Portrait by: Tina Krohn Photography
District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia
Health Service Psychologist
Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology
Registered Florida Telehealth Provider
Education and Training
Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychology
Victims of Violence Program
Cambridge Health Alliance/ Harvard Medical School
PhD in Medical & Clinical Psychology
F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Intramural Research Training Award Fellow
National Institute of Mental Health
BA in Psychology, French minor
Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences
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
Meet Dr. Bakalar
Though I've had a lifelong interest in the human experience, I solidified my decision to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology in college while learning about the transformative power of connection in the wake of adversity. During a course on Trauma Psychology, I was especially compelled by Dr. Judith Herman's work as a pioneer in the field who redefined the origins and treatment for traumatic stress through a social justice lens. I was also captivated by the many dualities of trauma and loss, such as connection and isolation, speaking out and silence, control and powerlessness.
After college, I completed a post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health. From there, I earned my Ph.D. in Medical & Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University, which provided the unique opportunity to learn the intricacies of the mind-body connection and the inextricable links between psychological and physical health. After graduate school, I pursued specialized training in the comprehensive treatment of traumatic stress and loss in the Victims of Violence program at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School.
My continued commitment to clinical practice is fueled by the meaning I find in partnering with clients to understand themselves more deeply, harness their strengths to navigate hardship, and (re)discover solace and fulfillment in close relationships. In addition to private practice, I serve as a Psychosocial Educator working with medical students at George Washington University to promote their professional development into physicians who provide whole-person healthcare. Over time, I've found that the most impactful work -- in therapy, teaching, and beyond -- embraces the full spectrum of human experience, from pain to joy to absurdity.
Professional Service and Affiliations
Clinical Assistant Professor
George Washington University
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
American Psychological Association
Division 56: Trauma Psychology
DC Psychological Association
Maryland Psychological Association
MPA Ethics Committee
Psi Chi National Honor Society of Psychology
Our connections with ourselves, others, and 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 new ways to relate to yourself and the important people in your life.
Therapy will be tailored to you, not the other way around. I am experienced in multiple treatment modalities, including contemporary relational, psychodynamic, interpersonal, and cognitive behavioral therapies. Beyond addressing specific symptoms, we will collaborate on a treatment plan that centers your understanding of yourself, your unique needs, and how you envision meaningful improvement to your quality of life. Additionally, I prioritize incorporating a multicultural lens that considers how your intersecting identities shape your vision of psychosocial health and well-being.
Sometimes it's difficult to capture the intricacy of our experiences in words. Therefore, I invite and encourage creative self-expression such as writing, drawing, metaphor, humor, and movement.
Safety is a bedrock of psychotherapy. That said, I do not assume safety or broadly label therapy as a safe space. You ultimately determine how safe you feel. I believe that creating a safe environment in therapy is a continuous, collaborative endeavor because trust is built with experience and feeling safe can change moment to moment. Therefore, open, ongoing, and honest communication are essential to our work.
For individuals seeking treatment for trauma, I work from a stage-based approach, which addresses current safety and stability first. From this foundation, we can decide together how to address the impact of the trauma, integrate this understanding into your broader life story, and cultivate new experiences. This process can be cyclical, meaning that progress in one area commonly leads to revisiting earlier work.