Dr. Kristin Velazquez Kenefick is a bilcultural (Puerto Rican), bilingual (Spanish), licensed clinical Psychologist. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology (1997) with a minor in Sexual Abuse from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Child Psychiatry at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute following a pre-doctoral internship at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. Dr. Kenefick developed and implemented a treatment program for sexually abused children and their non-offending parents for the Child Protection Center at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York between 1998-2000. From 2000-2004 Dr. Kenefick moved back to her native Chicago to develop the mental health and clinical services for the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center. She served as the Director of Mental Health and was responsible for overseeing all the direct services of the CCAC for 2,500 children per year. This included intake, forensic interviewing, crisis intervention, individual, family and group therapy services, the Psychology Training Program, and Multidisciplinary Support Services as well as facilitation of the CCAC Network of Treatment Providers. She was a member of the Illinois Sex Offender Management Board. In 2002, Dr. Kenefick was awarded the Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment by the American Psychological Association. Between 2004-2007 Dr. Kenefick was the Statewide Administrator for the Integrated Assessment Program for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services overseeing the intake process for all children coming into the child welfare system. Prior to coming to TCSPP, she was Core Faculty at the Adler School of Professional Psychology (2007-2010), where she was coordinator of the child and adolescent concentration. Between 2008-2009, she served as Interim Associate Director of the Clinical Psy.D. program at the Adler School. In 2010, Dr. Kenefick joined TCSPP as the Associate Chair of the Clinical Psy.D. Department overseeing the Child & Adolescent Track. At TCSPP, she teaches Clinical Interviewing, Child Trauma, Advanced Seminar, Professional Development and is a research clerkship mentor. Current research and scholarship interests include: Parenting, Trauma, International Psychology, Wellness, and Integrative approaches to child and adolescent therapy. She sees children, families and parents in her private practice on the Northwest side of Chicago.
- Kenefick, K; Hardin, B., Cutler, M. (2011). Prevention of Child Abuse: Reflections from Clinical Practice. TCSPP Prevent Child Abuse Month. Chicago, IL.
- Kenefick, K.; Dyson, V.; Moore, N.; Bothne, N.; Ferguson, R. (2010). Teaching across cultures. 3rd International Community Psychology Conference: Community Agendas on Contemporary Social Problems. Puebla, Mexico.
- Kenefick (2009). Creating wellness in your life. Adler School of Professional Psychology. Chicago, IL .
- Kenefick (2008). The Assessment of Acculturation with Latino/a Immigrant Clients. Cultural Impact Conference at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Chicago, IL.
- Kenefick (2008). Implementation of a School-based Adlerian Mental Health Program in the Inner City. Oxford Symposium on School Based Family Counseling. Oxford, England.
- Co-Chair, Pre-Service Committee, Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition: Facilitate the development of curricula regarding childhood trauma to be shared with undergraduate and graduate programs.
- Consultant/Program Development, Mujeres Aliadas, Michoacán, México: Co-developed train-the-trainer curriculum (Spanish) to train local women to facilitate support groups in their communities.
- Former Advisory Board Member, Erikson Institute's Latino Services Fussy Baby Network
- American Psychological Association (APA)
Q: Please describe your teaching philosophy.
A. Teaching and learning are dynamic processes. Every day that I am with students, I may be teaching, but I am learning. The same is true for them. I strive to create community in the classroom. We are there for a shared purpose, but we are also there to enjoy this educational endeavor together. The process of teaching and learning is as important to me as the content we are covering. I try to bring material to life in the classroom, through role plays, watching videos, small group discussions, games, and any other creative endeavor we can imagine.
Q: Please describe your philosophy regarding the practice of psychology.
A. I have been fortunate to have been employed in many multidisciplinary settings. Sometimes I was the only psychologist on staff. This unique background gave me the opportunity to see the value of psychology and to realize how many people don't really know how much psychology has to offer. I see the value beyond the traditional therapeutic relationship, but in the ways in which we can use psychology to better the workplace, our communities, our world. I believe we each carry the responsibility to use what we know to make our world better. This may be in small ways, such as in our own families, or in major ways that we can't even yet imagine.
Q: Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
A. I was drawn to psychology in high school when a close friend suffered a traumatic incident. I wanted to understand what this friend was going through, and psychology seemed to be the place to look. From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a child/adolescent/family psychologist. Now as a parent, I value the role of psychology even more, and see how critical a role we can play in helping children and families return to a healthy developmental trajectory.
Q: What advice would you give a student entering The Chicago School?
A: First, create a wellness plan for yourself and try to stick to it. Pick 1-2 things that nurture you and build them into your weekly schedule. We often believe that the hour we could be exercising, praying, having a coffee with a friend is not productive time. But the research shows otherwise. Taking care of yourself in a consistent manner will help you stay the course. Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be well conditioned to make it to the end. Surround yourself with people who will support you and nurture you. Second, find a mentor on the faculty early on and learn as much as you can from this person. Put the time and effort into getting to know the faculty. Third, get to know other students in the cohorts before you. They will be invaluable in helping you navigate the graduate school waters. Finally, enjoy this time!