How do some people survive, and even thrive, despite challenging circumstances? How can we use our strengths to overcome difficulties? How can innovative treatment approaches help?
I explored these questions while earning my PhD in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I trained in both clinical psychology (which is mostly about fixing things that go wrong) and positive psychology (which is mostly about enhancing things that go right). I’m keenly interested in the place where these two fields meet, and specialize in understanding and fostering posttraumatic growth: positive change resulting from the struggle with adversity. I’m grateful to the faculty mentors who supported this work: Dr. Martin Seligman (advisor), a founder of the field of positive psychology; Dr. Dianne Chambless, an expert in evidence-based treatments for psychological disorders; Dr. Sara Jaffee, an expert on psychological resilience; and Dr. Angela Duckworth, an expert on grit and self-control.
I’m honored to continue this work at the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA, where I conduct research and clinical work with Veterans facing serious illness and injury.