Psychologist Maria Zimmitti
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.It can be hard to know what to look for in a good psychologist, but it’s not hard to decide how you feel about the person in front of you. Maria Zimmitti of Georgetown Psychology is the sort of psychologist whose reassuring energy helps clients know that they’re getting empathetic, well-reasoned, and nuanced counsel.
How did you get into this field?
In college, I was “undecided” (which, thankfully, some schools now call “open-minded”) for two years. When it came time to declare a major, I tried a few until I landed in a Developmental Psychology class. That was followed by Brain and Behavior and I was quickly hooked. At the same time, I started my own therapy and experienced first-hand the impact of a supportive, grounded psychologist.
What do you love about the work?
I grew up in Los Angeles and my father was a musician who truly loved going to work every day. My parents always encouraged me to find a career that I feel passionate about. I have been practicing for 20 years and enjoy collaborating with parents and schools to positively impact students’ lives.
Why do people hire you?
The families I work with are typically referred by someone they trust, whether it be a friend, family member, teacher or pediatrician. They come to me because they know I will leave no stone unturned when it comes to understanding their child. Once they complete the evaluation process, they have a roadmap to guide them. My relationship with a family begins the moment we speak on the phone and often continues throughout their child’s schooling.
How do you feel about study skills?
It’s never too early (or too late) to teach them! We often focus our efforts on middle and high school students, but elementary school children greatly benefit from learning organizational strategies. For some students, study skills do not come naturally and they may not be directly taught in school. For other students, they think they are studying efficiently and effectively, but they are not seeing the results of their efforts. This is where a great study skills coach comes in!
What’s your favorite piece of advice to give students?
When one of our kids is experiencing a setback, my husband often reminds them, “There’s more than one way to get to Chicago.” I tell this to students all the time and share my own not-so-direct path to becoming a psychologist. What students may perceive as failure is often an opportunity for growth and a new direction.