Judge Leon Kaplan
Co Founder of DUET.
Judge Leon Kaplan envisioned DUET years ago, while working as a judge in Los Angeles, CA. Leon used to work with troubled juveniles and encountered difficulties when trying to help them rehabilitate their lives. He believed that the best way to help those kids was to develop programs that helped the families create safer environments for their children. He met Prof. Naama Atzaba-Poria and their connection was immediate. Since then, they envisioned developing even more programs for creating closer, better, and more secure families and communities, which can help prevent young adults from entering the juvenile justice system. This year their dream came true when, together, they established DUET.
Prof. Naama Atzaba-Poria
Co Founder & Chairwoman of DUET.
I came to the field of Developmental Psychology from a core recognition of the significance of healthy development in the early years of life, later leading to healthy development from childhood to adulthood. Early intervention is especially important in the early years, where significant changes can be made to contribute to the quality of life of children and their families. The main theme that is at the core of my research and therapeutic work is the relationship between parents and children and in particular parental reflective capacities. I believe that a significant factor in building the parent-child relationship and children’s sense of ‘self’ is the reflective abilities parents and other meaningful figures in the child’s life possess. This ability is the basic foundation upon which the parent-child bond can form and children’s ‘self’ is created, leading to children’s development of self-understanding and the ability too adapt to their changing environment. In fact, this basic capacity facilitates children’s development of a healthy personality. Therefore, when I encountered the retired Judge Leon Kaplan and realized that we both share a similar understanding of the need for early intervention and the importance of working with parents, I was overjoyed. This partnership, which began immediately with an understanding of the key variables that are important for the healthy development of children, led to the establishment of a “Duet” with the mission of promoting our vision of creating a community-connected, academic space that deals with the enhancement of children’s mental health, with an emphasis on the adults that are part of their lives.
Through my connection with Leon Kaplan, I became familiar with the Los Angeles Center for Reflective Communities, where I learned the Reflective Parenting Program, an intervention method that allows intensive and meaningful work on parents’ ability to reflect on the child and the relationship, and thus strengthens the parent-child connection. Upon my return to Israel, I initiated and developed the Duet Program, a program designed to help parents and educators find their mutual rhythm with their children, better understand their children and themselves in various everyday situations, and consequently choose the best way to act. The program in Israel is based on the L.A. program with social and cultural adjustments to suit the various populations in this country. To my pleasure, Dr. Naama Tson Ben-Arie joined us, and we promote Duet’s vision and activities together.
At “Duet”, I see an opportunity to bring my professional vision to life – to integrate academia with the community on issues related to child development. I see the importance of bridging between research, education, and clinical work and try to integrate the three wherever I can. For example, in my work as a developmental clinical psychologist, I rely on up-to-date research knowledge, including data gathered from research conducted in my laboratory. Likewise, my clinical work with parents and children inspires my scholastic thinking and refines the research question and topic I study. Equivalently, in “Duet”, we run research-based interventions, as well as study the effects of our interventions, and continue to refine and adjust them constantly to the needs of different populations and groups.
I believe that a widespread Duet activity throughout the community will facilitate parents’ and educators’ use of reflective thinking and communication- a language that promotes bonding and connecting. Consequently, we will raise a generation of reflective children, better equipped to understand themselves and others around them.
Dr. Naama Tson Ben-Arie
I first became acquainted with Prof. Naama Atzaba-Poria during my BA in Behavioral Sciences, when Naama was my instructor in an instructed research course. Later, I continued my MA and Ph.D. studies in clinical psychology at Bar Ilan University under the supervision of Dr. Ety Berant. In my Ph.D. study, I examined the contribution of patients’ ability to be intimate to change in time-limited dynamic psychotherapy. I completed my clinical internship at the Shaar Hanegev Psychological Center and in Ramat Chen. During my internship, my path crossed with Naama’s again, as Naama trained and instructed me to become a group facilitator in the Reflective Parenting program. This encounter with the intervention program Naama developed— the Reflective Parenting Groups— and its unique qualities were transformative for me both personally and professionally. I was deeply impressed by the changes parents underwent during the group, fell in love with the method, and became passionate about spreading it. I continued to instruct groups using the reflective method while joining forces with Naama to advance and expand the program. Our shared belief in the ability of the reflective caregiving method to ignite changes in the various circles surrounding the child, and in the community, brought Naama and I to found “Duet.” Today, I am Duet’s director, a group facilitator, and a certified “Duet” instructor. In addition, I am a specialist clinical psychologist working with adults, adolescents, children, and parents.