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Dr. Kliger Board and Chair

Paula Christian Kliger, PhD


Our Chairperson, Paula Christian Kliger is a board-certified clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, and for 35 years, has been President/Founder of PsychAssets and Kliger Consulting Group. With broad professional expertise in clinical and consultation practices, she specializes in work with children/adolescents, adults; families, leaders, and organizations, as well as communities from diverse racial and sociocultural identities, from cross-generational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Her additional subspecialty in crisis, critical incidents and current and historical trauma, teaching and research, allowed her to expand her practice, nationally and internationally, leading to significant rethinking and a working through process for healing and transformative change. Dr. Kliger recently received the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School and was appointed to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) as the North America Region Representative of “The Community and the World Committee on Prejudice, Discrimination and Racism.” She is the Principal Organizational, Relational and Cultural Consultant of Harlem Family Institute, Associate Faculty at Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute (where she received her psychoanalytic training), Clinical Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, Guest Faculty at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, and Washington-Baltimore/Contemporary Freudian Society Institutes. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Co-Chair with Neil Altman of the Department of Psychoanalytic Education (DPE) Section: The Psychoanalyst in the Community;  member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO), American Psychological Association (APA), DIV 39, Psychoanalytic Psychology, and founding member of Black Psychoanalysts Speak (BPS). Dr. Kliger is an award-winning writer/artist as the 2020 Next Generation Indie book finalist for poetry and illustrations for (2018) Power Your Heart, You Power Your Mind, Self-Study then Build a Bridge to Someone. Seda Press.

Gilbert W. Kliman, MD

Dr. Gilbert Kliman earned his degree from Harvard Medical School, and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Senior Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After his child psychiatric training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he founded three nonprofit organizations dedicated to childhood mental health services: The Center for Preventive Psychiatry, the Foster Care Study Unit at Columbia University College of Medicine and Surgery, Department of Child Psychiatry, and The Children’s Psychological Health Center, Inc. He has served as Medical Director of The Children’s Psychological Health Center in San Francisco since 1993 and Chairman of the Harlem Family Institute from 2020-2022. Dr. Kliman is the creator of Reflective Network Therapy, an evidence-based synergistic child therapy method which he practices and continues to research throughout the country and around the world. In addition, his practice of forensic child psychiatry often leads to his testifying in federal and state courts. He has testified in over 375 major cases.

Dr. Kliman

Neil Altman, PhD

Neil Altman

Neil Altman is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with many years of experience in community-based community work, in public clinics and in private practice. He is currently co-chair of the section on Community Psychoanalysis of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He is a member of the faculty at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City, and at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis in Boston, He is an Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society, and Visiting faculty at Ambedkar University of Delhi, India. He is Editor Emeritus and Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and on the editorial staff of The Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, The Journal of Child Psychotherapy, and The International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. He is author of Psychoanalysis in Times of Accelerating Cultural Change: Spiritual Globalization (2015), The Analyst in the Inner City: Race, Class and Culture through a Psychoanalytic Lens, (2010), and White Privilege: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (2020). He is co-author of Relational Child Psychotherapy (2002). Dr. Altman has published more than sixty articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Michael Gerard Connolly


Michael is a Licensed Psychoanalyst who has worked with children and families in Harlem in New York City since 2006. An Irish-Australian American who has lived in NewYork since the late 1980s after growing up in a clergy family in Sydney, he is president and executive director of the Harlem Family Institute, where he trained as a psychoanalyst.

Since 2010, he has led the redevelopment of this intercultural psychoanalytic training institute as it seeks to expand its training of aspiring psychoanalysts wanting to work with the very diverse communities inHarlem, Northern Manhattan, the Bronx and other parts of New York, and to deepen its services to children, parents and others from those communities through workshops, individual psychodynamic therapy and play therapy. The Institute is authorized by the New York State EducationDepartment to offer psychoanalytic clinical training to anyone holding a master's degree in any field. Since 2014, Michael has also been Treasurer of the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis.

