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Teresa Ostler

Professor, MSW Program Director

Headshot of Teresa Ostler


(217) 244-5233

School of Social Work

1010 W. Nevada St.

Urbana, IL 61801

Office Suite 2000

What I Do

A licensed clinician in the State of Illinois, I was a faculty member for nine years in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois in Chicago and a lead member of the Parenting Assessment Team, a multidisciplinary team that evaluated parenting competency in individuals with severe and chronic mental illness and child protective service involvement. I have been a core faculty member in Social Work for over 15 years.


  • Summa Cum Laude graduate, BA, MA, PhD in Psychology – University of California at Berkeley
  • Postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin
  • Clinical internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research in Chicago


Dr. Ostler’s research focuses on at risk attachment bonds, parenting, and separation and loss, and loneliness often in the context of mental illness. Grounded in the fields of attachment theory, psychoanalysis and developmental psychopathology, she is currently working on the etiology and maintenance of segregated systems of thought in the context of maternal loss and prolonged separations. She is particularly interested in the constructs of loneliness and support in relation to containment, fear of breakdown and their links to unlived experience.

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