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Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?

Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?
Alternative Psychotherapies: Evaluating Unconventional Mental Health Treatments

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Curriculum Vitae

                                                CURRICULUM VITAE

                                                   JEAN MERCER*

134 E. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057

            Mt. Holyoke College, 1959-1961
            Occidental College. 1961-63; A.B. in Psychology, 1963
            Brandeis University, 1963-67; Ph.D. in Psychology, Feb. 1968

            Assistant Professor, Wheaton College, Norton,MA. 9/67-6/69
            Assistant Professor, State University College, Buffalo, NY 9/69-6/71
            Assistant Professor, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, NJ 9/74-9/77
            Associate Professor, Professor, Richard Stockton College, Pomona NJ 9/77-2/81
            Professor of Psychology, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, NJ 2/81-2006
            Professor Emerita of Psychology, Richard Stockton College, 2006--

            Consulting reader, Infants and Young Children,1992-
            Editor, The Phoenix (NJAIMH Quarterly Newsletter), 1994-1999; Editor,
            Nurture Notes (NJAIMH Newsletter), 2000-2001.
            Vice President, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, 1996-2000
            President, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, 2000-2005
            Past president, ex officio Board of Directors member, NJAIMH, 2005-
            Member, Prevention and Early Intervention Committee, New Jersey Community
                 Mental Health Board, 2000-
            Consulting editor, Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2002-       
            Member, New Jersey Better Baby Care Campaign Advisory Committee, 2002-3

Fellow, Council for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health, 2003-
  Faculty member, Youth Consultation Services Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental             Health, 2003-    
  Chair, Board of Professional Advisors, Advocates for Children in Therapy, 2003--
  Expert witness, Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, 2005
                (license revocation matter)

[*Name was legally changed from Gene Alice Lester, May, 1977]
  Expert witness, Middlesex NJ Family Court, 2005 (best interest hearing)                  
  Member, "Critical Pathways" teleconference on training and credentials (formed after ZTT/Mailman Foundation Infant Mental Health Systems Development Summit Conference, September 2005)
Expert witness, Thibault vs. Thibault, Pasco County, Florida, 2006 (child custody and discipline matter)
Expert witness, California vs. Sylvia Jovanna Vasquez, Santa Barbara County, CA,         2007 (child abuse matter)
  Reviewer, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2008.
  Testimony, Robertson vs. Mannion, Montgomery County, PA, 2008 (child custody  matter)
  Founding member, Institute for Science in Medicine, 2009—
Reviewer, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 2009-
Board of Directors, Delaware Valley Group of WAIMH, 2010—


Lester, G., & Morant, R. (1967). Sound localization during labyrinthian stimulation.
            Proceedings of the 75th Annual Convention of the American Psychological
            Association, 1,19-20.
Lester, G. (1968). The case for efferent change during prism adaptation. Journal of
            Psychology, 68, 9-13.
Lester, G. (1968). The rod-and-frame test: Some comments on methodology. Perceptual
            and Motor Skills, 26, 1307-1314.
Lester, G. (1969). Comparison of five methods of presenting the rod-and-frame test.
            Perceptual and Motor Skills, 29, 147-151.
Lester, G. (1969). The role of the felt position of the head in the audiogyral illusion. Acta
            Psychologica, 31, 375-384.
Lester, G. (1969). Disconfirmation of an hypothesis about the Mueller-Lyer illusion.
            Perceptual and Motor Skills, 29, 369-370.
Lester, D., & Lester, G. (1970). The problem of the less intelligent student in the   introductory psychology course. The Clinical Psychologist, 23(4), 11-12.
Lester, G., & Lester, D. (1970). The fear of death, the fear of dying, and threshold            differences for death words and neutral words. Omega,1, 175-180.
Lester, G. (1970). Haidinger’s brushes and the perception of polarization. Acta
            Psychologica, 34, 107-114.
Lester, G., & Morant, R. (1970). Apparent sound displacement during vestibular   stimulation. American Journal of Psychology, 83, 554-566.
Lester, G. (1971). Vestibular stimulation and auditory thresholds. Journal of General
            Psychology, 85, 103-105.
Lester, G. (1971). Subjects’ assumptions and scores on the rod-and-frame test.
            Perceptual and Motor Skills, 32, 205-206.
Lester, G., & Lester, D. (1971). Suicide: The gamble with death. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Lester, D., & Lester, G. (1975). Crime of passion: Murder and the murderer. Chicago:
Lester, G., & Rando, H. (1975). No correlation between rod-and-frame and visual
            normalization scores. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 40, 846.                                                                                                                                    

