Susan Coates

Susan W. Coates (born 1940) is an American psychoanalyst, who has worked on gender identity disorder in children (GIDC) and early childhood trauma.[1]


Coates earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College, her MA from Vassar College, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from New York University. She is a Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

In the 1970s, Coates developed the Preschool Embedded Figures Test, which she developed based on Herman Witkin's Embedded Figures Test to study field dependence-independence (FDI).[2] This led to work on cognitive and behavioral sex differences in humans.[3]

Coates was Director of the Childhood Gender Identity Service at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center from 1980 to 1997. She served on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders.[4] She is on the teaching faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She is also on the faculty of the Division of Sexuality and Gender in the Psychiatry Department of Columbia University. In 1997, Coates was founding Co-Director of the Parent-Infant Program at the Center. She is the senior editor of the 2003 book September 11: Trauma and Human Bonds, an account of 9/11 related loss and trauma described by mental health professionals who also experienced the attacks and their aftermath.

Courtroom Notebook; Here Comes the Judgment!; As the Allen-Farrow Trial Ends, an Early Verdict on the Principals. Washington Post</ref> She had treated their son, Satchel, between 1990 and 1992.[5][6] After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Coates provided mental health services to children and their parents at the Family Assistance Center set up by Disaster Psychiatry Outreach at Pier 94 in New York City.[7]

She is the recipient of the “Margaret S Mahler award for outstanding papers in child psychoanalysis” The George E. Daniels Award of Merit from The Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research for “distinguished contribution to psychoanalysis," and is the Recipient of the American Psychoanalytic Association “2016 JAPA Prize Award for excellence in psychoanalytic scholarship and distinguished contributions to the journal.”

Selected publications

  • Coates SW (1985). Extreme boyhood femininity: Overview and new research findings. In Ruth Corn, Zira DeFries, Richard C. Friedman, eds. Sexuality: New perspectives. Greenwood Press ISBN 978-0-313-24207-6
  • Coates SW, Person ES (1986). Extreme Boyhood Femininity: Isolated Behavior or Pervasive Disorder? J Am Acad Child Psychiatry. 1985 Nov;24(6):702-9.
  • Coates SW (1990). Ontogenesis of Boyhood Gender Identity Disorder. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 18:414-438.
  • Coates SW, Friedman RC, Wolfe S (1991). The Etiology of Boyhood Gender Identity Disorder: A Model for Integrating Temperament, Development, and Psychodynamics. Psychoanal. Dial., 1:481-523.
  • Zucker KJ, Green R, Coates S, Zuger B, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Zecca GM, Lertora V, Money J, Hahn-Burke S, Bradley SJ, Blanchard R. Sibling sex ratio of boys with gender identity disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1997 Jul;38(5):543-51.
  • Coates SW, Wolfe S. Boyhood Gender Identity Disorder: The interface of constitution and early experience. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1995, 51:6-38.
  • Coates SW, Moore MS. The complexity of early trauma: Representation and transformation. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1997, 17:286-311.
  • Coates SW, Schechter, DS, First, E, Anzieu-Premmereur, C, Steinberg, Z, & Hamilton, V. Considerazioni in merito all’intervento di crisi con I bambini di New York City dopo l’attentato alle Torri Gemelle. (Thoughts on Crisis Intervention with New York City Children After the World Trade Center Bombing). Infanzia E Adolescenza, 2002, 1:49-62
  • Coates SW, Schechter DS, First E, Anzieu-Premmereur C, Steinberg Z, Hamilton V. Quelques reflexions sur les interventions immediates apres des enfants de New York apres la tragedie du World Trade Center. Psychotherapies, 2002, 22, 143-152. Geneve.
  • Schechter DS, Coates SW, First E (2002). Observations of acute reactions of young children and their families to the World Trade Center attacks. Journal of ZERO-TO-THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, 22(3), 9-13.
  • Schechter DS, Coates SW, First F (2003). Beobachtungen von akuten Reaktionen kleiner Kinder und ihrer Familien auf die Anschläge auf das World Trade Center. In T. Auchter, C. Buettner, U. Schultz-Venrath, H.-J. Wirth (Eds.): Der 11. September. Psychoanalytische, psychosoziale und psychohistorische Analysen von Terror und Trauma. Giessen, Germany: Psychosozial-Verlag. pp. 268–280
  • Coates SW, Schechter DS, First E, Anzieu-Premmereur C, Steinberg Z, Hamilton V. L'experience d'une equipe therapeutique de Columbia aupres des enfants de New York apres le 11 Septembre. Carnet Psy, Mai 2002, 73, 19-21.Clinical examples of crisis interventions with New York City families after September 11.
  • Coates SW, Rosenthal J, Schechter DS, eds. (2003). September 11: Trauma and Human Bonds. Hillside, NJ : The Analytic Press. ISBN 0-88163-381-X
  • Coates SW, Schechter DS. 2004. Preschoolers’ Traumatic Stress Post-9/11: Relational and Developmental Perspectives. In. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Disaster Psychiatry: A Closer Look. Edited by Craig Katz, M.D. and Anand Pandya, M.D. 27, 3, 473-489.
  • Coates SW (2005). Having a Mind of One's Own and Holding the Other in Mind: Commentary on Paper by Peter Fonagy and Mary Target (1998). Mahwah, NJ: Analytic Press.
  • Schechter DS, Coots T, Zeanah CH, Davies M, Coates SW, Trabka KA, et al. (2005). Maternal mental representations of the child in an inner-city clinical sample: Violence-related posttraumatic stress and reflective functioning. Attachment & Human Development, 7(3), 313-331.
  • Schechter DS, Coates SW (2006). Relationally and developmentally focused interventions with young children and their caregivers affected by the events of 9/11. In Y. Neria, R. Gorss, R. D. Marshall & E. Susser (Eds.), September 11, 2001: Treatment, Research and Public Mental Health in the Wake of a Terrorist Attack (pp. 402–427). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schechter DS, Myers MM, Brunelli SA, Coates SW, Zeanah CH Jr, Davies M, et al. (2006). Traumatized mothers can change their minds about their toddlers: Understanding how a novel use of videofeedback supports positive change of maternal attributions. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27(5), 429-447.
  • Schechter DS, Zygmunt A, Coates SW, Davies M, Trabka KA, McCaw J, et al. (2007). Caregiver traumatization adversely impacts young children's mental representations on the MacArthur Story Stem Battery. Attachment & Human Development, 9(3), 187-205.
  • Coates SW, Gaensbauer TJ. 2009. Event Trauma in Early Childhood: Symptoms, Assessment, Intervention. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Editors are Mary Margaret Gleason and Daniel S. Schechter. 18(3):611-26.
  • Coates, SW. 2016. Can Babies Remember Trauma? Symbolic Forms of Representation in Traumatized Infants. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. August 2016 64: 751-776


