judith Arons, a founding faculty member of IPTI, who died in November 2014. Ms. Arons was a gifted clinician, teacher, supervisor, and writer. Over fifteen years she was involved with every aspect of IPTI- as curriculum coordinator, teacher of several courses, and supervisor of IPTI fellows. She also completed a video project with Ann Epstein observing a mother and new baby for the first year and a half of the baby’s life. From the footage, they distilled video vignettes demonstrating the development of early intersubjectivity -- how parents and babies come to know each other, feel secure, handle frustration, and share delight. Judith’s presence captured in this film project will continue to inspire faculty and fellows at IPTI for years to come.
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