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Updated July 2014
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WHO WE ARE:  The Children's Psychological Health Center, Inc. is dedicated to protecting and mending young children’s hearts and minds using Reflective Network Therapy to help autistic, traumatized and other very troubled young children. CPHC is a California Public Benefit Corporation with federal 501(c)3 nonprofit status. We train and certify educators and therapists in the replication of Reflective Network Therapy, a manualized in-classroom therapeutic treatment method. We provide supervision and support for affiliated service sites, rigorously pursue outcome data collection. We continue to develop video archives of treatment sessions for education, training and scientific study. We conduct pilot projects in collaboration with independent researchers. We promote and support all events and activities which benefit and inform parents, educators and the general public about the individual and social benefits of using Reflective Network Therapy.

Click here to see 501(c)3 letter

OUR MISSION:  The Children’s Psychological Health Center (CPHC) is dedicated to healing the hearts and minds of children suffering from autism spectrum disorders, developmental disorders and serious emotional disturbances. We do this through a leading edge treatment called Reflective Network Therapy (RNT) −a social network therapy that enlists those closest to the children, including family members, teachers, and therapists as allies in the treatment process. Children are treated in classroom environments and in communities stricken by natural disasters. Children treated by RNT achieve improved mental health, greater empathic capacity, improved social skills and cognitive gains and are helped to fulfill their human potential.

What Others Say About Us:

Testimonial by a Public School Administrator: RNT Works Well in a Special Education Program and is Cost Effective

This is to report that the San Mateo County Office of Education, Special Education programs, has benefited from the services of The Children's Psychological Health Center, specifically its Cornerstone Therapeutic School Project [using Reflective Network Therapy]. We have worked together for six years. Under the leadership of Gilbert Kliman, M.D., the Center has trained members of our teaching and school psychology staff to carry out a mental health service on our premises. We now have a collaborative project in its sixth year for our special education preschool children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) and for those with Serious Emotional Disorders (SED) which interfere with their education. As an alternative to sending children to a private nonpublic special education school for extremely intensive mental health services at significant cost, this project has created and provides just such intensive service within a public preschool special class program at 65 Tower Road, San Mateo.

To my knowledge, among the 30 children served so far under the collaborative project, we are seeing cognitive, social and human gains which have decreased the gap between these children and their typically developing peers. Several families and children are thriving with less intensive special education service or returned to regular education class. Not only has the family and child suffering been reduced, the burden to taxpayers is also reduced. The children have been able to remain in the community, and some who were functioning as severely autistic and retarded now appear to be developing within a somewhat normal range. We are pleased with the quality of special education services our County provides for preschoolers with PDD or SED. We are also gratified with the research results provided by The Children's Psychological Health Center.

We recommend the method to other school systems, so that they consider it an important opportunity should they be able to collaborate similarly with The Children's Psychological Health Center. At California's common cost of $15,000 to $40,000 or more a year, for a special education child who needs full time special education services and auxiliary intensive help, the savings for even one child's 12-year career of intensive services in special education can be substantial. The savings from one of the successes we have seen may equal the costs of the entire Cornerstone project with the 30 children helped so far. We have not yet seen any failures. The agency is showing measurable cognitive gains for our collaborative work which, according to their research, averages 20 to 28 points in independent WPPSI testing of the children in the Cornerstone program. The techniques are far more economical to use than we have found with the Lovaas method, which we also implement for some students. We have also seen the techniques transmitted to special education teachers as well as inexperienced therapists.

