Nancy E Suchman, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Research Interests

Child Development; Mother-Child Relations; Neurobiology; Intervention Studies; Parenting; Substance-Related Disorders; Psychology, Developmental

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Addictions, Division of | Division of Substance Abuse | Psychology Section | Psychotherapy Development Center | Substance Abuse Research | West Haven Mental Health Center

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

Dr. Suchman has completed two randomized clinical trials testing the efficacy of Mothering from the Inside Out with mothers in treatment for substance use disorders and caring for young children. Treatment outcomes have included maternal reflective functioning (the capacity to make sense of mental and emotional states underlying behavior), maternal sensitivity, dyadic reciprocity, child attachment status, and maternal psychiatric symptoms and substance use. Dr. Suchman has also piloted MIO with mothers and young children enrolled in mental health services. In her research, she has also identified different dimensions of reflective functioning, examined moderating effects of addiction severity on response to mentalization-based parenting interventions, tested mechanisms of change, and developed materials for training and evaluating treatment fidelity in community-based settings.

Specialized Terms: Mother-child relations; Human attachment; Substance abuse; Intervention development and evaluation; Neurobiology of parenting and addiction

Extensive Research Description

  • Development and evaluation of mentalization-based parenting interventions for mothers with substance use and psychiatric disorders


Selected Publications

  • Mothering from the Inside Out: Results of a second randomized clinical trial testing a mentalization-based intervetnion for mothers in addiction treatment Suchman, N. E., DeCoste, C. L., McMahon, T. J., Dalton, R., Mayes, L. C., & Borelli, J. (in press). Development and Psychopathology.
  • Mothering from the Inside Out: A mentalization-based therapy for mothers in treatment for drug addiction Suchman, N. E. (in press). International Journal of Birth and Education
  • Mothering from the Inside Out: Results of a pilot study testing a mentalization-based therapy for mothers enrolled in mental health services. Suchman, N. E., Ordway, M. R., de las Heras Kuhn, L., McMahon, T. J. (in press). Attachment and Human Development
  • Facilitators and barriers to piloting an evidence-based parenting program in a community mental health setting Ordway, M. R., McMahon, T., de las Heras, L., & Suchman, N. (under review).
  • Reflective functioning in parents of school-aged children Borelli, J. L., St. John, K., Cho, E., & Suchman, N. E. (2016). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86, 24-36.
  • Longitudinal examination of children’s behavioral cues as a function of mothers’ disengagement. Rasmussen, H. F., Borelli, J. L., DeCoste, C., & Suchman, N. E. (2016). Infant Mental Health Journal, 37, 140-150.
  • Substance Abuse and Parenting: Developmental Approaches to Intervention Suchman, N. E., Pajulo, M., & Mayes, L. (2013). New York: Oxford University Press
  • Attachment-based intervention for substance using mothers: A preliminary test of the proposed mechanisms of change. Suchman, N. E., DeCoste, C., Rosenberger, P., & McMahon, T. J. (2012). Infant Mental Health Journal, 33, 360 – 371.
  • The implications of homelessness for parenting young children: A preliminary review from a developmental attachment perspective David, D., Gellberg, L., & Suchman, N. (2012). Infant Mental Health Journal, 33, 1-9.
  • Sensation seeking, coping with stress, and readiness to engage in therapy: Does ego development influence the psychosocial functioning of substance-abusing mothers? David, D., McMahon, T., Luthar, S., & Suchman, N. (2012). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82, 231-240.
  • Substance abusing mothers in residential treatment with their babies: importance of focusing in pre-and postnatal maternal reflective functioning. Pajulo, M., Pyykkönen, N., Kalland, M., Sinkkonen, J., Helenius, H., Punamäki, R., & Suchman, N. (2012). Infant Mental Health Journal, 33, 70-81.
  • The Mothers and Toddlers Program, an attachment-based parenting intervention for substance-using women: Results at 6-week follow up in a randomized clinical pilot Suchman, N., DeCoste, C., McMahon, T., Rounsaville, B., & Mayes, L. (2011). Infant Mental Health Journal, 32, 427-449.
  • The Mothers and Toddlers Program: An attachment-based parenting intervention for substance-using women: Post-treatment results from a randomized clinical trial 20. Suchman, N., DeCoste, C., Castiglioni, N., McMahon, T., Rounsaville, B., & Mayes, L. (2010). Attachment and Human Development, 12, 483-504.
  • Reflective functioning in mothers with drug use disorders: Implications for dyadic interactions with infants and toddlers. Suchman, N., DeCoste, C., Leigh, D., & Borelli, J. (2010). Attachment and Human Development, 12, 567-585.

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Contact Info

Nancy E Suchman, PhD
Lab Location
The Moms 'n' Kids Program1 Long Wharf Drive, Ste Suite 310
New Haven, CT 06511
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Office Location
The Moms 'n' Kids Program1 Long Wharf Drive, Ste Suite 310
New Haven, CT 06511
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Mailing Address
One Long Wharf Drive
New Haven, CT 06511

Curriculum Vitae