Alison C. Smith, Ph.D.
B.A. Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia
M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
I’ve been counseling individuals since 1999 when I was a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Therapy has always been at the core of my interest in psychology, and was the motivation that led me to earn my doctoral degree at George Mason University.
I believe that helping you better understand yourself is very important and can be a very gratifying experience. I pride myself on creating a safe and comfortable environment, providing both compassion and a little humor as you explore important issues in your life. I love what I do and feel fortunate to do work about which I feel passionate.
In my graduate training, I discovered that I also enjoy doing psychological assessments. As with counseling, I’ve been providing assessments for almost 20 years, working with a broad range of clients and answering a wide variety of referral questions. Most recently, I served as the Psychological Assessment Program Manager for the The Women's Center. During the 8 years I held this position I conducted numerous comprehensive assessments while also supervising and training psychology graduate students who were conducting assessments as well. The goal of any psychological assessment is to answer questions to better understand problems that are interfering with daily life in social, academic, and/or work-related areas (see Assessment page for further information).
When the demands of my family and work allow, I enjoy spending time with friends, playing golf (though not particularly well), and have had a long-time interest in music. I also enjoys crossword puzzles/word games and tend to be very intellectually curious.
My theoretical orientation is best described as integrative. I build upon a foundation of interpersonal psychotherapy and incorporate aspects of other approaches such as psychodynamic, humanistic, and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. To me, the most essential component of psychotherapy is the development of a strong therapeutic alliance between the client and therapist. I view this relationship as collaborative, with both of us working together to help you understand yourself and your issues, while creating solutions, developing or improving coping strategies, etc.. All the while, I utilize the therapeutic foundations delineated in person-centered therapy, establishing a safe environment in which you can fully engage in the process.
I work with clients suffering from a wide range of difficulties including symptoms of depression and anxiety, identity confusion, poor self-esteem, relationship problems, and coping with significant life events (e.g., divorce, job loss, trauma). I specialize in helping gay and lesbian individuals cope with childhood sexual abuse, as well as with individuals dealing with gender identity issues.