“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

Brené Brown

Kelly Smith is a licensed clinical social worker (LICSW), who primarily works with foster and adoptive children/youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment and multiple placements while in foster care. Kelly utilizes a number of treatment modalities. Her philosophical framework includes the belief that when a child’s early attachment history consists of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment, the child/youth has not experienced what is necessary for healthy development.

A child’s early development is experienced through the sensory and neurological systems, so the intervention needs to incorporate techniques that take this into consideration. Playing UNO and using stickers and stars in therapy with foster/adoptive kids is not effective.  When a child has experienced trauma and/or loss, their ability to attach to others is significantly impacted.

There are a variety of modalities that Kelly utilizes. She is extensively trained in the following areas and incorporates them into her work:

  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, developed by Dan Hughes
  • EMDR, developed by Francine Shaperio
  • Gentle Reprocessing (EMDR Technique), developed by Diane Spindler
  • Theraplay, developed by Ann Jernberg
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), developed by Karen Purvis

Kelly’s clinical work with foster/adoptive children incorporates the foster/adoptive parent(s) they are currently living with.  Helping a foster/adoptive child heal from these previous traumas requires a team approach.  Parenting these kiddos requires parenting from a therapeutic perspective with attuned, playful, patient, relationally healthy and committed parent(s).

Currently, Kelly’s clinical practice is full and she is unable to take on new ongoing clients.  However, she is fully engaged in offering comprehensive assessments and consultation through a virtual platform.  In particular, she has extensive experience providing consultation to schools, court systems, child advocates, therapist and families (pre- and post-adoption).