A publication of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Turning Vision into Reality: Covino, Hamilton and Schell
MSPP President Nick Covino understands well the possible implication for tomorrow of what happens today. "The strength of what we do here can have an impact that changes the quality of life for so many communities," he says. Speaking about the initial phase of the upcoming Capital Campaign, Covino says, "This is our opportunity to do something different, to look ahead, to engage people who believe in our mission to collaborate with us to improve lives. We can teach the important implications of social and emotional factors to a variety of professionals whose training did not include mental health concerns. We have a chance to bring psychology into courtrooms, pediatricians' offices and divorce deliberations, to concentrate on bringing mental wellness into more communities, more businesses, fire houses, schools, homes and offices."
Covino envisions MSPP's future as a platform to amplify social policy around mental health access, improve service delivery and decrease the destructive stigma associated with seeking and receiving care. He is grateful to the men and women who nurtured the school in its early years and then played a critical role in reinvigorating it over the last dozen. He wants the new address at One Wells Avenue in Newton to be a focal point for professionals, policy makers, community leaders and advocates to be talking about mental health issues and contributing to the literature of best practices.
Campaign Co-Chair Mike Schell concurs. His leadership of MSPP's unprecedented multi-million-dollar Campaign includes an understanding of its critical timing—of seizing this moment. "This is our opportunity, if we can raise the financial resources, to go beyond training superb psychology professionals. We can make MSPP a center for raising visibility, consciousness and advocacy around a host of mental health issues," says Schell.
He and members of his Campaign team, including Co-Chair Don Siegel and Campaign Counsel Steve Braverman, have been doing the invisible work of getting plans and people in place for launching the initial Quiet Phase. "We need the staff, faculty, Trustees and alums to give their time and talent to this effort, to make it possible for new projects and programs to come off the drawing boards," says Schell. He is particularly focused on opening access to care for those who remain underserved, and to confronting the stigma that precludes too many individuals from seeking the care they need. "Our new address is far more hospitable than our last, more attuned to what we do, but we need the funds to make it our permanent home as well as a beacon in New England, if not nationally, for deliberations around the major mental health issues of our time."
This special 40th Anniversary issue of Rapport celebrates our alumni and examines the variety of avenues they have chosen to 'do good work' with their MSPP credentials. It also looks back at our history and some of our important milestone moments. MSPP Board Chair, Kerry Hamilton, appreciates the contributions of time, talent, passion and energy given by those who brought MSPP to this seminal time in its history. Says Hamilton, "I think of the labor of love our 40 years of Trustees, faculty and staff have given to bring us here, poised on the brink of altering the mental health landscape." She applauds all the current Trustees, especially the six new members of her Board, that have been selected for their talent and experience, but also for their understanding of the mental health issues society faces today. "They care about our mission and want to see access opened for all those seeking quality care," she says.
As she contemplates an exciting future for MSPP, Hamilton also thinks back to the many alums (1500) in the field, whose skills acquired at MSPP have enabled them to touch countless lives. "We're truly transforming the face of mental wellness," she says, "locally, nationally, and in countries around the world." She sees the strong bond MSPP alums have with their graduate school, thinking it may be the result of the important and ongoing personal attention students receive from faculty and staff. "Personal growth and development is such an important part of an MSPP education," says Hamilton. "The people we attract and the people we graduate have a real commitment to making a difference in the world."
[ back to top ]
Ellie Svenson Supports MSPP
with Enthusiasm and Passion
lumna, trustee and donor, Ellie Svenson says her MSPP doctorate in Clinical Psychology enables her to do the work she's always wanted to do. Finding herself at the crossroads of a new phase of her life in her late 40s, she decided the time had come to venture into her long-held fascination with what makes people work. "I was an older student," she laughs, "but I loved it. I was a serious, tenacious learner."
