Dr. Eric Schwartz, 58, Vice President of Clinical Services and Director of Psychology Internship Training, Sarah Reed Children's Center
Maitham Basha-Agha: Dr. Schwartz, please tell the readers about yourself.
Dr. Eric Schwartz: I've been with Sarah Reed Children's Center for 20 years. There are two teams that I work with: The clinical program directors and the faculty of doctoral internship training. My role is an administrative and supervisory role. I attend a lot of supervisory meetings and I'm part of the senior leadership team at the agency.
MB: How did you end up at the Sarah Reed Children's Center?
ES: I received my doctoral degree from the University of Denver. We lived in Denver for 12 years. At the time, I was working at Denver's Children Hospital as a staff psychologist. My wife and I agreed that it was time to move closer to our family in New York City. We wanted to be closer so our 6-year-old daughter could spend more time with her grandparents. I saw this job at Sarah Reed Children's Center and I applied. I had honestly never heard of Erie, Pa. before. I was interviewed twice and I can tell you it was the right fit, right position, and the right time.
MB: Tell us about your contribution to Sarah Reed.
ES: There are several keys contributions I've made, but the most important one is leading the agency to the implementation of the Sanctuary Model. It is a recognized model for trauma informed care. One phrase we must highlight is that "it's not what is wrong with the child, but what happened to the child. "
MB: Why is Sarah Reed a good organization to be involved with?
ES: First of all, we have a very long history of providing excellent high quality services to children and adolescents in Erie County. It is also the longest established children's mental health agency in Erie. We have been providing mental and behavioral health services for 147 years. It's an agency that consistently acts in accordance with its mission.
MB: Can you please tell me a success story of a child that you've worked with?
ES: I've worked with a child who was 11 years old at the time. It was his second time in the residential facility. He was a kid whose parents' parental rights were terminated due to abuse and neglect. He had been through multiple foster homes and two previously failed adoptions. I took him on as a client and I worked with him for a good year-and-a-half. The primary success during this stay is that we built a strong therapeutic relationship. He started to open up and talk about the trauma he has gone through. He was discharged to a group home at the age of 12-and-a-half and about a year ago we heard that he was successfully adopted.
MB: Please provide the reader with a few childcare tips.
ES: I like to use the 4-point model whenever I'm meeting with parents.
- Praise your child. 2. Accept who your child is. 3. Validate their feelings, thoughts, idea, and beliefs. 4. Encourage them to be the best they can be. This also can be called the PAVE model.
Maitham Basha-Agha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org