-Jay S. Parnes, Ed.D, Senior Administrator, Special Education

Introduction to Reflective Network Therapy in the Preschool Classroom By Alexandra Harrison, MD [Excerpt]

As a child mental health clinician with more than forty years of experience, I welcome this book on Reflective Network Therapy as an inspiring opportunity to bring cost-effective, theoretically sound, and scientifically tested treatment to a population of children in great need. It makes important contributions to vital fields for parents, teachers, child therapists and finally taxpayers: current new knowledge about brain development and the need for early interventions for children at risk.  Kliman vividly and compellingly describes a type of therapy --Reflective Network Therapy-- carried out in the classroom by a collaboration of individual therapist, preschool teacher, peers and parents, with seriously disturbed children.  The facts that the therapy occurs in multiple short (15-20 minute) sessions a week, and that these sessions are optimally designed to help the children make sense of their otherwise chaotic and frightening worlds “on the spot,” makes it an essentially practical therapeutic modality. Finally, Kliman has done something very unusual in the field of child mental health: he has conducted scientific studies to test the efficacy of the method. In addition to the anecdotal evidence that child mental health practitioners usually put forth to support their methodologies, Kliman has real data to demonstrate its effectiveness, including striking improvement in IQ scores. Thus the Reflective Network Therapy method is shown to be a remarkably “cost-effective” treatment for young children with severe mental health disorders – autistic spectrum disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, trauma, and serious behavior disorders.

-Alexandra Harrison, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Training and Supervising Analyst, Certified Psychoanalyst for Children, Adolescents and Adults. Supervisor, Child Analysis Program, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute


Long History of Effective Treatment Service

The Cornerstone Therapeutic Preschool Method [Reflective Network Therapy] has a long history of thoughtful, systematic applications of best knowledge about child development and dynamic theory in establishing a model for early childhood intervention that has primary and secondary preventive effects. It brings together, in a most sensible way, childhood educational and therapeutic synergistic service to preschoolers and individualized assessment and treatment as indicated. For many years it has been an outstanding example of how best knowledge can transcend racial, ethnic, and financial challenges. Therefore, it is a most useful in both public and private preschool settings. I am delighted to recommend The Cornerstone Method Therapeutic Preschool Method enthusiastically.

-Albert J. Solnit, MD, Sterling Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist at the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine (1952-1990), Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychiatry; Managing Editor of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child for 20 years; Elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (1980); Commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from 1991-2000.

Profound Treatment Results

Over the past year I have been privileged to see video tapes of this treatment method used to treat a very disturbed four year old boy. When the treatment started, the child was impulsive, aggressive, disorganized and very difficult to handle. As Dr. Kliman worked with him over the months, his play became less disorganized, and he became able to think more clearly and to verbalize his mental state. This change in the child’s capacities enabled Dr. Kliman to put even more into words for the child, which helped him further with the fears and anxieties that drove his aggressive impulsivity. He became more thoughtful, less impulsive, and more soothable. The help to this child and his family was profound. Beyond that, Dr. Kliman’s videotaping allows him to teach child therapists to help other children in similar ways. I think these tapes are an extraordinary teaching tool for the diagnosis and treatment of seriously disturbed preschool children, and I am grateful for Dr. Kliman’s gift to those who are struggling to help these children.

-Janis Baeuerlen, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Adult and Child Psychoanalysis, University of California, Berkeley; Supervisor, Ann Martin Children’s Center; Practice: Child and Adult Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis 

Integrates Sophisticated Therapy in an Educational Setting

I have observed and worked in "Cornerstone" service using Reflective Network Therapy [as an  in-classroom RNT therapist] …having heard about Dr. Kliman's work and observed his videotapes. The [therapeutic preschool] accepts very seriously emotionally disturbed young children, often with their parents present … His approach integrates intensive, sophisticated child therapy with milieu and family therapies in an educational setting. I am impressed with how rapidly the children are engaged with the work and how well they respond. The parents are able to see results and better understand both the meaning of the children's behavior and see the interventions that are used. This is a very efficient and effective mode of presenting sophisticated psychotherapy within the classroom setting. I know that the method has been applied in both a public school setting and in its current private settings. I believe that this is an important resource for very troubled and troubling children and their families. Dr. Kliman has developed a very humanistic approach that these children and their families deserve.

-Nathan Szajnberg, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF, San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute

After Studying parent permitted Videotape of Reflectiv Network Therapy Sessions...

I wept when I saw videos of actual changes in children, and understood how much good this method was doing.