Equipped with her new PsyD, Svenson spent more than a decade in community mental health in Brookline and eventually opened her own private practice. Teaching at Tufts Medical School followed shortly thereafter. Svenson is also actively involved with several local non-profits, including Jewish Family and Children's Service, Horizons for Homeless, CJP's Boston Jewish Women's Fund and, of course, MSPP.
"I'm very committed to the growth of the school," she says, having designated her philanthropic gift to enhancing clinical program evaluation. "MSPP is committed to the needs of so many underserved populations," she says. "Everyone's life is touched by what we do here. I am very supportive of Nick and our vision of raising the visibility of mental health." With three married adult children and seven grandchildren, Svenson's large family shares a powerful commitment to the health and well being of others. "We all have that responsibility to give," she says.
"I give to MSPP because I know the school serves a broad range of individuals and families, and I know the quality of the training our graduates receive. I want to play a role in increasing our visibility and getting more alumni involved." g
[ back to top ]
Six Take Leadership Roles as New Trustees
A principal of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications for many years, Ann Carter brings a broad understanding of the interaction of finance, communications, strategic marketing and operations to her clients. In addition to being the newest Trustee at MSPP, Carter is also a Trustee for the Boston Arts Academy, Raising a Reader MA, and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. She describes MSPP President Nick Covino's leadership as "compelling and persuasive." With an accounting degree and an MBA, Carter brings a wealth of new skills to the MSPP board, where she looks forward to being a vocal advocate for mental health issues. "I feel the sense of urgency to meet the tremendous mental health needs," she says. "I approach this new job with great respect for theprofessional and volunteer leaders who've come before me."
Steven S. Fischman
Steve Fischman is the President of New England Development and was, for many years, an attorney at Goulston & Storrs in Boston. His strong and enduring commitment to social justice is reflected in his having served in Colombia as a Peace Corps volunteer and his ongoing leadership work with Bend the Arc, an organization that raises and distributes philanthropic support to a variety of non-profits serving poor communities. A former Director of Partners Healthcare System, Co-Chair of Partners Healthcare Real Estate Committee and a member of several other local boards, Fischman also encourages his own company to do good in the community. To that end, the staff volunteers at local charities, and the company does pro-bono construction management. Fischman is committed to MSPP's vision of confronting dire shortages of mental health providers and decreasing the pervasive stigma of mental illness.
Barbara Gannon received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from MSPP in 1998 and has been involved at MSPP since then. She calls hers a "portable degree that can be used in so many ways." Gannon's company, GannonConsult, focuses on leadership and organizational development in the transportation sector, offering the design and delivery of courses and workshops, leadership study groups, coaching and consultation. Recently honored at a Conference of Minority Transportation Professionals with their "Women Who Move the Nation" award, she says she thinks carefully about where she gives her time, and is "proud to be a part of MSPP as it shapes its agenda for the future."
Anthony (Tony) Jimenez
Tony Jimenez is the President & CEO and 2004 founder of MicroTech, named for three consecutive years by Hispanic Business Magazine as the No. 1 Fastest Growing Hispanic-Owned Business in the U.S. A passionate advocate for the veteran, Hispanic and small business communities, Jimenez is an expert on entrepreneurship, government contracting IT and diversity business. He has advised U.S. presidents and has testified before Congress on legislation designed to improve opportunities for small business owners. The winner of numerous awards and honors, Jimenez says he serves as an MSPP trustee because "I love the mission. I love what MSPP is doing. It's cutting edge, a great school, designing desperately-needed programs." As a vet himself, Jimenez knows and understands "that veterans and the Hispanic community are underserved."
Richard (Dick) O'Brien
The Executive Vice President and Director of Government Relations for the American Association of Advertising Agencies in Washington, D.C., Dick O'Brien is the principal representative to the White House, Congress and the industry's regulatory agencies. O'Brien has served on many boards over the years, including 15 years with the Special Olympics, where he'd served since its inception. He was initially persuaded by his friend Mike Schell to get more involved after hearing about MSPP's programs for training veterans to serve veterans, but his enthusiasm grew the more he learned about other innovative goals, such as raising the profile of mental health, getting beyond the stigma and making access available for underserved populations. He says, "MSPP is poised to make a big contribution, and I want to be part of seeing something happen."
