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Masterclass Speakers

Astrid Berg

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Astrid Berg is a Psychiatrist, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist as well as a Jungian Analyst. She is an Emerita A/Professor at the University of Cape Town and A/Professor Extraordinary at the Stellenbosch University. She consults and teaches at the Parent-Infant Mental Health Services and is co-convenor of the newly established M Phil degree in Infant Mental Health at Stellenbosch University. She is on the Executive Committee of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.

Psychological trauma and deprivation reverberates through the generations within families and communities. While trauma overwhelms the psyche leading to splitting, deprivation leaves gaps that need to be filled. Through reflection links could be made to the origins of the psychic splits and gaps which in turn would prevent their unconscious transmission to the next generation. How to find a way to do this in multicultural spaces is a challenge – examples from work in communities in South Africa will be presented.


Hiram Fitzgerald

Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

Hiram E. Fitzgerald (Ph.D. University of Denver) is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. Fitzgerald is past president and executive director of both the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health and the International Association for Infant Mental Health, and executive director of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. He was associated with the National Evaluation of Early Head Start, and Michigan Longitudinal Study of Family Risk for Alcoholism. Currently, he is a member of the Training Research Center for Tribal Early Childhood, the Native Children’s Research Exchange, the advisory boards for the University of Nebraska Buffett Early Childhood Institute, the Oklahoma State University Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Adversity, and the Rocky Mountain Prevention Center. He is past editor of the Infant Mental Health Journal, associate editor of Child Development, and Perspectives on Infant Mental Health. Currently he is associate editor of Adversity and Resilience Science. He is a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science, and the American Psychological Association. He is a recipient of the Zero to Three Dolley Madison Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to the Development and Well-Being of Very Young Children.

We will examine the Risk-Resilience framework within the context of relational developmental systems perspectives on the early origins of risk in boys. At least 8 components of emergent systems [genomics, epigenetics, neurobiology, neuroendocrinology,behavior (sensory-perceptual, emotional, social, cognitive), mental (theory of mind, mental representations), culture (of place, space, spirituality); natural and build environments) influence the organization of development from conception onward. We will explore evidence suggesting that boys are more vulnerable than are girls to early life-course stress. We will also examine resilience factors within each domain and discuss the risk-resilience continuum with respect to etiology of adverse childhood experiences and resilience.


Miri Keren, M.D

Geha Mental Health Center, Director of Infant Mental Health Unit and of the Child and Adolescent Division. Assistant Clinical Professor Tel Aviv University Medical School.

Born in Paris, France, immigrated to Israel in 1970, graduated in medicine at the Ben Gourion Medical school (1975-1981). After my residency in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and certification of the School of Psychotherapy at the Tel Aviv University Sackler Medical School, I spent two years at Brown University (USA) for a fellowship in Infant Psychiatry (1993-1995). Since 1996, I am the director of the community-based infant mental health unit, affiliated to Geha Mental Health Center in Petah-Tiqwa, which was the first Community Infant Psychiatry Unit.From 1996 to 2006, I supervised the Israeli national project of preschool mental health units implementation, under joint sponsorship of the Ministry of Health and Sacta-Rashi Foundation. I served as the President of the World Association of Infant Mental Health (2012-2016) and I am currently on the Board as Past President and Honorary President of the Israel WAIMH Affiliate. My academic position is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department, Tel-Aviv Sackler Medical School, Head of the Infant Psychiatry Post Graduate course, Tel-Aviv Sackler Medical School, International Advisor on the Editorial board of the Infant Mental Health Journal and Member of the Diagnostic Classification for Early Childhood Revision International Task Force. I teach as a Visiting Professor at Valencia (Spain) University, International early childhood psychology program, sponsored by AEPEA. I am also involved in joint Israeli-Palestinian professional projects.

The concept of motherhood constellation has become the theoretical framework of mother-infant psychotherapies. Many clinics tend to treat mostly mothers and infants, in spite of the fact that the role of the father in the psychic life of the child has been an important focus of research in the last two decades. Indeed, it turned out that new fathers develop a primary paternal preoccupation as well as new mothers do. Consequently, in a two-parent family, the intrapsychic changes that the new mother goes through with intrapsychic changes the new father goes through as well. The nature of this "encounter" will determine the characteristics of the co-parenting, that is the extent of solidarity and mutual support that the parents convey to the infant in the triadic interaction. In his/her interactions with each parent, the infant thus experiences the motherhood constellation and the fatherhood constellation. Triadic psychotherapy is aimed at improving the co-parenting alliance, and the observed interactions often reflect the internalized mental representation of each parent's own co-parenting experiences he/she has lived in their childhood, or what I would call the Co-Parenthood Constellation. We will review the commonalities and differences between dyadic and triadic psychotherapies, and we will end with a clinical vignette.