Mclean Hospital

From Adolescents to Adults: Everything You Need to Know About Brain Health

March 27-29, 2019 – Quito, Ecuador

Stock photo

Join us for the First Mental Health Congress hosted by McLean Hospital and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

USFQ, in collaboration with McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is proud to present a multi-day conference focused on providing mental health clinicians with a review of best practices, opportunities to learn from case studies, and in-depth trainings on some of today’s most advanced clinical treatments for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and self-harm.


Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Avenue Diego de Robles and Interoceanic Highway, Quito, Ecuador

Course Registration

Register before February 18: $420
Register after February 18: $500
Group discount: $450/each
Community Meet the Experts Dinner (March 27): $30


Course Leadership

Program Directors

Philip G. Levendusky, PhD, ABPP, McLean Hospital
Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD, USFQ
Ana F. Trueba, PhD, USFQ

Congress Developers

Scott O’Brien, McLean Hospital
Adriana Bobinchock, McLean Hospital
Jaime Ocampo, MD, PhD, USFQ
Maria Sol Graces Espinosa, MA, USFQ

International Faculty

Blaise Aguirre, MD, McLean Hospital
Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, McLean Hospital
James Holsomback, MA, MBT, McLean Hospital
R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD, McLean Hospital
Stephen J. Seiner, MD, McLean Hospital
Jeffrey Szymanski, PhD, International OCD Foundation
Ipsit Vahia, MD, McLean Hospital

National Faculty

Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD, USFQ
Esteban Toledo, MD, USFQ
Ana F. Trueba, PhD, USFQ
Esteban Utreras, PsyD, USFQ

Program Schedule

Day One: March 27, 2019

8am – Welcoming Remarks

9:15am – Session I: Understanding and Treating Different Forms of Anxiety in Adolescents and Adults

In this session, participants will gain a greater understanding of anxiety and how it presents in both adolescents and in adults. Hearing from two of the top experts in the field, we will discuss best practice models for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), while also exploring the practical uses of technology in the treatment of anxiety, as well as providing insight into cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).


  • Jeff Szymanski, PhD, Executive Director, International OCD Foundation
  • Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, Program Director, Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program, McLean Hospital
  • Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD, Program Director, Psychology, USFQ

12:15pm – Lunch

1:45pm – Session II: Crisis of the 21st Century: Addiction

With an estimated 300 million individuals living with some form of addiction worldwide and a reported more than 200,000 Ecuadorians reportedly using opiates, cocaine, cannabis, and amphetamine-type drugs, it is clear that addiction affects every nation and most families. In this presentation, we will discuss the latest approaches to treating addiction and how each clinician can partner with their patients to improve outcomes.


4pm – Session III: Deconstructing Stigma

Shame is the greatest barrier to seeking mental health care. During this session, you will hear from our colleagues at McLean Hospital about how they are working to reduce the shame that surrounds mental illness.

4:45pm – Session IV: The Crossroads of Psychiatry and Ecuadorian Culture: A Panel Discussion

  • Local presenters to be announced

6pm – Networking Reception

7:30pm – Meet the Experts: An Evening for the Quito Community

Mental health experts from USFQ, McLean Hospital, and Harvard Medical School will host a light dinner reception for educators, parents, students, and others who are interested in learning more about mental health.

Day Two: March 28, 2019

9am – Session I: Best Practices and the Latest Advances in Treating Depression

Despite being the most highly effective method to treat depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is not used as often as it could be due to stigma. In this presentation, we will discuss ECT, as well as two newer methods of treating depression—TMS and ketamine. Participants will also learn how older generations are addressing depression and other psychiatric disorders with the aid of technology.


  • Stephen J. Seiner, MD, Medical Director, ECT Service, McLean Hospital
  • Ipsit Vahia, MD, Medical Director, Older Adult Outpatient Services, McLean Hospital
  • Esteban Utreras, PsyD, USFQ

12:30pm – Lunch

2pm – Session II: Caring for a Patient Struggling With Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm

Suicide affects people from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, socioeconomic statuses, and geographical locations. In Latin America—particularly in Ecuador—there has been a sharp increase in individuals attempting and dying by suicide. In this presentation, we will explore working with patients who injure themselves and have persistent suicidal ideations. Participants will also learn the basic tenets of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).


  • Blaise Aguirre, MD, Medical Director, Adolescent DBT Services, McLean Hospital
  • Ana F. Trueba, PhD, USFQ

4:30pm – Coffee Break

4:45pm – Session III: My Personal Journey

Geronimo and Lisa talk about their personal experience living with mental illness.

6pm – Congress Closing Remarks

Dinner will be accompanied by a keynote address from Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP.