Donald (Don) H. Siegel
Don Siegel is a founding member of Posternak, Blankstein & Lund LLP. He has practiced as a corporate lawyer for over 40 years and acts as a general counsel and advisor to corporate clients in a wide range of industries. Siegel attained his knowledge of and advocacy for MSPP from his wife Ellen, an MSPP 1997 graduate with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. "I hope to help the school bring its vision forward," says Siegel, eager to lend his legal and business skills to his new board work. "I look forward to working as Co-Chair with Mike Schell on the Capital Campaign and helping MSPP grow." Siegel sees MSPP as the platform to train the next generation of mental health professionals and as a beacon for raising awareness of, and helping open access to, quality mental health care for all people.
Note: Dr. Eugene D'Angelo came on board as a Trustee at press time; he will be featured in the fall issue.
[ back to top ]
Children and Families are Focus of MSPP's Growing Community Engagement
Honorable Christina Harms (Ret.) and Robin Deutsch, PhD.
"Changing the lives of real people in real communities has always been MSPP's mission, both academic and clinical," says Dr. Robert Kinscherff, Associate Vice President for Community Engagement, which brings together four Centers of Excellence to provide services, share resources, and collaborate in innovative planning for the future.
"Each of these Centers provides excellent training while meeting substantial unmet community needs at the same time," adds Kinscherff.
Here are some of the highlights of their work….
"PATHWAYS" to Brighter Futures
"Jason," a 17-year-old boy arrives late to school, sleeps at his desk and is so truant he is unlikely to finish high school. "Dropping out of school at this point could devastate this young person's life," says Dr. Gemima St. Louis, MSPP faculty member and director of PATHWAYS, a partnership between MSPP, the West Roxbury Education Complex and the Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. "The goal is to intervene and create a new pathway for these kids," she says.
In one of the PATHWAYS programs, St. Louis supervises MSPP interns who, in turn, evaluate students like Jason and help shape treatment strategies for them, including individual counseling and community resources.
MSPP interns discovered Jason was the sole caretaker of an ill mom. Now he is on the road to graduating with the help of counseling and a home health assistant for his mom.
[ back to top ]
Freedman Center: Early Prevention
Executive Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development, Margaret Hannah, MEd, and Nadja Reilly, PhD, its Associate Director, are passionate about prevention, which they believe should start even before birth. While services for pregnant women are still in its future, the Freedman Center begins at birth with "New Moms" and infant and toddler "Playtime" educational and support groups.
"New moms can have a lot of anxiety about their new role," says Hannah, who adds that the Center is carefully designed to be a comforting, safe place for moms to learn about child development and share new parenthood with each other. "In addition to a comforting and welcoming environment, we are committed to using evidence-based best practices," says Reilly.
The Freedman Center also hosts a mental health referral service, MSPP INTERFACE, which connects children, youth and families with community resources to serve their mental health and wellness needs.
For the past three years, the Center has been a practicum site for MSPP students who are responsible for helping to facilitate the support groups and serving as counselors on the referral line.
[ back to top ]
Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law
The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law is designed to build the expertise of lawyers and mental health professionals in working with families who are involved with the courts and to directly serve those families, according to Robin Deutsch, PhD, its director.
To help professionals gain these skills, the Center offers a Certificate in Child and Family Forensics, which is also a requirement for four post-doctoral clinical fellows who work at the Center and help to lead the Center's High Conflict Divorce groups that help couples ordered by the courts to resolve their differences to become better co-parents.
