clinical psychologist

More Do Less, Well

The March 2017 edition of the Monitor on Psychology included an article on how " smartphones are affecting our health and well-being..." I thought this piece dovetailed nicely with my recent post on Doing Less, Well and wanted to share it with you here in hopes of generating future discussion around this topic. I hope you find it useful and interesting to read.

The key points of the article that jumped out to me (as illustrated ecard):

Smart devices can wreak havoc on sleep routines and rhythms.

My recommendation: Initialize parental controls or Do Not Disturb at a specific time.

FOMO is real

My recommendation: Keep your account, but delete the Facebook app from your phone. Try it. I did and I've been mobile-Facebook-free for two months. It has really changed my perspective.

How we use social media (actively vs. passively) impacts how it affects us personally.

My recommendation: Limit your scrolling and commit to initiating conversations with others.


Call someone instead of texting them. I'll bet you enjoy it and wish you had done it more often.

A habit I started over the last few weeks (and miss when I don't do it) is calling my mother on the way home from work. It reminds me of when I was in high school, and we could give each other a hard time every morning on the car ride to school and still say "I love you" at the end of the conversation.

I always feel more connected after hearing her voice.

New Year, New Health Insurance Plans

It seems like none of us are immune to the ever-changing landscape of healthcare insurance. Like many others, my family and I are going through new plans, rules, and deductibles effective with the New Year. I think these insurance changes can be confusing and overwhelming.

I wanted to use this transition to the New Year as an opportunity to highlight the healthcare coverage options available to my clients.

  • I accept health insurance, health savings account (HSA), and fee for service clients.
  • I am an approved provider with:
    • Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
    • Aetna
    • Other insurance companies (as an out of network provider)

If your insurance provider is not listed, you may be able to pay for fee for service with a pre-tax healthcare savings vehicle, such as a Flexible Spending Account or HSA. Consult with your employer or health insurance company to learn more. 

Last year, I worked with several clients to maintain their level of care while effectively navigating the health insurance landscape. This included seeking out pre-authorizations or offering more tailored, focused sessions prior to families having met their annual deductibles.

My mission has and will remain the same as stated on the homepage of this website

I will work with you to improve your quality of life

Being on both sides of the health insurance system as a provider and a patient, I understand how challenging it can be to read the tea-leaves of ever-evolving health insurance coverage.

At the beginning of a New Year, I don't want client progress hindered or halted because of insurance changes. So let's work together in 2017 to focus on quality of life through behavioral change rather than getting bogged down in details while perseverating on the fine print.

Fall Speaking Engagements

Lately I have switched gears from blogging to preparing for speaking engagements in the Rochester community.  Below is my full schedule of speaking engagements this fall, with details on how you can attend.  As each draws closer, I hope to send out a teaser on this blog about the topic and content of my speech.  Then, when all settles, I should have some great material to turn into blog posts for my loyal readers through the long Rochester winter.

If you have questions about any of these engagements, you can reach me directly at  I hope to see friendly and familiar faces in the crowd this fall!

The Children's School at URMC - Teacher In-Service

Monday, October 10, 9 A.M. - 10 A.M., Closed to the public.

Greater Rochester Mother's of Twins

Thursday, October 13, 7 P.M. - 9 P.M., Open to Members. Free.

Upstate Special Needs Planning - Disability awareness Week

Monday, October 24, 6 P.M. - 7:30 P.M., 
Open to the public. Reservations requested at 585-899-1253. Free.

Camp Puzzle Peace Family Empowerment Series

Tuesday, October  25, 6 P.M. - 7:30 P.M., 
Open to the public. Reservations required at 585-371-5018.
$25 fee for a 3 series engagement, paid to Camp Puzzle Peace.

AutismUp Speaker Series - Confidence & Self-Advocacy

Monday, November 7, 7 P.M. - 9 P.M.  Open to Members. Free.

I'm a guest blogger... again!

Some folks may have noticed that I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately.  

There are three main reasons for this: 

  1. Private Practice is really taking off! Thank you to everyone who has made the time to make an appointment with me, those who have made referrals, and those who have recommended me to your family, friends and colleagues. I cannot do this without you!
  2. I'm preparing for a few speaking engagements this fall.  Stay tuned to this blog for exact dates and times. I am honored and excited to partner with local not-for-profits and organizations that serve families in our Rochester community.
  3. I was asked to write another blog for The Scientific Parent. This time my topic is Developmental Milestones and Delays: When to Seek Help

Like in my previous blog entry for The Scientific ParentWhat is Autism & When Should Parents Seek a Diagnosis?, this time I wanted to provide some concrete information and additional perspective for parents and caregivers. In this recent post, I focused on giving caregivers guidance about whether their children are meeting their developmental milestones on time. This is a worry most parents confront at some point in time, as they watch their child's behaviors around same-ages peers at the play ground, in child care settings, or within the family. Writing this article gave me a great opportunity to address some of the concerns that impact perceptions, such as comparing the child's progress to peers, siblings, family, even the parent's own childhood development timelines. I was also able to tackle the concept of a milestone being continuous, componential, and variable in onset. Read on to learn what I mean. 

So what does it mean to meet a developmental milestone? We tend to view the meeting of a milestone as a binary event: Either they’ve done it or they haven’t. Milestones are rarely all-or-none in the final analysis. Remember the time you spent repeating “dada” or “mama” over and over to your baby as they studied your lips and tongue to try and mimic the sound. There were likely many attempts that came out as “ada” and “da” before they were able to finally say “dada” or “mama.”

Faith in Data

I was first introduced to Dan Habib's work at a film viewing of Including Samuel that he hosted at the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman Museum here in Rochester about 7 years ago. I've followed him ever since, and I recently watched this video about inclusive education which rings true to the ideals many families hold dearly. One comment in the video really struck home because it reminded me of how data helps us know how and when to push and adapt our practices.

I’m going to push you until you give me what’s inside of you
— 7:48 minutes into the video

That’s what I’m talking about! And I buy what’s she saying hook, line, and sinker because it’s backed by the collection and recurrent use of data. I’ve been sitting on this idea for a while, and this video has inspired me to write it up. By way of analogy, this quote made me think about my favorite verse in the entire bible: 

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
— James 2:17

I remember very vividly my sophomore religion teacher, William Jauquet, dropping bible verses on us, and he tersely summarized this verse as “faith without works is dead.” I believe this line wholeheartedly, and I try to apply it to my work as a psychologist as such: “Even so therapy, if it has no data, is non-falsifiable, being by itself.”

So what am I trying to get at here?

I want to provide care that is informed by data and to measure clinical change. This is why I am giving clients and their families forms to complete on a routine basis to help gauge their progress and to better adapt our work together.

Since my practice just started (3 weeks in, hooray!) I am seeing a lot of new clients for the very first time. These intake appointments have been a great opportunity for me to collect data from clients and their families using standardized measures, and to integrate this data into my practice as an index of clinical change. I am working to screen for a range of clinical concerns and to have on-going, data-driven discussions about client's unique symptoms and to measure their personal progress. I hope this data-informed approach will be useful to my clients, and also provide me with real-time feedback so I can better meet their needs.

This is what I would love to hear more about from folks who read this blog:

  • What measures do you use as part of your work? Recommend them to me.
  • What domains/aspects do you think are important to measure? How do we do this?
  • How often is too often/too little/just right for measuring change in your opinion?

I’m wearing my clinical scientist hat here and would love to hear more from you!