Lester, G., Bierbrauer, B., Selfridge, B., & Gomeringer, D. (1976). Distractibility,
            intensity of reaction, and nonnutritive sucking. Psychological Reports, 39, 1212-1214.
Lester, G. (1977). Size constancy scaling and the apparent thickness of the shaft in the
            Mueller-Lyer illusion. Journal of General Psychology, 97, 307-398.
Mercer, J. (1979). Small people: How children develop and what you can do about it.
            Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Mercer, J. (1979). Personality development and the principle of reciprocal interweaving.
            Perceptual and Motor Skills, 48, 186.
Mercer, J. (1979). Guided observations in child development. Washington, D.C.:   University Press of America.
Mercer, J., & Russ, R. (1980). Variables affecting time between childbirth and the             establishment of lactation. Journal of General Psychology, 102, 155-156.
Mercer, J., & McMurphy, C. (1985). A stereotyped following behavior in young children.
            Journal of General Psychology, 112, 261-265.
Mercer, J. (1991). To everything there is a season: Development in the context of the
            lifespan. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Mercer, J.,& Gonsalves, S. (1992). Parental experience during treatment of very small
            preterm infants: Implications for mourning and for parent-infant relationships.
            Illness, Crisis, and Loss, 2, 70-73.
Gonsalves, S., & Mercer, J. (1993). Physiological correlates of painful stimulation in          preterm infants. Clinical Journal of Pain, 9, 88-93.
Mercer, J. (1998). Infant development: A multidisciplinary introduction. Belmont, CA:
Mercer, J. (1999). ‘Psychological parenting” explained (letter). New Jersey Lawyer, July   12, 7.
Mercer, J. (2000/2001). Letter.Zero to Three, 21(3), 39.
Mercer, J. (2001). Warning: Are you aware of “holding therapy?” (letter). Pediatrics, 107,             1498.
Mercer, J. (2001). “Attachment therapy” using deliberate restraint: An object lesson on      the identification of unvalidated treatments. Journal of Child and Adolescent
            Psychiatric Nursing, 14(3), 105-114. This paper is posted at
            with permission of the publisher to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar
Mercer, J. (2002). Surrogate motherhood. In N. Salkind (Ed.), Child Development
            (pp. 399). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.
Mercer, J. (2002). Child psychotherapy involving physical restraint: Techniques used in     four approaches. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 19(4), 303-314.
Kennedy, S.S., Mercer, J., Mohr, W., & Huffine, C.W. (2002). Snake oil, ethics, and the   First Amendment: What’s a profession to do? American Journal of
            Orthopsychiatry, 72(1), 5-15.
Mercer, J. (2002). Attachment therapy: A treatment without empirical support. Scientific
Review of Mental Health Practice, 1(2), 9-16. Reprinted in S.O. Lilienfeld, J. Ruscio, & S.J. Lynn (Eds.), Navigating the mindfield: A user’s guide to distinguishing science from pseudoscience (pp. 435-453). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Mercer, J. (2002). The difficulties of double blinding (letter). Science,297, 2208.
Mercer, J. (2002) Attachment therapy. In M.Shermer (Ed.), The Skeptic Encyclopedia of
            Pseudoscience (pp. 43-47) .Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Mercer, J., & Rosa, L. (2002). Letter on Attachment Therapy. New Jersey School
            Psychologist, 24 (8), 16-18.
Mercer, J., Sarner, L., & Rosa, L. (2003). Attachment therapy on trial: The torture
            and death of Candace Newmaker. Westport, CT: Praeger. (see also reviews in Scientific American, PsycCritique, Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice).
Mercer, J. (2003). Letter to the editor. APSAC Advisor,15(3), 19.
Mercer, J. (2003) Attachment therapy and adopted children: A caution. Readers’
            Forum. Contemporary Pediatrics, 20(10), 41.
Mercer, J. (2003). Violent  therapies: The rationale behind a potentially  harmful child        psychotherapy and its acceptance  by parents. Scientific Review of Mental Health
            Practice,  2(1), 27-37. 
Mercer, J. (2003). Media Watch: Radio and television programs approve of Coercive         Restraint Therapies. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2(2).(see also letters in subsequent issues)
Mercer, J. (2004). The dangers of Attachment Therapy: Parent education needed.
             Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 20(10), 1, 6-7.
Mercer, J. (2005). Bubbles, bottles, baby talk, and basketty. Early Childhood Health Link
            (Newsletter of Healthy Child Care New Jersey), 4(1), 1-2.
Mercer, J. (2005). Coercive Restraint Therapies: A dangerous alternative mental health      intervention. Medscape General Medicine, 7(3). (see also letters in subsequent          issue).
Mercer, J. (2006). Understanding attachment: Parenthood, child care, and emotional         development. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Mercer, J. (2006). IEPs and Reactive Attachment Disorder: Recognizing and addressing   misinformation. Scope (Newsletter of the Washington State Association of School             Psychologists), 28(3), 2-6.
Mercer, J., Misbach, A., Pennington, R., & Rosa, L. (2006). Letter to the editor (age          regression definition). Child Maltreatment, 11, 378.
Mercer, J. (2007). Behaving yourself: Moral development in the secular family. In D..McGowan (Ed.), Parenting beyond belief (pp. 104-112). New York: Amacom    Books.
Mercer, J., & Pignotti, M. (2007). Letter to the editor (neurofeedback research critique).    International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation therapy, 3 (2), 324-325 ( ).

