Friday, March 23, 2018
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.


Ruth S. Harley University Center—Adelphi University Garden City Campus

Transforming Parental States of Mind: Clinical Approaches to Helping Parents become Mindful and Reflective

With John Grienenberger, Ph.D. 

About the Program

The parental capacity to hold in mind the thoughts, feelings, and intentions that motivate a child’s behavior, and to meet up with the child’s mind in a manner that is contingent and responsive to these states, is a skill that forms the foundation for secure parent-child attachment. This ability to “mentalize” (also referred to as parental reflective functioning) is vital for the development of self-organization and affect regulation in young children. Reflecting on the child’s mind also requires parental capacity for self-reflection and self-regulation. These skills get increasingly difficult with stress in the caregiving role such as when children become dysregulated or there is a lack of parental support, deprivation, trauma, or other risk factors. The Center for Reflective Communities has developed a model program referred to as Reflective and Mindful Parenting. This approach has been designed to engage parents in a process of exploration, curiosity, and imagination, in order to develop or enhance parental mentalization.

This full-day experiential and highly interactive workshop is designed for mental health and early childhood professionals who work with parents and children. Through this workshop, Dr. Grienenberger will teach practitioners to use this unique approach to help parents who are facing challenges to their ability to maintain a reflective stance in the face of their child’s confusing and challenging behaviors. He will also examine parental reflective capacity through review of the Parent Development Interview (PDI), a tool used to identify parental capacity for mentalization, through the use of transcripts and audio/video case material. Experiential exercises—such as role play, will enable learning specific ways of conceptualizing and intervene with parents based on each parent’s unique mentalizing and attachment profiles. By tailoring interventions in this way, participants will learn to identify and intervene in parents’ blind spots or areas of vulnerability while also enhancing parents’ inherent strengths.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Define parental reflective functioning (PRF) and recognize instances of high, medium, and low reflective capacity.
  2. Tailor mentalizing interventions for work with dismissive, preoccupied, and unresolved states of mind in the context of individual, family or group consultation.
  3. Demonstrate and apply clinical strategies that deepen reflective process and promote Parental Reflective Functioning.

About the Instructor

John Grienenberger, Ph.D., is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and attachment researcher. He is the former Clinical Director of PCH Treatment Center (2012-2016), where he was also the Director of the PCH Family Program and the PCH Assessment Clinic. Dr. Grienenberger created a Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) track at PCH, which serves emotionally dysregulated clients. Dr. Grienenberger is the founder and program developer of the Reflective Parenting Program and the Reflective Care Program, core components of the non-profit Center for Reflective Communities, of which he is currently the Co-Director.  He has extensive experience in psychodynamic psychotherapy and mentalization-based individual and family work, and has trained hundreds of therapists in his mentalization-based model of treatment. Dr. Grienenberger has authored numerous papers and presentations, and developed training programs in the areas of psychotherapy, attachment, mentalization, and parenting. He conducts trainings and presentations nationally and internationally. Most recently, he was awarded a major, multi-million dollar federal grant from NICHD to do a randomized control trial study of his mentalization-based intervention with at-risk families. He has in private practice in West Los Angeles conducting psychological and psycho-educational testing as well as providing psychotherapy to children, adults, families, and couples.


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Adelphi University is committed to providing an environment which is responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities including students, faculty, administrators, staff and the larger community. The institution is equally supportive of full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Committee on Individuals with Disabilities (CID) pledges continued active support in achieving universal access and ensuring that academic programs, facilities, and activities are made available to all students, employees and visitors with disabilities.

Accommodations will be made to support learners with special needs to participate in the training/workshop. Please contact the Institute for Parenting Coordinator at 516.237.8513 to request such accommodations.

Credentialing Information and Continuing Education

New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., in order to receive continuing education credits.

There is no accommodation in the State Regulation for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. At present, there is no procedure for granting partial credit for approved continuing education events.

If there are any changes in State Regulation, this policy will be updated accordingly.

This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • Social work (6 hours)
  • LMHC (6 hours)
  • LMFT (6 hours)
  • CASAC renewal (5.5 hours)
  • Psychology (6 hours)
  • Education (6 hours)
  • ASHA (0.55 CEU's)

Successful completion for the award of approved continuing education credits requires attendance at entire training/workshop and submission of a completed evaluation form.

Cancellation Policy

No refund can be made for cancellation seven or fewer working days before the event or for no-shows. Cancellations more than seven working days before a workshop will result in a refund less a $15.00 cancellation fee. Requests for refunds must be received in writing.

All registered participants will be notified via email if there is a training/workshop cancellation. Registered participants will be offered a full refund or registration in another offered training/workshop.

For further information, please contact:

The Institute for Parenting
Linen Hall, Lower Level Room 8
p - 516.237.8513
e -