Dr. Whitfield is both a clinical psychologist and school psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with children and families. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Seattle in December 2011, with a concentration on Child Psychology and Neuropsychology. Her dissertation focused on executive functioning, multisensory structured language instruction, and dyslexia. She has been in private practice since 2005.
Dr. Whitfield was first a teacher, earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She was an early childhood educator for over 10 years and earned a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University Teachers College. After noticing that every school year, roughly 10% of her students encountered some sort of developmental difficulty, she decided to pursue a graduate diploma in School Psychology so that she could assess and treat learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and developmental delays. She moved to Seattle in 2001 to begin a Masters-inclusive doctoral training program at the University of Washington. This is where she found her passion: helping teachers become more effective teachers, and helping children learn in an easier way that capitalized on their strengths.
En route to her doctorate, Dr. Whitfield earned a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Psychology and became a school psychologist, serving a wide variety of students and families, such as in early intervention (birth-to-three) programs, intensive support classrooms, learning support, and programs for emotionally and behaviorally disordered students. During her time at the University of Washington, she realized that she did not want to pursue a research degree. Rather, her passion was in working directly with children and families. A clinical program seemed a better fit, and she transferred to Antioch University Seattle’s clinical psychology doctoral program.
Throughout her career, Dr. Whitfield has worked as a School Psychologist, a consulting psychologist for an academic tutoring agency, a psychometrist at Childrens Hospital, and a research assistant at the University of Washington Parenting Clinic. She has taught graduate students in Teacher Education at the University of Washington and doctoral candidates in the Clinical Psychology program at Antioch University Seattle.
Dr. Whitfield uses a team approach to therapy. She works with the whole family and trains parents (or another caregiver) as “coaches.” The coach is usually present during the therapy session, learning to do what Dr. Whitfield is doing, and support practice at home. The expectation is that the coach does the same outside of the therapy hour, actively supporting the child throughout the rest of their week. This applies to home life, social life, and school. When parents are actively involved, positive outcomes increases exponentially. An added benefit is that parents often find out a lot about themselves during this process.
Dr. Whitfield supports the healing of family relationships. Kids acquire a real sense of pride and self-esteem. The emotional component of having a learning disability or ADHD is addressed so that children understand their emotions, feel validated, and can move forward in their relationships. Parents are able to understand their child’s brain and behavior and are taught solid strategies to support their child’s learning and emotional health.
In a recent interview, Dr. Whitfield talked about her passion for her work: “When I work with families, I am consciously aware of my therapeutic relationship with parent and child. This relationship is very important, so I put a great deal of energy into building it from the first contact with the family. Both child and parent need to be on board, willing to work with me in a balanced give/take relationship. Once we know each other well and expectations are clear, things really take off.”
Education & Credentials
- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), Clinical Psychology, Antioch University Seattle
- Master of Education (M.Ed.), School Psychology, University of Washington
- Master of Arts (M.A.), Early Childhood Education, Columbia University Teachers College
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Elementary Education, University of Scranton
- Neurobehavioral Health Associates, Predoctoral Intern
- Antioch University Seattle Psychology & Counseling Clinic, clinical training
- Seattle Children's Hospital, psychometrist, Rehabilitation Psychology
- Licensed in State of WA, Clinical Psychology
- ESA (Education Staff Associate) in School Psychology, WA State