What is Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS)? HDFS is the study of how individuals develop across the lifespan in the contexts of relationships, families, schools, and communities. Although my specialty lies in Child Development, I have expertise in various ages and stages of the lifespan.
What can you help me with? What topics or issues do you address? You have come to the right place if you are looking for ways to tap into the wisdom you already carry to foster resilience, learning, and optimal mental health for you, your family, team, or classroom. If you want to decrease your stress, clarify your role and gain back your power, I can help you connect to the child’s/student’s perspective, understand the function of their behavior and develop strategies for building stronger relationships that are the key to any work we do as parents or educators. For more specifics and for a conversation about whether working with me would be a good fit for your needs, email me.
What ages do you work with? Though my focus is on the earlier part of the lifespan, I work with all ages. My work has ranged from working with new parents of days-old infants to individuals in their 60s and beyond who want to support their gut, immune, and mental health through learning about the science behind the brain-gut-stress axis and the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Contact me so we can discuss how I can help you, your family, your group, or team.
Do you work with parents or children? I work with both. Parents and children give their own perspectives on what the current challenge is and we work as a team to problem-solve together. We tweak as we go, depending on how things are going. In addition to one-on-one coaching, you can join one of the parenting & support groups and/or the Food as Medicine & cooking groups. Email me to schedule a conversation.
How do you work with clients? I work one-on-one with families during parent coaching and as an educator, facilitator, and trainer in my group and workshop work. Any important person in the child’s life can be a part of this process. My focus is always on relationships, perspectives in context, social and emotional well-being, and food as medicine. I tailor the work to your needs and the specific expectations and goals we set together. Contact me to discuss how we can work together.
How do you work with educators, schools, programs, and other professionals who work with children and families? I provide workshops and groups on a topic of interest, usually focusing on social and emotional development, the brain-gut connection to mental health, food as medicine, and Greek cooking. I’m also hired to observe in schools and make recommendations, problem-solve in staff meetings, and present to or facilitate parent groups. Contact me to talk about your needs.
Why is focus on the gut so crucial for mental and overall health? We often think of mental health as starting as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Recent research shows that the gut is the source of many chronic illnesses as well as emotional, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This means that we have an important role to play and quite a bit of control over ours and our family’s overall health and well-being. If you are curious about how I can help you, your family, or your group, contact me for a conversation.
What makes you qualified to help me? What is your training and professional work background? I hold a Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, one of the top HDFS programs in the United States, and completed a minor in developmental psychopathology at Penn State's Department of Psychology. My doctoral program was multi-disciplinary and afforded me the opportunity to be taught by not only psychologists but also anthropologists, sociologists, demographers, behavioral geneticists, and statisticians. This varied experience has helped me to develop a perspective that is unique in helping parents and children and any professional who serves families. While I was a professor, I helped to prepare new and experienced educators, as well as social workers and Child Life Specialists. More recently, I have done deep research into the stress-brain-gut axis and its connection to mental health and am writing a book on this topic.
Though I do not conduct therapy and do not dispense medication, our work together is therapeutic. Adults who work with me walk away empowered, more confident in their parenting or professional role, more skillful, less stressed, happier, and healthier and they spread that knowledge and mindset to those around them. Children who work with me feel less anxious, more in control, more focused and successful at learning, and report stronger relationships with their families, friends, and teachers. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, please contact me.
With whom have you worked in the past? Some past and present affiliations include Wheelock College, the Freedman Center and Continuing Education at William James College, MAAEYC, Compass for Kids, Families First, Children's Trust Fund, Maryland Family Network, FUSE, Fusion Academy, Montclare Children’s School NYC, Boston College Children’s Center, Little Halos Day School, Children’s Connection, Parent-Child Home Program and many groups and individual local families.
Do you take insurance and how much will working with you cost me? I do not take insurance as there is no insurance affiliation for parent coaches and developmental consultants. My primary goal is to be of service to you without financial obstacles. We are always able to agree on a fee that is feasible for you or your group. Please email me to schedule a conversation.