Stuart Ablon, Ph.D.

Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is Founder and Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. An award-winning psychologist, Dr. Ablon is Associate Professor and the Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of three books, Changeable, hand-picked by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Dan Pink, and Susan Cain for their Next Big Idea Club, The School Discipline Fix, and Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach. Dr. Ablon received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and completed his training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. One of the world’s top-rated thoughtleaders and keynote speakers, Dr. Ablon teaches educators, parents, clinicians, managers, and leaders a very different approach to understanding and addressing challenging behavior of all types and in all people. Dr. Ablon has helped hundreds of organizations throughout the world implement the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.

A Personal Note
I’m Stuart (he/him/his), and I’m the father of three kids who make me feel very proud to be their dad. I was born and raised in Boston and have spent most of my life here, except for a few wonderful years in California for graduate school. I’m an athlete and a big Boston sports fan. Both my parents are mental health professionals, so becoming a psychologist was not a big stretch in my family! I spent the early part of my career helping kids with behavioral challenges and researching why different forms of therapy are effective. I learned that a lot of it comes down to how well we create helping relationships. For more than 30 years now, since my first job as a direct care staff member on a psychiatric inpatient unit for children and adolescents, I’ve tried to teach people how to create helping relationships with kids in situations when it’s especially hard to do so. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel around the world working with hundreds of different organizations of various kinds to implement Collaborative Problem Solving. I especially enjoy helping people see the relevance of the shift in mindset and the process we teach to all relationships in their lives. I’m fortunate to have met so many wonderful people along the way, and I take great pride in the team we’ve built together here. My colleagues at Think:Kids are some of the most kind, empathic, collaborative, and talented folks I know.

Keynote Presentation
The School Discipline Fix: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach

Traditional school discipline, which relies on rewards and consequences to change student behavior, doesn’t work for the students to whom it is most applied and often makes matters worse. This is because a lack of motivation isn’t the cause of challenging behavior in the classroom. Dr. Stuart Ablon explains how behavior and compliance is determined by skill, not will. This paradigm shift is at the heart of Dr. Ablon’s work and why Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Dan Pink and Susan Cain hand-picked his latest book, Changeable, for their Next Big Idea Club. Dr. Ablon’s evidence-based approach, Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), combines this shift in thinking with concrete strategies that make trauma-sensitive teaching actionable. CPS has been shown to improve behavior, decrease the need for punitive discipline, build skills, decrease stress and improve relationships between educators and students.

Concurrent Sessions
Dr. Ablon will provide an overview of the approach in his first presentation. Dr. Ablon’s second sessions will guide participants to practice applying the model with their own students. Participants will practice assessment, planning and intervention through the lens of the CPS approach.