Challenges of Working With Kids in the 21st Century: Special Topics in Child & Adolescent Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

New Program Starting January 2020

Overview of the Program:

The William Alanson White Institute is offering a unique program for clinicians of all levels of experience, starting in January 2020.  Today’s children and adolescents are growing up in a challenging and complicated world.  Clinicians’ awareness of the changing cultural climate while treating this population is pivotal. This year’s program focuses on contemporary clinical topics while working with children and adolescents within an Interpersonal and Relational framework.   Each month different faculty members will present on a current clinical topic, illustrated with case material. This program is designed to expand and deepen participants’ clinical skills and intellectual understanding of psychodynamic psychotherapy of children and adolescents within our changing world.

Tuition: $700,

Early Registration: $600

Students and Candidates: $500

Returning Participants: $500


Where: William Alanson White Institute (Room 1A)

20 West 74th Street

New York, NY 10024


When: 7:00 – 8:30pm

One Monday of each month for ten months (January 2020 – December 2020)

2020 January 13, February 10, March 9, April 6, May 11, June 15,

September 14, October 19, November 9, December 7.

Participants: Psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, creative art therapists, marriage and family counselors, and nurse practioners.

Instructors: Faculty and Supervisors of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program (CAPTP) from The William Alanson White Institute.

Continuing Education Credits: 15


Register Here

For more information contact Richard Herman, Director of Administration



Class 1        January 13, 2020

Modes of Therapeutic Action: Reflecting on what we do that actually fosters learning and change in child psychotherapy.

Instructor:  Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., ABPP

This class will focus on understanding what we do that helps in our clinical work with children and their families. Different models of therapeutic action will be presented. Most importantly, this class will be an opportunity for you to reflect on what is clear and not about your own understandings shape your practice in your learning and working with children and their families.

Learning Objectives:

1.  To consider what is clear and not to you about what fosters helpful change in your child psychotherapeutic work?’

2.  To learn about and consider a range of past understandings about therapeutic action in our work with children and their families.

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., ABPP is a practicing child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist.  He is an Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Education, Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the author of many papers and books including: The Psychoanalytic Study of Lives over Time: Clinical and Research Perspectives on Children Who Return to Treatment as Adults (Academic Press 1999) and most recently, Feeling Safe in School: Bullying and Violence Prevention Around the World (Harvard Educational Press, 2020).

Class 2      February 10, 2020

Uses of Internet and Screen in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Instructor:  Daniel Gensler, Ph.D.

More and more therapists of children and adolescents are using screens in therapy to access video games (Minecraft, Fortnite), YouTube and dozens of Apps on the internet. Play has always been part of child therapy; how is screen use the same or different? Where is there new value in this, and where might it break the frame of therapy in unfortunate ways? How do child therapists differ on these questions? How do therapists feel about screen use in therapy? Screens are here to stay in the lives of children and adolescents, but how should we use them or limit them in therapy? We will examine these questions with many clinical examples and theories of play therapy.

Learning Objectives:

1.  To learn pros and cons to screen use in child and adolescent therapy

2.  To Identify countertransference responses to screen use in therapy.

3.  To understand productive and defensive uses of screen in therapy in relationship to the use of play in therapy.

Daniel Gensler, Ph.D. is Director of Training and of the Externship at the Child Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program at the William Alanson White Institute as well as training and supervising analyst at White. He is co-author of Relational Child Psychotherapy (2002) and has published many articles and chapters in the professional literature.  He is a clinical psychologist in private practice doing psychotherapy, supervision, and psychoeducational evaluations in Manhattan and Great Neck, NY.

Class 3        March 9, 2020

The Importance of the Sibling Relationship:  Developmental and Psychodynamic Aspects

Instructor:  Stacey Nathan-Virga, Ph.D.

This class will explore how psychoanalytic theory has emphasized the significance of the parent-child bond while neglecting the powerful emotional bonds among brothers and sisters.  We will examine how our relationships with our siblings help to structure our internal psychic world and the importance of listening for sibling themes in psychodynamic therapy with children and adolescents.    Various sibling topics will be examined such as the birth of a sibling, incest, aggression, the replacement child and others. Furthermore we explore Juliet Mitchell’s theory of sibling relationships.

Learning Objectives:

1.  Participants will be able to expand their listening in psychotherapy to sibling themes.

2.  Participants will be aware of the various ways siblings impact a child’s development and  their internal psychic world.

Stacey Nathan-Virga, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.  She is a graduate of Division I and the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program at the William Alanson White Institute.  She is a supervisor, faculty member and the Director of Special Programs of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program. She is in private practice in New York City and Westchester, NY, treating adults, adolescents and children.

