Therapist Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Kerbawy, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Therapistspot Dr. Amanda Kerbawy

What do you specialize in?

Working with children, adolescents, adults, parents, and students, I specialize in employing concepts of cognitive and behavioral therapy and mindfulness to help individuals manage a variety of mental and emotional issues. These include Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, ADHD, Anger, and Behavioral Disorders.

Cognitive Therapy: We all experience thousands of thoughts daily, and one’s polarity of thinking very much influences the polarity of their feelings. Through our work together, my patients learn to be more aware of their thoughts, identify their negative automatic thoughts, and reframe and interpret their thoughts such that they are more realistic and positive. Over time, this change in thinking has significant implications for the daily feelings that one experiences.

Behavior Therapy: Using various research based behavioral strategies, I work with my patients to increase activity levels, engage in activities of enjoyment and interest, utilize relaxation and breathing exercises, engage in balanced time management, and establish healthy sleep and eating habits. These initiatives significantly improve one’s daily functioning and management of presenting symptoms. Additionally, a specialty of mine is coaching parents to employ concepts of behavior management to manage their children’s behaviors, and to best support their children.

Mindfulness: I help my patients to learn and apply concepts of mindfulness to their presented concerns. My patients learn how to stay present and “in the moment” rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. They learn how to be observers of their thoughts and feelings, without becoming entangled or distressed by them. Finally, they learn how to be kind, accepting, compassionate, and non-judgmental of themselves and their challenges.

What do you think is important about your role as a therapist?

As a trained therapist, I am “expert” on concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and behavior management. However, my patients are the experts regarding themselves and their needs. My role as a therapist entails working with my patients to fuse my expertise with my patient’s knowledge regarding their individualized experiences and needs. The goal is to minimize my patients’ presented symptoms and to improve their daily experience.

How do you help people, in your opinion?

Many of my patients communicate their significant need to receive proven tools and strategies to manage their presenting concerns. They want to achieve an improvement in experience extending beyond their therapy sessions and to their daily experiences. Through our work together, my patients appreciate learning explicit tools and how to apply these tools to their daily, personal experiences.

What is something that you wish people knew about therapy in general?

I think that it is important for people to understand that the change process inherent in therapy is slow. Change occurs in small steps and gestures that accumulates over time, whether it is reframing a single thought or making a goal to walk 10 minutes a day. Change will happen so long as one is patient, consistent, and remains committed.

In therapy, a realistic goal is often to make symptoms more manageable and accessory, as opposed to central to one’s life. For example, with anxiety, it is very unlikely that one will ever be 100% anxiety free. One can learn how to manage and reduce anxiety symptoms, limiting the daily impairment and distress experienced from these symptoms.

Name an influential experience in your life.

Between the ages of 19 and 26, I lived in five states throughout the country. I grew up in Minnesota, attended college in Connecticut and California, lived and worked in Vail, Colorado for two ski seasons, and moved to Michigan to attend graduate school. I met a diverse group of people and was exposed to a variety of lifestyles, values, and perspectives. This exposure has influenced me to establish an open and non-judgmental perspective, positively impacting my therapeutic work. I’ve learned there is “no right way to live life”, providing me with a more flexible and open perspective regarding individual life. I try to apply this flexible perspective to the cognitive therapy I carry out with my patients.


Dr. Amanda Kerbawy is located at our Great Lakes Psychology Group – Clarkston office. To learn more about Amanda, please visit her therapist profile below.

Dr. Amanda Moar Kerbawy, PhD, Licensed Psychologist