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Education and Training

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychology

Victims of Violence Program

Cambridge Health Alliance/ Harvard Medical School

Cambridge, MA

Doctor of Philosophy, Medical & Clinical Psychology

F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine

Uniformed Services University

Bethesda, MD

Doctoral Internship in Professional Psychology

American University Counseling Center

Washington, DC

Master of Science, Medical & Clinical Psychology

F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine

Uniformed Services University

Bethesda, MD

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences

Ithaca, NY

Meet Dr. Bakalar

I've lived most of my life in the DC area and it is an absolute joy to practice in the city I call home. My decision to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology stemmed from a belief in the transformative power of connection along with the meaning I find in supporting clients to understand themselves more deeply, harness their strengths to navigate their stuck points, and enrich their relationships. I believe that the most impactful therapy embraces the full spectrum of the human experience, from pain to joy to absurdity.

 

After graduating from Cornell University with a BA in Psychology, I completed a post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health. I earned my Ph.D. in Medical & Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD and completed my doctoral internship at American University. After graduate school, I pursued postdoctoral training at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School specializing in the comprehensive treatment of traumatic stress. Based on this training, I am particularly experienced in working with military and Veteran communities, individuals navigating the transitions of early and middle adulthood, and health care professionals.  

Credentials

Licensed to practice as a psychologist in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia

Health Service Psychologist

National Register of Health Service Psychologists

Registered Florida Telehealth Provider

Florida Department of Health

  • National Institutes of Health

  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

  • DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center

  • American University Counseling Center

  • Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School

  • Private Practice

Clinical Experience

Treatment Philosophy

Our connections with ourselves, with others, and with the world can give rise to the greatest joy, meaning, and fulfillment in our lives. In parallel, disconnection and loss can elicit profound pain and anguish. 

 

A crucial step toward finding relief and enduring growth in psychotherapy starts with an affirming connection in the therapeutic relationship. Beyond the reasons that bring you in, I am committed to listening to your life story and learning about you as a whole, imperfect person who deserves unconditional care and respect. From there, we can identify opportunities to relate to yourself and others in new ways.

 

Therapy will be tailored to fit you, not the other way around. I am experienced in multiple treatment modalities, including psychodynamic, interpersonal, relational, and cognitive behavioral therapies. We will work collaboratively on a treatment plan that balances evidence-based interventions with a personalized approach.

 

Sometimes it's difficult to know how to describe experiences and emotions. Creative forms of self-expression are welcome here, such as writing, drawing, metaphor, or humor.

Safety is a bedrock of psychotherapy. That said, I don't determine if you feel safe here; you do. Creating a safe environment is an ongoing, shared endeavor since trust is built over time and feeling safe is influenced by history and circumstance. This process can be cyclical, meaning that progress in one area may lead us to reinforce earlier work. Open, honest communication will be central to our work.

My approach to trauma-focused treatment is grounded in a stage-based model, which addresses current safety and daily functioning first. From this foundation, we will decide together how to explore and process the impact of the trauma, integrate this understanding into your broader life story, and cultivate new experiences.