In addition, the four postdoctoral fellows conduct court-ordered evaluations of children and families who are involved in the legal system by virtue of divorce custody disputes and allegations of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. Deutsch, who led the MGH custody evaluation program for 20 years, sees the Center as one of a kind in the US and attributes an aspect of its uniqueness to the co-director of this Child and Family Evaluation Service (CAFES), retired probate judge Christina Harms, who also directs the High Conflict Divorce program. "We are very lucky to have this thoughtful, experienced leader and guide for a very delicate and important project," says Deutsch.
[ back to top ]
Brenner Center Expands its Reach
Christina Harms is also director of Administration for the Brenner Center for Psychological Assessment and Consultation. The Brenner Center provides a wide variety of psychological testing, and as part of its mission serves many underserved children and families at low or no cost.
The Center can also conduct testing in many different languages. Both graduate students and post-doctoral fellows participate in the testing, and anticipates hiring a new executive director following a national search.
The Brenner Center has also recently launched two new initiatives: neurodevelopmental evaluations for very young children, and Rapid Response testing for students of all ages.
[ back to top ]
Counseling Credentials Steer Alums in Multiple Directions
Cudmore Pursues Criminology and Justice PhD
A 2011 MSPP graduate in Forensic Counseling, Rebecca Cudmore applauds the flexibility of her two-year degree program, a combination of online and on-campus work. At the Academy of Physical and Social Development and at MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole, Cudmore completed her internships doing mental health evaluations and after graduation, was recruited to work at the treatment center at Bridgewater Treatment Center. Today, she is a full-time PhD student at Northeastern University, on full scholarship, earning her doctorate in Criminology and Justice Policy while teaching four classes there.
Asked about her many years as a student, she responds, "I'm perpetually curious." Cudmore says MSPP gave her a clinical background and prepared her for a rich career in clinical work. "I have experience working with clients," she says. "Other students don't have that. I actually picture real people as I'm learning theory and policy. MSPP was a great foundation." She is grateful for the support and personal attention her MSPP teachers offered. "I'm always drawing on my MSPP experience," she says. "They were fabulous professors."
Her advice to prospective students? "The school exposes you to multiple opportunities and helps you decide what you really want. The internships provide real-life experience." Especially interested in the criminal justice system and the background experiences of criminals, Cudmore wants to help shape policies that implement effective prevention. "There is no quick fix," she says.
[ back to top ]
Burns Opens Private Practice
A 2011 graduate of the MSPP two-year Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, Samantha Burns credits her field site placements while at MSPP with giving her invaluable experience. Having earned her license, she has opened a half-time private practice in Cambridge, often doing individual work with college students and young adults, as well as couples work focused on infidelity, communication, anger, sexual problems and a myriad of other issues couples confront. Burns is also co-writing a book on teen health, offering parents advice around what can be difficult conversations, including anxiety, depression, stress, sexual health, friendships and risky behaviors. She is part of the Bodimojo team funded by an NIH SBIR grant to develop a wellness app for adolescents and is also working as the coordinator of Field Education for the Counseling Psychology Department at MSPP.
"I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing," she says. "This program has gotten me where I want to be. There are many kinds of degrees out there, and I feel totally prepared to do what I'm doing." Whether it's PTSD, adjustment issues, sexual dysfunction or depression, Burns is confident she knows how to build a trusting and effective relationship with clients and, when necessary, refer them for medications. She finds that staying in touch with her peers and her professors at MSPP has been invaluable. "It's been an ongoing support system," she says.
[ back to top ]
Bob Childs: Builder, Musician, Psychologist, Teacher, Mentor and More
ob Childs earned his college tuition building houses in upstate New York and later transitioned to building something smaller—violins. While running his own violin shop in Cambridge, he earned an MA in Clinical Psychology at Harvard's School of Education and in 1998, earned a PsyD from the Clinical Psychology Department at MSPP. "I'm a hands-on guy," he says, explaining his affection for on-site learning and doing at Cambridge Hospital and at Tufts while studying for his doctorate. Performing and recording regularly with Childsplay, an ensemble of string instruments, all of which Childs built, he also teaches four courses at MSPP and maintains a busy private practice often focused on adult adoptees.