  1. ^ Bryant K (2006). Making Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood: Historical Lessons for Contemporary Debates. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 3(3), 23-39.
  2. ^ Coates S (1972). Preschool Embedded Figures Test. Palo Alto, GA: Consulting Psychologists Press
  3. ^ Coates S, Lord M, Jakabovics E (1975). Field dependence-independence, social-non-social play and sex differences in pre-school children. Percept Mot Skills. Feb 1975 40:1, pp. 195-202
  4. ^ Bradley SJ, Blanchard R, Coates SW, Green R, Levine SB, Meyer-Bahlburg HFL, Pauly IB, Zucker KJ (1991). Interim report of the DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 20, Number 4 / August, 1991
  5. ^ Grimes, William (March 31, 1993). Farrow's Lawyer Takes Aim at Doctor's Judgment. New York Times
  6. ^ Marks, Peter (April 4, 1993). Reporter's notebook: Therapists in Allen Case Often Seem Like Family. New York Times
  7. ^ Staff report (October 10, 2005). Trauma in Children An Expert Interview With Susan Coates, PhD. Medscape

External links

2008 Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council election

Elections to Rochdale Council in Greater Manchester, England were held on 1 May 2008. One third of the council was up for election. The Liberal Democrats stayed in control of the council after gaining seats in Balderstone and Kirkholt, and North Heywood from the Labour party but losing East Middleton back to Labour.After the election, the composition of the council was:

Liberal Democrat 33

Labour 19

Conservative 8

Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research

The Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research was founded in 1945. It is part of the Department of Psychiatry of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Daniel Schechter

