I want this page to help you decide if I’m the right person to work with your family.
What you probably want to know most of all is: a) Will I understand your child – the whole child – and what makes them tick; and b) Will I be able to help you and your child achieve their goals and be the very best they can be? You may also want to know what inspires me to do the kind of work I do with children. What makes me tick.
I’ll start with what makes me tick. I’m driven. I have a strong “need to know” and am highly analytical – a classic INTJ personality. I was raised to believe that you can do anything you are willing to work hard enough to do. I question the status-quo and fight hard for what I believe in. I had to fight hard for my children. I’ll fight hard for yours.
My personal “why” for going into this kind of work was initially the frustration I felt as a parent. I have two beautiful twice-exceptional children who have had multiple diagnoses over the years including ADHD, anxiety, depression, dyslexia, giftedness, math disability, and writing disability. I can’t begin to tell you how many sleepless nights I had worrying about them! You may relate? The way I deal with worry is to learn everything I can and then do something about it. I bought every book, consulted every expert, and the next thing I knew I was in a PhD program. Meanwhile, I developed strategies that worked amazingly well for our children. They graduated from great colleges, are launched in careers they love, and have significant others with whom to share life’s joys. This of course makes me phenomenally happy.
I want you to experience the same feeling of satisfaction that you have done all you can to help your child grow into a fulfilling and meaningful life. So, I created a specialty psychology practice focused on helping parents do just that.
Now let me describe how I will understand your child. You are probably considering having your child assessed because there is a challenge or problem of some kind. I’ll figure out what it is and what to do about it. I don’t think you could find anyone more thorough than me at turning over every stone to see what’s really going on. I’ve become the “go-to” diagnostician for families whose children have been misdiagnosed or are particularly complicated. People come to me from across the U.S. as well as Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America. I love a challenge! I’m actually kind of embarrassed when people describe my analyses as “thorough,” as I see it as perfectionism layered with obsessive compulsive tendencies. Anyway, you will leave my office knowing more about your child than you ever thought it was possible to know.
But not just about their problems. You’ll also know about their strengths, their interests, and their dreams. This is one of the major ways in which my approach differs from other psychologists. I take a positive psychology perceptive and look for what’s good, what’s working, what’s possible. I do this because I believe in the potential of children. And I think it’s so wrong and one-sided to look at a child as a package of problems or “disabilities.”
And this is key. Because it is by knowing our strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how to work with and around them that we can position ourselves to achieve our goals. I’ll give you a strategic plan (I learned about those in my MBA and consulting years) for how to work with your child’s profile of strengths and weaknesses to achieve the goals you and they have for their development. That’s why my “by-line” is “Strategic Learning Assessment.” Because the reason for going through this whole assessment process should be to identify goals and figure out how to achieve them. That’s the bigger purpose.
I think it’s amazing for a young person to be able to find out what they’re good at and what would benefit from strengthening and use that information to achieve what they want in life – rather than just blundering along without a clue. What a phenomenal gift to give to your child! What a head-start in life.
Kids really like working with me. I don’t think it’s because of the stickers and toys I give out (though they don’t mind those). I think it’s because I am really sincerely interested in them and their well-being, and they can sense that. Plus I give them loads of positive reinforcement as we discover their “super powers.” After 6 hours of testing most children say that they had so much fun they can’t wait to come back for more. I wish they liked school that much. Let’s work on that together.
Oh – and here’s some more background information.
I grew up in Mill Valley, California, just north of San Francisco. My father was a professor who loved to travel. I was “homeschooled” on the road for the 2nd grade when we took a year to travel from London to Hong Kong. We lived in Uganda for my first two years of high school where I attended a local, academically selective public magnet school where I was one of a handful of non-African students. I earned my B.A. from Amherst College (graduating in the first class of admitted women), my M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (graduating in the top 3% of my class), and my Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. In my business career (between the MBA and PhD) I worked in investment banking and strategic planning. I was a stay-at-home mom for a chunk of time too. My husband and I met at a bank in Manhattan, went to Wharton together, and have lived in Manhattan, Philadelphia, Houston, New Canaan, CT, Belvedere, CA, Madison, CT, and India. We were able to replicate the experience I had of living abroad as a high school student with our own children in India for four years. In New Delhi I worked for an Indian educational foundation doing assessments of children from all kinds of backgrounds (Indian, Nepalese, English, Dutch, rich, poor). I learned a lot about cultural sensitivity. When we came back to the states I first opened a private practice in Connecticut and then shifted to Manhattan. I love living in New York. My husband and I live on the Upper East Side in an apartment we decorated with finds from our travels.