Class 4        April 6, 2020

The Secret Lives of Children and Adolescents:  Restricting, Purging, Binging and Overexersizing.

Instructor:  Annalee Sweet, LCSW, CGP

This class will explore the emergence of eating disorder behaviors in adolescence, including bingeing, purging, restricting and overexercising. We will examine how adolescents may utilize these behaviors to cope with developmental and interpersonal challenges, and how we as clinicians can approach and prevent incipient eating disorders.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will learn to diagnose and distinguish eating disorders from more general adolescent turmoil

  2. Students will become familiar with the fundamental conceptual frameworks and techniques for treating adolescents who are exhibiting eating disorder behaviors

Annalee Sweet, LCSW, CGP, is a licensed clinical social worker and a certified group psychotherapist. She is a graduate of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program and the Couples Therapy Training Program at the William Alanson White Institute. She has worked at all levels of care in eating disorder treatment in Boston and New York City. She is in private practice in Greenwich Village, where she provides group, family, couples and individual therapy to adolescents and adults, primarily to those with eating and body image issues.


Class 5        May 11, 2020

Parenting in the Digital Age

Instructor:  Tammy Kaminer, Ph.D.

Today’s children are learning about the world both through direct contact and through screens. Digitally mediated environments have become a part of children’s lives from early childhood through adolescence. Children are offered apps that teach them to read and YouTube videos that teach them to do algebra, make slime, and improve their Minecraft skills. They can connect to groups of peers instantaneously and can communicate with one another through text, photos, and video games.

This new digitally mediated context has created a new challenge for parents. How are parents to monitor and set limits in these new digital realms that didn’t exist when we were children? The parenting guidelines around healthy participation in the digital world remain unclear. We will examine parenting challenges that emerge around digital technology use and will use developmental theory to define ways that parents can help children navigate these new digital realms.

Learning Objectives:

1.  To consider screen use at different ages from a developmental perspective. What are the challenges and tasks at different ages and how do different types of screen use contribute or detract from a child’s growth?

2.  To be able to help parents move from a reactive, anxiety-driven response to their children’s screen life to a reflective response that takes into account developmental levels.

3.  To learn about resources that guide parents in teaching children to be responsible participants in a digital world.

Tammy Kaminer, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice on the upper west side. Her clinical, teaching, and research background is in the areas of developmental delays, mother-child interaction, and attachment.

Class 6      June 15, 2020

Growing Up in Two Homes: Creating a Safe Space for a Child or Adolescent to Grow in the Context of Divorce

Instructor:  Lisa Dubinsky, Psy.D.

This class will focus on the role of the therapist working with the parents and child.  We will discuss the conceptual and practical aspects of the parent work.  This includes helping parents to empathize with their child's experience, to make developmentally sound decisions, and to choose appropriate language to prepare and explain the process of separation and divorce.  We will also discuss how divorce affects children at different ages, and therapeutic interventions including play, art, writing and, of course, talk therapy.

Learning Objectives

1.  Participants will learn how to assess the developmental/emotional needs of children at different ages within the context of separation/divorce.

2.  Participants will learn ways to help parents adequately empathize with their child's needs and work in tandem.

3.  Participants will learn useful and practical suggestions/strategies for parents.

Summer Break – no class July or August

Class 7        September 14, 2020

How To Be A Better Child Therapist: Ten Principles of Therapeutic Change

Instructor:  Kenneth Barish, Ph.D.

Most children referred for therapy present complex problems that require a multi-faceted approach to treatment. In this class, I will present an integrative theory of pathological development in childhood and an inclusive model of therapeutic change, based on a contemporary understanding of children’s emotions and emotional needs.  I will identify 10 principles that organize our therapeutic efforts and discuss several core problems of clinical work with children: How can we engage more children in treatment? How do children learn to regulate their emotions?  How can we combat a child’s discouragement and self-doubt?

Effective therapies for children and adolescents arrest malignant emotional processes, especially vicious cycles of painful emotions and pathogenic family interactions.  Our most successful interventions then set in motion positive cycles of healthy emotional and interpersonal experiences – increased confidence and engagement in life and more affirming interactions between parents and children.  Over time, successful therapy strengthens in children and adolescents a more encouraging, less critical inner voice and, perhaps most profoundly, more positive expectation for their future - a new sense of what is possible in their lives.


Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to describe the role of vicious cycles in the development of child and adolescent psychological disorders.