Pignotti, M., & Mercer, J. (2007). Holding Therapy and Dyadic Developmental     Psychotherapy are not supported, acceptable social work interventions: A         systematic research synthesis revisited. Research on Social Work Practice,  17 (4), 513-519.

Mercer, J. (2007). Systematic child maltreatment: Connections with unconventional           parent and professional education. Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice Advocate (Division 37 of APA), 30 (2),  pp.5-6.

Mercer, J. ( 2007).Media Watch: Wikipedia and "open source" mental health          information.  Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. 5(1), 88-92.

 Mercer, J. (2007) Destructive trends in alternative infant mental health approaches.           Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 5(2), 44-58.

 Mercer, J., & Pignotti, M.  (2007). Shortcuts cause errors in Systematic      Research          Syntheses: Rethinking evaluation of mental health interventions. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 5(2), 59-77.

Mercer, J. (2008). Minding controls in curriculum study (letter). Science, 319, 1184.

Mercer, J. (2009).Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings.Los Angeles,CA: Sage.

Mercer, J., Pennington, R.S., Pignotti, M., & Rosa, L. (2009). Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is not "evidence-based": Comments in response to Becker-Weidman and Hughes (2009). Child and Family Social Work, 15,  1-5. . DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2009.00609.x.

Mercer, J. (2009). Child custody evaluations, attachment theory, and an attachment measure: The science remains limited. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 7(1), 37-54.

Mercer, J. (2010). Themes and variations in development: Can nanny-bots act like human caregivers? Interaction Studies, 11(2), 233-237.

 Mercer, J. (2011). Attachment theory and its vicissitudes: Toward an updated theory. Theory and Psychology, 21, 25-45.

Mercer, J. (2011). The concept of psychological regression: Metaphors, mapping, Queen Square, and Tavistock Square. History of Psychology,14, 174-196.

Mercer, J. (2011). Some aspects of CAM mental health interventions: Regression, recapitulation, and “secret sympathies”. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 8, 36-55.

Mercer, J. (2011). Book review: Rachel Stryker’s (2010) The road to Evergreen. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 8, 69-74.

Mercer.J. (2011). Martial arts research: Weak evidence. (Letter). Science, 334, 310-311.

Mercer, J. (2012). Reply to Sudbery, Shardlow, and Huntington: Holding therapy. British Journal of  Social Work, 42, 556-559 . DOI: 10.1093/bjsw.bcr078.

Mercer, J. (2013). Child development: Myths and misunderstandings, 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Mercer, J., (2013). Deliverance, demonic possession, and mental illness: Some considerations for mental health professionals. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture 16(6), 596-611. DOI:10.1080.13674676.2012.707272.

Mercer, J. (2012). Attachment in children and adolescents. (Childhood Studies section). H. Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online.

