Conversations with Luminaries in the Field of Child Psychotherapy

LIVE Legacy interview with internationally acclaimed psychologist, Dr Ruth Feldman and special guests Dr. Daphna Dollberg and Dr. Shafiq Masalha

31 May 2023 @4-6pm UK / 11am-1pm ET / 6-8pm Israel


If you’re unable to make this time, a recording will be made and sent to all ticket holders.

Join us for our upcoming live legacy interview featuring Ruth Feldman, an eminent scientist and clinician renowned for her pioneering work in the field of developmental social neuroscience and psychoanalysis. As the Simms-Mann Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlia and Yale Child Study Center, she has greatly enhanced our understanding of human relationships.

Ruth’s awards as’s Best Female Scientist 2022 and world expert in Parent-Child Relations and Psychoanalytic Theory by Expertscape, attest to her remarkable contributions to the field of child mental health.

Key areas of discussion:

  • Ruth will discuss her groundbreaking research on ‘kangaroo skin to skin’ care, which has transformed the way premature babies are treated worldwide
  • She will also share her remarkable findings on the biochemistry of love, which demonstrate that oxytocin, a hormone traditionally associated with maternal bonding, is also released in gay and straight fathers as well as foster carers when they are closely involved with their babies
  • Up to 15% of new mothers are affected by depression which can seriously impact on their babies. Hear about Ruth’s groundbreaking intervention
  • Ruth will discuss how trust, connection, and empathy contribute to the synchronization of the heart and brain in therapeutic interventions as well as between parents and children
  • How building understanding, empathy and connection can overcome cultural difference in communities
  • Ruth will emphasize the importance of infant research for clinicians working with individuals of all ages, and how our microbiome is linked to attachment, sociability, stress management, and mental health.

Ruth’s numerous awards, including’s Best Female Scientist 2022 and being named as the world expert in Parent-Child Relations and Psychoanalytic Theory by Expertscape, attest to her remarkable contributions to the scientific community.

Ruth will be in conversation with her specially invited guests, Dr. Daphna Dollberg, her colleague working on their postpartum depression intervention study and Dr. Shafiq Masalha discussing their intervention for Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There will be time for questions from the audience.

If you’re unable to make this time, a recording will be made and sent to all ticket holders.

We are looking forward to warmly welcoming you

Jane O’Rourke and Salam Soliman

More about Dr Ruth Feldman

Ruth has developed multiple, widely-implemented interventions. She was the first to utilize the Kangaroo Care intervention within RCT and demonstrated its long-term impact on brain and development of premature infants up to adulthood. This provided the first scientific evidence that led to its implementation in NICUs across the world.

Her longitudinal studies on maternal post-partum depression led to evidence-based video-feedback intervention currently implemented across Israel and altering health policies.

Her research on fathers’ brain introduced changes in government parental leave policy, and her post-COVID intervention for preschoolers with anxiety disorders is widely utilized in Israel.

Her recent work on the microbiome signature of PTSD and resilience, based on 15-year follow-up of children reared in war-zones, offers new opportunities for microbiome-based tools in child and adolescent psychiatry. Her birth-to-adulthood observational studies offer unique window into “how early relationships become brain”.

Among her impressive achievements is the long-term effort on behalf of Israeli and Palestinian children exposed to war and trauma.

Alongside Palestinian colleagues, she was the first to study parenting and family formation in the West-Bank and specify relational precursors of children’s aggressive versus dialogical conflict resolution in kindergarten.

In 2004, she formed with colleagues the ERICE initiative that implemented early interventions and professional training in West-Bank and Gaza. She developed the “Tools of Dialogue” group-based intervention for Israeli and Palestinian young people, implemented in rigorous RCT, and showed its impact on brain, behaviour, and peacebuilding attitudes 7 years later, in young adulthood.

This intervention, which informs her novel theory on the “neurobiology of hatred”, is the only reported intervention for inter-group conflict demonstrating long-term effects on social brain functioning and proclivity for peace and was presented at the Nobel Forum as a science-based effort against the global polarization and radicalization.

Ruth holds the Simms-Mann Chair in Developmental Neuroscience at Reichman University, Israel, directs the Center for Developmental Social Neuroscience, and is adjunct professor at Yale Child Study Center. She also heads the Irving B. Harris training program and community clinic for children and families.

In 2019 she was named World Leader in parenting research by Expertscape.

Ruth has published over 300 papers in top-tier journals, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, mainly reporting her own research and broadening her conceptual models. She received multiple awards; Rothchild Award(1994), NARSAD independent investigator award twice(2006, 2008); Zeskind award for best paper in Biological Psychiatry(2012), Graven’s award for leadership in enhancing the physical and development environment of high-risk infants(2017), and Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology Award(2022). In 2020 she received the EMET prize, Israel’s highest award in arts and sciences.


Ruth will be in conversation with Jane O’Rourke and Salam Soliman.

Jane O’Rourke is a Child, Adolescent and Family Psychotherapist and Founder of MINDinMIND. She was formerly a senior producer at the BBC and recently won the Association of Infant Mental Health’s Founders Prize. She runs the counselling service in a state primary school in London, UK.

Salam Soliman is Director of NCTSN’s Center for Prevention and Early Trauma Treatment at Child First and Nurse Family Partnership and Board Member of American Psychological Association’s Division 39 Section II, based in the USA.

This is a partnership event with MINDinMIND, APA Division 39 Section II and The National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership & Child First.

More about Daphna G. Dollberg, Ph.D

Daphna is a Clinical and a Developmental Psychologist, a senior lecturer at the Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, Israel and the Chair of the graduate program in Developmental Psychology. She is a researcher and a clinician, studying parental mentalization and early child socioemotional development in high and low risk contexts. In her studies she showed, for example, that parental mentalization is an asset that can protect children’s wellbeing in high-risk contexts such as parental psychopathology, parents’ childhood trauma, infant prematurity and during the outbreak of COVID19.

For the past few years, Daphne has been joining forces with Ruth Feldman and her team in conducting an RCT study to examine the effectiveness and the therapeutic processes involved in a short-term, manualized, video-assisted, dyadic psychotherapy with mothers who suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) and their infants.Daphne is particularly interested in examining links between PPD, Oxytocin and mothers’ mentalizing as well as the changes in maternal mentalization during and following the intervention. Aside from her input in designing and conducting the study, she supervises the clinical team in conducting the dyadic intervention.

Daphne is also a Co-Principal Investigator in a longitudinal study on the role of maternal mentalization and empathy in the emergence of infant empathy and social cognition, funded by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF).

Daphne recently spent a semester as a visiting honorary professor at the Early Years and Prevention department at Anna Freud National Center for Children and Families and UCL. She is a practitioner and a trainer of CPP, the trauma-focused parent-child psychotherapy model (created by Alicia Lieberman). She also chairs the research committee of the Israeli Association for Parent-Child Psychotherapy and is the former president of the Israeli World Association of Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) affiliate.

A partial list of publications:

Dollberg, D., Feldman, R., Keren, M., & Guedeney, A. (2006). Sustained withdrawal behavior in clinic-referred and nonreferred infants. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27(3), 292-309.

Dollberg, D., Feldman, R. & Keren, M. (2010). Maternal representations and interactive behavior in clinic-referred and nonreferred families. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(1), 25-36.

Keren, M., Dollberg, D., Koster, T., Danino, K. & Feldman, R. (2010). Family functioning and interactive patterns in the context of infant psychopathology. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(5), 597-604.

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