“Understanding what children are communicating through their emotions, behaviors and play is essential in responding appropriately to their traumatic reactions.”
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Myra D. West
has specialized in the assessment and
treatment of children exposed to trauma.
She became interested in working to
improve the lives of children as a teenager
when she was exposed to, via the media,
traumatic incidents against children.
Dr. West works with children who
have experienced sexual, physical and
emotional abuse, neglect, violence, child
abductions, home invasions or witnessed
domestic and community violence. She
also has extensive experience assessing
and treating traumatic reactions in
pediatric burn survivors.
Dr. West believes it’s crucial to observe and listen intently to children and their caregivers and be sensitive to the issues they are dealing with.
“What I like most about my job is helping others understand children’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors through a trauma-focused lens,” she said. “Children communicate through their play and behaviors, and sometimes, as adults, we forget that they may not have the vocabulary to express themselves in a way that we would best understand.”
Dr. West earned her Psy.D. and M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Denver and her M.S. in child development from the University of Tennessee. She has received trauma-focused training from Yale University’s Child Study Center, Drexel University and other nationally recognized specialists in the field of trauma.
Dr. West has served as a director of a children’s advocacy center, a forensic interviewer, trainer and consultant, expert witness at city, county and federal levels, a trauma-focused resource for law enforcement and first responders, and an adjunct instructor for a doctoral program
in forensic psychology.