About Dr. Sonya
I earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University and have been licensed as a psychologist since 1991. After more than a decade of working in a variety of clinical settings and as an adjunct faculty member, I transitioned to full-time teaching. As a tenured associate professor of psychology for 18 years at Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), I taught Developmental Psychology-emphasizing Death, Dying, and Bereavement-every semester.
While teaching full-time, I was frequently hired as a developmental reviewer of psychology textbooks and authored ancillary materials for psychology textbooks published by Pearson Higher Education, Macmillan/Worth, McGraw-Hill and Wiley. I loved being immersed in academia and never thought I would return to clinical work.
But after profound life changes, including the unexpected death of my mother, my journey led me back to clinical practice, specifically to help individuals transform their own experience(s) prolonged grief (formerly referred to as complicated grief).
But our lived experiences are never enough to make us an “expert” in or “specialist” in anything. A grief specialist is grounded-first and foremost-in the scientific grief-related theory, research, and practice. In addition, a grief specialist who is also a practitioner must be able to hold the intense grief of their clients without becoming triggered around their own grief and strategically use their own experiences with grief to facilitate the healing of others.
I am this type of practitioner and more specifically I identify as a Prolonged Grief Disorder Specialist. I am an affiliate of the Center for Prolonged Grief at Columbia University and co-facilitate continuing education workshops for mental health professionals at the Center on Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) and Prolonged Grief Disorder Therapy (PGDT).
Research studies have shown PGDT/CGT to be more effective than interpersonal, CBT, and other forms of psychotherapy. I have been offering PGDT/CGT for many years and have found it to be a transformational short-term psychotherapy.
In addition to my private practice, I am the founder and CEO of CEMPSYCH, LLC, a company which offers continuing education in multicultural psychology to licensed mental health professionals. CEMPSYCH, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.