J. Brooke Siwula-Wright, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who is passionate about working with children and their families. Fifteen years ago, she helped develop Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People, Inc.. As the namesake, she provided services to children and their families after the death of a loved one. She received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Wheaton College where she was inducted into the Wheaton Scholastic Honor Society and awarded the doctoral merit scholarship annually. Brooke’s research focuses on grieving adolescents’ coping. She presented her work at six conferences, and published in the Journal of Professional Psychology and The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. Brooke’s clinical practicum training at Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center and Heartland Counseling Center/Conley Outreach Community Services focused on psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and crisis intervention services. For predoctoral internship, she trained at The Children’s Home Society of Idaho and Northwest Neurobehavioral Health in Boise, Idaho. Her work there included assessment of neurobehavioral differences (such as autism, ADHD, and learning difficulties) and therapy with children and families.
Brooke currently specializes in psychological and neuropsychological testing for children and adolescents, community trainings, and crisis intervention. She provides therapy for infants, children, and adolescents and their families facing a variety of difficulties.
In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, camping, traveling, music, theater, and meeting new people. As an avid sports fan with a lifetime loyalty, you may catch her in a Colts jersey.
Brooke’s Approach to Therapy
I consider psychological assessment/testing and therapy opportunities to come alongside children and families to help them reach their mental and behavioral health goals.
Psychological & Neuropsychological Assessment
Assessment is a process through which I am able to examine the way an individual’s brain processes information and interacts with the surrounding world. By using standardized instruments on clients ages 3+, I am able to gather a wide variety of information, all of which informs my recommendations for treatment planning. I enjoy synthesizing testing results for clients in order to clarify diagnosis and reveal personal strengths and weaknesses. With this information, I am able to offer specific, concrete suggestions about how the individual can more effectively and efficiently use his/her abilities and strengths in the everyday world. By communicating these results in a usable, understandable manner, I am often able to offer relief and direction for clients and families who began the process feeling defeated, frustrated, or lost.
The format of therapy depends on the needs of the client, and may include individual work, family sessions, or a series of sessions with parents focused on promoting the healthy development of their unique child. With children, individual work may involve offering coping tools, encouraging expression and exploration of feelings through play, and/or facilitating insight. I consider all individuals to be a part of a system—a system that is an important contributor to healthy development. Therefore, I encourage significant others to be actively involved in the therapeutic process, especially caregivers in the treatment of children. Working with caregivers involves helping them to build solid relationships with their children using the resources they have and/or equipping them with an understanding of their children’s behavior and beneficial ways to respond to that behavior. I work from a strengths-based perspective in that I help identify the strengths of individuals and systems and build upon those resources. I am passionate about working with young children, in particular, because I see hope and resilience within them that can be accessed through early intervention. It takes a specific expertise to work with them using their language, but has unique rewards when we are able to encourage the development and use of their innate resources.
Working with the bereaved is a special privilege. While loss is an experience common to everyone, it is often avoided in our culture. Children are frequently referred to as the “forgotten mourners,” as adults commonly assume that children who don’t display acting-out behaviors are not impacted by the loss. However, children and teens who are given a safe place and encouragement to deal with their pain can flourish. The way in which children are able to experience the death of a loved one early in life influences their abilities to cope with many types of loss throughout the rest of their lives. Grieving can be a long road for young people, but it is one on which I treasure the honor to join them.