Youth and Family Psychotherapy Services (YFPS)

Youth and Family Psychotherapy Services (YFPS) at William James College

The mission of Youth and Family Psychotherapy Services (YFPS) is to support the wellbeing of youth and families across a wide array of emotional, behavioral and developmental circumstances. We strive to serve our community through the delivery of exceptional culturally responsive care. Thus, our approach is both firmly rooted in evidence-based therapies and collaborative in nature. Patients play an active and critical role in personally relevant and meaningful treatment. Our appointment show rate, which stands above 80%, well above the level common in child outpatient clinics, is a testament to the connection patients feel with their therapists and the relevance of treatment goals to their specific needs.

Our services are targeted at a range of presenting concerns including: anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), behavioral concerns (e.g., noncompliance, tantrums, disruptive behaviors, social skills deficits), behavioral health issues (e.g., stress related to chronic illness, medication/treatment adherence), common developmental issues (e.g., sleep, feeding/eating, toileting), depression, individual/family adjustment to divorce, and trauma. We are also excited to offer a support group for new mothers (with babies aged 0-6 months) in collaboration with the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development.

Depending upon the nature of the presenting concern, personalized treatment will include a combination of diagnostic evaluation, psychoeducation, ongoing psychotherapy, and consultation with school and/or other providers. Children find themselves at the intersection of many overlapping systems—family, school, community. Thus, at YFPS we view the role of a therapist as one that extends beyond the confines of the therapy room—working to coordinate care and treatment goals across various settings.

We encourage you to connect with us to see if we are the right fit for you and your family.  You can email YFPS@williamjames.edu or call 617-831-1176.


What makes our program unique?

YFPS serves as a training site for advanced doctoral students at the American Psychological Association (APA)-accredited William James Internship Consortium. Doctoral student clinicians are supervised—which includes weekly meetings—by licensed clinical psychologists with extensive experience in the delivery of evidence-based treatments for youth and families.


Costs/Payments

Payment for services can be made either directly or, in limited cases, through insurance. For those making direct payments, the cost is $60 for an initial 90 minute evaluation session and $40 for all other psychotherapy sessions, usually 50 minutes in length.  The YFPS is able to take insurance payments through the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) and some affiliated insurance plans (Partners HealthCare Choice, Community Care Cooperative, Steward Health Choice). Please know that cost should not be an obstacle; we are happy to discuss lower fees if needed.


Our Location

YFPS is located at William James College. The address is 1 Wells Avenue, Newton, MA. The offices are on the 4th floor. To address ongoing COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, we currently deliver our services virtually via Zoom Video Communications. To utilize Zoom for video conferences, families must have a computer, tablet, or phone with a working internal or external microphone and camera. For those families without access to Zoom or for those for whom it is clinically indicated, we also offer a limited number of in-person appointments.


Our Team

YFPS is co-directed by Dr. Bruce Ecker and Dr. Emma Peterson. Dr. Julie Ryan serves as a consulting psychologist. Please see additional biographical information below.


Biographical Information

Bruce Ecker, PhD, co-director of the YFPS, is a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years experience treating children, adolescents, and their families. Trained at the University of Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he was previously a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School and on the clinical faculty both at Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts.  Dr. Ecker is an Associate Professor at William James College, where he is past director of the child clinical concentration, Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR).

Emma Peterson, PhD, co-director of the YFPS, is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Peterson completed her doctoral training at the University of Denver. She continued her internship and postdoctoral training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Kennedy Krieger Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she gained expertise in the application of evidence-based approaches to a wide range of developmental, behavioral, and emotional presentations in outpatient, medical, and community-based settings. Dr. Peterson is an Assistant Professor at William James College and core faculty member for the Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR) concentration.

Julie Ryan, PhD, consulting psychologist and faculty supervisor, is a clinical psychologist specializing in evidence-based treatment for anxiety, behavioral, and mood disorders with children, adolescents and families. Dr. Ryan completed her doctoral training at the State University of New York, at Albany. She continued her training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and at New York University Medical Center, Child Study Center. She has received extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Parent Management Training (PMT). She has served on the faculty of New York University (adjunct) and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Ryan is an Associate Professor at William James College, where she serves as director of the child clinical concentration, Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR).

Emily Berkowitz, MA, is a fourth year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at William James College. She earned her BA from Binghamton University with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Ms. Berkowitz has substantial experience working with children and their families using evidence based treatment approaches in various settings including in-home therapy, public schools, early intervention and preschool programs, and outpatient settings. Ms. Berkowitz is passionate about integrating a systems-level and attachment-based approach when working with families to improve relationships and mental health challenges across children and families from diverse backgrounds.

April Clayton, MA, is a fourth year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at William James College. She earned her B.S. in psychology and criminology from Portland State University, followed by an M.A. in Professional Psychology at William James College. Ms. Clayton has extensive experience working with individuals who have come into contact with the criminal justice system; including providing risk assessments and individual and group psychotherapy for offenders. Additionally, Ms. Clayton has provided assessment and outpatient therapy services to individuals and families across the lifespan in a variety of community-based settings. Ms. Clayton is passionate about her commitment to serve the underserved. 

Charda Davis, LMHC, is a fourth year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at William James College. She earned her Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University, specializing in school and community clinical work with a focus on children and families. Ms. Davis has extensive clinical experience working with children and families of diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings including public schools, a special education therapeutic day school, early childhood education and care centers, and community-based outpatient clinics. She is also HRSA Specialized Training & Academic Retention (STAR) Fellow in the Clinical Psychology Program at William James College for her commitment to providing mental health assessment and treatment services to meet the needs of children and families.

Erica Deshpande, MEd, is a fifth year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at William James College. She earned her BA from Boston College, followed by an M.Ed at Harvard University. Ms. Deshpande is passionate about integrating systems-level advocacy, research, and clinical practice, which has led to a wide array of experiences including development and implementation of programs to reduce substance use and community violence, research on maternal-infant attachment, program evaluation, and clinical work with individuals across the lifespan.

Nicole Mulhall, LMHC, is a fifth year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at William James College. She earned her Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Assumption College, with concentrations in children and families and cognitive behavioral therapy. Ms. Mulhall has extensive experience working with children and their families across a variety of settings including several outpatient clinics, a community-based acute treatment (CBAT) program for adolescents, a special education therapeutic day school, and in-home therapy services.


Contact Information

Email address:  YFPS@williamjames.edu
Direct Phone Number: 617-831-1176

The Youth and Family Psychotherapy Service is established under the umbrella of M. Gorman Psychological Associates at William James College.

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Free Virtual New Moms Support Group

Freedman Center New Moms Support Group
Youth and Family Psychotherapy Services