As we all know, parenting is hard. Unfortunately, there is no master handbook on how to be a parent or on techniques that will work on all children. Whether it is behavioral issues, learning difficulties, or even being able to connect with each other in a positive manner – sometimes we all need a little external help.
This month’s Meet a Mom is Dr. Shey Cunha, PsyD NCSP from Star Psychology. Dr. Cunha is a Licensed School Psychologist whose practice is located in Lakeland, Florida. We spoke to Dr. Cunha about her practice, what she does and learn a little more about her.
How did you pick the name Star Psychology?
My late father always called me his Little Star. I wanted to honor him with the practice name and share that we have the ability to change trials into triumph and pain into power. Just like the star is continuously moving beautifully as a spheroid and held together.
What do you do?
I work with children and families to help them develop specialized communication systems to get along better. I also provide individual therapy for children who have experienced trauma, to work through their emotions and learn strong ways to cope.
I offer comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for various cognitive, social, and behavioral disabilities. We also offer Gifted Assessment, Academic Assessment, Early Childhood Evaluation, and Psychological Assessment.
Tell us about your educational background?
After completing my degree in School Psychology at Nova Southeastern University, I began working in private and public education providing intervention, counseling, consultative and assessment services to teachers, community liaisons, children, and their families. In 2017, I received my Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology degree with a concentration in Counseling from Argosy University- Sarasota, FL. Currently, I am an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona Global Campus in the exceptional student education department.
What is a Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) was developed from different theories of child development, parenting styles, and social learning. The purpose of PCIT is to reduce maladaptive behaviors (defiance, aggression, bullying), increase the child’s social skills and improve the relationship between the parent and child. The overall goal is to create a positive relationship between the parent and child.
The therapist observes the parent and child together through a two-way mirror, then provides coaching/PCIT skills. Live coaching allows parents to learn skills more rapidly through immediate feedback which enables them to apply the skills correctly and master them rapidly.
Why did you decide to pursue this career?
I started as a teacher of preschool children with developmental disabilities. School psychology allowed me to blend my love for education and psychology. I loved working with kids in schools, but I felt parents needed more support as they tried to help their children overcome obstacles and reach their fullest potential in school and at home.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best part of my job is witnessing the relationships of caregivers and their children strengthen over time. Reducing the feelings of being overwhelmed or worried about how to navigate mixed emotions and special needs.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have four beautiful children ages 10, 5, 2, and 1.
How do you juggle work with mommyhood?
Schedules have always been the staple in keeping things together. I try my best to plan my work schedule around the needs of my children so that they get the best of me and my clients will also get the best from me. Creating this balance has not always been easy. However, through trial and error, we’ve been able to find comfort in routines that allow us to feel valued and well taken care of.
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Polk County?
I love going to Lakeside Village and all things downtown.
What’s your favorite thing to do with your family?
As much as I like to go out, the kids love to be home playing games, cooking meals, and watching our favorite movies.
What’s the best advice you have received?
The best advice I’ve received is to take care of myself. Nurturing my own mental health and self-love is crucial in being the best mother, wife, and school psychologist I can be.