-Paul Jay Fink, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine; Chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force on Psychiatric Aspects of Violence; Founder of the Einstein Center for the Study of Violence, Co-founder and past president of the Greater Philadelphia Health Care Congress; Past President of APA, American College of Psychiatrists, et al.

Particularly Effective for Autistic and Developmentally Delayed Children

I would like to make some comments about Reflective Network Therapy [previously known as The Cornerstone Therapeutic Preschool Method] from the perspective of my work as both a child psychoanalyst and medical director of the Oaks Children’s Center, a therapeutic day treatment school for severely emotionally disturbed children, particularly autistic and pervasive developmentally delayed children. It is very helpful to realize that you have been using the method for more than 35 years and have had very nice follow up on some of the now adults who were preschoolers at the time that you intervened in their lives. The IQ rise that follows upon good treatment of these children by your method is very convincing. You have documented this by the different publications that go into great depth about the process of the treatment as well as the outcomes for the groups. I appreciate, as a child psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist, that your method lends itself to individualized treatment for each patient, thereby maximizing the impact on ameliorating the pathology of each individual child. That the treatment setting is in fact the child’s school is a great advantage since most children are comfortable in their school environment and, therefore, it eliminates the phase of having to get comfortable in a therapist’s office.

Dealing with the affects of the children in their school environment is particularly helpful to counteract the effects of pervasive developmental disorder on children. And it is very helpful that you have had unusually long-term follow ups with the extraordinarily good results that have been obtained. I appreciate the meticulous observations that you have recorded and also find it useful that you use a multi-disciplinary team approach, thereby spreading the impact in various disciplines, particularly influencing teachers. It is helpful that you were able to involve the parents intensively and for them to actually be aware of the work as it goes on. The multi-disciplinary team approach also helps bring together the educators and the psychotherapists right at the moment of meaningful interactions for the children in your therapeutic preschool. This type of synergy produces a greater impact on the children’s psychopathology. I also appreciate the fact that you have treated various children, regardless of race, ethnicity or financial ability to pay for the treatment.

I find that Reflective Network Therapy would be applicable in both the public and private preschool settings. It is heartening to see the thoughtful and insightful states of mind developing in children as they begin to feel the impact of the interpretations. I also appreciate your presenting to us in the Child Psychoanalytic Study Group the videotaped evidence of this school-based treatment, and how it transforms behavioral impulsiveness into verbalized contemplation. Being able to follow several videotapes of sessions has allowed us to see the unfolding of the process and provides us with firsthand information as to the method's approach. My sense is, from this past year of your presenting Reflective Network Therapy to our child psychoanalytic study group, that all of the child analysts who viewed the videotapes were impressed by the use of this method in a setting somewhat different the ones most often used by child psychoanalysts. After observing your work as a colleague for over 10 years, I know that your insightful and serious work will continue to have a major impact. Thank you again for your innovative approach.

-Harry Z. Coren, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

American College of Psychoanalysts Newsletter, Vol. XLII, 2009 Fall Newsletter [Excerpt] Reflective Network Therapy in the Preschool Classroom, by Gilbert Kliman, MD, Reviewed by David Dean Brockman, MD

When I first heard Gil Kliman’s presentation on this topic at the joint session of the American College Of Psychoanalysts and the Academy of Psychoanalysis meeting in May 2008 in Washington, D.C., I got “goose-bumps”, because the ideas and the graphic movies of real clinical cases was so very exciting and yet so very familiar. Dr. Kliman has creatively taken the application of classical child analysis a “giant leap” forward. This is a new therapy for children ages 2 –7 who have serious disturbances caused by Major traumatic experiences and mild to moderate autism spectrum disorders. “This method helps developmentally challenged young children develop empathy, relate to family and peers, and grow intellectually” (p.5). This method is “time tested by clinical, comparative, and controlled clinical and psychometric studies” (p.5). In addition to Dr. Kliman’s own work of over fifty-five years in research, psychiatric and psychoanalytic practice, other workers have used the method with great success. …Anyone who is desirous of learning about this creative approach to the care of traumatized children should master the broad underpinnings of Cornerstone Reflective Network Therapy. Especially, interested researchers should avail themselves of Dr. Gil Kliman’s very important contribution to the creation of a caring loving environment where thoughts and feelings can be put into words and be understood. This reviewer speaks with some authority since he was an active participant in The Institute for Psychoanalysis of Chicago’s Parent Loss Research Project headed by Joan Fleming and Sol Altschul that published its psychoanalytic findings of adults who lost a parent in childhood: Childhood Bereavement and Its Aftermath (1988).

