Kristin Shelesky, Ph.D.
I am a licensed, general, clinical psychologist who has successfully worked with adults experiencing a variety of clinical issues, including relationship issues, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma/abuse, and identity concerns. In addition, I have provided psychological care in private practice, university counseling centers, and medical settings. I utilize strength-based, relational, and research-validated strategies to collaboratively facilitate change with my clients.
Background & Approach
As an integrative psychologist, I consider each person’s unique circumstances from an integrated and research-validated perspective, and adapt my approach to best accommodate the needs and goals of my clients. In particular, I have an affinity for positive psychology, which is the scientific study and application of human strengths. My belief in each person’s inherent potential, skills, and strengths as means to overcome challenges and maximize well-being underlies my work with my clients. As relationships help to define us, my approach in addressing psychological distress focuses on cultivating safe, trustful, and meaningful relationships.
Areas of Specialization
I specialize in using strength-based approaches to promote change, in emerging adulthood issues, and in promoting relational health.
In the spirit of relational-cultural theory, which states that we grow and thrive via true connections with others, I establish meaningful relationships with my clients. Further, my clinical emphasis includes facilitating each person’s understanding of herself or himself in relation to others (e.g., how relationships have helped shape who we are), understanding relational patterns of behavior with others (e.g., experiences of joy in feeling understood or consistently feeling rejected), and improving relationships. In establishing improved relational health, people experience positive physical and mental outcomes, including improved overall health, mood, and happiness.
Strength-Based Approach and Positive Psychotherapy
Strength-based approaches tend to focus on each person’s resources (internal and external) to solve problems and promote growth. For example, a partner may use her or his sense of humor in negotiating a conflict with her or his spouse. Positive psychotherapy is a specific type of strength-based treatment that is premised on scientific research and helps clients experience pleasant, engaged, and fulfilling lives. Importantly, those practicing positive psychotherapy do not negate or ignore conflictual or problematic experiences that bring people to seek therapy. Rather, these conflictual and problematic experiences are addressed within a strength-based context. Positive psychotherapy engages people to maximize their enjoyment and fulfillment in life while also buffering against future unpleasant outcomes (e.g., depression).
Emerging Adulthood Issues
Emerging adulthood refers to the time between adolescence and adulthood, and is a developmental period experienced by those between the ages of 18-25. Emerging adulthood is marked by exploration and at times, instability, in identity, residence, financial and emotional independence/dependence, and relationships. Some important issues that emerging adults may wish to address in psychotherapy include: establishment or integration of identity (e.g., cultural, gender, professional), body image concerns (e.g., unhappy with appearance, eating too much, eating too little), alcohol or drug abuse, relationship difficulties (e.g., fostering healthy relationships, understanding problematic patterns in relationships, understanding impact of parents’ relationships in forming own relationships), gaining self and others’ acceptance, adjustment to life and transitions (e.g., decision to attend or not attend college and subsequent plans), and emerging mental health concerns (e.g., anxiety, depression, mood fluctuations).
Education and Training