Psychologist Amanda Van Emburgh
Featured Professional Series: The second Monday of every month, we feature one of our favorite educational consultants, psychologists, or professionals in a related field. We ask everybody the same five questions, designed to show you why we like them and to help you decide whether they’re a good fit for your needs.All psychologists are nice people, but some are especially good at figuring out what kind of help people need and convincing them to take it. Amanda Van Emburgh of Family and Child Therapy is one of those, and she specializes in trauma.
How did you get into this field?
I attended the University of Virginia and had always planned on becoming a Kindergarten teacher. But once I started to get into a few Psychology and Sociology classes, I was hooked on those, too! A friend at UVA worked with two-year-old twin boys who had autism and I got a job working with them, too, doing applied behavioral analysis. We saw really amazing changes in these boys but what I really loved was being near their parents, interviewing them for a university project (they were kind enough to allow this) and seeing how they were coping with the diagnosis and its aftermath. That’s when I knew it might be time to reconsider my application to the Education School at UVA and become a Psychology major. Here I am, many years later, with a master’s degree and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology!
What do you love about the work?
I love witnessing people’s resilience and am honored to be a part of this each day. I also appreciate that there are so many options in my field. I can provide therapy to all ages, I can offer psychological testing, consult, or teach. My specialty is trauma, and I have taken a year-long certificate program in trauma-informed care as well as the Level One training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which helps people who have experienced trauma and can relieve psychological stress and anxiety.
Why do people hire you?
I believe that people hire me because I am empathic, approachable, seasoned, responsive, and have a sense of humor.
How do you feel about study skills?
I wish I had known more about study skills when I was in high school and college! When I got to college I had no clue to how to take a multiple-choice test, but knew exactly how to write an essay. At a large university, I had my fair share of what felt like failures in my first two years because I had no idea how to study for these types of tests. Study skills are crucial to academic success.
What’s your favorite piece of advice to give students?
A lot of my clients talk a lot about searching for the “perfect” college or graduate program. My advice is to make sure that you check out the course offerings and read through them carefully. This is what’s important; not just how the campus looks! That, and be sure you like the climate. Don’t go to school in the South if you don’t like warm weather!