Toni Heineman, PhD

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Dr. Toni Heineman is a clinical psychologist who has been in private practice (treating children, adults, and families) in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years.

She is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and has taught and supervised interns, graduate students and psychiatric residents and presented at numerous local and national professional meetings.

Dr. Heineman has authored a wide range of journal articles, as well as the book The Abused Child: Psychodynamic Understanding and Treatment.

She is the co-editor of Building A Home Within: Meeting the Emotional Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care as well as Relationship-Based Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults.

Her forthcoming volume, Relational Treatment of Trauma: Stories of Loss and Hope will be released in August 2015.

Dr. Heineman was selected as a fellow by Zero to Three for the 2003-2004 National Leadership Initiative, and also awarded a Draper Richards Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, the Social Entrepreneur Award from the Manhattan Institute, and a 2008 Purpose Prize.

The Quote

You never know until you try.

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Toni talks about her early experiences of seeing foster kids and realizing very quickly how inadequate the care was for this population. Toni saw the need to not only help these kids out but to develop a program to tackle and target the chronic and ambiguous loss of foster kids.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Toni shares a story about when she was in graduate school and working with a young child who was extremely quiet and with whom she felt she didn’t have a good rapport. Toni said she had to terminate with this young boy quite unexpectedly and suddenly. When she told this young child that she had to terminate, she saw tears in his eyes which confused her because, as Toni says, I realized from that experience that I’d been basing my idea of relationship strictly on my own terms, not on my client’s. I didn’t understand the power of relationships.

Toni’s Why

Toni talks about how she spends her days trying to make her organization work better so that her clinicians can better help the foster kids they see.

Toni’s advice

  • This is hard work! Get yourself into a consultation group! Have people around you that you can talk to.

Toni’s go-to books

Interview Links

Terri Messman-Moore, PhD
Edward Tick, PhD

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