As a Developmental Psychologist of 35 years, Dr. Karen Levine’s passion for improving the well being of neurodivergent and neurotypical young children has been the driving force throughout her career. She uses a developmental, relationship-based approach to assessment and treatment, incorporating playfulness, fun and humor into treatment when feasible, as a means of increasing happiness and lowering anxiety and distress. Karen believes there is not a one size fits all approach to assessment or treatment, and that individual children and families need different kinds of support at different points in their development.
Karen is a Licensed Psychologist with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Boston University (1989), a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1985) and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Brandeis University (1982). She holds an academic appointment as a part-time Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and as Adjunct Faculty, Lesley University. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Autism Program in the late 1980’s, of the Building Blocks and the Spotlight programs of the Northeast ARC in the late 1990’s. She formerly worked at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance.
Karen developed a play-based treatment for children with fears and phobias, integrating the evidenced based behavioral tool of Gradual Exposure, which she has re-conceptualized as Gradual Incorporation, within a joyful, developmental, individual differences play-based model. This approach is described in her book, Attacking Anxiety, is currently called Behavior Play Therapy or Affective Play Incorporating Fears (APIF), and is being studied and manualized by Bonnie Klein-Tasman, Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Karen is the recipient of the 2012 Lesley University Autism Hero Award, and the 2010 Federation for Children with Special Needs Founders Award. She is an ICDL DIR/Floortime Training Leader and Expert DIR® Floortime™ provider. Karen conducts workshops regionally and nationally
Karen has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and with Naomi Chedd, she has authored 3 books: