Meet the Therapists
It’s been my pleasure to work with the staff, teachers, and clinicians at the Valley View School. One of the things that impresses me the most about the school is that although they are very empathetic and understanding of the boy’s needs and difficulties, they don’t encourage using those difficulties as excuses for abdicating personal responsibility and self-efficacy. It is this balance between supportive interventions and high expectations that I think is one of the school’s greatest strengths.
I have also found that the structured environment helps create an atmosphere where the expectations for the boys are clear and designed to convey the sense of security and stability.
It is this combination of a holistic understanding of the boys, that includes sensitivity to their emotional needs, an appreciation and treatment for their diagnoses, as well as the consistent message that we hope and belief in their ability to rise above their difficulties by accepting help when needed and learning to assume personal responsibility that is one of the most therapeutic influences the school offers.
During more than forty years of practice in clinical psychology, I have had the privilege of accompanying many youngsters on their journey toward personal growth and development. As an affiliate professor in the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Clark University and as an Associate in the Departments of both Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, I have tried to share the benefits of that experience with the next generation of clinicians.
The fifteen years during which I have participated in the program of services provided by Valley View School have been among the most clinically rewarding for me. The young men of Valley View’s student body have typically presented both daunting challenges and extraordinary potential. Over and again, I have seen families demonstrate selfless commitment and a readiness to sacrifice so that their sons might draw closer toward realizing that potential. Moreover, I have consistently been extremely impressed with the way the dedicated staff at Valley View provide a context within which growth and development might occur. Most striking is their sincere dedication to the overarching proposition that every student can be helped to move beyond the challenges of adolescence and toward a productive and satisfying experience as a young adult.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to participate in the Valley View program. Further, it has been a humbling honor to have had many students share with me their concerns, their questions, their aspirations, their efforts, their disappointments and their personal successes.
I started my collaboration with Valley View School as a consultant from the Harvard Medical School doing psychological testing with students. I enjoyed my experience and the school environment so much that I was thrilled when I was asked to join as adjunct staff psychologist. I have been serving the student community and their families with my services for the last eight years. My commitment is to helping boys attain their true potential. In doing so, I operate from a collaborative approach with families and the community of Valley View.
The school works as a prototype of community of which the students are the citizens, and staff is there to facilitate their full participation. The boys are confronted with learning to participate responsibly in order to enjoy the benefits. In such ideal challenging context, I work in helping the boy/citizen to work through the specific obstacle in the way of his full participation in the community. Possible obstacles may be constituted by learning disabilities, self-esteem issues, impulse control, and I enjoy working with different techniques and approaches according to the need. However, the unique strengths of this community, however, are: the strong and at the same time simplified structure of life, which helps everybody to follow clear and strong messages; and the high level of communication among all staff which leaves no space for manipulations, and other behaviors unaccounted for. As an experienced child psychologist, I can honestly say that these components are essential for outgrowing the challenges, which these boys bring with them to the school. Because of these elements I have been able to enjoy results with the boys and families I have worked with, that I could have not obtained in any other context.