Daniel S. Schechter (born 1962 in Miami, Florida) is an American psychiatrist known for his clinical work and research on intergenerational transmission or "communication" of violent trauma and related psychopathology involving parents and very young children. His published work in this area following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York of September 11, 2001 led to a co-edited book entitled "September 11: Trauma and Human Bonds" (2003) and additional original articles with clinical psychologist Susan Coates that were translated into multiple languages and remain among the very first accounts of 9/11 related loss and trauma described by mental health professionals who also experienced the attacks and their aftermath Schechter observed that separation anxiety among infants and young children who had either lost or feared loss of their caregivers triggered posttraumatic stress symptoms in the surviving caregivers. These observations validated his prior work on the adverse impact of family violence on the early parent-child relationship, formative social-emotional development and related attachment disturbances involving mutual dysregulation of emotion and arousal. This body of work on trauma and attachment has been cited by prominent authors in the attachment theory, psychological trauma, developmental psychobiology and neuroscience literatures

Historical trauma

Historical trauma (HT), as used by social workers, historians, and psychologists, refers to the cumulative emotional harm of an individual or generation caused by a traumatic experience or event. Historical trauma response (HTR) refers to the manifestation of emotions and actions that stem from this perceived trauma.

According to its advocates, HTR is exhibited in a variety of ways, most prominently through substance abuse, which is used as a vehicle for attempting to numb pain. This model seeks to use this to explain other self-destructive behavior, such as suicidal thoughts and gestures, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, violence and difficulty recognizing and expressing emotions. Many historians and scholars believe the manifestations of violence and abuse in certain communities are directly associated with the unresolved grief that accompanies continued trauma.Historical trauma, and its manifestations, are seen as an example of transgenerational trauma. For example, a pattern of maternal abandonment of a child might be seen across three generations, or the actions of an abusive parent might be seen in continued abuse across generations. These manifestations can also stem from the trauma of events, such as the witnessing of war, genocide, or death. For these populations that have witnessed these mass level traumas (e.g., war, genocide, colonialism), several generations later these populations tend to have higher rates of disease.First used by social worker and mental health expert Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart in the 1980s, scholarship surrounding historical trauma has expanded to fields outside of the Lakota communities Yellow Horse Brave Heart studied. Yellow Horse Brave Heart's scholarship focused on the ways in which the psychological and emotional traumas of colonization, relocation, assimilation, and American Indian boarding schools have manifested within generations of the Lakota population. Yellow Horse Brave Heart's article "Wakiksuyapi: Carrying the Historical Trauma of the Lakota," published in 2000, compares the effects and manifestations of historical trauma on Holocaust survivors and Native American peoples. Her scholarship concluded that the manifestations of trauma, although produced by different events and actions, are exhibited in similar ways within each afflicted community.

Other significant original research on the mechanisms and transmission of intergenerational trauma has been done by scholars such as Daniel Schechter, whose work builds on the pioneers in this field such as: Judith Kestenberg, Dori Laub, Selma Fraiberg, Alicia Lieberman, Susan Coates, Charles Zeanah, Karlen Lyons-Ruth, Yael Danieli, Rachel Yehuda and others. Although each scholar focuses on a different population – such as Native Americans, African Americans, or Holocaust Survivors – all have concluded that the mechanism and transmission of intergenerational trauma is abundant within communities that experience traumatic events. Daniel Schechter's work has included the study of experimental interventions that may lead to changes in trauma-associated mental representation and may help in the stopping of intergenerational cycles of violence.Joy DeGruy's book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, analyzes the manifestation of historical trauma in African-American populations, and its correlation to the lingering effects of slavery. In 2018, Dodging Bullets, the first documentary film to chronicle historical trauma in Indian Country, was released. It included interviews with scientist Rachel Yehuda, sociologist Melissa Walls, and Anton Treuer along with first hand testimonies of Dakota, Lakota, Ojibwe and Blackfeet tribal members.


Mentalize redirects here. For the second solo album of Brazilian vocalist/pianist Andre Matos, see Mentalize (album).In psychology, mentalization is the ability to understand the mental state, of oneself or others, that underlies overt behaviour.

Mentalization can be seen as a form of imaginative mental activity that lets us perceive and interpret human behaviour in terms of intentional mental states (e.g., needs, desires, feelings, beliefs, goals, purposes, and reasons). It is sometimes described as "understanding misunderstanding." Another term that David Wallin has used for mentalization is "Thinking about thinking". Mentalization can occur either automatically or consciously. Mentalization ability, or mentalizing, is weakened by intense emotion.

