Hello. I am DrMommyBrain. I am mommy to two rambunctious little boys. These two fill much of my time and most of my heart. I am also a psychologist with a passion for strengthening our communities.
I believe that there are many ways to strengthen our communities. My training and experience have brought to light a handful of ways that I am able to promote growth and just maybe achieve social change.
I hope that my work here will be helpful- encouraging- inspiring. Together we can improve our educational system, build cohesive communities, and develop greater more supportive social networks. Together we can grow as parents in order to raise children who will go on to be the strength and change we hope to see in our world.
But being a parent is a messy job and the world we live in is not all sunshine and roses. Here we move through the chaos of family and life together each day striving for the small changes in ourselves and our communities that in time can make all the difference!
So stick around. Say hello. Join me on Facebook. I would love to hear from you. Ask me a question! I personally respond to all questions asked. Do you have a parenting issue or concern you want to run past a psychologist? I am here and I would love to have the opportunity to help. So don’t hesitate to ask me. I do not claim to know all, and I will let you know if the question posed is outside of my area.
Click Here to read more about my education and experience. I include this information so that you know my background, perspective, and passion.
In grad school, I studied in a Clinical- Community Psychology with an emphasis in forensic psychology. When that is broken down Clinical psychology means that I studied standard psychology assessment and therapy practices. Community psychology is all about applying psychology to the systems in our community that interact with and impact the individuals we could be treating. Community psychologists aim to improve social systems and create support for healthy communities. Community systems range from large to small. They include your social network, girl scout troop, and church. They also include your school, your community center programs, local and national government. Community Psychology looks at the world like a rock tossed into a pond. Each individual is a rock with ever larger ripples spreading in all directions. Forensic psychology means psychology in the context of the legal system. Forensic psychology includes everything from parent custody evaluations to insanity evaluations and treating mentally ill prisoners and offenders.
I am currently working part time to allow more time to be an active participant in my kid’s lives. At other points in my career, I have worked full time while doing additional work on the side. I am in my mid 30s and I am thankful for the variety of experiences I have had and the unique components each has added to my perspective. I have never and will never discuss past, present, or future patients on this site.
Currently, I work with mentally ill patients in the criminal justice system. I have been doing this for almost 10 years. In that time I have treated people who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, incompetent to stand trial, sexual offenders, and those lacking sufficient skills and abilities to be safely returned to the community.
Prior to this, I spent a year working with a program that works to safely reintegrate people who have previously been found not guilty by reason back into the community following a period of treatment. The program was designed to ensure ongoing therapy, skills teaching, medication, housing, and intense supervision.
I am often asked if I have worked with murderers. The answer is yes. I have worked with many murderers, but crimes have ranged from murder to petty theft with priors.
My work with the mentally ill criminal population has been an intense experience. Many assume that it has shown me the darkest pit of humanity. It has indeed, however it has shown me much more than that. To a great extent, it has also done the opposite providing a balance. I feel that I have had the opportunity to see evil up close, but also to see what from a distance appears to be evil only to find sadness, hope, and turmoil when you get up close. I have learned that while evil does lurk, not everything that appears to be evil is actually evil. In essence, evil is real but there is less real evil than many hold the fear of every day. In that gap between the real and perceived evil is an area of hope for change, growth, and improvement for our communities. To read more about my experience working with this population explore here.
I have also worked for about 7 years with children in the foster care system. This gave me the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a flawed and complicated legal system. I worked with the children and the foster families. I also got to work with their parents and extended families.
Here again, I often came across great darkness, trauma. It was work that could tear at your heart strings often in a way I have never felt while working with adults. On the other hand, at times, I witnessed amazing resiliency and humbling bravery from these children who were tasked with facing greater loss and struggle than I have ever known. Traumas that at times I was sure, I would not have been able to endure. On top of that, there was the beauty of watching a community pull together on behalf of a displaced child to open arms, open doors, and open hearts.
I have worked with battered women and perpetrators of domestic violence. I spent 4 years working in community outreach programs for battered women including manning a crisis line and working inside of a secret shelter for women and children fleeing from domestic violence. When working with the perpetrators of domestic violence it was in the form of leading court-mandated weekly group therapy.
Again, I often have received comments about the darkness of the work. And yes much darkness lies there. I watched women struggle with battles of their own sanity, self-worth, and security. I watched batterers fight battles inside themselves as well.
Doing this work was the first time that I fully understood community psychology. From the outside, it is often easy to view all abusers as terrible people and all victims as dumb. We hear it all the time. In doing this work I saw the impact of a huge array of variables outside of the individual people that led them down a path and held them on that path. In learning why the violence was happening, and why she did not leave him I quickly came to see the powerful impact our communities play in the most private and personal spheres of our lives.
While the bulk of my career has been spent working in the above-described areas I spent 2 years working with children in school settings including work with behaviorally disturbed children, learning disabilities, children with Attention Deficit disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
I also spent 2 years working in county-based community mental health clinics. For one of those years, I solely treated children for a variety of mental health, adjustment, behavioral, and scholastic concerns. The second year I was also treating adults with mental health diagnoses who were working hard on maintaining stability in their lives and communities.
Each of these experiences has taught me unique lessons about the human experience. At times the significance of the lessons passed me by in the moment only to blossom into insight later.
These years of working in areas of relative darkness and human despair have by contrast often made the simple pleasures of life appear that much more beautiful. Selfishly, I am grateful at times for the enhancement of the beauty in life.
Perhaps the greatest lesson, however, has been that in examing suffering at times flaws in systems come to stand out. When those are looked at more closely we can focus on those for growth, repair, and improvement.
As a result, some of my favorite quotes have become
Be kind for we are each fighting our own battle.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Join me as we work together to build strong families, support children, build up our schools, and inspire change in our communities.
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