Yes, we're still talking about only one person.
"I love the perspective and empathy here at MSPP," he says. "I love teaching here and how theories apply to reality," referring to MSPP's unique integration of classroom academics and on-site supervised training. Childs helps his students do what he too has done a lot of—learning about themselves. As a young boy, Childs lived in five foster homes before he was adopted by what he describes as "a loving family". I help my students explore why they're interested in doing this work. I want them to learn to be firmly grounded, to know what's driving them to seek this profession. The field is changing rapidly, he notes, "There's far less exploratory, open-ended work and so many more short-term models."
Childs considers it "wonderful" to be doing what he loves. He is a big believer in finding good mentors and teachers, something encouraged at MSPP, and he places great value on maintaining supportive relationships with his students.
At age 61, Childs has been married nine years and has two young sons. His daily life seems to reflect his desire for self-awareness and diversity as well as his ability to follow his own intuition. Where that will lead him remains an open question. Childs generously donated a boxed set of CDs and DVDs of Childsplay auctioned at the annual MSPP Gala in May. A film about the group is to appear on PBS this coming year.
[ back to top ]
Alums in Organizational & Leadership Psychology Praise Intersection of Psychology and Business
When a Psychology School Advances Your Place in the Business World
Working in the business world is nothing new to Carol Yamartino, an '09 MSPP alum with a graduate certificate in Executive Coaching. Long involved in the Biotechnology industry, she started her own business, The Yamartino Group, in 2008. "My certificate solidified my passion around coaching for exceptional results. I love working with teams, and I love helping people become more successful at their work," she says.
In addition, Yamartino teaches executive development for high potential women at an organization called WOMEN Unlimited. Their approach has brought success to over 160 corporate partners reaching more than 8,500 participants. Yamartino consults around mentoring, team effectiveness and high performance executive coaching.
"I had great professors at MSPP," she says, concurring with many alums interviewed for Rapport. "I liked the intersection of academics and the business environment, the combining of theory with practical application." She praises the flexible schedule, the convenient location, the stimulating curriculum and, mostly, the professors, all of whom were also working professionals.
Yamartino is adept at working with new and established companies, new CEOs and those striving for more, people promoted into new roles, and with work teams, helping them to look deeply at themselves. "I hold up a mirror and guide each client to make the necessary meaningful changes in order to perform better," she says. Yamartino enjoys working with talented individuals, enabling them to "get comfortable with the uncomfortable," as she calls it. "We look at people's emotional intelligence—their empathy, their self-awareness, their interpersonal and social skills, their flexibility to cope with daily challenges. We help people find their strengths and inner resources and learn to use them wisely to succeed and develop as leaders."
[ back to top ]
Organizational Psychology Grad Improves Businesses' Performance
Tina Forrister graduated from MSPP in 2011 with a degree in Organizational Psychology. She says her rigorous academic training taught her to ask the right questions. "I learned to see if what a client says they need is what they actually do need. I learned how to probe," says Forrister. Working with life sciences companies—manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology firms—Forrister helps them get new therapeutic devices for implants, diabetes, cancer onto the market.
"My MSPP degree made a big difference," she says. "Now I know how to do it well and do it right. I see the practical applications of theories, making me a better consultant to my clients. If their products end up working better, I feel very good."
Forrister, like so many alums, loves the MSPP approach that balances theory and practice. "It helps you see what works in the real world," she says. She liked the weekends working in teams at school with actual practitioners while learning theory virtually. This "blended program" is designed to accommodate working students, like her.
"Organizational Psychology is a lot about group dynamics," says Forrister, "and the programs at MSPP give you the chance to see that in action. She maintains what she anticipates will be life-long connections with others from her MSPP cohort and also from the faculty. "They are a constant source of ideas and feedback in my career," she says, "a real community." Forrister is Co-Chair of the Alumni Alliance for the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department. The Alliance facilitates networking, coaching, getting jobs—it extends the MSPP community long after graduation. "I'm stuck on these people," she says, "and they are stuck on me."