While the Theory of Mind has been discussed in philosophy at least since Descartes, the concept of mentalization emerged in psychoanalytic literature in the late 1960s, and became empirically tested in 1983 when Heinz Wimmer and Josef Perner ran the first experiment to investigate when children can understand false belief, inspired by Daniel Dennett's interpretation of a Punch and Judy scene.

The field diversified in the early 1990s when Simon Baron-Cohen and Uta Frith, building on the Wimmer and Perner study, and others merged it with research on the psychological and biological mechanisms underlying autism and schizophrenia. Concomitantly, Peter Fonagy and colleagues applied it to developmental psychopathology in the context of attachment relationships gone awry. More recently, several child mental health researchers such as Arietta Slade, John Grienenberger, Alicia Lieberman, Daniel Schechter, and Susan Coates have applied mentalization both to research on parenting and to clinical interventions with parents, infants, and young children.

Mentalization has implications for attachment theory and self-development. According to Peter Fonagy, individuals with disorganized attachment style (e.g., due to physical, psychological, or sexual abuse), can have greater difficulty developing the ability to mentalize. Attachment history partially determines the strength of mentalizing capacity of individuals. Securely-attached individuals tend to have had a primary caregiver that has more complex and sophisticated mentalizing abilities. As a consequence, these children possess more robust capacities to represent the states of their own and other people’s minds. Early childhood exposure to mentalization can protect the individual from psychosocial adversity. This early childhood exposure to genuine parental mentalization fosters development of mentalizing capabilities in the child themselves. There is also suggestion that genuine parental mentalization is beneficial to child learning; when a child feels they are being viewed as an intentional agent, they feel contingently responded to, which promotes epistemic trust and triggers learning in the form of natural pedagogy - this increases the quality of learning in the child. This theory needs further empirical support.

Mentalization or better mentalizing, has a number of different facets which can be measured with various methods. A prominent method of assessment of Parental Mentalization is the Parental Development Interview (PDI), a 45-question semi-structured interview, investigating parents’ representations of their children, themselves as parents, and their relationships with their children. An efficient self-report measure of Parental Mentalization is the Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (PRFQ) created by Patrick Luyten and colleagues. The PRFQ is a brief, multidimensional assessment of parental reflective functioning (mentalization), aimed to be easy to administer to parents in a wide range of socioeconomic populations. The PRFQ is recommended for use as a screening tool for studies with large populations and does not aim to replace more comprehensive measures, such as the PDI or observer-based measures.


Psychoanalysis is a set of theories and therapeutic techniques related to the study of the unconscious mind, which together form a method of treatment for mental-health disorders. The discipline was established in the early 1890s by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and stemmed partly from the clinical work of Josef Breuer and others. Psychoanalysis was later developed in different directions, mostly by students of Freud such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, and by neo-Freudians such as Erich Fromm, Karen Horney and Harry Stack Sullivan. Freud retained the term psychoanalysis for his own school of thought.Psychoanalysis is a controversial discipline and its validity as a science is contested. Nonetheless, it remains a strong influence within psychiatry, more so in some quarters than others. The proportion of practitioners of Freudian psychoanalysis has declined as evidence-based medicine has increased the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychoanalytic concepts are also widely used outside the therapeutic arena, in areas such as psychoanalytic literary criticism, as well as in the analysis of film, fairy tales and other cultural phenomena.

Reflective Parenting

Reflective Parenting is a theory of parenting developed from the work of psychoanalyst Peter Fonagy and his colleagues at the Tavistock Clinic in London. Fonagy introduced the concept of “reflective functioning”, which is defined as the ability to imagine mental states in self and others. Through this capacity for reflection, we develop the ability to understand our own behavioral responses and the responses of others as a meaningful attempt to communicate those inner mental states. As Fonagy describes it, “reflective function is the… uniquely human capacity to make sense of each other”.Numerous researchers have studied how reflective functioning works in the parent-child relationship. They have learned that a mother with high reflective functioning has the ability to see her child as a separate, autonomous individual with “a mind of his own.” As a result, she attributes thoughts, feelings, intentionality and desires to her child, and can recognize her own thoughts, feelings, intentions and desires. This research has demonstrated that when a parent has this capacity, it 1) strengthens the parent-child relationship 2) teaches the child how to understand and regulate his behavior, and 3) supports cognitive development.Arietta Slade and her colleagues at Yale Child Study Center, John Grienenberger and his team at the Wright Institute in Los Angeles, Daniel Schechter and his colleagues at Columbia University and Alicia Lieberman and Patricia Van Horn at UC San Francisco are some of the first researchers and clinicians in the United States to use this research to develop reflective parenting programs and interventions. These programs share a common focus; to develop and enhance parents’ capacity for reflective thinking. They teach parents to understand and respond to a child’s motivations instead of her actions, in the belief that reflection is more productive for healthy family relationships than addressing specific actions.