-David Dean Brockman, MD, Psychiatrist; Editor of American College of Psychoanalysis Newsletter.

And in her Eyes One Sees that little Brightness that Was Missing

[Danielle, now five years old, was formerly a nonverbal, autistic, agitated and hallucinating child who was treated in a Reflective Network Therapy classroom group at age four years, for a year and a half at Cornerstone Argentina. Then her family moved to another city. She is doing wonderfully.]

Danielle is very well… She attends kindergarten in the room for five year olds (she is the flag bearer). She can now read very well and she gets along very well with her classmates and with adults. She voices her opinions, she answers, and she makes decisions in a spontaneous manner. Her progress in every aspect is really surprising. Danielle is very controlled and seems very happy, and in her eyes one sees that little brightness that was missing.The frame with your photographs is in her room. You are always present, you are remembered with great affection, and you are also missed. We are very happy about the recovery of our children and we are eternally grateful for the timely treatment you provided.

-Monica Isabel Santos

The Method Works

,,,In a small classroom setting, children have the opportunity for testing out much needed socialization skills, which frees them to grow intellectually, while their emotional needs are so richly tended to via their intensive therapy. This, coupled with the support of sensitive teachers and parents who are daily gaining more insight and receiving the support to nurture their children, makes the method an integrated part of each child’s life. In retrospect, I can attest to the excellent mental health outcome of countless children who live quality lives. Careful documentation of the method has yielded the results of significant I. Q. rise and readjustment to normal environments. It is, indeed, an economic method because children are able to receive daily individualized treatment, and can continue to grow in a therapeutic environment supported by teachers who are attuned to them and privy to what each child is struggling with.

Since children emerge more empathic as a result of their treatment, it is essential that they have a safe environment in which to reach out and to relate to children before being mainstreamed into larger and less flexible classroom settings where they eventually will be successful in channeling their impulsive behavior. The work with parents on a daily basis, which ranges from brief parent to teacher exchanges to lengthy counseling, enables parents to feel refueled and better able to support the their child. It is, in my opinion, the most natural therapeutic milieu for a young child, providing consistency, and minimizing transitions often difficult for troubled children. Having worked, myself, on an individual basis with children with pervasive developmental disorders, I have seen, for many children, the advantages of Reflective Network Therapy which, when ready, enables them more easily to be integrated into a normal environment. The videotaping, as a teaching tool, I feel is an invaluable contribution to the dissemination of this method which deserves to be used widely.

-Elissa Burian, MA

Makes the Most Sense for More Children

Cornerstone [Reflective Network Therapy] has always made the most sense for me as a treatment for preschoolers from impoverished, highly disadvantaged backgrounds. While I have seen it work well in the treatment of children with a wide range of disturbances, its providing children whose family and community tier have either been shattered or have been virtually non-existent all along with the possibility of developmentally essential experiences within a coherent micro community of children, parents and nursery staff, endows it with properties that individual therapy-alone simply lacks, in turn, the presence of individual therapy within the nursery setting to help enable the children to become receptive to these experiences, gives the method a property which group treatment without individual therapy as a component lacks.Treating children who are ordinarily treated successfully in individual treatment opens it up to the criticism that it represents an unnecessarily elaborate approach where a simpler one will do just as well. However, this criticism does not apply to the severely disadvantaged children. The simpler treatment in their case will not do as well.

