I joined the Adler faculty in October 2004; I chose to teach at the University because educating clinicians and social scientists that care about social justice is exciting, and I believe it will ultimately make our world a better place. I aim to train psychologists who will work in multiple roles and various contexts as “local clinical scientists” in all they do professionally. In my opinion, psychologists have a responsibility to attend to issues of social justice and be politically active, with the goal of affecting meaningful change both in and out of the psychotherapy office.
My teaching philosophy reflects a sincere personal belief that meaningful graduate education in clinical psychology must challenge traditional assumptions about what a psychologist is and does. Moreover, my mentors instilled the belief that graduate education in psychology requires far more than committing information to memory in order to merely demonstrate mastery of content knowledge on assignments and exams. Therefore, I emphasize the interpersonal context in which teaching and learning occur—and then model for students a spirit of curiosity and systematic inquiry toward the aims of shared learning, analytical thinking, and healthy skepticism. I also try to create opportunities for students to learn from and teach one another. In the classroom, it is my aim to provoke personal discovery through critical reflection and to promote community-based praxis as a necessary outcome of heightened consciousness. Ultimately my hope is for students’ education at Adler University to be a truly transformative experience.
Andersonville Behavioral Health is my northside Chicago clinic where, for many years, Adler University graduate students have trained in both psychological assessment and psychodynamically oriented psychotherapy. Prevent Depression Chicago, the outreach wing of my practice, is devoted to community service and applied social science research. In these capacities, we aim to provide primary and secondary preventive interventions, including community-based depression screening, to develop and implement educational campaigns focused on self-care and well-being, and to conduct social science research that addresses the complex vulnerabilities which place individuals and communities at risk for depression and related conditions.
My clinical work focuses on time-limited, psychodynamic psychotherapy with adolescents and adults, which aims to help people create more satisfying and meaningful lives, with healthier attachments, and is not aimed merely at symptom reduction. Additionally, in my practice I provide comprehensive psychological assessments geared toward the differential diagnosis of ADHD and specific learning disorders (e.g., dyslexia), as well as those focused on understanding longer-term personality problems that hold people back from enjoying their lives to the fullest.
In my research, I focus on three areas of inquiry: (1) understanding gay male identity development, especially experiences with bullying, dating, friendship, intimacy and self-esteem; (2) understanding how people come to receive an ADHD diagnosis, including the exact diagnostic procedures they experience leading up to a formal diagnosis of ADHD and the psychosocial processes they experience as a result of the diagnosis; and (3) understanding the experience of transgender and gender-nonconforming children, teens, and adults as they navigate their families, the school system, work environments, and the larger communities in which they are embedded.
I am most interested in qualitative research methods, especially ones that induce community change, including phenomenological inquiry, multiple case study, grounded theory, auto-ethnography, and narrative research. I am also interested in mixed methods research, which integrates both quantitative methods with qualitative design.