I am a licensed clinical psychologist, certified school psychologist and licensed professional counselor who has been in practice for 20 years. My orientation is primarily Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), within a systems framework. I use a CBT approach to help individuals recognize common negative thinking patterns that escalate distress. The ability to look at challenging situations from a more neutral perspective allows an individual to respond to them more effectively, with greater clarity. A Systems approach considers the person in his/her larger context, including how the individual is impacted by and reacts to his environment. When possible, addressing the larger system can maximize meaningful and sustainable change.
Over the years, my practice has evolved from providing individual, couples and family therapy to now include what may seem like divergent areas of specialty, K-12 educational consulting with a specific focus on coaching parents and students of color, assisting schools in addressing diversity and inclusion related issues, and working with collegiate and professional athletes.
For more than a decade now, I have been working in a pre-K to 12 private (a.k.a. independent) school. In my private practice, I meet with parents and their children who attend private schools. And I am a graduate of one of these schools, Germantown Friends. Because of the years of experience and these multiple lenses through which I view and can understand private schools, there isn’t an issue with which I am unfamiliar. I have seen all the challenges that can hinder student success across the school trajectory. This knowledge has informed my current practice of educational consulting, which includes guiding parents around selecting the best school for their child, helping students develop academic game plans, and troubleshooting challenges that can arise at any time over the course of their attendance.
As one of the few people of color on staff in a private school, I realized early on in my tenure that I had a unique perspective into the struggles many private schools are experiencing with issues of diversity and inclusion. In my professional role, I have heard the multiple perspectives, goals and challenges encountered by administrators, staff, parents and students of color who are part of these communities. Administrators and teachers come to me asking how they can better communicate and collaborate with parents and students of color. Parents of color have come to me about their worries for their children and issues they believed they were having. Finally, students too, have come to me about their identity, about experiences with other students, and with teachers and administrators, most of whom are white.
How did the NFL work its way into my practice? About 10 years ago, the NFL was rolling out a program for rookie players in all 32 teams across the country and I was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles to become their facilitator. Obviously, this was an exceptional opportunity to interface with professional athletes at the start of their careers. What I learned from his opportunity is that the issues faced professional athletes are in some regards no different than the issues with which we all deal. We all have moments of self-doubt. We all encounter challenges in our relationships with family, significant others, co-workers (teammates) and bosses (i.e., coaches, front office staff). Some issues I’ve encountered that are more unique to the athletes include: adjusting to fame, job insecurity, trust, money management, and considerable stress as a result of bearing the weight of one’s entire family’s financial success, to name a few.
At the end of the day, whether it is a child or an adult, a famous or not so famous person, even with seemingly different populations, the core issues in need of attention are incredibly similar. Despite differences in age, socio-economic status, and occupation there are universal issues with which we all struggle.