He holds a Certificate in Psychoanalysis from theHarlem Family Institute, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in international political and economic affairs from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a yoga-teaching certificate from theWorld Yoga Center in New York. Michael, who has been a supporter of the Interfaith Center of New York since its inception in 1997, is also a journalist specializing in international affairs. He works full time as an editor at a major national media organization, having worked as an editor or reporter at news organizations in the U.S., Australia, Asia and Europe for more than 50years.

Michael Connolly

Louis Pansula


Board Member


Louis Pansulla, LCSW, is a psychoanalyst and teacher, with a private practice, supervision and consultation in  Brooklyn and Manhattan, NYC. He sees a wide variety of patients, both individuals and couples, runs psychotherapy groups, as well as conducting both individual and group supervision. He is on  Core Faculty and Clinical Supervisor in the PhD Program, at the Institute for Clinical Social Work (ICSW) in Chicago, as well as faculty/supervisor at the Chinese American Psychoanalytic Association (CAPA),  where he teaches Analytic Listening, Relational Theory, Case Seminars, and Approaches to Difference. He’s a graduate of the 4-year Analytic Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP) in NY, where he also served as Clinic Director of Adult Treatment.


Louis has focused his practice, teaching and research to work with traditionally marginalized, and vulnerable populations. His agency work has spanned initially to working at Metropolitan Hospital Center, in East Harlem, NY with mothers/newborns living with HIV/AIDS, to working at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, working with LGBTQI adolescents and young adults. Later work includes NIH-funded  published research focused on Black and Latino men who have sex with other men (MSM), substance use/HIV/AIDS, and histories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). He is also current Chair of Continuing Education Programs at ICSW-Chicago.


Lou lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband, and loves to garden.

Rev. Sheila P Johnson



Sheila P. Johnson is a licensed psychoanalyst, educator, author, and social justice advocate based in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, and a Master of Professional Studies in Pastoral Psychotherapy through collaborative programs at New York Theological Seminary and the Blanton-Peale Institute. Bringing over 11 years of experience as a psychoanalyst and 20 years of non-profit management experience, Johnson was recently appointed Deputy Executive Director of the Harlem Family Institute. She remains at the forefront of advancing psychoanalytic thought as a member of the American Psychological Association, Division 39, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Alliance of Psychotherapy Institutes.

In her clinical practice, she draws upon her expertise in areas such as attachment disorders, depression, separation anxiety, relationship issues, mood disturbances, trauma, and more. She employs a psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach with an interpersonal or relational orientation to facilitate a trusting relationship within a safe healing environment. Her clinical specialty is working with vulnerable populations, particularly children, adolescents, and adults.  In her parent consultation practice, she offers counseling and guidance to parents and organizations on child development and family dynamics.

In addition to her senior leadership position, Johnson is dedicated to expanding access to quality mental healthcare that addresses the needs of underserved populations. Through training new clinicians, in culturally sensitive care she plays a pivotal role in building capacity and serving underrepresented communities. 

Johnson co-authored "Ecologies of Faith in New York City: The Evolution of Religious Institutions" (Polis Center Series on Religion and Urban Culture, Indiana University Press, 2012), examining how religious communities have adapted to changes in New York City.


Sheila Johnson

Rachel Booker

Psychological Associate/Consultant

MA-LD/ASD, Behavioral Analyst


Rachel is currently undergoing training at a Psychoanalytic at Harlem Family Institute and pursuing a MA in Clinical Psychology. She has a Bachelors of Artis in  Special Education (LD), Master of Arts in Special Education (ASD), and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Rachel has worked as a Behavior Analyst for 8 years alongside teaching in special education. Rachel currently works as a Behavioral therapist and Life mentor in Michigan while collaborating on foundational work here at Harlem Family Services as a Psychological Associate/Consultant. 


Jennifer Ludwig

Executive Administrative Assistant/ Consultant


Jennifer Ludwig is an executive administrative assistant, aromatherapist, certified AFT practitioner and current co-president of Warriors for Warriors, a 501(c)(3) foundation that raises money for cancer charities. Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Iowa. She is currently working for Psychological Assets, Kliger Consulting and is an acting consultant for Harlem Family Services. 


Jennifer Ludwig
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