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Finding Your Way to the Heart of the Matter:  Why Infant and Young child Observation Changes You And Rachets Up Your Clinical Skills

Saturday, May 20th,  9.00 am—12.30 pm

We are making Bold Claims and offering Remarkable Outcomes.

Come see for yourself !  Two workshops are planned to provide opportunities to find out about this up-close and personal way of learning about development, countertransference and paying close attention to primitive anxieties and to what is going on in front of our eyes.  AND, each workshop makes a bridge from observation to clinical practice across populations and age groups.  There will be plenty of time for participants to join in the discussions.  Students and graduates of the program will be on hand to share their experiences of the impact of our program on their clinical work.

In our program we believe that showing (personal and emotional experience), rather than telling (lectures and read) deepens learning and clinical skills.  The workshops described below provide an introduction to the hows and whys of infant and young child observation, keeping the links to clinical practice front and center.  Case examples will make plain the direct relevance of observational skills to clinical work.

Workshop One: Infant Observation

Nydia Lisman-Pieczanski, MD and Maria Filipe Martins Lima

Infant observation helps up to open our minds to simply taking in what is going on without expectation; to engage with curiosity and a reflective mind while trying to stay connected to both the internal and external reality of the dyadic relationship we are observing. Vignettes from an adult psychotherapy case will be presented to show how skills developed through infant and young child observation gives a first hand experience of the predominant system of communication we encounter with disturbed adult patients. 


Workshop Two: Young Child Observation     

Elizabeth Hersh, MD, Silvana Starowlanky-Kaufman, MSW and Nina Van Sant

The beauty of watching a child closely is that, while we as adults try to disguise or stifle feelings of exclusion, jealousy, or omnipotence versus powerlessness, or get anxious about separations, the nursery age child acts them out in vivid colors through their drawings, play, verbal outbursts, clinging behavior, and other myriad ways of displaying his internal world.  In this workshop we will be demonstrating these issues played out in an observation of a young child observation, taking special note of the complex feelings that arise in the observer.  Vignettes from psychotherapy of an adult patient will be presented showing how these same issues are played out in virtually every therapy session with adults.


Participants will be able to:

1.  Describe infant and young child observation;
2.  Discuss how observing babies and young children deepens capacities to   identify  countertransference in clinical work;
3.   Illustrate an example of nonverbal communication in clinical work.     


Nydia Lisman-Pieczanski, MD, LPC is The Founding Chair of the two year Infant and Young Child Observation Program (Tavistock Model) at the Washington School of Psychiatry, and the pioneering Founder of the Infant and Young Child Observation Program in Bejing, China.  She has published papers in International forums and has been a reviewer of books and papers for the American Journal of Psychoanalysis and the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.  She is the Co-Editor with Alberto Pieczanski, MD of “The Pioneers of Psychoanalysis in South America, Routledge, 2015.  She is in Private Practice in Washington, DC

Elizabeth Hersh, MD is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in the Dupont Circle area.  She is on the faculties of the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and a Core Faculty of the Infant and Young Child Observation Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry.

Silvana Starowlanky-Kaufmam, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who is also trained as a psychoanalyst.  She is Core Faculty of the Infant and Young Child Observation Program at the Washington School of Psychatry She is also in private practice in Washington, DC where she sees children, adolescents and adults.

Maria Felipe Lima is a 2017 graduating student of the Infant and Young Child Observation Program.  She has a M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology from her native country, Portugal, and is currently completing her George Washington University.  Her doctoral paper explored the impact of psychoanalytic infant observations promotes the expansion of fundamental psychoanalytic skills.  Her clinical work has been with children, adults and the elderly.

Nina Van Sant is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who currently facilitates group psychotherapy at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.  She is a 2017 graduating student of the Infant and Young Child Observation Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry and is also a graduate of WSP’s National Group Psychotherapy Institute.





Cancellations and Refunds

Refunds will be made for cancellations received at the School office in writing at least 10 days before the seminar date and are subject to a non-refundable administrative fee of $50.

Who should attend?

The workshop is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, physicians, medical students, and other graduate students.


The Washington School of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Washington School of Psychiatry maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The School is approved by the Social Work Board of the State of Maryland as a provider of continuing education for social workers in DC, MD, VA and WV.

The Washington School of Psychiatry has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6388. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Washington School of Psychiatry is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

The School is accredited by MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School designates each session for a maximum of _ of AMA PRA Category I Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product.