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Infant-Parent Training Institute


Faculty Publications

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 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 is a founding faculty member of IPTI and has taught in the field of Infant Mental Health for almost twenty years. Dr. Epstein is a psychoanalyst and faculty member 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 since 1988. Dr. Epstein is a Lecturer, part time, 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.

Caroline Phillips, BSc, MPhil, DClinPsy

Dr. Phillips trained as a clinical psychologist in the UK and specialized in working with young children impacted by neurodevelopmental disabilities. She has particular interests in child development, parental and infant mental health, attachment theory, and the impact of trauma on the parent-child relationship. Dr. Phillips has specialist training in autism assessment and diagnosis. She completed the Parent-Infant Psychotherapy training program at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Columbia University, NY; and co-led an attachment-based group intervention for underserved families in the Bronx. Currently, she works as a clinician in Project NESST® at the Center for Early Relationship Support®, where she provides attachment-centered, trauma-informed, dyadic therapy for mothers with substance use disorders and their infants.

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 directing 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, mental health classroom consultation to early childhood programs, the provision of clinical services to under-served and at risk populations and on the macro-level, the development of collaborative networks of providers to strengthen supports for at risk families with infants and young children. She is currently the Program Director of Family ACCESS Counseling and Consultation Services. She teaches and provides supervision and consultation to other programs in the area.

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.

Aditi Subramaniam, LMHC, R-DMT, CEIS

Ms. Subramaniam is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor & Registered Movement Psychotherapist with more than fifteen years of experience working with children and families, in India and Boston. Her areas of interest include infant and early childhood mental health; perinatal mental health; community and family-focused initiatives that are integrated with social justice principles; workforce education/community building; trauma-informed care; and the integration of the expressive arts in psychotherapy in working with families and systems. She works at MSPCC, leading a partnership between MSPCC and the MA Association for Infant Mental Health which is focused on enhancing and supporting the infant mental health workforce to improve access to services for children age birth - 5 and their families. She is also a national trainer at the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children's Hospital, for the Newborn Behavior Observation. Ms. Subramaniam is a graduate of the Infant Observation Course at the Infant-Parent Training Institute of Jewish Family & Children’s Service and a graduate of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Fellowship Program at UMass Boston. 

In Memoriam

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.


Bill Beardslee, MD
Academic Chairman, Department of Psychiatry
Children’s Hospital

Betsy McAlister Groves, LICSW

Program Director
Child Witness to Violence Project, Boston Medical Center

Karlen Lyons-Ruth, PhD
Director, Center for Bio-behavioral Family Studies, Cambridge Health Alliance
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Linda Mayes, MD
Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology, Yale Child Study Center, Chairman of Directorial Team of Anna Freud Centre, London

Stephen Seligman, DMH
Infant-Parent Program, University of California, San Francisco

Arietta Slade, PhD
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, City University of New York
Yale Child Study Center

Barry Zuckerman, MD
Chief of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center

For more information,contact us at ipti@jfcsboston.org or 781-693-5652.
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