In our ongoing series ‘Clinician Spotlight’, we introduce you to the wonderful clinicians we have here at Newton Neuropsychology Group! In this installment, we sit down with Dr. Ida Kellison to learn more about her journey and values as a psychologist.
What do you hope clients will gain from working with you?
I hope that they'll gain an understanding of the relationship between the brain and behavior—that's the expertise of a neuropsychologist. We understand how the brain impacts not only cognitive functioning, but also emotional functioning and functioning in daily life. After we administer and discuss the tests and how a person performed, we translate that information into tips and tricks and techniques that a person can incorporate into their daily life. It's meant to be practical advice, and that is what I hope people will take from working with me.
Why did you choose to pursue this profession?
Well, after finishing my undergraduate degrees where I majored in philosophy, psychology, and religious studies, I initially thought I might become an environmental lawyer. Then, I started auditing some meetings with the neuropsychologist at the hospital that I was working at, and I found it really fascinating that the neuroscientists would put up a scan from someone's brain and then ask, “what would you predict based on the area of damage that occurred in the brain?”, and people would talk about all of the things that they expected to happen. Understanding those brain-behavior relationships just became really interesting to me. So I, as a post-bacc, actually took some additional courses in neuropsychology, and then ended up applying for graduate school.
What are you most proud of about yourself and what you've accomplished?
I think that I am most proud of being able to balance all of the demands of life, and I won't say that I'm doing that perfectly. A lot of my clients come for questions around attention, organization, and time management where they feel that they're not performing particularly well, and I think this is a challenge for everybody. We have a lot of demands placed on us—being a good family member, good parent, good student, good employee, good friend. All of it requires a lot of balancing different priorities, time, and pressures. So I feel proud that I have been balancing, working full time with being a parent and spouse, a daughter and a friend. It's hard work being a human.
What do you think is the most challenging part about your job?
I think the most challenging part is effectively communicating how the results of these, sometimes, unusual tests translate into a person's functioning outside of the testing environment. We test people in a one-on-one environment with reduced distractions, followed by making predictions about how they might be functioning in the world and recommendations about things that they can do better. But sometimes I think that can be a hard point to make or a bridge to build.
What are some important values that come to mind when working with clients?
Openness to another person's experience, being inquisitive, and being interested in what's going on with somebody else. Being compassionate and caring would definitely also be at the top.