The Workings of a Child’s Mind

Shining a spotlight on Vista’s Reiss-Davis Child Study Center and the Reiss-Davis Graduate School

As a parent, have you ever had a moment with your child where you wonder, ‘I wish I could know everything going on in their head right now?’ Well, from twenty-four plus years of being a parent, I can tell you, you will probably never know everything. But thanks to advancements through the work happening right here on Vista Del Mar’s campus, we can understand a lot more.

For over 70 years, the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center has specialized in child, adolescent, and family diagnostics and psychotherapy from a psychodynamic perspective. For parents, diagnostic services provide an insight into a child’s mind unlike any other. Incorporating this information can significantly aid a child in their development.

Last year, the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center’s Graduate School reached a new milestone, officially receiving their WSCUC (WASC Senior College and University) accreditation. This achievement is the result of years of unyielding commitment and arduous work by our dedicated staff and recognizes the effective educational programs at Reiss-Davis. The WSCUC accreditation ‘assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that Reiss-Davis has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.’ These efforts were led by the esteemed Dr. James Incorvaia, Ph.D., Director of the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center & Institute, and Chancellor of the Reiss-Davis Graduate School at Vista Del Mar.

Dr. Incorvaia has an ardent belief that for clinicians, knowing how to work with a child carries over to their adult-based practices. On occasion, he likes to remind our clinicians, “If you know how to work with children, you can work with anyone.” The recent accreditation allows the Graduate School to educate more mental health professionals on how to support a child’s development from a psychodynamic, neurobiological, and trauma-informed perspective.

Another component of The Reiss Davis Child Study Center is the Psycho-Educational Diagnostic Services (PEDS) program – offering parents a path forward for a child with an emotional, behavioral, or learning challenge. The Director of the program, Dr. Lisa Blanchard, Psy.D. shares that since the onset of COVID-19 and because of distance learning, there has been an increase in assessments. Dr. Blanchard explains, “with distance learning, parents are able to observe areas that their child is struggling in, such as self-initiation, maintaining focus, and task management.” Dr. Blanchard continues, “a PEDS assessment offers direct insight into how their child learns, with the results of the assessment helping them gain a better understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses.”

While we can’t possibly know in advance every future need or concern of our child, we do have the capacity now in which to support their individual, developmental needs. The Reiss-Davis Child Study and the Graduate School are both major assets to our community. During a time when so many children are struggling through this quarantine, isolated from their peers, and without their regular schedule, we have the tools to help them through this no matter the challenge.