Melissa Smith, Ph.D.
Director of Testing, Tutoring, and Counseling
Dr. Melissa Smith is a clinical psychologist trained in individual, group and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults, as well as comprehensive psychological and psycho-educational evaluations. Previously, she was the Director of Well-Being at Monument Academy Public Charter boarding school, where she developed the well-being program for the school. In this role, she oversaw a team of clinicians, a psychiatrist, and outside service providers in the delivery of well-being interventions for middle school youth in or at risk of being in foster care. She also developed universal and tertiary well-being programs, including mindfulness and yoga activities for youth, while also creating crisis intervention procedures for clinicians, teachers and other staff. In addition, she provided therapy and conducted assessments for children at the school.
Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America, with a concentration in Children, Families, and Cultures. She has worked in multiple schools and outpatient settings, including The Kennedy Krieger Institute; The University of Maryland Parent Consultation Clinic; Kimberly Brooks, Ph.D. & Associates; The Milton Hershey School and the Washington Jesuit Academy, treating children with developmental disabilities as well as those exposed to traumatic life experiences.
A director, Dr. Smith will continue to increase visibility to the Testing, Tutoring and Counseling Department, while also highlighting the amazing expertise of the individuals who work here. She’ strives to fulfill TLC’s mission of improving lives and expanding possibilities for individuals with special needs and serving the community.
Kristin Olsen, Ph.D.
Dr. Kristin Olsen is a clinical psychologist who has been licensed in the state of Maryland (License # 04107) since July 2005. In terms of training, she received her doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. In her education and clinical experiences at the University of Virginia Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, she received extensive training in counseling with children, adolescents, and families, as well as in the assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and attention disorders. This included coursework and clinical experiences specifically related to learning disabilities and ADHD, cognitive and academic assessments, evaluations conducted under supervision at the program clinic, and a year-long practicum in the schools.
Dr. Olsen’s predoctoral internship was at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. During this full-time training year, she conducted a number of evaluations in various settings related to diagnosing and making recommendations related to learning disabilities and ADHD. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center, in the Child Development Program, conducting evaluations of young children and receiving further training in neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism.
Dr. Olsen has now been working as a psychologist at The Treatment and Learning Centers since 2005 and has conducted over two hundred evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults with learning or attention difficulties, as well as social or emotional concerns, often needing to diagnose learning disorders and make appropriate recommendations for home, school, and testing accommodations. Throughout her time working at TLC, she has continued her education in the areas of learning disabilities, attention and executive functioning concerns, anxiety and autism by attending a number of conferences and workshops, as well as reviewing the latest research.
Sarah Towne, Psy.D,
Dr. Sarah Towne has been licensed in Maryland (License #: 04834) since July 2010. In terms of training, she received her doctoral degree in 2008 from Argosy University in Arlington, Virginia. Her clinical training included coursework in therapies and assessment, with a specific focus on children and families. Her clinical experiences included an externship at in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center, a one-year internship at the Watson Institute in Sewickley, Pennsylvania specializing in the assessment and therapeutic treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and a two-year post-doctoral residency at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
In the first year of her post-doctoral residency program, she engaged in specialized training in the neuropsychology department conducting psychological assessments for learning disabilities, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, intellectual disability, and mood/anxiety related issues for children and young adults (ages 4-21). In her second year of residency, she trained at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Program and became proficient in the administration and interpretation of assessment measures often utilized with young children with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Bayley Scales 3rd Edition, Differential Abilities Scales (DAS), and Vineland Adaptive Scales, 2nd Edition.
In her work here at TLC, Dr. Towne conducts psychoeducational and developmental evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attentional, and social difficulties. She also sees children, adolescents, and young adults for counseling. Dr. Towne has taught graduate level course work at The Chicago School in Washington, DC, instructing doctoral candidates in the areas of intellectual assessment and developmental disabilities, and is currently the primary supervisor for our graduate externship program.