Relational psychoanalysis

Relational psychoanalysis is a school of psychoanalysis in the United States that emphasizes the role of real and imagined relationships with others in mental disorder and psychotherapy. 'Relational psychoanalysis is a relatively new and evolving school of psychoanalytic thought considered by its founders to represent a "paradigm shift" in psychoanalysis'.Relational psychoanalysis began in the 1980s as an attempt to integrate interpersonal psychoanalysis's emphasis on the detailed exploration of interpersonal interactions with British object relations theory's ideas about the psychological importance of internalized relationships with other people. Relationalists argue that personality emerges from the matrix of early formative relationships with parents and other figures. Philosophically, relational psychoanalysis is closely allied with social constructionism.


In psychology, temperament broadly refers to consistent individual differences in behavior that are biologically based and are relatively independent of learning, system of values and attitudes. Some researchers point to association of temperament with formal dynamical features of behavior, such as energetic aspects, plasticity, sensitivity to specific reinforcers and emotionality. Temperament traits (such as Neuroticism, Sociability, Impulsivity, etc.) remain its distinct patterns in behavior throughout adulthood but they are most noticeable and most studied in children. Babies are typically described by temperament, but longitudinal research in the 1920s began to establish temperament as something which is stable across the lifespan.Although a broad definition of temperament is agreed upon, many classification schemes for temperament have been developed, and there is no consensus.Historically, the concept of temperament (originally "temperamentums" in Latin means "mixtures") was a part of the theory of the four humors, with their corresponding four temperaments.

This historical concept was explored by philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists and psycho-physiologists from very early times of psychological science, with theories proposed by Immanuel Kant, Hermann Lotze, Ivan Pavlov, Carl Jung, Gerardus Heymans among others.

More recently, scientists seeking evidence of a biological basis of personality have further examined the relationship between temperament and neurotransmitter systems and character (defined in this context as developmental aspects of personality). However, biological correlations have proven hard to confirm.

Woody Allen sexual assault allegation

In August 1992, the American film director Woody Allen was accused by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, then seven years old, of having sexually assaulted her in the home of her adoptive mother, the actress Mia Farrow, in Bridgewater, Connecticut. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegation.When the allegation was made, Mia Farrow and Allen had been in a 12-year relationship and had three children together: two adopted children, Dylan and Moses, and one biological son, Satchel (now known as Ronan Farrow). The assault is alleged to have taken place eight months after Farrow learned that Allen had been having an affair with another of her adoptive daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, who married Allen in 1997; Previn was a first-year undergraduate when Farrow found out about the relationship. Allen alleges that the affair prompted Mia Farrow to concoct the assault allegation as an act of vengeance. The Connecticut State's Attorney investigated the allegation but did not press charges, and the New York Department of Social Services found "no credible evidence" to support it. In response to the allegation, Allen sued Farrow for sole custody of Dylan, Satchel and Moses. He lost the case in June 1993; the judge concluded that the allegation of sexual abuse had not been proven (in a custody trial in the state of New York, the standard of evidence is the "preponderance of the evidence" defined as "the greatest weight of the evidence" which may be 'slight' and which need not be 'Sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt', or also "the proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be than not so". That is to say that the non-existence of abuse were more likely than the opposite), suspended visitations with Dylan for six months until the girl recovered from what she had suffered so far, gave him limited, supervised visitation with Satchel, and allowed Moses, a teenager, to decide for himself. The decision was upheld on appeal in 1994 and 1995.Dylan Farrow has repeated the allegation several times as an adult. Her first public comment was in an interview with Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in 2013, followed by an open letter in the New York Times in 2014, and a Los Angeles Times op-ed in December 2017. Woody Allen has also spoken publicly about the allegations, in an interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning in a New York Times op-ed and in 2018 with a statement to CBS, denying the allegation in both.

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