Education and Clinical Psychology background behind UniGirlOlogist:
Meet Dr. Alicia Viera
I am a licensed clinical psychologist PSYD, and own my private practice with two psychologists in Illinois. My main focus has been the treatment of children, adolescents, adults, and families with a wide range of struggles including depression, anxiety, academic struggles, acting out behavior, ADHD, grief/loss, increasing peer relationships, building effective parenting strategies, and psychological evaluations. I meet the client’s individual needs through the use of a variety of treatment modalities. My current research has been surrounding themes of resiliency and protective factors with youth and their families. As a clinical psychologist, I am honored to work with many families and it is the greatest privilege because I meet individuals during the worst times of their lives. I take so much pride in the trust and dedication that families give me.
I have my Bachelors in Elementary Education, Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. I have extensive experience in a variety of settings including schools, outpatient counseling centers, psychiatric hospitals, and medical clinics.
I am highly interested in diagnostic and psychological testing to highlight strengths and maximize an individual’s overall functioning. I have ample experience with evaluations for pediatrics, adolescents, and adults to rule out learning disabilities and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
I am very passionate about advocating for the implementation of 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEP) in public and private schools.
I worked for 12 years in a not-for profit Archdiocese vendor in Chicago, IL and also built a Bilingual Center with the clinical director to support our bilingual population.
I supervised doctoral and masters level externs during their practicum rotations in their graduate school programs.
As a mom...
I can say with 100% authenticity that being a mom is the hardest job in the galaxy. It is unbelievably hard to raise our four little humans and every single parent feels like they are failing. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you how you are doing it wrong or you should change your approach, and not because you asked for their opinion. Secretly, many parents feel this way because this world is so opaque with expectations, at times, unattainable.
Our oldest daughter is 8-years-old and she is the most witty, caring, and energetic little girl. Her astounding self came home day after day telling us how other girls would make comments to her, gossiped about her, left her out of groups, and made her feel that something was really wrong with her. My husband and I tried to help and her phenomenal 2nd grade teacher also stepped in because she values social-emotional learning as a VITAL part of school.
I will never forget the Polar Vortex in Chicago because the city closed down and schools were closed. I asked my daughter to write her story with no holdbacks. In our field, we call this narrative therapy to rewrite her story and validate her emotions to release her anxiety. Truth be told, our society emphasizes solutions and fixing a problem; however, sometimes in life, we don’t have a tangible way to fix something. Sometimes, we will be scared, nervous, sad, and we have to open up our souls and sit in the emotion. My daughter cannot control other people and they will say things that maybe they don’t realize what they said really hurt you. Maybe they did try to hurt your feelings, but that does not say anything about you. Our daughter realized when writing her book that “they are probably real, real, real sad in their heart.” It may have something to do with them trying to lash out because their heart is going through something hard. Our job is not to judge, even those who have hurt us because that resentment grows and grows.
The point is that we need rise ourselves up and empower our souls, and know that we can help others without telling everyone that we did.
All of my research and experience as an elementary school teacher and clinical psychologist supports that we need to teach children self-love and to love all part of themselves, even the ones that they try to hide from the world. It makes sense because the world is telling them to change and they are not good enough if they struggle.
For example, through writing her book, our daughter learned that she is very sensitive. She tries to change that about herself and does not admit that it hurts her when kids are mean to her and it leaves her feeling very overwhelmed. The world teaches children to be strong and not allow others to affect them. Yet, it DOES affect them, and I witness this in my private practice and with my children. Relational Aggression is very prevalent and there is a lot of research about this in the field of psychology. To learn more about these variables and how it affects youth, please follow UniGirlOlogist on the social links below.