2. Participants will be able to identify 10 therapeutic principles of effective child and adolescent psychotherapy.

Kenneth Barish, Ph.D. is Clinical Professor of Psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College.  He is also on the faculty of the William Alanson White Institute Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program and the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.  Ken is the author of How to Be a Better Child Therapist: An Integrative Model for Therapeutic Change(W.W. Norton, 2018) and Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child’s Emotions and Solving Family Problems (Oxford University Press, 2012).  Pride and Joy is winner of the 2013 International Book Award (Parenting and Family) and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award (Home Category).  In addition to his teaching and clinical practice, Ken plays jazz trumpet.

Class 8        October 19, 2020

Searching for Safety, Emotional Expression, and a Self: Multiple Meanings of Cutting and Self Harm

Instructor:  Joseph Mikulka, LCSW-R

This class will briefly define the difference between non-suicidal self-injury and self-injury with the intent to die. From there, participants with explore the many meanings of cutting and self-injury, how children and adolescents use self-injury to express internal states of self and communicate about relationships, and how therapists can work interpersonally to help children and adolescents express these states in words rather than action.  Finally, the class will explore therapist reactions to non-suicidal self-harm behaviors and how to use these reactions to benefit treatment.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participates will be able to define and differentiate non-suicidal self-harm and self-harm with intent to die.

2. Participates will be understand how self-harm is an experience of emotional communication through the body and how to help children and adolescent develop language to for these states rather than put them in to action.

3.  Participates will learn to use their countertransference to self-harm to guide treatment decisions.

Joseph Mikulka, LCSW-R, social worker and psychotherapist, is a graduate of Hunter College School of Social Work and the William Alanson White Institute Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program (CAPTP).   He has written on adolescent identity issues and the effects on war and conflict on learning and development. He is currently in private practice in New York City.

Class 9        November 9, 2020

Helicopters, Lawnmowers, Tigers, and Free-Rangers: Working with Difficult Parents

Instructor:  Matthew Frankel, Ph.D., LCSW

As the title of the class suggests, we will explore challenges to working with parents whose involvement in their child’s treatment operate under differing contemporary philosophies and/or cultural pathologies of parenting. Psychoanalytic concepts will guide our assessment of parenting styles and engagement with difficult parents.

Matthew Frankel, Ph.D., LCSW is a staff psychotherapist at the outpatient mental health clinic of the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, as well as works in private practice in Forest Hill, Queens. He holds a doctorate in English Language and Literature from Northwestern University, an MSSW from Columbia University, and has completed IPPP, EDCAS, and CAPTP at the White Institute.

Learning Objectives

1. Students will be able to critically identify dominant parenting typologies in contemporary culture.

2.  Students will be able to expand their repertoire of strategies for working with parents overly and/or barley involved in their child’s therapy.

3.  Students will be able to more fully describe ways of helping parents develop increasingly flexible approaches to parenting their unique child.

Class 10    December 7, 2020

Aloneness and Connectedness: The Power of Recognition in Relationships and Psychotherapy

Instructor:  Susan Warshaw, Ed.D., ABPP

Being “left out” in middle school, not being one of the “popular” kids, and the terror of not belonging in adolescence and adulthood, are among the most painful concerns reported by many who enter psychotherapy.   Experiences that one does not belong, lack of emotional recognition in important relationships and loss of status and emotional isolation from groups often underlie many symptomatic behaviors at all stages of development.

We will begin by differentiating a healthy need for aloneness and distinct separateness, from more painful manifestations of loneliness and social isolation, with an emphasis on its manifestations in childhood and adolescence.  We will consider ways in which a healthy capacity to be alone is developed, in the context of secure attachment relationships and explore the qualities of relational experiences which enable children, adolescents and adults to enjoy their own distinctiveness and engage collaboratively in mutually recognizing relationships.  We will discuss the construct of mentalization, how one develops healthy mentalization ability and its role in significant relationships throughout the lifespan. Furthermore we will explore the importance of attunement to these issues and ways to work with them within the therapeutic relationship.

Learning Objectives

1.  The participant will develop an awareness of the interpersonal factors that facilitate the development of a healthy capacity to be alone.

2.  The participant will develop a heightened sensitivity to symptoms of social isolation and serious loneliness in childhood and adolescence.

3.  Participants will become familiar with the construct of mentalization, and the interpersonal factors which facilitate its development, within relationships and in psychotherapy

Susan Warshaw, Ed.D., ABPP is faculty and supervisor in the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program at the William Alanson White Institute, and an Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society.  She is Clinical Associate Professor and Supervisor in the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and is the Editor In Chief of the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy.  Dr. Warshaw holds a diplomate in psychoanalysis from the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis in Psychology.  She is in private practice in NYC.