The most challenging step in the therapy process is often making the first call. It is a risk to trust a virtual stranger with the most intimate details of your life. It is a leap of faith to bring someone into your family to help you with your child or teen. Parents are driven by the simple, but sometimes elusive wish for their children to just be happy. Dr. Vander Dussen believes deeply in the power of the individual to make powerful, positive, growth oriented changes in her/his life. This belief infuses the work she does, helping each person find the keys to unlocking their potential so that they are not merely existing or surviving, but ultimately thriving.
Dr. Vander Dussen recognizes that you are the ultimate authority in your life and the lives of your children. As a result, she will work closely and collaboratively with you to determine the best approaches for managing and meeting your goals. Parents are provided with concrete strategies to use outside of treatment to meet the needs of their children and family. Dr. Vander Dussen believes that psychotherapy with children is a form of preventative intervention. Through the therapeutic process the developmental outcomes of children can and have been changed. It is a humbling experience to witness this transformative growth and she enjoys facilitating the environment and conditions for this to occur.
Dr. Vander Dussen has extensive experience as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She has been serving individuals and families in treatment since 1996 and has been a licensed clinician since 2001. She has had advanced training in a number of modalities. She is a Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor, certified Level I clinician in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics by the Child Trauma Academy, and is certified in EMDR. She has been trained in mindfulness, the ALERT program, Floortime, multiple play therapy approaches, and adolescent psychotherapy. Dr. Vander Dussen holds certificates in Infant and Toddler Mental Health and Play Therapy.
Dr. Vander Dussen holds four degrees, receiving her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1999 from the California School of Professional Psychology Los Angeles, her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the same school in 1997, and two bachelors degrees from CSUF. Her Bachelor of Science is in Human Services and her Bachelor of Arts is in Psychology. At CSUF she was the recipient of the Donald R. Bakker Award for Academic Success and Community Leadership. In addition to her practice Dr. Vander Dussen is a full professor with an APA accredited doctoral clinical psychology program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Irvine. There she is responsible for coordinating the Child and Adolescent Psychology Concentration.
Dr. Vander Dussen is also on faculty with the UCSD Play Therapy Extension Program and has served in leadership capacities for the California Association of Play Therapy and the Association for Play Therapy. At present she serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Play Therapy. She is a past president of the California Association of Play Therapy and has served as both the Education Committee and Conference Committee Chair for the larger Association for Play Therapy. She can frequently be found presenting at conferences and workshops around the country on child, adolescent, and family focused topics.