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
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). Particularly, I specialize in helping gay and lesbian individuals cope with childhood sexual abuse, as well as with individuals dealing with transgender issues.
I’ve been counseling individuals since 1999 when I was a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Counseling 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 very gratifying. I pride myself on creating a safe and comfortable environment in which you can explore the important issues in your life while being able to do so with both compassion and a little humor. I love what I do and feel fortunate to be able to do work that I am passionate about! I am honored when people choose to allow me into their stories to witness their growth.
In my graduate training, I also discovered that I also enjoy doing psychological assessments. As with counseling, I’ve been doing this type of work for more than 15 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.