Steven Kurtz, PhD, ABPP
Director, Selective Mutism Program
Child Mind Institute
Steven Kurtz, PhD, ABPP, is one of the nation’s leading clinicians in the treatment of children’s behavioral problems and disorders, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the social anxiety disorder selective mutism (SM). He is a widely respected clinical researcher and child psychologist, one of fifteen master trainers in parent-child interaction therapy endorsed by PCIT International, and a dedicated advocate for children with special needs.
As an assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Kurtz founded and served for 10 years as the clinical director of the NYU Child Study Center’s Institute for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Behavior Disorders. He was also the founding co-director of the NYU Child Study Center’s Selective Mutism Program. During his tenure, he created the first Brave Buddies Program, a weeklong intensive day treatment program for children with SM. Brave Buddies, now overseen by Dr. Kurtz at the Child Mind Institute, pairs counselors with children, one-on-one, in a simulated school classroom where brave talking is shaped, nurtured, and reinforced while social anxieties are lessened.
Dr. Kurtz earned his doctorate in 1985 from Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a Diplomate in cognitive and behavioral psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, for which he also serves as a volunteer examiner. He is the chair of the Treatment Adaptations Taskforce on the Advisory Board of PCIT International; a board member of the Selective Mutism Group (SMG), the nation’s leading advocacy group for SM; a member of the American Psychological Association, the New York State Psychological Association, and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies; and a fellow in the American Academy of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology.
Dr. Kurtz’s clinical research teams have led international efforts to develop better diagnostic assessments and evidence-based treatment plans for children with ADHD and other behavioral problems. They are best known for utilizing PCIT, an innovative, evidence-based treatment providing parents with the skills to diminish and positively redirect a child’s disruptive behavior. Dr. Kurtz’s team has also visited schools to train educators in new discipline strategies and behavior management techniques, an empirically supported approach called teacher-child interaction therapy (TCIT). Dr. Kurtz’s research has shown that teachers trained in TCIT are better able to serve children with special needs in a mainstream, general education setting.
Dr. Kurtz has published numerous scholarly papers and lectured widely; his research on TCIT has been featured at national, regional, and city conferences. Over the course of his career he has also mentored hundreds of psychology undergraduates, graduate students, and psychiatry residents. In 2005, students and faculty at the NYU Langone School of Medicine nominated him for the prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2006, he was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award by the graduate students of the NYU Child Study Center.
Dr. Kurtz continues to be a significant public voice, dispelling myths about childhood psychiatric disorders and advocating for comprehensive, individualized care for all children struggling with behavioral or other mental health issues. An expert commentator, he has appeared on numerous programs addressing child mental health, including NBC’s Today, CBS’s The Early Show, and PBS’s Keeping Kids Healthy.