Psy.D. Program Graduate Profiles: Betsy Gaines

Betsy Gaines

Psy.D, The Wright Institute (Dissertation title: “The Relationship between Sensory Processing and Play in Young Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders”)
MA, Trinity University
BA, Trinity

Betsy was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Betsy’s father is a judge, and her mother is a homemaker. She lives in Los Angeles, enjoys yoga, cooking and going to rock concerts. Before attending the Wright, she was a mental health consultant for Head Start and a service coordinator for an early intervention program.

Current Work:
A postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital (Los Angeles), Betsy does assessment and treatment of children from infants to five year-olds, and works with their families. A state grant also funds her work in identifying children with special health needs and collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to help fill their needs.

I really like treating infant and parent dyads. Opportunities for intervention are promising with children, before their patterns get ingrained; there’s a lot of hope for change related to their developmental trajectory. I have seen tremendous changes in children's social, emotional, motor, and language development.

The APA Internship:
Betsy was a predoctoral intern at the University of Southern California’s Affiliated Program at Children’s Hospital. She did assessment and treatment in an early childhood rotation, and also worked with school aged children.

I stayed here because I loved the internship. The atmosphere is amicable, with solid opportunities for learning, and a strong training program. I felt like I already knew the supervisors, and they had a lot to teach me. I learned assessment tools with very young children, which is a rare opportunity at an internship.

About the Wright:

I chose the Wright because I knew there were many outstanding faculty members who contribute to the field of psychology and I wanted to train with them. I felt really welcomed and supported in creating the kind of program I wanted. Classes such as neuropsychology and ethics were challenging, but they prepared me really well for the future.

The Case Conference helped me to develop close relationships with faculty and students. Their breadth of experience taught me about many different modalities and ways of thinking about clients.

At her first year practica with PediatriCare (Oakland), Betsy was a group leader for children with terminally ill or deceased parents, and also did individual therapy for families dealing with terminal illness or bereavement. She offered individual therapy with adults in her second year practica at The Wright Institute Clinic, and her third year was at Oaks Children Center (SF) doing assessment and therapy in day treatment for seriously emotionally disturbed children. Betsy also completed a fourth year half time internship with the University of California at San Francisco/San Francisco General Infant Parent Program, doing psychotherapy with infants and parents.

When I began my APA internship, I had more experience than many other interns, based on my Wright practica. My supervisors were terrific, and Wright helped me integrate my academic learning with practice in the field.