Dr. Cotton is a Clinical Developmental Psychologist who received her Doctoral degree from Tufts University and completed Harvard Medical School internships and Post-doctoral fellowships in adult and child psychology. She was the Director of a Harvard teaching hospital Inpatient Child Psychiatry Unit for ten years and worked as a principal consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in program development and clinical treatment planning for children and adolescents in need of complex, intense, and comprehensive services. She was a principal teacher and supervisor at Harvard Medical School from 1977 until she moved to Vermont in 1995. Dr. Cotton continues to be licensed in Vermont and Massachusetts, where she now resides and maintains a Telepsychology practice treating adults, couples, families, children and adolescents.
In her private practice, Dr. Cotton works with college students, adults of all ages and couples to understand and expand their self-concept, improve their communication competence within personal and work relationships, manage the symptoms of mental illness and develop adaptive coping skills throughout the life span. She blends psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive behavioral approaches based on the preferences and needs of families, individual clients and couples. She is trained in The Social Thinking methodology to address social communication challenges in children, adolescents and adults; as the Mental Health Specialist for Social Thinking, she focuses on the intersection of social and mental health issues. In consultations with agencies and schools, Dr. Cotton collaborates with existing teams to determine comprehensive profiles of strengths and challenges across biopsychosocial and developmental arenas, to match individually designed programs to build competencies and actualize potential.
Dr. Cotton’s approach to working with kids and their families emphasizes honoring, nurturing and treating the whole child and family. Her treatment is strength-based while problem-solving with good evaluations, empathetic formulations, and system-wide interventions to address difficulties stemming from biological, cognitive, psychological, social, communication, and learning vulnerabilities. She works closely with parents to help them understand their child’s individual style and match their parenting skills to the child’s unique profile of strengths and challenges. She uses an eclectic individualized approach pulling from psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and family systems’ approaches. Dr. Cotton’s approach is based on her belief that self-knowledge and self-awareness lead to personal power to master and thrive with both external and internal stressors. She meets each new client and family member with curiosity, compassion and hope.