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Beatrice Beebe Ph.D. is Clinical Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry), College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute.


She directs a basic research lab on mother-infant communication. She is faculty at several psychoanalytic institutes, and she has a private practice for adults and mother-infant pairs. She is author or co-author of 6 books. The most recent is The mother-infant interaction picture book: Origins of attachment (Beebe, Cohen & Lachman, Norton, 2016). For a decade she directed a pro bono primary prevention project for mothers who were pregnant and widowed on 9-11 (Beebe, Cohen, Sossin, & Markese, Eds., Mothers, infants and young children of September 11, 2001: A primary prevention project, 2012). A documentary film about her research is available (website of the Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing [PEPweb], Mother-Infant Communication: The Research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe, by Karen Dougherty, 2016).

Personal Statement

My research program investigates mother-infant face-to-face communication and infant social development: the dyadic mechanisms organizing mother-infant social communication, the role that maternal distress plays in this communication, the effects of early mother-infant communication patterns on emerging infant attachment styles, and the long-term continuity of communication and attachment styles from infancy to young adulthood. Video and audio microanalysis of mother-infant behavior has been my focus for four decades. This precise coding, together with a sophisticated statistical method of multi-level time-series analysis, functions like a social microscope, identifying different patterns of contingent relating. These methods were used in two NIMH RO1 Grants. I was co-investigator on NIMH RO1 41675 (1985-1990), Interpersonal timing and infant social development, which documented that the degree of contingent vocal coordination between mothers and infants, and strangers and infants, at 4 months, predicted infant attachment at one year. I was PI on NIMH RO1 MH 56130 (1999-2004) which also predicted attachment at one year from mother-infant and strangerinfant interaction at 4 months. In addition, this study showed the impact of maternal depression and anxiety on mother-infant interaction. I have been the PI of a longitudinal follow-up study of these two cohorts, from infancy to young adulthood, funded by the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytic Association. This study has predicted young adult attachment from degrees of mother-infant and strangerinfant vocal coordination in infancy at 4 and 12 months. Since the spring of 2002 I have been directing a clinical/research primary prevention project which follows a cohort of 36 women who were pregnant and widowed on September 11, 2001. My clinical work focuses on primary prevention in mother-infant dyads at risk for dysregulated social development, a topic on which I have published five articles.

Click here for Dr. Beebe's CV.

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