Background

Hi.  My name is Marcia McKinley, and I am a therapist/coach working in the Washington DC area.  My interests in psychology date to my college years, when I majored in psychology with the plan to work with children as a clinical psychologist.  I spent most of my undergraduate years working with Dr. Susanne Denham researching preschool children’s social cognition.

Then, as so often happens, life threw a curve ball that changed my career trajectory.  During college, while working as a teller at a local bank, I was robbed at gunpoint.  During the post-robbery interviews, the police seemed insensitive to the trauma that I might have experienced.  This experience triggered my interest in how victims are treated within the legal system: I wanted to be Alex Cabot before there was even a CSI:  SVU.  My interest took me to the University of Southern California (USC) Law Center, where I earned my law degree, and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, where I conducted pretrial hearings for the Hardcore Gang Division and worked as a law clerk for the Jailhouse Informant Litigation Team.

After law school, I took and passed the Florida Bar and was waitlisted to be an Assistant State Attorney in several Florida locations.  While I waited, I began taking classes at George Mason University in Developmental Psychology to learn more about the victims I hoped to work with:  children. I also took a job as the Staff Attorney for the Federal government’s Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, for which I compiled all state laws on child abuse and neglect and offered technical assistance on child abuse laws to attorneys and policy-makers across the country.

By the time a position as a State Attorney became open, I had fallen in love with my research at George Mason and had decided to stay there to complete my PhD in Psychology (with specialties in developmental and cognitive psychology and extensive coursework in statistics). My mentor, Dr. Elyse Lehman, and I conducted basic research on executive functions such as intentional forgetting, and I integrated my interests in law and children’s cognitive development in my dissertation: “Disentangling the Roles of Compliance and Memory in Children’s Eyewitness Suggestibility.”

In 2000, I joined the Psychology Department of Mount St. Mary’s University. At “the Mount,” I taught Foundations of Psychology, several developmental psychology courses, Experimental Cognition, Psychology and Law, Criminal Law, Freshman Seminar, and Research Methods and Statistics. In addition, I co-sponsored the Legal Studies Minor and served as the Director of Pre-Law Studies, for which I coached mock trial teams, taught LSAT prep courses, and advised pre-law students. I continued researching eyewitness suggestibility and numerous other issues related to children’s and women’s well-being.  By this time, I was homeschooling my own twice-exceptional son, so began to focus my research on homeschooling and gifted children (as well as other topics that affected children’s and women’s well-being).  Much of my research can be found at ResearchGate.  In addition, I wrote the instructors’ manuals and study guides for three best-selling introductory psychology textbooks (by Stephen Kosslyn, then-Chair of the Psychology Department at Harvard University).

I was tenured at the Mount in 2006 and continued there until 2013.  However, the dream of doing clinical work never left me and so, in 2011, I began my degree in pastoral counseling at Loyola University of Maryland.  In addition, I started an internship at BiofeedbackWORKS in Virginia, providing neurofeedback and counseling under the supervision of Joan O. Ordmandy, MSEd, LPC. With her 17+ years in neurofeedback, Ms. Ordmandy is truly one of the pioneers in this field.  In 2013, I began working as an ADHD and Executive Functioning Coach in Virginia. I still coach in my Herndon, Virginia office, in the BiofeedbackWORKS suite.  In addition, I work at Aspire Counseling in Gaithersburg, Maryland and have also begun an independent counseling practice in The Dreaming Tree Counseling office in Germantown, Maryland.

During my spare time, I enjoy rock-climbing (indoor only!); reading; writing; and traveling, especially to the Southwest.

Copyright©2015-2017.  Marcia J. McKinley.

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