Kelly was born and raised in Newfoundland in a small farming community outside of St. John’s affectionately known as “The Goulds”. She is the oldest of three children, raised mostly by a single, young mother who worked in healthcare. Kelly completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in 1998. Despite the wishes of her mother, Kelly moved to Nova Scotia in 1999 to pursue a Masters of Arts degree in School Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). She graduated from this program in 2001 and received the President’s Prize, an award given to graduates whose energy, generosity and commitment have enriched the University during their time as students, and who show promise that their commitment will continue as alumnae.
As a new psychologist, Kelly’s passion was in working with children with ADHD. She worked and trained in the ADHD Clinic at the Colchester Regional Hospital, providing assessments and interventions for children with attentional difficulties for three years. In 2007, Kelly’s graduate research in the area of private speech in children with ADHD was published in Contemporary Educational Psychology; a peer-reviewed academic journal.
In 2003, Kelly transitioned to the public school system full-time where she found her home in the South Shore Regional Centre for Education. Working within the public school system for 21 years, Kelly was privileged to be able to work with students aged 5 to 21 with a wide variety of learning, behavioural and emotional challenges. School psychologists see it all! As a member of various program planning teams, Kelly had the opportunity to work with countless families, teachers, administrators, consultants, and outside agencies with the goal of better meeting the needs of students.
The practice of psychology has changed over the last 20 years as have Kelly’s areas of interest. While she continues to enjoy working with children with ADHD, her current passions lie in mindfulness and complex developmental trauma. In 2014, Kelly unexpectedly found herself at her first mindfulness retreat on a farm in upstate New York. From there, Kelly sought certification in mindfulness from Mindful Schools; a non-profit organization in the US whose main goal is to bring mindfulness-based practices into schools to help support students and staff. For several years, Kelly, along with her colleague, Shannon Hartlen, developed and delivered a program to school staff called Mindfulness in Action (MIA) aimed at introducing and cultivating mindfulness-based practices with teachers with the goal of having them bring these practices into their work with students in their classrooms.
In 2015, Kelly’s approach to psychology was also highly influenced by training she received at The Trauma Center in Massachusetts through Dr. Margaret Blaustein in treating complex childhood trauma. This training focused on the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment framework and the Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART). Kelly’s view of behaviour was forever changed by this training and led to sweeping changes as to how children with behavioural/emotional difficulties were understood and treated. Kelly has since been influenced by the work of Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Bruce Perry, Dr. Gabor Maté, and Stuart Shanker.
Kelly currently resides in Mahone Bay with her partner, Jamie, son, Ethan, and their dog, Benny. When she is not working, you will find Kelly reading, relaxing on the beach, or sailing, hiking, and travelling with her family. According to her son, she also seems to spend a lot of time cleaning and organizing.