About Dr. Stark I developed an interest in school and clinical psychology during my study of special education and psychology as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University. I completed my masters and PhD at The University of Texas at Austin, where I received extensive training in assessment, consultation, and therapy for children and their families with a wide range of referral concerns and in a variety of settings (i.e. community mental health clinic, schools, advocacy center, outpatient clinic, hospital, etc). I obtained further training in school psychology through my internship at Lewisville Independent School District and in a rural school district in Colorado. Both of these opportunities allowed me to gain experience in evaluating social, emotional, behavioral, and learning concerns in order to determine recommendations for Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and special education services.
I also have significant experience with assessment, diagnosis, and therapy for individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities. A postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado enabled me to work in a specialized inpatient and day treatment unit for children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses. Further, I gained experience working with individuals with both cognitive disabilities and mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, reactive attachment disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a community mental health center in Colorado.
While I have specialized expertise in school psychology and mental health for individuals with developmental disabilities, I have a diverse background in providing psychological services to many different individuals with a variety of goals. I am dedicated to further integrating my skills from school and clinical psychology while serving a diverse client base at the ApaCenter. Although I have been practicing as a licensed psychologist in Colorado, Texas has its own licensing process. I am working towards these requirements and am currently classified as a provisional trainee in the state of Texas. I anticipate becoming provisionally licensed in April and fully licensed by the summer of 2017.
I am passionate about helping others work through difficult times, reduce unwanted symptoms or behaviors, increase positive skills, and move towards a greater level of self-acceptance and self-compassion. My therapeutic style is strengths-based, collaborative, compassionate, and non-judgmental. Building a positive therapeutic relationship is extremely important for effective treatment and something that I prioritize. I most often use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution-focused therapy approaches. Other methods that I use depending on individual needs include play therapy, trauma-focused CBT, social stories, and motivational interviewing. Every individual and family that I have worked with is amazingly complex and unique. For this reason, I value flexibility in my treatment approaches and consider individual differences such as referral concern/goals, developmental level, age, and personality along with broader areas of influence such as family, work/school, and culture.
I view assessment questions as the tip of an iceberg, witha host of possibilities lying underneath the surface. For example, hyperactivity and inattentive behaviors suggestive of ADHD may in fact be manifestations of a host of other problems such as anxiety, learning difficulties, and/or trauma. Therefore, I appreciate how assessment can assist in diving below the surface to examine the referral questions and presenting symptoms in greater depth.The information obtained in a comprehensive assessment can be helpful in understanding a person; moreover, the findings can be used to developrecommendations and treatment to improveaspects of one’s life such as relationships, achievement, and mood.
My goal in an assessment is to gather information from multiple sources in an attempt to depict strengths, needs, and uniqueness of an individual. Further, I aim to explain results in a meaningful way to clients, caregivers, and educators. My assessment experience includes comprehensive evaluations in clinical and educational settings, often as part of a multidisciplinary team. I have experience evaluating autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, special education evaluations, and a variety of behavioral, social, and emotional concerns in children, adolescents and young adults.
Areas of Specialization:
- Depression, anxiety, stress
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Mental health concerns in individuals with intellectual disabilities
- PTSD, trauma
- Behavior management
- Special education evaluations