Our project began through discussions between Dr. Paulina Kernberg and Dr. Pamela Foelsch followng the publication of Dr. Paulina Kernberg's book explicating personality disorders in children and adolescents (2000). Our goal was to use our understanding that identity formation is fundamental to the development of normal personality and functioning and develop a treatment that could be used to intervene and reduce the likelihood of developing a personality disorder by clearing blockages to normal development. We applied what we've learned from treating adults with personality disorders using Dr Otto Kernberg's model, Transference Focused Psychotherapy, as well as general Object Relations, Family Systems, and Attachment theories and began to develop modifications appropriate for working with adolescents. After developing the technique during our clinical seminar, we have formulated a treatment model which was introduced in Switzerland, Germany and Chile in 2008, and has expanded to groups in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil.
Our New York team is lead by Dr. Pamela Foelsch since Dr. Paulina Kernberg's death in 2006, and with Drs. Anna Odom and Helen Arena. Dr. Anna Odom heads the research project being conducted in the Outpatient Department of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Westchester Division. Dr. Helen Arena supports the clinical supervision group. The larger working group is comprised of several staff and trainees.
The Basel, Switzerland team is led by Drs. Klaus Schmeck and Susanne Schlüter-Müller of the Universitäre Psychiatrische Kliniken Basel.
In Santiago de Chile the AIT team is led by Andreas Borzutzky of the Instituto Medico Schilkrut.
In Mexico City, Mexico, the AIT team is led by Moises Kassin.
In Brazil, Dr Leila Tardivo is establishing a clinical resaerch group at the University of Sao Paulo.
Pamela A. Foelsch
Pamela Foelsch, PhD, Project Leader This project began in 2004 through discussions with Dr. Paulina Kernberg. Dr. Foelsch began working with Dr. Otto Kernberg's group in 1993 while an Intern at NYH-CMC-WD. When the Personality Disorders Institute was founded in July 1995, she became the first Post-Doctoral Fellow and served as the Project Coordinator for the Treatment Development Study (Dr. John Clarkin, Principal Investigator) which began the process of transforming Dr. Kernberg's clinical approach to treating severe personality disorders into a manualized treatment with empirical evidence for it's effectiveness. Dr. Foelsch served as the Head of the Infomatics and Statistical Core for the Randomized Clinical Trial comparing TFP with DBT and Supportive Psychotherapy in the treatment of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). During this time, Dr. Foelsch was trained and supervised in TFP by the originator of this treatment, Dr. Otto Kernberg, and became a teacher and supervisor of TFP as a Fellow in the PDI, training nationally and internationally for 18 years. Dr Foelsch is currently Visiting Faculty at the Catholica University in Santiago Chile, as well as Sao Paulo Universtity in Sao Paulo Brazil, and supervizing consultant to the AIT Unit at the Schilkrut Medico Institute (also in Santiago Chile). She also maintains a private practice in Harrison, NY, USA.
Dr. Anna Odom
Anna Odom, PhD Joined our team during the first seminar co-led by Drs. Paulina Kernberg and Pamela Foelsch, while a Post-Doctoral fellow at the NYPH - WD. Her interest, enthusiasm, and experience made her an integral part of the team as we moved from the clinical exploration into the research phase of testing our clinical techniques. She now leads the research study currently being conducted in the outpatient department.
Dr Helen Arena
Helen Arena, PhD Joined our team during the first seminar co-led by Drs. Paulina Kernberg and Pamela Foelsch, while a Post-Doctoral fellow at the NYPH - WD. Her interest, enthusiasm, and experience made her an integral part of the team as we moved from the clinical exploration into the research phase of testing our clinical techniques. She now supports the clinical supervision as well as the research study currently being conducted in the outpatient department.
Susanne Schluter-Muller and Klaus Schmeck
Shortly before Dr. Paulina Kernberg's passing in 2006, she introduced Drs. Klaus Schmeck and Susanne Schlüter-Müller to Dr. Foelsch, knowing that the Basel group was interested in exploring more effective ways of working with children and adolescents who showed problems with identity formation. A fruitful collaboration was born. A group of clinicians were introduced to the basics of TFP and the modifications for treating adolescents in March of 2008. A paper was co-authored in Persönlichkeitsstörungen 2008;12:153-162. In 2011, their team began work on the AIDA, a self-report instrument to assess identity development. This has now been translated into 7 languages and is currently being cross-cultrually validated for research and clinical use. in 2013, Dr. Schmeck began leading a mutlitsite study to evaluate the clinical efficacy of AIT.
Andrés Borzutzky H., Psicólogo Began working with us while a Visiting Fellow at the Personality Disorders Institute from 2007 - 2008. He became very interested in our developing treatment, as a method he could bring to an adolescent specialty unit at the Schilkrut Instituto Medico in Santiago. Dr Foelsch was invited to give a presentation in August 2008, and met with clinical staff to discuss cases. A collaboration involving ongoing supervision continues, and in 2013, they began participating in the multisite study evaluating the efficacy of AIT.
Moises Kassin first became aquanted with the AIT model while participating in a training week on TFP at the Personality Disorders Institute in 2008. His clinical interest in adolescents and personality pathology made AIT a natural fit for his work, and he began following the development of the model. He has assisted with the Spanish translation of the manual, and has now formed a group to begin AIT training in order to join in the internationla multisite study of the efficacy of AIT.