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Bio


Steve Smith, Ph.D.

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Bio


Steve Smith, Ph.D.

 

I am a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY20096) and Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UCSB.  

My background in psychology is broad and varied.  I was trained in child clinical psychology at the University of Arkansas where I also specialized in personality assessment.  I completed my internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where I specialized in clinical neuropsychology and child clinical psychology.  After training, I served as the Director of Consultation Neuropsychology for Mass General Hospital and worked with children and adults dealing with bereavement and loss.  Seeking more time for research and teaching, I joined the faculty of UCSB in 2004.  I have authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and chapters as well as five books.  I am a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment, member of Division 47 (Sport and Exercise) of the American Psychological Association, and have held offices in several national organizations.  

After I achieved tenure at UCSB, I shifted my focus to the psychological needs of athletes and those involved in sports.  I served as the consulting psychologist to the Division I Department of Athletics at UCSB and began a private practice (Sport Psychology and Research Center) where I continue to work with professional and collegiate athletes and their families.  I have grown increasingly interested in the psychological needs of boys and men and the ways that psychotherapy can be adapted for male clients.  As a child psychologist, one of my primary interests is healthy sport participation for children and families.  I have presented widely on issues of sport specialization, youth sports, and boyhood and masculinity (click the Presentations link above for the full list).  My students and I are currently working on projects to explore identity development in young athletes.

I am a former Cat 2 cyclist and lifelong endurance athlete.  After fighting a losing battle with femoral artery endofibrosis in 2012, I retired from cycling and found a love for running.  I'm an active competitor in trail running and have competed in distances from 5k to 50 miles.  When I'm not in the office, I'm probably in the woods.

I continue to work with athletes, both young and old.  I also work with families dealing with grief and loss as well as depression, anxiety, and relationship issues.  My broad background has given me a great deal of experience and I am honored to do this work.

 

 
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Philosophy


Philosophy and Approach

Philosophy


Philosophy and Approach

I largely draw from psychodynamic concepts and ideas, and my approach is clearly pragmatic and goal-driven.  I have both studied and taught ACT-based models and I practice (and teach) mindfulness and acceptance in the face of emotional challenge and setback.  I believe that art, literature, religion, and science all give us insight into the human condition and I continually look to a wide range of sources to inform my understanding of what it means to be a person.  I have an informal style (I'm a jeans and t-shirt sort of guy), I make house calls, and because I appreciate the wisdom of movement and the outdoors, will meet with clients for a hike, coffee, or walk (if they so choose).  We live in a beautiful place, so if we can get outside for a talk, the benefits are clear. 

For clients who are involved with sports, I believe that sports are a reflection of life and that the challenges we face as athletes tell us something about where we struggle.  I rarely do narrow performance-enhancement work (and the research on performance-enhancement is somewhat questionable, at best), but instead will address sport issues in the context of larger issues in personal adjustment, family dynamics, and self-esteem.  

I'm happy to chat more if you'd like more information.