Day 3: March 29, 2019 (Optional)

For clinicians who would like an in-depth understanding of the innovative treatment models discussed during the conference, we will offer a half-day course on the following topics. All workshops will be held from 9am to 12pm.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Blaise Aguirre, MD
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – Stephen J. Seiner, MD
  • Use of Technology in Caring for Older Adults – Ipsit Vahia, MD
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – Jeff Szymanski, PhD
  • Starting Effective Support Groups in the Community – James Holsomback
  • Use of Social Media to Address Mental Illness and Shame – Adriana Bobinchock and Scott O’Brien
  • Effective Addiction Treatment in the Community – R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD

About Program Faculty

Philip G. Levendusky, PhD, ABPP

Philip G. Levendusky, PhD, ABPPDr. Levendusky is the senior vice president for Business Development and Communications at McLean Hospital as well as the director of the Psychology Department and co-director of Psychology Training, leading the McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology. For more than three decades, Dr. Levendusky has directed and/or developed more than 30 cutting-edge clinical programs at McLean Hospital. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a pioneer of integrated cognitive-behavioral treatment systems for persons with serious mental illness.

Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD

Mariel Paz Y Mino Maya, PhDDr. Paz-y-Mino is a child and adolescent psychologist. She is a trainer and specializes in play therapy for children and CBT for youth with anxiety disorders. Dr. Paz-y-Mino has been a faculty member at Universidad San Francisco de Quito since 2008 and she has been the head of the Psychology Department since 2016.

Ana F. Trueba, PhD

Ana F. Trueba, PhDDr. Trueba is the director of the master’s program in Clinical Psychology Universidad San Francisco de Quito and a professor of psychology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as other treatments such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She trained at McLean Hospital for her psychology internship from 2013-2014. Dr. Trueba is author and co-author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Blaise Aguirre, MD

Blaise Aguirre, MDDr. Aguirre is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He specializes in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) as well as other treatments such as mentalization-based treatment (MBT) for borderline personality disorder and associated conditions. He is the founding medical director of 3East continuum of care at McLean Hospital, an array of programs for teens which use DBT to target self-endangering behaviors as well as the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits. Dr. Aguirre has been a staff psychiatrist at McLean since 2000 and is nationally and internationally recognized for his extensive work in the treatment of mood and personality disorders in adolescents.

Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP

Throstur Bjorgvinsson, PhD, ABPPDr. Björgvinsson is the director of the Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program at McLean Hospital, and co-director of psychology training at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, overseeing McLean’s nationally recognized, APA approved, pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology. He has developed a national and international reputation as a clinical innovator, particularly in the implementation of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for the treatment of severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. His research interests focus on treatment outcomes, seeking to establish the effectiveness of CBT for a wide range of psychiatric disorders within a partial hospital program.

James Holsomback, MA, ABT

James Holsomback, MA, ABTMr. Holsomback is the director of clinical outreach for McLean Hospital and program director for Triad Adolescent Services, located in Lexington, Massachusetts. He has more than 20 years of experience working with adolescents and families struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and self-injury. He has a vast amount of experience teaching and supporting families struggling to identify ways to establish effective family systems as well as presenting in regional and national trainings and conferences on topics such as contingency management, digital and substance dependence, and supporting parents of preteens and adolescents struggling with self-harm and suicidality.

R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD

R. Kathryn McHugh, PhDDr. McHugh engages in clinical and translational research focusing on the nature and treatment of anxiety and addiction. As director of the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use Laboratory at McLean Hospital, she is particularly interested in the study of affective vulnerability factors, such as distress intolerance and stress reactivity, that are common across psychological disorders, with a focus on those that can be modified with treatment. Dr. McHugh is a practicing psychologist, specializing in cognitive behavior therapy for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

Stephen J. Seiner, MD

Stephen J. Seiner, MDDr. Seiner is the director of McLean Hospital’s Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program, which includes electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation (both superficial and deep), as well as ketamine infusions. McLean’s ECT service now performs over 7,000 treatments a year, making it one of the largest ECT centers in the country. His clinical interests include neurotherapeutics and geriatric psychiatry.

Jeffrey Szymanski, PhD

Jeffrey Szymanski, PhDDr. Szymanski is the executive director of the International OCD Foundation. A clinical psychologist, he previously worked at McLean Hospital’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute, a residential facility for individuals with severe and refractory OCD. Dr. Szymanski also has a long track record of teaching and training. As a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, he has supervised pre-doctoral psychology interns, psychiatry residents, and has run cognitive behavior therapy seminars.

Esteban Toledo, MD

Esteban Toledo, MDDr. Toledo is a board-certified psychiatrist who received his medical degree from the Universidad Internacional del Ecuador. He completed his psychiatry residency at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut, after spending a year as a research fellow at the PAIN group in Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Toledo continued his training with a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at Boston University/Boston Medical Center, and complemented his interests in psychodynamics by completing a fellowship at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. After finishing his training, he joined Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, as part of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services. Dr. Toledo has returned to Ecuador and currently serves as a consultant for complex dual diagnosis cases.

Esteban Utreras, PsyD

Esteban Utreras, PsyDDr. Utreras is currently a full-time professor of psychology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He is a clinical psychologist specializing in family therapy as well as other treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. His post-doctoral training was done in psychological assessment and diagnostics.

Ipsit Vahia, MD

Ipsit Vahia, MDDr. Vahia is a geriatric psychiatrist, clinician, and researcher. He is medical director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital and the McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry. His research focuses on the use of technology and informatics in the assessment and management of older adults and currently, he oversees a clinical and research program on aging, behavior, and technology. He has published extensively in major international journals and textbooks.