I have been a Clinical Psychologist for 17 years, and in the mental health field helping others for more than 28 years. Helping those with mental health issues has been a passion for me since my career started as a young college student working in group homes for juvenile delinquent boys, and later as a case manager for those with chronic mental illness in community mental health settings.
My experiences through the years working in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centers, inpatient hospitals (Sheppard Pratt, Baltimore, MD & Springfield Hospital Center, Sykesville, MD), and Community Mental Health Centers has provided rich and challenging work that has been character building and very rewarding.
My work in the Correctional Institutions of Patuxent Institution & Maryland Department of Corrections in Jessup, MD was particularly rewarding and provided me with a perspective of the enduring resilience and capacity for change that most people can have. Following this work, I joined a group private practice for outpatients in Fairfax, VA and then later opened a solo private practice in Northern VA. Throughout my travels I have been licensed in MD, VA, and now DE. Having moved to Delaware with my family, the plan now is to continue to help my new Southern Delaware community with mental health through my new private practice in Millsboro, DE.
My clinical experiences and expertise range from working with chronic mental illness, personality disorders, depression, anxiety, to treating PTSD, trauma, stress & anger management, grief processes and divorce. In addition, I also work with identity issues, LGBTQ+ population, life transitions, self-esteem, post-partum depression and relationship issues.
Working with children and their families is also a great joy of mine. In particular, I like to use a child-centered approach and employ play therapy and sand tray therapy techniques, as well as expressive arts therapy. Most of my “kid clients” call me “Dr. CJ,” and I feel privileged to have had experiences treating children in foster families, children with behavioral issues, ODD, school avoidance, depression, anxiety, selective mutism, sexual abuse trauma, ADHD/ADD, grief and divorce issues.
My theoretical treatment approaches are eclectic and integrative, tailored to each individual client’s particular presenting issues and personality dynamics. I have experience using the following approaches: psychodynamic, CBT, interpersonal, client-centered, attachment-based, Christian Counseling, Trauma focused, child-centered play therapy, directive play therapy, and sand tray, as well many others.
Animal-Assisted Therapy and Animal-Assisted Play Therapy are a new special interest area for my practice. My Therapy Dog, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever named “Murphy” is now sometimes my co-therapist in select sessions with clients. Murphy has been with my family and I since he was 11 weeks old and in addition to being our much loved family dog, he has been working on his own credentials. Murphy has passed basic and advanced obedience classes, two therapy dog classes, and earned his “Canine Good Citizen Certificate.” He passed his “STEX” test (Standards of Excellence Therapy Team Evaluation) in February 2020 to become an official therapy dog with “Paws for People.” At present, Murphy is doing some therapy dog work visiting elderly people in their homes or going for walks in a socially distanced way. Murphy and I are very much looking forward to when we can be back in the office in person to work with clients!