Psychological Assessments and Individual Therapy in Alexandria, Virginia
Dr. Kate Lieberman, Clinical Psychologist
I am a clinical psychologist with a decade of experience helping people who struggle with psychological concerns. I conduct psychological evaluations with individuals of all ages and provide psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. I clarify psychological diagnoses when desired or appropriate and can provide second opinions.
You’re probably searching for answers and support, either for yourself or for a loved one. I hope I can provide some information to help you decide if we would be a good fit for each other.
My approach is “transdiagnostic,” meaning that I view people holistically.
Plainly, I want to help you understand the common processes that underlie your concerns and symptoms, as well as how these processes came to be. Often, the origins of these processes can be traced to a combination of biology (for instance, genetics) and significant life experiences.
Almost any psychological symptom is associated with an ingenious attempt at a solution to a problem. For instance, difficulty trusting others makes sense if you have a history of being let down, because keeping others at arm’s length may keep you safe from similar disappointment in the future.
If you’re seeking help now, it’s probably because your solution is no longer working. Maybe it’s leading to other significant problems in your life.
Once we understand this process, we can work together to identify new ways of coping.
I am a laid-back person by nature. I have a warm, sincere style of interacting. I am a good listener who is also skilled at drawing connections and shedding light on patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior. My therapeutic approach is highly collaborative — not hierarchical — and I am always appreciative of and sensitive to client input and feedback.
I can help you clarify your values and goals for the future, improve your capacities for coping, and help you make the changes necessary to lead a fulfilling and gratifying life.
I strive to help my clients understand their histories and how they came to be where they are.
I conduct psychological assessments/evaluations to help identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and to provide recommendations for therapy, psychiatric medication, work or school, interpersonal relationships, and daily living.
Therapy for Teenagers
I form strong therapeutic bonds with adolescents which foster their growth and help spark their curiosity. An important part of my practice is collaborating with them on developing their own motivations and goals for treatment.
Therapy for Adults
I work with adults who present with a wide variety of concerns, including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, interpersonal difficulties, trauma and PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, gender dysphoria, and difficulty with life transitions.
I conduct telehealth appointments over a secure, HIPAA-approved video platform. It is convenient and, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, also the safest way to conduct therapy.
How I Work with Clients
You are the expert on your own life and experiences. What I bring is expertise and knowledge about psychology from my training and clinical experience. Working with me is a collaborative process.
Here are a few examples of how I’ve worked with clients to improve their quality of life:
A young adult wanted to explore issues related to social connectedness, depressed mood, and managing daily tasks. Together, we discovered that she was autistic, undiagnosed until later in life, which is often the case in highly verbal and socially motivated individuals.
We explored the impact of her growing up without an understanding of her neurotype. She could then shift her perspective so she no longer blamed herself for her emotional, academic, and occupational struggles associated with living as an autistic person in a world that seeks to neither understand nor accommodate her needs. With a greater sense of self-efficacy, she chose a new career path and forged strong bonds with new friends from diverse backgrounds.
A middle-aged man needed my help in managing distressing thoughts over which he felt he had no control. His response to these thoughts was to compulsively ruminate. He believed if he could “figure them out,” relief would follow. Unfortunately, this approach directed more attention to the thoughts and was therefore counterproductive.
Through exposure and response prevention (ERP), he learned to manage these thoughts without spiraling into a state of intense distress. They still enter his awareness sporadically, but he now has confidence in his ability to manage them with his new coping skills. His life is fuller, and he no longer avoids social situations that once triggered his obsessive thinking.
A teenager requested my assistance in processing an early childhood trauma, which was manifesting in the present day as difficulty forging intimate relationships. We explored her relationships with her parents and siblings, and in doing so we discovered the ways she learned to protect herself from being hurt; her greatest defense as a child had been isolation.
Through therapy, she learned to apply techniques that centered her and decreased anxiety when she felt overwhelmed. She slowly came to trust her own ability to assess for danger and identify potential warning signs in others. She can now find joy in connecting, and she is working as a mentor for traumatized children.
I worked with a transgender woman on navigating the complexities of coming out to her parents, socially transitioning, and obtaining gender-affirming medical care. In our work together, she explored the multiple intersecting aspects of her identity.
She became more confident and outgoing, and made a network of supportive friends while allowing herself to explore her talents and interests. She reflected that the most important outcome of our therapy was learning to accept herself as a whole person.