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About Claudia M. Gold, MD

Claudia M. Gold, MD As child growing up in New York City, I saw my mother's young clients come and go in her home-based psychology practice. When, as a high school student, I had the good fortune to work with the late psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Paulina Kernberg, I decided to go to medical school. While at first I wanted to be a psychiatrist, I saw how as a pediatrician I would be involved in the lives of children and families from the start, and changed paths.

But while I was well educated, including a fellowship in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, it was not until after practicing pediatrics for many years in a range of settings, when I “discovered” D.W. Winnicott and Peter Fonagy in my studies as a scholar with the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute (BPI) that I finally felt I had the tools and knowledge needed to actually help my patients.

At around this time, when swim practice, theater and dance performances of my two then school age children led me to want to be home and available to them, I stopped doing general pediatrics and began to do exclusively behavioral pediatrics, which offered a more flexible schedule. I was also able to devote more time to study and writing.

My studies with BPI led me to the growing field of infant mental health. My personal discoveries occurred in parallel with the explosion in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children, along with exponential rise in treatment of young children with psychiatric medication, including atypical antipsychotics.

I became aware of and distraught by the enormous gulf between the wealth of ideas generated in contemporary developmental science and the realities of mental health care for young children. The research I was learning about offered a completely different model for understanding and treating the problems of these children and families from the model offered by the pharmaceutical industry and many in the field of child psychiatry.

It was not uncommon for parents to bring an 18-month-old child to see me with the question “Does he have bipolar disorder?” I was seeing hundreds of kids, often sent by the school, for “ADHD evaluation.” In fact their stories were so much more complex, yet there was a high expectation on the part of parents, teachers and other physicians that these children would simply be treated with medication. This experience led me to write my first book, Keeping Your Child in Mind.

 

Next, an opportunity to develop a new program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital within the division of child psychiatry, a program I named the “Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Program,” gave me a range of important experiences. The program was successful from the start. I was referred many very young children and their families by the community pediatricians who may have had interest but did not have time or knowledge to address the problems in depth. But changes in leadership and the realities of a division facing huge waiting lists for older children got in the way. I was given an inside view of the obstacles to providing this preventive model of care.

While that story was unfolding, the ideas for my new book The Silenced Child were growing after first being inspired by a personal experience. In the spring of 2012 my then 88-year-old father spoke to my son’s eighth grade class following its visit to the Holocaust museum. In that one hour, when he did not even pause for a drink of water, I heard more about his experience growing up under the rise of Hitler and subsequent escape to the US, leaving his parents behind, then I had in my whole life. I suggested we write a book together. But the cracking in his voice when he tried to say more, followed by his assertions that he didn’t have time, led me to see that he could say little more than he had on that visit to the school. So I set out to tell his story through mine.

In my practice I was increasingly recognizing how parents and children had meaningful moments of connection when they moved through periods of grieving unmourned loss, and how in the wake of these moments “problem behaviors” often evaporated. When my editor asked me what led to these transformative moments and I replied “space and time for listening.” A new book was born.

My current work focuses on writing, teaching, and practice of early childhood mental health. I write regularly for my blog Child in Mind and Psychology Today. I am on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, William James College, and the Austen Riggs Center. I am in the process of developing a new community-based infant-parent mental health program under the sponsorship of the Austen Riggs Center as part of its new Human Development Program.

Curriculum Vitae

Education
UMass Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health
Post-Graduate Certificate Program

Yale Child Study Center/Anna Freud Centre
Psychoanalytic Research Training Program

Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute
Scholar’s Program
Advanced Scholar’s Program

Fellowship: Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Worcester, MA

Residency: General Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, NY

Medical School: University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

College: University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

Professional Experience

Infant-parent mental health specialist
Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires
January 2017-present

Consultant in Human Development,
Austen Riggs Center
March 2016-present

Writer
2008-present

Advisory Board, Sackler Infant-Parent Project,
Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
February 2016- present

Affiliate Faculty
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Infant-Parent Mental Health Program
January 2016-present

Affiliate Faculty
William James College
January 2016-present

Faculty, Austen Riggs Center
Stockbridge, MA
June 2013- present

Faculty, Brazelton Institute
Boston, MA. May 2012-present

Faculty, Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute
June 2012-present

Director, Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Program
Newton-Wellesley Hospital
2014 Washington Street, Newton, MA
November 2011-March 2015

Behavioral Pediatrician
Community Health Programs of the Berkshires
444 Stockbridge Rd
Great Barrington, MA
July 2010-June 2012

Behavioral Pediatrician
Macony Pediatrics
491 S. Main Street/100 Maple Avenue
Great Barrington, MA
January 2007- June 2010

