Licensed Psychologist with over 35 years experience
Built on the principles of engagement, respect, and accountability, my approach resonates with young individuals and instills faith in my ability to assist them. I push back against old tenets of psychotherapy that don’t suit adolescents and propose instead a method of conducting therapy with teens and young adults that is far more potent and intentional.
As a psychologist and therapist practicing in Exton (Chester County), Pennsylvania, I show up for my clients in a very personable and authentic way and engage them in conversations about things that are important to them, leading them toward new ideas, strategies, and perspectives.
My therapy is at once practical and warm, and I share my insights generously. A lot can happen within a short period of time.
With over three decades of experience providing evaluation, counseling, and coaching services to children, preteens, teenagers, young adults, and parents, my method renders teens to speak openly and engage in conversations that bring about effective change for all involved.
There is something magical that happens when a young child, teen, or parent feels accepted, respected, and understood without fear of being criticized, condemned, or judged —or pummeled with a dozen questions.
“If we want to change the conversation we’re having with our teenagers, then we have to change the conversation we’re having about them.”
– Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette
My first job after graduate school was at a residential facility for teenagers. I watched these seasoned therapists work their craft on their teen clients, and, well, it wasn’t working. The kids weren’t interested in talking about treatment goals for problems they didn’t think they had, and when their therapists insisted they had them, the conversation – and the relationship – evaporated. So I searched for a better approach, a more respectful way of expressing my interest in helping that didn’t involve muscling points across the divide or hammering my clients with a barrage of conversation-starter questions of interest to either of us.
Expanded and refined over the next three decades, my therapeutic approach with teenagers has proved to be very effective in treating all kinds of disorders with which teens present in therapy. It is relaxed and unaffected, void of jargon and the kinds of “therapy homework” that some therapists prescribe that no teen on this planet has ever completed. Most important, maybe, is that the teens I see like coming to therapy. Conversation comes easily to us, and so do new perspectives and ideas for clients to try on for size.
I’m forthcoming while remaining kind always, and I consider one of my most important roles to be expressing my compassion for these teenagers’ plights while holding them accountable for the choices they make and the impact those choices are having on the people around them.
In addition to my clinical work, I often run training workshops, speak in the community, and consult with schools and mental health agencies. I conducted professional workshops and educational programs for psychiatrists, psychologists, school counselors, social workers, therapists, probation officers, caseworkers, school administrators, teachers, parents, and foster parents all around the United States and Canada, as well as in Mexico, Russia, Croatia, and Germany.
I also love writing and have written 7 books, dozens of media articles, and interviews on such topics as:
I have all original content in my articles, blogs, and books, and it is ever so different from the same old, tired, hackneyed advice that parents and therapists typically find on the web.
I’m a mom of three young men in their twenties/thirties. I understand the challenges of parenting kids and young adults today, and I believe it’s important for us to be informed about the social culture in which we’re raising our children and to find ways to remain credible and relevant.
I’m crazy about all dogs, but especially bullmastiffs and pitbulls.
I love horses and have ridden since I was seven years old. As a teenager and adult, I’ve competed in the equitation and hunter/jumper divisions at nearly every major East Coast horse show. I currently ride with Diane Little in West Chester, PA continue competing in the jumper divisions.
For a complete riding biography and history, please visit sportpsychforriders.com.
In therapy between therapist and client, engagement takes many forms. I always seek to connect with my clients – whether children, teenagers, or adults – in ways that feel organic and become rewarding. Conversation flows without all the questions that derail others’ attempts in therapy to get people to “open up” to them. In my office, we open up to each other, making the work of therapy that much easier, faster, and more satisfying.
In my space, I want clients to feel that both their person and their autonomy is respected. No one is obligated to act on my ideas or remain committed to a goal they committed to earlier. Teenagers, especially, need to know they can say, I don’t care about that anymore, without assuming they’re being ‘resistant.’ The more interesting question for me is, Hey, how does something that meant a lot to you last Thursday not mean much to you today? Always asked with curiosity, never derision.
A powerful philosophy, as well as intervention, accountability shows up in my invitation to clients to become more responsible for their choices and their impact on the people around them. I believe strongly that when done without criticism or judgment, the act of gently holding people accountable for their actions and words directs us toward being our best selves and emphasizes that belonging to something (a family, a community, a nation) carries with it a set of obligations.