-Thomas Lopez, PhD

A former patient credits her recovery from Autism to Reflective Network Therapy

Now that I’m an adult, it’s almost funny to tell people that I was once diagnosed as autistic. They always look at me incredulously: “You, autistic? What kind of quacks were these doctors?!” Once I tell them the story of how Dr. Gilbert Kliman and the Cornerstone [Reflective Network Therapy] staff helped me to recover and become a happy, thriving child and adult, they’re moved beyond belief, especially the parents of children diagnosed with autism. As I remember it, Cornerstone’s treatment style focused on giving each child many experiences of being thought about, talked about, and invited to process emotional and verbal communications about ourselves. The children’s playtime is interpreted by the doctors and described to the teachers and child by the child’s therapist when the twenty-minute session is over. Often a parent is present, and participates in the treatment. That way, a series of reflections occurs, often with a lot of emotional content that the child has to learn to process. This may be especially good for autistic children, who need lots of practice in processing emotions. The method may be a powerful means of rehabilitating children with autism spectrum disorders, since their difficulties result from their brains responding to interpersonal stimuli by avoiding emotions rather than feeling and processing them. I know it worked for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend the method for treating children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

-Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci

Helping Children Improve Intellectually and Socially 

Congratulations on such a wonderful project. On behalf of the IPA, I so very pleased and proud to be a part of all of this great work. But the congratulations go to you for all of your effort, devotion and time to help these very special children improve intellectually and socially. Moreover, it is wonderful that the work very much demonstrates the power of applied psychoanalysis.

-Dr. Nadine A. Levinson,  International Psychoanalytical Association

Finally… Real Potential for Our Daughters’ Lives
 
Raising traumatized children is heart wrenching on a daily basis. It is very difficult sorting the normal needs of toddlers and the further needs of children with constant anxiety. Before we came to the Cornerstone preschool for Reflective Network Therapy, most places we went for help told us we were the problem as we couldn't love the children enough. We were constantly told our problems but never anything positive for our girls. We were told we were too structured or not structured enough. Two of my girls were asked to leave every previous preschool program with no help. Before using an inpatient program for my three year old, it was suggested I get my children into Reflective Network Therapy at the Cornerstone School. I did so with great satisfaction in the behavioral and cognitive results. Finally I had a loving mother-daughter relationship and I could see our daughters having real potential for their lives. I was so pleased that I ultimately volunteered hundreds of hours at the program and watched as children came in and attended the classes and therapy. I took part in the parent groups and had private guidance sessions. I watched how other families’ children, some unable to talk or play, blossomed and become very loving and productive. All this without medication or constant candy rewards! I have stayed in contact with Dr. Kliman, am on the CPHC Board of Directors.

-Phyllis Fullmer

Severely Autistic Child Becomes Able to Relate Emotionally to Parents after Reflective Network Therapy
 
Our contact with the Cornerstone Argentina team took place at a time of great despair. Agustín had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS, by a neurologist who told us nothing could be done because this was a biological condition that could be treated but NOT resolved. We gathered strength, who knows from where, and burdened with this diagnosis we set out, as most parents do, trying out different therapies. Despite the fact that these therapies were carried out in an excellent way by the child psychology team of the Hospital Aleman we knew that it wasn’t enough, and that Agustin needed more stimulation with other children in addition to his individual therapies. A friend told us about the work of Dr. Mallo and her team, and so we went there. When we arrived we were feeling anguished, full of fears and uncertainty, and thinking “will this be just another group of heartless people trying to take advantage of our misfortune for monetary gain?” because we had previously tried several other places that, unfortunately, were not reliable. Dr. Mallo and her team of professionals greeted us. We embarked on the arduous task that, for us, required a long period of adjustment that took six long months. During those months we had plenty of time to observe the work of the Cornerstone team....The professionals who carry out their work are much more than professionals, they are people of exceptional human quality because the dedication, love, effort, work, and commitment they display day after day so that our children can evolve is extraordinary. They never lower their arms, they always bear a smile, and they have all that patience that we parents sometimes lose due to the exhaustion that taking care of an uncertain condition like this implies. ...Although he cannot put it into words, just look into his eyes and you’ll see in his tender and sweet look just how much he can say without speaking. A caress and a look can speak more than a thousand words. Simply: thanks,

-Juan and Elsa (parents of Agustín, 4 years old)

