I think it started with puzzles. I've always loved to put the pieces together. As a young child
my interest was in animal behavior, but with 3 siblings, 17 aunts & uncles, and 52 first cousins,
understanding humans became more of a priority. In 9th grade my "what do you
want to be when you grow up" report was: psychologist.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in my hometown of Ann Arbor. There I studied with Joseph Adelson, Ph.D., whose groundbreaking research on teenagers was published as "The Adolescent Experience" in 1966. Dr. Adelson's class on adolescent case studies was fascinating to me, and laid the foundation for my future focus on this stage of development.
After graduation I moved to Los Angeles with my soon-to-be husband. I took two years off from academia to experience the working world and clarify my career objectives. I eventually chose the humanistic and existentially based Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern California. There, Irvin Yalom's principles, as outlined in his book, "Existential Psychotherapy," became the cornerstone of my therapeutic philosophy. While the coursework at USC centered on work with adults, I created a specialization in adolescence, and wrote my dissertation on the influence of teen idols.
I chose my internship site at a downtown Los Angeles clinic that had a developing child/adolescent program. My supervisor gave me a copy of "Windows to Our Children," by Violet Oaklander, which became the biggest source of inspiration for my psychotherapy career.
In August of 1993, newly licensed and with a 3-month-old in tow, we moved to Santa Barbara. I did not know a single person in SB, so I had much to discover. While looking under "parenting" in the yellow pages, I saw none other than "Violet Oaklander, Ph.D." I had no idea that Violet lived in Santa Barbara. I immediately called her up, and she answered the phone! Since then I have trained extensively with Violet, and currently serve as Treasurer for "The Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation."