Dr. Deborah Garrett joins ETHERA with over 20 years of experience working with students of all ages. Prior to becoming a licensed educational psychologist, Deborah’s experience as a professional dancer ignited her passion to introduce the arts to children. As a result, she created, implemented, and became the director of the first afterschool arts enrichment program for a local OC school district. She then furthered her studies by receiving her master’s in school psychology, then her doctorate in educational psychology. In 2013, Deborah has worked in collaboration with the OC Health Care Agency as their director for the Early Child Mental Health Intervention program for South Orange County. Deborah has also worked for school districts’ Autism programs as well as serving as a School Psychologist in LA and Orange County. Dr. Garrett is excited to be a part of the Ethera family by combining her love of working with students of all ages and supporting families to help students reach their highest academic potential.
What would your clients and colleagues say is your therapists superpower?
My superpower is the love I have for positively impacting the lives of students. For 28 years I’ve had the pleasure of empowering young children, teenagers and adults, by fostering an environment of caring, mutual respect, and professionalism. My students and their families walk away more educated, with more clarity, but most importantly, a feeling of hope for their future.
Is there an example from your daily life where you practice what you preach?
As a parent and educational psychologist, I’ve had the experience of practicing what I preach with my own daughter. I’ve used my training to not only guide my parenting skills, but to practice and build on strategies to support academics and inspire students.
What was your path to becoming an educational psychologist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
Prior to my working in the school system as a school psychologist, I was a dancer and instructor to children 3 years and up. I knew psychology was a career I would follow because of my passion for teaching and helping others. However, it wasn’t until my first experience working with students with autism that changed my path. I became fascinated with how children with autism would react when activities involved moving to music. Witnessing how music changed their behaviors was inspiring. Children with mild to severe autism would become calm and engaged in activities. This was a pivotal moment for me, and it was then I realized I wanted to work in the field of special education with the goal to inspire every child and to remind them they are more than their disability, they were special in their own way. I made it my job to help them see that!