About Dr. Greenspan

The genius of the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan has transformed the lives of countless children throughout the world.

As a theoretician, diagnostician, and clinician, he redefined the understanding of child development—that is, how infants, young children and adolescents feel and think—guiding parents, professionals and researchers. He was the world’s foremost authority on clinical work with infants and young children with developmental and emotional problems. His ideas will continue to improve the lives of children for generations to come.

My 3 year old boy was regressing and falling away from everyone especially his therapists. I was told he was autistic and retarded. We made a family commitment to Floortime and saw amazing and immediate results. All I wanted was a child who would not be isolated completely. What I have, because of Floortime, is so much more. He is an 8 year old with friends, fully conversational and keeping up with his peers in a general education classroom.

A parent wrote a testimonial to Dr. Greenspan and his work:

Dr. Greenspan was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and Chairman of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders as well as the founding president of Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, and past director of the NIMH Mental Health Study Center and the Clinical Infant Development Program.

While President of Zero to Three, Dr. Greenspan led the effort to bring the mental health problems of infancy to the attention of the clinical community. Part of this effort was the creation of Zero to Three’s DC:0-3 (Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood), the intent of which Dr. Greenspan explains in this historic video from the early 1990s. His efforts, together with those of his mentor Dr. Reginald Lourie, and his friend Dr. Berry Brazelton, were largely responsible for emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for infants and young children—to make, in his words, working with infants and young children a “legitimate field.” In this interview with Harriet Basseches and in this video clip, Dr. Greenspan explains what inspired him to devote his career to helping infants and young children.

Dr. Greenspan was author of over 100 scholarly articles and chapters and author or editor of over forty books, translated into over a dozen languages. His research has been featured in all the major media, including Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, New York Times, ABC, NBC, and CBS news broadcasts, and the subject of a PBS NOVA documentary, “Life’s First Feelings.”

Professional Activities

Dr. Greenspan’s seminal contributions to the theories of child development brought insight and clarity to the emotional world of infants and young children. He disseminated these contributions in his various professional positions and activities.

  • Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, George Washington University Medical School
  • Chairman, Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders
  • Founding president, Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
  • Director, the NIMH Mental Health Study Center and the Clinical Infant Development Program
  • Chairman, Diagnostic Classification Committee, Zero to three,
  • Member, Surgeon General’s Task Force on Infant Mortality,
  • Editorial Boards: Clinical Infant Reports (Chair); Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Journal of Preventive Psychiatry, Journal of Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Infant Mental Health Journal, Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders
  • Practicing Child and Adult Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst,
  • Supervising Child Psychoanalyst, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

Honors

Dr. Stanley Greenspan first described the emotional developmental levels of thinking in a peer-reviewed journal in 1979. For the body of work that grew from these seminal ideas, he received:

  • Sigourney Award from the American Psychoanalytic Association
  • Ittleson Prize* for outstanding contributions to Child Psychiatry Research from the American Psychiatric Association
  • Ittleson Prize for outstanding contributions to American mental health from the American Orthopsychiatric Association
  • Edward A. Strecker Award for outstanding contributions to American psychiatry
  • Distinguished Lecturer Award from the Scientific Program Committee of the American Psychiatric Association
  • United States Public Health Service Special Recognition Award
  • Heintz Hartmann Prize
  • Mary Allen Award for outstanding contributions to American psychoanalysis
*Stanley Greenspan is the only psychiatrist to receive both Ittleson awards.