Julie Buddensick, Psy.D
Dr. Buddensick is a clinical psychologist licensed in the state of Maryland since 2014 (License #05410) and the District of Columbia since 2013 (License# 1000837). Dr. Buddensick is trained in individual, group, and family therapy for children and adolescents. She received her doctorate from The George Washington University in 2010 with a specialization in child clinical psychology. Throughout her clinical training, Dr. Buddensick worked in outpatient clinics, schools, and an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents. Since 2015, Dr. Buddensick has been training in the DIR/Floortime model, a multi-disciplinary developmental model of treatment for children with Autism and developmental delays. She received her Professionals Certificate in this model in 2016 and her Fellows Certificate in January 2020 through Profectum. At TLC, Dr. Buddensick works in the Interaction Groups as well as the preschool program at The Katherine Thomas School providing Floortime and DIR-based therapy. Dr. Buddensick also provides counseling services to children and adolescents who are struggling with anxiety, depression, attentional difficulties, sensory sensitivities, and challenging behaviors. She provides family therapy and parent consultation as well.
Moses Kushaba, PsyD., LCSW-C
Clinical Social Worker
Moses Kushaba, PsyD.,LCSW-C is a clinical social worker licensed in Maryland (#25005) with extensive experience in individual, group and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. Moses received his Master in Social Work from University of Southern California and his PsyD from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is licensed as a Psychology Associate in Maryland (A0493) and DC (PSYA00354).
His clinical experiences included an externship with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department where he provided counseling to at-risk youth. He completed his predoctoral internship at California State Prison-Los Angeles where he provided therapy to incarcerated male adults in an outpatient setting. Dr. Kushaba has worked in different settings including transitional housing program, community outpatient mental health clinics, and California correctional facilities (Avenal State Prison and Salinas Valley State Prison) treating people with depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, traumas as well as supporting people with life-challenging illnesses.
Moses focuses on helping people grow and build confidence in themselves by using the qualities they were born with through an integrative approach, that draws upon several theoretical orientations, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Positive psychology. He is a great listener and provides a safe space where you can fully be yourself and talk about your concerns to learn the life lessons needed to create and maintain a high quality of life.
In his work here at TLC, Moses supports YMCA -IFPS program by providing psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attentional, and social difficulties. He is also receiving post-doctoral supervision under Dr. Melissa Smith with a focus on the administration and interpretation of assessment measures.
Moses is a proud veteran of the United States Armed Forces. He served 8 years in the Army.
Robyn Davy, MA, BC-DMT, LCPC-S
Robyn E. Davy is the newest therapist to join The Testing, Tutoring, and Counseling department at TLC. Her past educational experience is unique in that she received a Master’s degree in both Dance Movement Therapy and in Counseling; therefore, she has developed both verbal counseling skills and Dance Movement Therapy skills, with a specialization in the field of Psychotherapy. She believes that movement can provide a great outlet for individuals to express their needs. Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is a modality, which she believes, provides true corrective emotional experiences. Such therapy also provides the context of the human connection, demonstrating how relationships can be healing. Her experience has shed particular competency in working with children and adults with severe emotional disorders, anxiety/mood disorders, trauma, crisis prevention, attachment, and parent-child relational issues. Specifically, she has been trained extensively in using Dance Movement Therapy as an approach and modality for healing and alternative methods of expression. In working with children and adolescents in an alternative setting for over five years, she has developed a particular proficiency in facilitating group therapy augmented by dance movement therapy techniques and theory. As a therapist, her style is achieved by being playful and firm, challenging and nurturing, and ready to leap into the moment with her clients, joining their journeys. It is a goal of hers to always bring inner needs, thoughts, feelings, and impulses back to the body, thus balancing verbal with nonverbal methods. Robyn Davy, takes a whole centered approach to working with children of all ages, within their family systems.
Joy Thibeault, LCSW-C
Clinical Social Worker
Joy Thibeault is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) in the state of Maryland (#15398) since August 2009. Joy is also a certified grief counseling specialist (CGCS #139531) and a certified school social worker with ancillary credits in special education (#42-8055). She received her masters degree in social work from SUNY-Buffalo in 2005, with a specialization in children and families.
Joy has 19 years of experience working with children and adolescents on the Autism spectrum and with other developmental and neurological differences. She has gained clinical experience working with children in day treatment, group home, residential, and school settings prior to joining TLC at the Katherine Thomas School 16 years ago as a school social worker.
Joy is a creative, strengths-based clinician who enjoys incorporating all things arts based into her work as well as cognitive behavioral concepts, coping strategies and mindfulness practices. In her spare time she enjoys creating art, teaching fitness classes, singing, dancing, and serving on the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee for the City of Gaithersburg.