Center for Study Attachment, Development, and Human Evolution

Center for Couple and Family Studies

Center for the Study of Psychotherapy for Older Adults an Clinical Applications

National Group Psychotherapy Institute

Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Culture


Mauricio Cortina, MD, Director

The mission of the Attachment and Human Development Center (AHDC), founded and directed by Mauricio Cortina, is prevention and public education, supporting training programs within the Washington School of Psychiatry, and research. Programs and initiatives that further these goals are announced as they are developed. The Center also invites speakers and scholars who are making substantial contributions in the fields of attachment and human development. An advisory board, composed of leaders in the field, can be called upon to assist in these endeavors.

From its inception, attachment theory has had a strong empirical and observational base that has developed over the past few decades, expanding the theory in new directions. The AHDC will build on this tradition of rigorous scholarship, of testing concepts and methods, and of cross-fertilization from related fields that has kept attachment theory a vibrant field of study. This spirit of openness is also consistent with the best traditions of the Washington School of Psychiatry.

Research Interests

I am interested in studying the relationship between attachment, defined as a system adapted to seek protection and care from attachment figures, and intersubjectivity, defined as system of communication that is intuitive and automatic in nature. Our species advanced intersubjective abilities allowing humans to be able to understand intentions, gestures and emotions in competitive as well as in cooperative situations. As the work of Michael Tomasello has shown, our cooperative abilities far surpass what is observed in primates and put us in a unique evolutionary path. These advanced intersubjective abilities are sometimes referred to a Theory of Mind, or in the attachment literature they are referred to as mentalization. More sophisticated modes of communication coevolved with greater degrees of communication.

More broadly, I am interested in the enormously important prosocial motives, the caregiving, attachment and cooperative social engagement systems played during human development and during the evolution of our species.

Together with Giovanni Liotti, I am interested in the clinical implications of how this evolutionary-developmental perspective and more generally, in how this new paradigm changes our view of human nature and sheds light on the origin of culture and language.

Advisory Board

Jude Cassidy, PhD

Mary Dozier, PhD

Sonia Gojman de Millan, PhD

Giovanni Liotti, MD

Joseph Lichtenberg, MD

Mario Marrone, MD

Robert Marvin, PhD

Salvador Millán, MD

Alan Sroufe, PhD



The Center for Couple & Family Studies at the Washington School of Psychiatry is dedicated to the education and training of mental health professionals who work with couples and families.  The Center is grounded in psychodynamic theory with attention to the intersection of race, class, culture, gender and sexuality. We seek to create an atmosphere where learning, thinking and collaboration are celebrated.  Openness, diversity and inclusivity are prized in all aspects of our work, as we think together about the ever-evolving definitions of what it means to be a couple or family.  Through programming aimed at both new and seasoned clinicians, the Center seeks to help practitioners support the relationships and developmental growth of individuals, couples and families.


Chair: Noa Ashman, MSW; 

Steering Committee: Rolando Fuentes, MSW, Lee Futrovsky, PhD, Nancy Lithgow, MSW, Angela Snyder, PsyD, Barbara Wayne, PhD.



The Center was established at the Washington School of Psychiatry in recognition of a long-standing need in the community. Effective and attainable psychotherapy geared to the needs of older adults has become an essential component of the core mental health disciplines. An open, interdisciplinary approach to this population and its many needs is part of the Center’s mission. 

 This ongoing group is designed for experienced clinicians.  Group members will study literary treatments of aging, using clinical papers only to supplement the creative writings. The vantage point is clearly defined as a psychotherapeutic one. New members will be considered on a space available basis. 



The Institute is open to mental health practitioners and clinicians-in-training who are interested in learning about groups and about group therapy. Group therapy experience, either as a participant or a group leader, is not a pre-requisite.  

All conference sessions take place on a Friday and Saturday
9AM–6:30PM.  12 CE/CME credits are awarded for attendance at each weekend.

October 4 – 5, 2019
January 31 – February 1, 2020
April 24 – 25, 2020

September 25 – 26, 2020
January 29 – 30, 2021
April 23 – 24, 2021

The deadline for applications is September 1, 2019. You are encouraged not too wait till the last minute to apply as the class will fill up.

The Institute comprises a two-year program of six intensive group conferences, focusing on contemporary approaches to psychodynamic group psychotherapy and issues in group therapy. Each conference offers multiple opportunities within the faculty/member community for didactic and experiential learning, including lectures and panel discussions, demonstration groups, small group experiences and large group experiences.

Participation in the Institute is open to mental health practitioners and clinicians-in-training who are interested in learning about groups and about group therapy. Group therapy experience, either as a participant or a group leader, is not a pre-requisite. There are two levels of participation: full Institute participants attend the entire cycle of six conferences and belong to the same small group throughout; single-conference participants attend on a per conference basis and are assigned.



The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Culture at The Washington School of Psychiatry seeks to promote human welfare through experiential and didactic study of the range of differences and intersectionalities among individuals and groups. Differences will be inclusive of, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability and disability, religion, social class and other factors which perpetuate marginalization within and between groups.

The Center will:

  • Provide graduate and post-graduate, faculty and community education for psychotherapists, graduate students and other professionals;
  • Foster inclusivity in membership in all WSP programs through recruitment, scholarships and mentoring;
  • Participate in collaborative programming with other institutions and other WSP programs;
  • Develop training program(s) to further the cultural and multicultural capabilities of institutions and of clinicians and other professionals of all cultural backgrounds; and
  • Foster recognition of cultural and multicultural factors in all human encounters.


The Washington School of Psychiatry

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Call us at 202-237-2700 or 202-537-6050

Celebrating its 84th year, the School is an accredited provider of post-graduate continuing education.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is an independent non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with the government of the District of Columbia or the government of the United States.

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