“Psychologists strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.” – American Psychological Association, Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct.
Professional training is clinical psychology is multifaceted. In addition to psychotherapy, expertise in consultation, assessment, and research makes it possible to contribute to the greater good through a wide range of skilled roles and activities.
Pro bono work for organizations that assist people in need and that care for the planet’s endangered animals is central component to my professional identity. Whether focusing on refugees, endangered species, or uninsured people, these activities were borne out of motivations and interests that were discovered more so than ever could be planned.
HIAS Pennsylvania | 2017 – present
In the Spring of 2017, I began training for a volunteer position with HIAS Pennsylvania to conduct psychological evaluations of refugees seeking legal asylum in the United States. The psychologist’s affidavit is often a deciding piece of evidence in granting asylum on the basis of the applicant’s documented history of trauma in their country of origin and risk to their safety if they were to return. Training thus far has included the following:
- 06/23/17. Asylum Evaluations Continued: A More In-depth Look at Evaluating Special Populations, sponsored by the American Psychological Association, Division 56 Trauma Psychology.
- 06/10/17. Introduction to Forensic Documentation of Trauma: Evaluating Immigrant Survivors of Torture and Ill Treatment, sponsored by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
- 05/25/17. Orientation meeting with HIAS Pennsylvania personnel.
- 03/17/17. Conducting Asylum Evaluations, sponsored by the American Psychological Association, Division 56 Trauma Psychology.
PrideStrong | 2016 – 2018
I developed a working relationship with the Center for Animal Research and Education, an animal sanctuary in Texas that provides lifelong care for endangered, exotic animals, such as tigers and lions. The sanctuary’s Operations Director launched an initiative to challenge his social media followers to mobilize from passive consumption of internet content to active volunteering. During each volunteer event, participants volunteer for local non-profit organizations that help animals, then report their experiences through an on-line survey. Working closely with a small team, I operationalized this idea through research design, project management, data analysis, and web development. This is an ongoing project with incremental changes in each volunteer event. Quantitative and qualitative results can be found at PrideStrong.com
TherapySafetyNet | 2007 – 2013
Soon after opening my practice, I received more inquiries from prospective clients without health insurance than I could accommodate. It became apparent that a substantial population of young people working in creative industries, as freelancers, in the service industry, or some combination of the above were falling through the cracks. In response to this need, I founded a free, Internet-based referral service. TherapySafetyNet grew into a coalition of socially responsible psychologists and social workers who provided affordable psychotherapy to uninsured New Yorkers. Each inquiry was personally handled by our team of volunteer referral coordinators, and when a referral could not be made within our group, we helped connect prospective clients to other affordable resources in the community. When the Affordable Care Act became law, I decided to cease TherapySafetyNet’s operations as a referral service so as to encourage any uninsured people to purchase insurance through the exchange. An archive of our work, including self- study outcome evaluation, remains at TherapySafetyNet.org