Congratulations to Ellen Barrett-Becker, Ph.D., a postdoctoral psychology resident in the Department of Psychiatry, who is the 2013 recipient of the Todd Ouida Clinical Scholar Award. The Ouida awards are designed to further the work of outstanding young researchers working in childhood anxiety and depression. Barrett-Becker’s research focuses primarily on the role of trauma and loss in the development of mood disorders, posttraumatic stress, and other psychological problems in children and their parents.
Dr. Barrett-Becker studied Psychology and Art as an undergraduate student at DePaul University in Chicago, graduating in 2005. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Barrett-Becker enrolled in an APA accredited Masters and Doctoral Program in clinical psychology at Wayne State University. She completed her M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 2010 and her Ph.D. in 2012. As part of her training, Dr. Barrett-Becker completed an APA accredited internship at U-M’s Institute for Human Adjustment. She was then selected as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Child Clinical Psychology at the U-M Medical School in their APA-accredited Postdoctoral fellowship. In the first year of her fellowship, Dr. Barrett-Becker completed a rotation in the Trauma and Grief Clinic for Youth and conducted evidence-based psychotherapy in both an outpatient and primary care setting. During her graduate and postdoctoral training, Dr. Barrett-Becker has obtained specialized clinical training in working with suicidal teens, Family-Based Therapy For Adolescent Eating Disorders, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for adults and adolescents, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Therapeutic Assessment, the Family Check-up, and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2). She has obtained specialized research training in Meta-Analysis, the Adult Attachment Interview, and the Trauma Meaning Making Interview.
Dr. Barrett-Becker’s research looks at how children and parents process and make meaning of traumatic events, and associations between processing strategies and psychological symptoms. Dr. Barrett-Becker is particularly interested in how parents’ use of dissociative and disorganized processing strategies can be maladaptive in recovering from child maltreatment or loss. Dr. Barrett-Becker collaborates with two different research groups at U-M . The first is a longitudinal investigation of maternal functioning during the postpartum period and the associated outcomes for young children (Maternal Anxiety During the Childbearing Years or “MACY;” PI: Maria Muzik). Dr. Barrett-Becker’s work on this project focuses on associations between maladaptive processing of childhood maltreatment experiences and later maternal psychological symptoms (depression and PTSD) during the postpartum period. Dr. Barrett-Becker’s also collaborates on a longitudinal investigation of grief reactions and trauma symptoms in children following the death of a primary caregiver or cancer diagnosis of a primary caregiver (Coping In Response to Childhood Loss Experiences or “CIRCLE” and Facing Maternal Illness in Latency Years or “FAMILY”; PI: Julie Kaplow). Her work focuses on the maladaptive effects of parent’s dissociative processing as well as the protective effects of positive parenting behaviors and spirituality in the context of parental cancer diagnosis and loss.