Charlotte Feld, Ph.D.
I made aliyah to Modi'in in 2017 with my husband and children. Originally from NJ, I am a licensed clinical psychologist in both Israel and the US, and specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments such as Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). I completed my bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and theater at Queens College through the Macaulay Honors College program. I then completed both my master’s and doctorate degrees (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Both positive life experiences and negative life experiences can cause significant stress or distress when our perceptions of ourselves, the world, and others are challenged and changed. The key to addressing trauma and significant life stressors is recognizing and understanding the struggle, while transitioning to a new normal. My approach to treatment is multi-faceted. I work on helping patients process their life experience into a well understood narrative. This work guides patients in understanding their self-concept and integrating that into their developing identity through significant life transitions (ex. graduation, moving, aliyah, marriage, military enlistment and/or discharge). My approach is both skills based, drawing on personal strengths and identifying areas of weakness in order to enhance coping strategies, as well as insight oriented, creating a stronger understanding of oneself in order to better connect and guide both internal and external experiences.
In my experience working with people from widely diverse backgrounds in multiple settings including private and public psychiatric inpatient hospitals, pediatric oncology units, community mental health clinics, geriatric populations, and a military hospital, I have found and developed a compassionate and strong approach to treatment and highly value and integrate the feedback, preferences, and styles of those with whom I work.
Trauma and Negative Life Experiences
Traumatic events are common and often unavoidable human experiences that significantly impact how we view ourselves and relate to the world around us. Traumatic events may include experiences with near death, witnessing death, threatening death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Its estimated that 70% of people will experience a trauma in their lifetime. Trauma-focused treatments such as Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy are gold-standard, evidence-based treatments that have been shown to be highly effective for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with ongoing research to continuously fine tune and improve these treatments. PTSD is one response to trauma, which is characterized by intrusive memories of the event, avoiding reminders of the event, and high levels of reactivity.
While PTSD is commonly discussed in connection to trauma, it is not the only or the most likely response to a trauma. And, while most people do not go on to develop PTSD after a trauma, there is still significant, if not dysfunctional responses that can make it difficult to re-engage in your life the way that you would like to. In these situations, trauma-focused treatments may not be indicated, and a different CBT approach will likely be more effective.
On a similar note, other negative life events, life stressors, and life transitions that do not fall within the current definition of trauma can also elicit significant distress as what is known, accustomed to, and comfortable changes into a more unpredictable and unknown journey. These may include experiences of significant financial distress, interpersonal difficulty, changes in social support, chronic medical illness, or loss of a loved one, to name a few. In these situations, similar questions related to the image we hold of ourselves and our surroundings arise. While some life transitions occur seamlessly, there can be many times that these experiences can create friction and strife as we struggle to understand how we fit into and navigate the world around us.
I completed my internship/residency at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center (JJPVA), where I received extensive training in working with military veterans throughout the lifespan. I worked with these veterans in the context of psychiatric inpatient units, dual diagnosis substance units (severe mental illness and substance use disorders), chronic illness/primary care units, and PTSD clinics and general outpatient clinics (depression, anxiety, bipolar). Additionally, I worked in the Transition Clinic for Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans which, in addition to treating PTSD, also focused on the challenges related to readjustment to civilian life after military discharge or returning from overseas.
Following my internship/residency at JJPVA, I was invited to complete a two-year postdoctoral fellowship working on numerous PTSD studies under the principle investigator Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D., who is the Director of Mental Health Patient Care in the VA, Director of the Division of Traumatic Stress Studies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and an internationally recognized expert in PTSD. In this position, I had the opportunity to closely train under the supervision of Laura Pratchett, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and manager of the Transition Clinic for Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and VA certified provider of trauma-focused therapy. Over the course of my work at JJPVA, I received specialized training in trauma-focused treatments and served as a supervisor for doctoral graduate students.
Within the context of multi-site research protocols, I completed comprehensive psychodiagnostic and trauma assessments, neuropsychological assessments, and trauma focused treatment. Outside the research protocol, I provided treatment in preparation for initiating trauma-focused treatment, as well as adapting to various aspects of life and relationships after completion of trauma-focused treatments. Additionally, I served on a collaborative multi-site consultation team, an interdisciplinary team formed to ensure full comprehensive treatment support for veterans, and conducted literature reviews and preliminary statistical analyses for numerous grant-funded studies.