Mercer, J. (2013, in press). Attachment therapies. In R. Cautin &  S.O. Lilienfeld (Eds.), Encyclopedia of clinical psychology. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Mercer, J. (2013, in press). Controversial therapies. In R. Cautin & S.O.Lilienfeld (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology. New York:Wiley-Blackwell.

Mercer, J. (2013). Holding Therapy in Britain: Historical background, recent events, and ethical concerns. Adoption & Fostering, 37(2), 144-156. .

Mercer, J. (2013). Holding therapy: A harmful alternative mental health intervention. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 18(2), 70-76.

Mercer, J. (2013). Giving parents information about Reactive Attachment Disorder: Some problems. Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 29 (8), 1, 6-7.

Lester, G. (1968). Some investigations of the audiogyral illusion. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Brandeis University.
Mercer, J. (1993) The successful single parent. Unpublished book-length ms.
Mercer, J.  The developing child in
            changing times: Infancy through adolescence  Unpublished book-length ms.
Invited comments on the New Jersey Children’s Initiative proposal (March 10, 2000);
             with Gerard Costa and Elaine Herzog.
Invited comments on the U.S. Bright Futures children’s mental health proposal (July 5,     2000); with Gerard Costa.
Mercer, J. (2000). Notes on Attachment Therapy: Relevant Research and Theory. Prepared for use by the prosecution in the trial of Connell Watkins, Colorado,                      April 2001.
Sarner, L., & Mercer, J. (2003). Statement to Human Resources Subcommittee of House   Ways and Means Committee. http://
Mercer, J. (January, 2005). Expert witness report. State of Utah Division of Occupational             and Professional Licensing. Case number 2002-223.
Mercer, J. (April, 2005). Expert witness report.  Child custody case, Middlesex Family Court, New Brunswick, NJ.
Mercer, J. (October, 2006). Expert witness report. Child custody case, Pasco County,        Florida.


“Attachment therapies and associated parenting techniques.”

“Critical thinking and the mastery of child development concepts.”

Various presentations on child development and parenting issues to parent groups and
            training workshops, including CASA.

“Law, policy, and attachment issues”; presentation at the Second Annual Conference on   Attachment of the New Jersey Psychological Association. June 9, 2000,        Newark, NJ.

“Custody changes and their effect on children’s development”; presentation at New          Jersey State Child Placement Advisory Council conference, April, 2001. 

“Bad language: How the professions confuse each other with words,” welcoming address             at conference on Attachment, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health,
            Piscataway, NJ, April, 2002.

“That cranky, crying baby”; presentation at National Association for Education of Young             Children  Conference on Health in Child Care, Princeton, NJ, May, 2002;      repeated May, 2003,  May, 2004.

“Warning Signals: When parents consider unusual mental health treatments for their          children”; presentation at Third Annual Multicultural Health Conference, Richard       Stockton College, Pomona, NJ, Sept. 2002.

“Misuse and abuse of attachment theory”; keynote speech at 2002 Annual Meeting, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Piscataway, NJ, Nov. 2002.

“Attachment Therapy: Science adversaries appeal to scientific evidence.” Institute of        Contemporary British History conference, “Science, Its Advocates and      Adversaries”, London, July 7-9, 2003.

“Analyzing Attachment Therapy”, at “Right From the Start: Supporting the Earliest          Relationships and their Impact on Later Years,” professional conference presented by Youth Consultation Services  Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health,        Newark, Sept. 24-25, 2003 (continuing professional education credit-bearing).

“Principles of Infant Mental Health”, at “What Does Infant Mental Health Mean to Me?”,            professional conference sponsored by New Jersey Association for Infant Mental            Health, Gateway Maternal-Child Health Consortium, Northwest Maternal-Child         Health Consortium, Piscataway, NJ, Nov. 13, 2003 (continuing professional     education credit-bearing).

“Attachment and Attachment Therapy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, at  annual       meeting, Gateway  Maternal-Child Health  Consortium. East  Orange, NJ, March          25, 2004 (Continuing professional education credit).

“Attachment.” Annual conference of New Jersey Association for Education of Young      Children, East Brunswick, NJ, Oct. 16, 2004 (continuing professional education

Discussion of Attachment Therapy. “All in the Mind”, Australian Broadcasting     Company,        Dec. 18, 2004. Transcript available at

“Attachment: Social and Emotional Development from Birth to Preschool.” Conference    of  Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators, East Brunswick, NJ, March 18, 2005.

