thank you

Day 1 and Day 905

New year, new office!

This morning I welcomed my first patients into the new office at 610 Pittsford Victor Road.

This reminded me of when I first started blogging in anticipation of starting private practice.

In the spring and summer of 2016, I put a countdown in a blog post titled “Final Countdown.”

Feeling nostalgic and wondering if time stood still on this post, I took a look. That countdown clock has continued ticking ever since and here we are in a new forever home 905 days later.

Getting the space ready for today has been an all-hands-on-deck labor-of-love for the Harrison family. This included holiday visits from different sides of the family to pitch in with everything from childcare to switching out door knobs, major trash removal to interior decorating counsel.

We rung in the New Year at the new office working on important finishing touches such as…

Organizing toys in the waiting room.

Organizing toys in the waiting room.

Testing out Mario Kart in my new therapy space.

Testing out Mario Kart in my new therapy space.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this dream come true. The trust and support of so many people has helped grow this practice into a place where more people can find help. Something that I know I can do no justice to is highlighting the role My Better Half has played in all of this. I intend to devote a full post to describing how my wife and best friend has built my dreams and given me the opportunity to live out my life’s calling. Can you guess when this post will appear? Until then, you’ll just have to remember that she even thought of the Keurig!

Coffee (and tea and hot cocoa) for everyone!

Coffee (and tea and hot cocoa) for everyone!

One of the greatest features of this new office is more space to expand!

For those of you that have reached out since I first announced my move, thank you. Thank you for your interest. Thank you for your patience. Now with this additional space, I will work with other providers to meet the needs of families, both the ones I currently see and those waiting patiently for services. You will be the first to know!

Day 1 in the new forever home.

Day 1 in the new forever home.

Wind, Snow, Time, & Faith

These last two weeks (March 7 to 16) have been full of weather and safety-related concerns, and it's led me to take stock of what drives me these days and how I want to live my life now.

For those readers living outside the Rochester metropolitan area, we experienced a windstorm on March 7 that left over half of the region without power for days followed by a cold weather snap with daytime temps in the 20's. As many of the trees were cleared and power was mostly restored by the start of the next week, we were hit by Winter Storm Stella that dumped approximately two feet of snow in an on-going two day snow shower starting on March 14. 

I had a full caseload every day these last two weeks, but the windstorm and emerging snow storm prompted me to shuffle my schedule and cancel a full day of patients on March 15.

Now I'll be honest: I do not like it when anything prevents me from doing what I had planned. Yes: this is the pot calling the kettle black coming from this here clinical psychologist.

But the truth is I needed this dose of reality that was served up to me over the last two weeks.

It gave me a chance to meet people near us who took us in while our power was out.

It gave me a chance to be present for my daughter during and after outpatient eye surgery.

It gave me a chance to connect with people deeply because there was space and time for it.

I wish I could say that I’d never been here before
— Chris Stapleton, Fire Away

That's how I feel right about now as I realize I would've missed my daughter's surgery had the weather not laid to waste my plans to focus on my work instead. So many times before I've been so driven that I don't even see the road I'm driving the car of my life on. And for that, I feel compelled to reflect on how I can align my priorities more consistently with my values.

I had planned on my previous post (UnReal InstaLife) being the final one in a series about digital communication and re-framing our experience with it. After my daughter's surgery, I am reassessing how my digital existence impacts my reality as a parent, partner, and provider. I have such an intense, unrelenting desire to improve things that I very often forget to slow down, turn off the phone, and make the time to reflect rather than react to the moment I'm in.

So the weather gave me cause for pause and the opportunity to be present for my family, but another thought snuck in without my realizing it until the past weekend turned into this week.

When I think it could be therapeutically helpful and when I feel it logistically necessary, I have shared with my clients a bit about my personal life. Many folks know that My Better Half and I are expecting our third child in May and have showed such care and interest in her well-being. 

Knowing that my client's think and care about my family is something that moves me in a way I can't really describe in words, which is saying a lot given my predilection for hearing my own voice.

And on more than one occasion in the past two weeks, I've had clients look me in the face or tell me sincerely in writing that they have prayed for my wife's health and my daughter's. Now my faith is something I have generally regarded as a private matter, but the deep gratitude I feel toward my client's in sharing their faith with me has led me to re-examine mine in my work.

This then is a long-winded thank you to my clients, my family, my friends, and my community for calling my faith to mind during this unexpectedly trying month of March. So in the spirit of sharing more of myself, here is a picture of my family, in our comfy clothes, celebrating St. Patrick's Day by appreciating our warm home, our health, and some much needed time together.

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.”

First Week Follow Up

I had an amazing first week in private practice. I met with 13 different families at both of my office locations and learned about their children who ranged in age from 4- to 22-years-old. The diversity of strengths and interests of each child, adolescent, and young adult gives me a great deal of hope and excitement about the weeks ahead as we forge a therapeutic relationship. Their families are incredibly engaged and motivated to help their loved ones flourish.

I am excited, too, that I have another 10 new clients scheduled for next week and a few additional new clients scheduled for my third week of practice. I really can’t thank my colleagues and friends enough for “getting the word out” about my practice and helping to build my schedule with wonderful new people. Rest assured, there is still plenty of space left, and I am eager to welcome more new clients in the coming weeks.


I’ve had folks from a few different organizations reach out to me asking if I have a flyer to share with them that they can hand out to families. I did not have a flyer, and I think it is a fabulous idea. I developed a first edition flyer to view, share, and download here

Please feel free to share it with others who may be interested. You can offer feedback on the flyer by reaching out to me directly, or in the comments section of this blog post. 

Thank you!

I hear you! Website updates

First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me by visiting my website! Building the website was definitely a labor of love that my wife gratefully led. She was happy to be able to use all of those pictures on our phones where we tried to capture that perfect moment… only to get the back of our kids' heads instead.

I really appreciate feedback I've received about the website. Friends, co-workers, and clients have helped me fix typos, broken links, and other issues to make the website better. They have also provided invaluable insight for how to improve the clarity and usability of the website.

Two recent additions are the direct result of this honest feedback:

  1. The addition of the Clients tab. 

  2. The ability to subscribe to this blog.

I have experience and competency working with people at different ages. However, I learned from folks who visited the website that it seemed to focus more on children and adolescents – maybe it was all of those back of my kids’ head photos. To address this, I added a Clients page to outline my training and competencies with children and adolescents, adults, and caregivers.

The blog subscription was a complex challenge my better half tackled head-on.  After reading forums and testing products, she added the subscribe button – which you see as the gray triangle at the bottom right of your screen. If you don’t want to miss a post, simply enter your email address and you will receive each new post in your inbox. I promise to not use this list for any means other than sending out the newest blog posts.

Thank you again for your feedback and support. It was a huge decision to enter into private practice after 9 years (!!!) at the University of Rochester, and I am eagerly awaiting July 11 when I will see my first patients in my new office. I've been really looking forward to this day.

I will leave you today with another aforementioned back-of-the-head-kid-photography gem for your viewing pleasure.