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Stephanie Olarte, PhD (she/her/hers)
ADHD'r. Nerd. Daughter of Latinx Immigrants. Bossypants.

Stephanie smiling. She has a purple bob.

On my best days, I like to think of myself as a delicate blend of…

Mr. Rogers: "Feelings are mentionable and manageable."


Ms. Fizzle: "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"


Daria Morgendorffer: “Is life always tawdry, stupid and humiliating? Or is this just a phase?”


The Cheshire Cat: “How do you run from what is inside your head?”

Photo Credit: Anne Giebel

For over 16 years, I've had the privilege of working closely with children and families. This journey started at a preschool where I worked as a teacher assistant and quickly gained the reputation of being able to soothe and redirect some of the most "difficult" children. 

 

I quickly gained an affinity for the children who would talk back, the ones who didn't want to share, the ones who refused to nap. These quickly became my favorite children, and some things never change.

My next stop was in substitute teaching and private tutoring. Here is where I developed a thick skin for sassy tweens, as well as my curiosity about K-12 education.

 

Supporting families one-on-one gave me a front-row seat on the roller-coaster that they often ride when they're dealing with ADHD, learning differences, trauma, and other mental health issues. 

Stephanie blowing bubbles wearing a shirt with Mr. Rogers on the front.

Photo Credit: Anne Giebel

Stephanie with a copy of the book Mindset by Carol S. Dweck.

As a passionate advocate for children's education as well as their mental health, I pursued a PhD in School Psychology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

 

This top university program provided the well-rounded and rigorous training that allowed me to develop both the clinical and research skills that make for a damn good psychologist who knows a thing or two about systems that make or break a kid's mental health.

 

My field training in middle schools confirmed what I already sensed about my career trajectory: tweens and teens are where the magic happens. Early adolescence, replete with frustration, sarcasm, and hormones, became my favorite puzzle.

Photo Credit: Anne Giebel

I finished my training at a well-respected parent-child mental health clinic in Maryland. This was where I saw first hand how by strengthening parent-child bonds, even the most severe mental health challenges can be radically transformed. 

 

This experience allowed me to dive deeper into the intricacies of family life and work more closely with parents who were struggling to understand their child's mental health needs.

Stephanie with a copy of Radical Compassion by Tara Brach.

Photo Credit: Chloe Bates

A younger, black-haired Stephanie at graduation in cap and gown. She's sticking her tongue out at the camera.

I may be playful, but my credentials are no laughing matter…

 

Licensed Psychologist in the state of Maryland since January 2018 (License number 05926)

 

PhD in School Psychology: University of Wisconsin, Madison (2016)

 

M.S. in School Psychology: University of Wisconsin, Madison (2012)

 

B.A. in Psychology (Developmental track) with Honors: Florida International University (2009)

Photo Credit: My mother who huffed at me for being silly

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