“Attachment Therapy: Concerns on Unvalidated Treatments.” Institute for Infant and       Preschool Mental Health Didactic Series, Youth Consultation Service, East    Orange, NJ, May 12, 2005.

"Violent therapies with children: History and theory.” 9th  International Family Violence Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH, July 11, 2005.

Invited state delegate and New Jersey presenter, Infant Mental Health Systems Development Summit conference, sponsored by Mailman Foundation/Zero to Three. Washington DC, Sept. 22-24, 2005.

New Jersey Perinatal Mood Disorders training program presentations, 2005-2006.

“Dangerous therapies”, with Alan Misbach. LCSW.  Independent Educational Consultants Association conference, Philadelphia, Nov. 14, 2005.

"Attachment Therapy". Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health Didactic Series, Youth Consultation Service, East Orange, NJ, April 27, 2006.

"Attachment Therapy" comments, Paula Zahn show, CNN, Nov. 14, 2006.

"Attachment Therapy" comments, Court TV, Nov. 27, 2006.

"Understanding attachment." Delaware Valley Group, WAIMH. Dec. 1, 2006.

"Strategies for picky eaters." Jan 31, 2007, NJ WIC training, Ewing, NJ.

"Just the facts, ma'am: Asking and answering the right questions about evidence-based treatment." May 17, 2007. Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, Ft. Lauderdale.

Panel on secular parenting, moderated by Dale McGowan. Atheist Alliance International,
             annual conference, Arlington, VA, Sept. 29, 2007.

"Circumstantial Evidence: Evaluating Design and Details of Outcome Research" (poster presentation). Dec. 1, 2007. Zero to Three National Training Institute, Orlando, Florida.

"Theory of Mind: A New Approach to Attachment." Conference of Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators, New Brunswick, NJ, March 14, 2008.

"Novel Unsupported Therapies: Pseudoscientific and Cult-like". With Monica Pignotti and James Herbert. International Cultic Studies Association conference, Philadelphia, June 27, 2008

"Attachment Theory, Evidence-based Practice, and Rogue Therapies: Using and Misusing the Concept of Attachment." With R.S. Pennington, L. Rosa, and L. Sarner. Wisconsin School Psychologists Association conference, LaCrosse, WI, Oct. 29, 2008.

"Are There Research-based Child Custody Evaluations? An Ongoing Case and an Ongoing Discussion." Annual  Conference, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Dec. 12, 2008, North Brunswick, NJ.

“A Problematic Parenting Pattern Associated With Child Deaths.” Eastern Psychological Association, March7, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA. 

“Personalities and Power Struggles: Discipline, Temperament, and Attachment.” Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators Annual Conference, March 14, 2009, Somerset, NJ.

“Don’t Be So [Un]critical! Using Critical Thinking to Foster Mastery of Child development Concepts.”  Developmental Science Teaching Institute, Society for Research in Child Development, April 1, 2009, Denver, CO.

“Psychological Concepts and Measures in the Family Court”. Judicial Orientation, Essex Vicinage (NJ). Princeton, NJ, Oct. 2, 2009. (With Michelle DeKlyen, Ph.D.)

“Are There Research-Based Child Custody Evaluations?”. Conference on Infants and Children in the Courts, sponsored by Youth Consultation Service and NJAIMH; Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, NJ, March 19, 2010.

“Unconventional Psychotherapies: Some Questions About Their History.” Eastern Psychological Association, March 11, 2011, Cambridge, MA.

“Myths and Misunderstandings.” Conference of the Delaware Valley Group of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, Feb. 3, 2012, Philadelphia, PA.

Comments on Attachment Therapy and treatment of Russian adoptees. “Life with Mikhail Zelensky”, Rossiya-1 TV, Feb. 21, 2013.

“Fetal Psychology in Psychohistory.” Eastern Psychological Association, March 2, 2013, New York.

“Jirina Prekopova’s holding therapy: Scientifically founded or otherwise?” Conference of the International Working Group on Abuse in Child Psychotherapy, April 20, 2013, London.

“  ‘Nancy Thomas parenting’ in the U.S. and Russia: Another part of the holding therapy problem.”  With Yulia Massino. Conference of the International Working Group on Abuse in Child Psychotherapy, April 20, 2013, London.