A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Mental Health Professionals Share Insights with Community in RCDS Speaker Series

Earlier in the 2023-24 school year, the RCDS Counseling team introduced the Mental Health Speaker Series, featuring discussions on topics of importance in the mental health space from four outside professionals. 

With sessions designed for Lower, Middle, and Upper School audiences, but open to all interested parents/guardians, the entire RCDS community had the opportunity to listen, gain insight, and ask questions pertaining to youth mental health. 

“Partnering with parents and guardians is so important when it comes to student well-being. Opportunities to learn about and discuss mental health issues among young people is so valuable. I am grateful to our visiting experts and to our parents and guardians for their engagement in this important work.” 
– Kamauru Johnson, Director of Counseling (Pre-K – Gr. 12); Upper School Psychologist

Upper School: Exploring the Relationship Between Learning and Emotion with Ben Lovett, Ph.D.

On November 14, Dr. Ben Lovett, Ph.D joined RCDS via Zoom to share his findings from his research on cognition, test anxiety, and psychological assessment. He offered tips on how families and schools can help students learn effectively.

Dr.  Lovett is a licensed psychologist who specializes in test and academic anxiety. He is also a full-time faculty member at Teachers College where he teaches courses on psychological assessment and legal/ethical issues in school psychology. 

Middle School: An Evening with Cara Natterson, MD, and Vanessa Kroll Bennett ’94, Authors of This Is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained

On November 30, the speaker series continued on campus for the Middle School, as RCDS hosted Cara Natterson, MD, and Vanessa Kroll Bennett ’94. 

As authors of This Is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained, Dr. Natterson and Ms. Bennett covered the topics of modern puberty, how anatomy and physiology change during puberty, and the impact of hormones on bodies and brains. They also expanded on the anticipated emotional ups and downs during puberty and scripts for having complex conversations with kids.

Cara Natterson, MD, is a pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author; Vanessa Kroll Bennett is a puberty educator and writer. Together, they host The Puberty Podcast and run Order of Magnitude, the leading brand dedicated to flipping puberty positive. Their book, This Is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained, was published by Rodale Books in Oct 2023. 

Lower School: Helping Your Child Manage Emotions and Build Resilience with Vasco Lopes, Psy.D.

Finally, Lower School parents and guardians attended a session led by Vasco Lopes, Psy.D. on December 4 to learn how parents can help children manage anxiety and build resilience. 

Dr. Lopes clarified the difference between everyday stress and problematic anxiety in children, why stress/anxiety are normal and necessary, and how common parenting responses can amplify problematic anxiety. He also shared evidence-based tips on how parents can help their children cope with anxiety and improve their self-confidence and independence. 

Dr. Lopes is a clinical and school psychologist specializing in treating children with behavioral and emotional dysregulation. Dr. Lopes has extensive experience providing treatment and developing clinical programs for children with challenging psychiatric disorders.

Many thanks to our featured speakers!

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