Psychological Efficacy of Reflective Network Therapy

Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop that you presented on the treatment of autistic children at the American Psychoanalytic Association' s annual conference held in Boston a couple of weeks ago. Your workshop was the best of any that I attended over the conference's five day period. In this era of managed care and insistence on "biologically' rooted mental and emotional illness, the psychological sensitivity and effectiveness that you demonstrated with your interventions represented a breath of fresh air to me. Your resonating emotionally with [child’s name omitted] by "singing" your impressions to him was one of the most dynamically therapeutic and poignant interventions that I have ever observed. I believe that the diagnosis of autism is increasingly seen as irreversible, regardless of the age of the patient. Given that autism appears to be on the rise and that your understanding provides the most human and psychologically effective approach that I have seen, it would be wonderful if you could open up a therapeutic preschool here in Boston in order to potentially save some of the many children who are annually diagnosed with autism in Massachusetts. Congratulations and thanks again for sharing your insights and your humanity.

-Richard A. Goodman, M.Ed., PhD, Certified Psychoanalyst

First Response for Children's Shared Trauma: Psychoanalytically Informed Guided Activity

The following comments refer to a video used in a conference presentation to the American Psychoanalytic Association (2007). The film is of a forced seizure of 115 children from Heartland Christian Academy (October 30, 2001). Dr. Kliman was a forensic expert in the case, on behalf of the school and the children. Two senior students were on hand and filmed the seizure. I created a special guided activity workbook for the children who ultimately returned. .

Thank you so very much for two terrific presentations at our Discussion Group and Symposium last week in NYC at the APsaA Conference for winter 2007… I do not believe there can be any greater honor or sense of civility and humanitarianism than helping and working with people who have experienced horrific trauma. The film of atrocity was as urgent in its message as it was horrific in its implications and called into play so many associated feelings of outrage and sorrow, anger and an overwhelming sort of wonderment. The balance, however, of what you have done and do in giving so much support and solace to such affected individuals brings you a salute of praise, a twinkle in the eye, a smile of respect and admiration and a symbolic standing ovation.

-John Samuel Tieman, PhD

Help for Children During National Trauma

On a directive from the Governor's Office, I have been charged with the design and assembly of a packet of information for the people of Iowa. Included in this packet will be the book " My Book About The Attack On America" offered by The Children's Psychological Health Center, Inc. Upon reviewing this book, I found it to be very informational and believe it will provide teachers, parents and children of Iowa with a better understanding of what they may be feeling as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. It will also provide parents insight on the possible reactions of their children and how best to handle these reactions. The contents of this book are very "down to earth" and can be easily understood by all age groups and educational levels. I appreciate that anybody can pick up the book and find it easy to read. I have requests from school districts, the Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross and Iowa Concern Hotline for the entire packet to be delivered for distribution throughout the State of Iowa.

-Denise Lang, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Specialist

Results for Children Traumatized and Displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita

I am currently working with Drs. Jan Johnson and Leslie Lawrence …using your workbooks in a middle school in the French Quarter of New Orleans. When we used your workbooks last year in Houston with displaced 6th-8th grade students, we found that using the books for 30 minutes once a week for two months decreased PTSD risk factor/symptom scores by 18.75% (from 32 to 26 median; p=0.0001). In our current study, we have expanded the student population to include 5th graders, and also are allowing students to participate whether or not they were displaced; they all, however, live in post-Katrina New Orleans, which is in itself a stressor. Other studies have found that PTSD continues to be a major issue, especially among children, here in New Orleans, and so far our work has replicated this finding.

We just wanted to inform you of this because the workbook itself is your creation, and we love it. We also thought it might be appropriate to be in communication with you in the future about how our results turn out, and also how we might use concepts from your book to continue helping New Orleans kids who are likely to have continued stress living in our troubled city.

-Adrienne D. Mishkin, Tulane University School of Medicine

Cornerstone Argentina child patient's drawing with thanks from parents:

Team: Thanks for everything you do for our “little girl.” We love you very much!

 

 


 

 

 

 

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