Ph.D Alisa Vig

Ph.D Alisa Vig


Alisa Vig


Dr. Alisa Vig is a clinical psychologist who has practiced DIR over 15 years in Israel and in the US. She did her pre and post doctoral internship with babies, young children and their families in the San Francisco area and taught at Palo Alto University. She completed her DIR Certificate under Dr. Serena Wieder and became one of the founders and co-directed the Israeli DIR organization until 2013, and now serves on their Advisory Board. She is also a faculty member of Profectum and DIR Israel.

Dr. Vig is the founder and director of Simaney Kesher Center, a multidisciplinary clinic in Israel treating babies, children, and adolescents with neurodevelopmental emotional and behavioral difficulties and their families. She has provided training programs in the DIR Model to different organizations and supervises interdisciplinary professionals. Recent publications include chapters describing DIR principles and focus on inclusion in the DIR model.


Moving from the Actual Space of the Outer World to the Inner Space of Symbols through Play

Alisa Vig, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

The DIR Model revolutionized the concept of development by integrating psychodynamic theories and neurodevelopmental differences of the individual with emotional developmental capacities mature through interactive and affective relationships.

This presentation focuses on DIR (Wieder and Wachs 2012) and Winnicott (1971) concepts of space and “potential space”. It emphasizes three zones:

  • Space in Real World –  This zone may include visual spacial capacities such as body awareness, location of body in space, relation of objects / self / others, and visual logical reasoning.
  • Personal and Psychic Space –Internal zone that includes subjective reality of the individual such as wishes, dreams, and anxieties.
  • Potential Space – Winnicott describes it as the “in-between space” which is between the first two zones – the Real and Psychic zones. This is the zone where symbolism develops.

Many have doubted children with ASD can play or engage in creative activities, develop the “potential space” and symbolism. This presentation asserts that by embracing in a meaningful way the three zones    helping the child process and master the Real Space in addition to the Psychic one in a playful manner, child with ASD can also develop mechanisms of symbolism and creativity. With such intervention the child can moves from  perceptions and action in the real world to first internal representations (1), build basic or episodic symbols (2) and later elaborated symbols and abstract thinking (3) .

The evolution of symbolism will be illustrated by a case study animations and video clips in a comprehensive developmental and dynamic setting.