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

Orientation

 

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.

About Me

 

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.

Published Articles by Dr. Smith

Are people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual any different in terms of their mental health than their heterosexual counterparts? A great deal of attention has been pai​d to this question over the past decade. This article describes the results from a 2002 review of research studies that looked closely at this issue.

April 01, 2011

Psychotherapy Unveiled: Myth vs. Reality

Most people in the United States have some conception about psychotherapy. It is a process that occurs in secrecy, protecting the confidence of those who seek help, and therefore is open to the development of misconceptions and myths. This article is aimed at clarifying some of the beliefs about psychotherapy and to make distinctions between myths and reality.

March 01, 2011

Finding a Light in the Shadows: Childhood Sexual Abuse in the LGBT Community

There are some issues that are just uncomfortable to think about. The reality of childhood sexual abuse is certainly one of them. Childhood sexual abuse is a crime that occurs far more frequently than we would like to believe and often leaves the survivor with feelings such as shame and anxiety. What happens when you begin to realize that in addition to feeling different from others as a result of this abuse, you realize that you are different from others because you feel attracted to people of

September 01, 2010

Coming Out of Marriage: Discovering Your Sexual Orientation Later in Life

TThe process of learning about and accepting one’s sense of identity is something that we all go through as part of our lives. This fact holds true for the development of one’s sexual orientation as well. For some, knowing that they are gay/lesbian it is just a natural part of growing up.For others, circumstances and factors such as societal beliefs hindered this process. In the case of the latter, people can live for decades following the traditional life script that urges them to get married,

November 01, 2010

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