It is with great enthusiasm that I launch a new website: drlindadench.org.
What follows is a relatiely brief history of the forty-something-year path that I have traveled that led to beginning my private practice, Dench Counseling, Sport & Wellness Centre, in close proximity to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.
This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with a potential intern, and a recent master's level graduate about my career and my practice. During these conversations I realized that both of these individuals saw in me a passion that hasn't faded after over twenty years in the field! How wonderful it is to be able to use all of my personal resources to work with others as they often only begin to appreciate their own considerable intrapersonal resources.
What a remarkable journey my own professional career has been! Recently I attended my high school reunion, and was reunited with friends and classmates I hadn't seen in years. Memories flooded back. At that time I wanted to learn two or three foreign languages and work at the United Nations as an interpreter. After four years of high school Latin, I became a language major at Penn State and studied, German, Spanish, & Russian.
Two summers as a camp counselor, however, headed me in another direction. I'd had such an idyllic experience teaching adolescents to swim, sail, play games, and participate in drama that I became a physical education major in my junior year, Following graduation from Penn State, and my marriage, I began a teaching career at Frankford Friends School in Philadelphia. My first daughter was born two years later, and I switched gears going into business for myself selling Tupperware. As our family moved from Philadelphia to Florida and then to Hawaii, my Tupperware Manager status followed.
A short while later, opportunities in the field of politics emerged, and I served in that arena for ten years. During this time, I decided to return to school to pursue a masters in history and political science at East Stroudsburg University. I also had the opportunity of serving as a Teaching Assistant in the Reading Department.
Life does throw curve balls when we least expect them, and a short while later I enrolled at Kutztown University in the Counseling Psychology program. Psychology had always intrigued me, and now it's call was unmistakable. After I acquired my Masters in Counseling Psychology I began working at Family Service Agency in Pottsville, PA. The original plan was to work there part-time as I continued my education at Temple University in Kinesiology. After just a year there, another curve ball, and I became the Executive Director. To say that I hit the ground running would be a bit of an understatement! Suddently, I was putting out fires, writing grants, working on improving the bottom line, as well as hiring and training mental health professionals. It was here that I first trained in the addictions field and became the Clinical Director of FSA's Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Program. One of FSA's grants was for the Parents Helping Parent's Program. At this time I developed an interest in Play Theray, took classes during the summer, and introduced the pracice of Sandtray to Schuylkill County. Reflecting back on seven years of blood, sweat, and tears, the growth was unmistakable - not only my growth, but the professional growth of the staff, the board of directors, and most importantly, our clients.
After leaving the agency, I opened my own private practice. At first a local church's meeting room was my counseling space, but in a short time, I had my first 'real' office in Fogelsville. Ten years ago, the opportunity to move to Hamilton Boulevard presented itself, and I have been here ever since. I now had the time to return to Temple University to continue with my doctoral program & research. My work, professional writing, and research there has greatly informed my wellness perspective and approach to stress management. Managing emotions is also a key component of sport psychology, and that dovetailed well with my addictions and recovery background. My wonderful mentors at Temple, Dr. Michael Sachs, and Dr. Carole Oglesby, encouraged my professional growth with presentations at the Association for the Application of Sport Psychology Conferences, the publication of several articles and a book chapter, and my eventual certification as a sport psychology consultant.
An opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Psychology also returned me to my first love of teaching. I developed courses in The Psychology of Women and the Body, The Psychology of Gender, Sport Psychology, Child Development, and Clinical Psychology. Once again I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with an amazing Department Chair and eager students. During this time also, I did an internship at QuietMind Foundation that gave me the opportunity to explore the wonders of Neurofeedback.
During my time at Family Service Agency, Lehigh University, Quiet Mind Foundation, and in private practice I have met the most amazing people. In my opinion, it takes a strong individual to realize that they need some assistance with bettering their life circumstance. I have been truly blessed to be able to observe children, adolescents, and both young and older adults, realize hidden potential.
I look forward to comments, questions, and concerns from readers. I will do my best to respond to all posts on this blog as well as to introduce new ideas in the fields of mental health, counseling, play therapy, sport psychology, addiction, neurofeedback, and wellness. If I have succeeded in helping to 'kindle a light in the darkness of mere being,' as Dr. Carl Jung has noted, then I feel that I have been true to my calling and my purpose.
Please be aware that this website is presently under construction. I hope that you will check back to see what has been added or edited.