[ back to top ]
Graduates Helping Students Make the Grade
Chris Stoddard, MA/CAGS, MSPP alum
Stoddard Gets More Homework
Chris Stoddard, trained as a missionary pilot at the Moody Bible Institute, lives with his wife and 19-month-old baby in Sudbury, MA. Every weekday morning, he commutes at least an hour to work with 1200 students in grades six through eight in Nashua, New Hampshire, the only full-time school psychologist. With the ink practically still wet on his new MSPP MA/CAGS, Chris does counseling, psycho-educational testing, and consultations with teachers and parents in a disadvantaged area where 70 percent of the kids receive free or reduced-fee lunch. "I come home exhausted," he readily admits.
"I see kids with learning disabilities and with complex social and emotional problems. School just hasn't worked for them," he says. "A large percentage have never felt successful in school." Stoddard says drugs are also prevalent in the community. He describes the learning expectations as extremely low. "They start out assuming they'll hate school," he says. "That's what they've picked up from siblings and parents, many of whom have gone to the same school."
Stoddard says just listening to these kids makes a huge difference to them, given how few people do. "I've seen self-confidence sky-rocket, just including them in the problem-solving conversation. 'Let's figure this out together' is something they've never heard anyone else say to them." He deplores the dire shortage of school psychologists.
This summer, Stoddard begins work on his PsyD at MSPP and will add further graduate studies to his already jam-packed schedule. "I'm eager for more intense training," he says. "MSPP works perfectly for my personality and learning style. I see direct application of what I'm doing in the classroom."
[ back to top ]
|Lauren Pudalov, Clinical PsyD Practicum Student
Don Chase, PsyD, MSPP Alum, Field Supervisor and Director of Training
Stephen Demirjian, Clinical PsyD Practicum Student
Clinical PsyD Chase Juggles Multiple Assignments
Long after he earned his PsyD in Clinical Psychology, Don Chase brought his years of experience and clinical skills to Keefe Technical High School, where he provides evaluations, consultations, clinical services, a training seminar and supervision for second-year MSPP Clinical Psychology doctoral students. "We see a rich exposure of everything from adolescent psychopathology to normal teenage angst," he says. Having practiced at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and earned an MPH at Harvard on the economics of health care, Chase has witnessed significant changes in the position of psychologists in the overall health care system, changes, he says, prompted by a range of contributing factors.
But more than the demands of his work with the challenging population at the high school and his part-time private group practice, Chase carries the inescapable pain of having lost his 21-year-old son, Eric Chase, in June 2012 to AML leukemia. Chase and his wife, Nikki Fedele, have established a fund at the Dana Farber to support medical research. "Dealing with his death has demanded every skill I have," says Chase. With the help of Eric's friends participating in a variety of fund-raising athletic events, they have already raised $80,000. (www.teamericchase.com for more information).
Chase describes his MSPP education as "transformational. It helped me grow up, helped me establish a professional identity. As a psychologist, I have to help people deal with changes in their lives while also managing the unpredictable, changing world around them."
[ back to top ]
Save the Date!
MSPP's First Annual Alumni Reunion Weekend October 24 - 26, 2014
Please come visit MSPP's new campus in Newton to catch up with friends and classmates, see what's new at MSPP, and extend your relationship with your Alma Mater. We will have three days of events, including an alumni awards dinner, reunion gatherings, a CE workshop, an art exhibit of works by MSPP alumni, students, faculty and staff, and more!
We hope to see you there!
Please visit www.mspp.edu/alumni for more information.
[ back to top ]
Look for our next issue of the MSPPrapport in the Fall.
If there are topics you would like to read about, please contact Katie O'Hare at email@example.com.