Dr. Maria Luisa Leichtman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents, adults, and families. A native of the Philippines, she came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar and received her doctorate from the University of Kansas. She trained at the Irving Schwartz Institute for Children of the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center and the Children's Rehabilitation Unit of the University of Kansas Medical Center. After serving as Coordinator of the Children's Outpatient Service at Topeka State Hospital from 1975 to 1979, she joined the staff of the Menninger Clinic. There she provided diagnostic services, individual and group therapy, hospital treatment, and consultation to the Topeka Public School System and local day care centers.
In 1991, she was appointed the first Director of the Menninger Residential Treatment Program and, over the next decade, was instrumental in developing an innovative, nationally-recognized intensive short-term approach to work with severely disturbed adolescents who had formerly been treated in long-term hospitals. With her husband, Dr. Martin Leichtman, she is author of numerous papers on the topic, including one recently published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry documenting the effectiveness of such treatment.
A member of the faculty of the Menninger School of Mental Health Sciences for over twenty years, Dr. Leichtman has taught courses on child development and the diagnosis and treatment of troubled children. She is a skilled psychotherapist with children and adults and has provided extensive supervision in these areas for psychiatric residents and post-doctoral fellows in clinical psychology. In recognition of her work, she was named Smiley and Paul Putnam Professor in 2000.
For the last decade, Dr. Leichtman has been in private practice, specializing in treating AD/HD, anxiety, and depression. She is committed to psychoeducational approaches to therapy that emphasize helping parents play an active role in assisting troubled children and adolescents. She has a particular interest in the problems professionals experience in balancing commitments to work and family.