Behavioral Pediatrician
491 South Main Street
Great Barrington, MA
April 2006-December 2006

General Pediatrician
Fairview Hospital
Great Barrington, MA
April 2006-December 2006

General and Behavioral Pediatrician
Macony Pediatrics
Great Barrington, MA
July 2000-March 2006

Attending in General and Behavioral Pediatrics
Winthrop University Hospital
Mineola, NY
June 1993-March 2000

Instructor in Pediatrics
SUNY Stonybrook Medical School
June 1993-March 2000

Director, Winthrop Parenting Center
Rockville Centre, NY
September 1998- March 2000

Attending in Pediatrics
Jamaica Hospital, New York, NY
Jan-April 1993

Attending in Pediatrics
Massachusetts General Hospital/
Revere Community Health Center
July 1991-November 1992

Instructor in Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
September 1991-November 1992

Memberships
American Academy of Pediatrics

Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

American Psychoanalytic Association

Board Certified, American Board of Pediatrics, 1990, Recertified 1997, 2004, 2011

Board Member, Margaret Mahler Foundation

Board Member, Massachusetts Association of Infant Mental Health


Publications

The Developmental Science of Early Childhood: Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts from Infancy Through Adolescence W.W, Norton and Co (February 2017)

The Silenced Child: From Labels, Medications, and Quick Fix Solutions to Listening, Growth,and Lifelong Resilience
A Merloyd Lawrence Book Da Capo Press ( May 2016)

Child Protection and Infant Mental Health: An Essential Partnership
West Virginia Law Review Volume 115 Spring 2013

Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World Through Your Child’s Eyes
A Merloyd Lawrence Book Da Capo Press August 2011

“Contemporary Attachment Theory Offers New Paradigm for Behavioral Pediatrics”(2008) Behavioral Developments 13(1)

A Scholar’s Quest to Integrate Two Disciplines (2006) The American Psychoanalyst 40(3)

Multiple Op Eds The Boston Globe

Presentations
“Applying Developmental Research in Infants to Psychotherapeutic Work With Children and Adolescents”
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting October 2016

“Autism in Infancy? Creating a Transitional Space Between Reassurance and Disorder”
Margaret Mahler Foundation/ Sackler-Lefcourt Center for Child Development February 20, 2016

“Seeing the World Through Your Child’s Eyes: Supporting Healthy Emotional Development”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology WorkLife Center May 20, 2015

“Are You My Mother? A Psychoanalytic Search for the Maternal”
Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute Austen Riggs Center May 9, 2015

“Emotional and Behavioral Challenges in Children: Working Toward a New Model of Preventive Mental Health Care”
Paul A. Dewald Lecture St Louis Psychoanalytic Institute October 2013

“Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Shifting From Diagnosis to Meaningful Narrative” May 2013
2nd Annual Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation Conference Montclair State University: The Magic in Moments: Patterns of Early Relationships that Create Resilient Individuals and Peaceful Societies

“Is “ADHD” an Artificial Construct?” April 2013
Maternal Child Health Commission Forum on ADHD Springfield, MA

“Development of the Parent: The Child’s Contribution” November 2012 Interdisciplinary Council on Learning and Development Annual Conference; The Power of Affect: Developing Human Potential Through DIRFloortime, Self-Determination, and Mindsight

“Confronting Childism: How the Field of Infant Mental Health Can Inform the Field of Child Protection” November 2012 Keynote address University of West Virginia Law School Symposium Child Protection in the 21st Century

“Development of the Parent: The Child’s Contribution” July 2012, for Austen Riggs/Yale Conference The Development of the Parent as a Person: Psychological, Neurobiological and Genetic Contributions

“Mentalization in the Pediatric Setting” May 2012 Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program UMass, Boston

“Application of Infant Mental Health Concepts in Everyday Practice” April 2012 North Pacific Pediatric Society meeting

“Infant Mental Health in the Primary Care Setting” April 2012 Newton Wellesley Hospital Grand Rounds, December 2011 Winthrop University Hospital Grand Rounds

“Making Psychoanalytic Concepts Relevant and Meaningful for Parents” December 2010 Western Massachusetts and Albany Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy(WMAAPP)

“Contemporary Attachment Theory in the Primary Care Setting” October 2008
Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute

 “Preventive Application of Contemporary Psychoanalytic Theory in the Primary Care Setting”
May 2007, WMAAPP Berkshire Study Group (APA, Division 39)

Multiple parent workshops and lectures covering a range of topics including:  behavior issues in toddlers, sleep problems, sibling rivalry, school failure, separation anxiety, normal adolescent development and common parenting issues in raising adolescents, 1998-present

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