This month we are recognizing Well Baby Center Founder, Deborah Groening, for earning her Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). We have interviewed her to glean some information about her experience as she was training in both research and practice to achieve this distinction. In this post, Deborah shares her motivations for researching loss and trauma, her passion for the Well Baby Center community, and what she plans to do in the future (you might be surprised).
Interview Subject: Deborah Groening’s Doctor of Psychology Degree
- How did the Well Baby Center motivate you to obtain your PsyD? I JUST LOVE THIS WORK. We look at the baby part within each of us and then we discover all the ways in which we can be the good parents we always wanted to have by parenting ourselves. This is so important in order to have space to be good parents to our children. The point is to be mindful and curious, open to change and growth without being self-critical and harsh. We need to accept help from others during this time. Allowing for some nurturing of ourselves will be key to being able to nurture our little ones.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your dissertation and why you decided to work on this topic? Mother Loss and the Broken Self is about the big and also small traumas and losses inherent in living a life. It all begins with the mothering relationship – and examining it not to be harsh to our parents but to understand how our perfectionism, fears, and even envy and shame are parts of ourselves that we can integrate in a wholesome way with the more admirable parts of ourselves.
- Life lessons: what is something new that you learned in the process of finishing your dissertation? I learned that being a broken self is not a life sentence – it is a first step in acknowledging and loving the wounded parts of the self and then allowing one’s unresolved grief and loss to surface, be understood, and then ultimately integrated into oneself.
- Did you do anything to celebrate your new accomplishment? Finishing it was a huge relief and I haven’t even thought of celebrating it in any formal way. “The journey is the reward.”
- Why is it important for families to seek help at centers that are managed by licensed psychotherapists? When you become a family, you enter a new world you didn’t even know existed. Sometimes there are bumpy roads in this new terrain but with social support and as much professional help that you can give to yourself, the better you’ll be able to traverse the hills and valleys.
- What are your next steps, or what is something that you look forward to? I am so proud of the people who work at Well Baby Center – I am so confident that they can carry forth the mission I set out to do that I plan to step back from day to day operations and travel, hike, dance and take ukulele lessons!
We at Well Baby Center strive to honor Deborah’s achievements by continuing to provide the necessary tools and resources to enable happy, healthy families and communities to grow and flourish. For more information on the services that we offer, contact us or visit www.wellbabycenter.org.
Deborah Groening Rother is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), and Certified Infant-Parent Mental Health Specialist. She is also the Clinic Director of Well Baby Center.