We are so excited to introduce our newest clinician Dr. Cara Soccorso, who works with children, adolescents, and young adults, with a particular specialty in assessing young children aged 0 to 4! Here, we sit down with Dr. Soccorso and learn more about her abundant training, experience, and values.
What do you hope clients will gain from working with you?
My hope is that clients will learn more about themselves in the evaluation process. My goal is to make clients feel like they have the information they need to be their most successful selves. Additionally, when someone is seeking an evaluation, I want to make sure that I’m being thorough and I really understand the client to best address their concerns and to figure out the best ways to support them moving forward.
What parts of your work do you enjoy the most?
Hands down, the clients. I love so much of what I do, but I think interacting with clients is what makes my job fun. During the social isolation period of Covid, I was doing a lot of virtual evaluations and behavioral consultations, but I really missed being face to face with clients. I think that there’s a lot to be said for having in-person interactions in order to fully appreciate someone for who they are.
What are some self-care activities that you use for managing general life stressors?
I think my self-care and the ways that I like to spend my free time are very similar. The time that I spend with my kids and husband is what helps me relax and destress. We love taking our kids to local community activities, swimming classes, or the library. But, they also even make going to the grocery store fun! I also really like to travel; my family spends a lot of time in Nantucket, which is where my husband and I got married, so we feel very lucky to have a getaway that’s close to home.
What brought you to this profession?
I had an uncle and also a few friends who had Down syndrome. Over time, I saw the difference that services made for each of them. For example, my uncle grew up in a time and a place where fewer resources were available to him, but he still had a really meaningful and successful life. We’ve also seen our friends make really great progress by having supports and resources that were tailored to support their learning style. In my work, I’ve also seen the difference services can make for families when they are connected to the right ones. So, for as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to help people be their best selves and to ensure that they have access to resources to help them succeed.
What are some important values that come to mind when working with clients?
My goal is to always make sure that the client feels understood and supported. In order to do that, I think it’s important to establish a good rapport, respect, and empathy. Additionally, assessments by nature often use a deficit model, which may focus on looking for areas of weakness or finding ways of fitting presentations into a diagnostic category. However, my approach is to use a strength-based model and to make sure to highlight areas in which the client’s also doing well. In this way, I can tailor my recommendations to make sure that they will play to the client’s strengths while also supporting their areas of need.
What are you most proud of about yourself and what you have accomplished?
Personally, I'm most proud of my family. I have a great husband, 2 adorable kids, and a miniature goldendoodle, who give me so much joy. It’s been really fun to watch my husband become a dad and to watch my kids develop their own personalities. Professionally, I would say I’m most proud of my work ethic. I feel really lucky to have had such amazing training experience and employment opportunities that fostered my growth as a clinician and helped me find my niche.