Welcome to ASD Help San Diego
Courtney Olinger, PsyD, MFC 49051
President: Re Spectrum Community
San Diego, CA
Hello Colleagues and Parents,I am Courtney Olinger, PsyD, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in San Diego, CA. I would like to introduce myself, my passions, and my work in the hopes that you will keep me in mind when you hear of families or individuals that are in need of support.
“There are always multiple possibilities- sometimes we just need help finding them.”
“Families of children with disabilities often have had a history of care, having found many ways to get by and seek help, before they come into a therapists office that are often overlooked There needs to be greater emphasis placed on empowering families and creating room for their voice.”
Who I am:
I am a therapist with many facets and experiences in life, both professional and personal that positions me uniquely when working with my clients.
- Professionally: I have been working with children with autism spectrum disabilities (ASD), other developmental disabilities, and their family members since 2000 in the capacity of behavioral therapy (aka “behavior modification”, “applied behavioral analysis”, or “ABA”) in various settings including homes, school, and community as both a 1:1 interventionist and a case supervisor in San Diego, CA. My years of working in this capacity gave me experiences with discrete trial (DTT), pivotal response training (PRT), and various other behavioral and clinical modalities. I have also made it my professional goal to incorporate the entire family in services which led me to pursue my doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have over 3,000 hours of experience in family therapy, working with individuals, couples, and families. I am a published author and experienced lecturer.
- Personally: I cannot deny that my personal experiences have colored my current work and I find that my own experiences as a sibling of a boy who lived with Asperger’s Disorder has, alongside my academic pursuits, has given me a drive to find ways to help individuals on the spectrum effectively deal with anxiety and changing needs as the children get older. I know firsthand how difficult and devastating it can be if these children and their families are not supported. My work revolves a great deal around finding ways to continue support and continuity of care throughout the family lifespan, especially related to social concerns and changes into later childhood, early adolescents, and adulthood.
- Find ways to support the ENTIRE family over time with their changing needs.
- Circulate information and resources to the autism community and the larger San Diego community.
- Address the social impact of ASD on the individual and families.
- Address the thought & cognitive processing that is often the basis for struggles.
- Always incorporate the social aspect of life and support individuals to experience success.
What I Do:
- Therapy (individual, family, couples, relational)
- Consultation & training (autism spectrum disorders, behavioral, social & play skills)
- Social skills training and play facilitation
What is Re Spectrum Community:
- A San Diego 501c3 non-profit with the goal to provide families with affordable options of services that address the whole family, changing needs over time, and gaps in services offered by 3rd party payers.
- A community of support and concern within San Diego. A way to become more involved and active with the autism community.
Courtney Olinger's Professional Background:
Courtney Olinger, PsyD, (MFC 49051) received her Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) in 2010 from the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University, San Diego where she also completed her Masters (M.A.) in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is also Pepperdine University Alumnae with academic experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Since 2000, Dr. Olinger has worked with children with autism and other developmental disorders (ages 18 months to 20 years). She has experience in both home and school based applied behavior analysis (ABA) programs as both a 1:1 interventionist and Case Supervisor. The bulk of Courtney's career (2002-2009) was with the Center for Autism Research, Evaluation, and Service (CARES), San Diego where she developed and ran Little Builders, a play-based social skills program for children with ASD, ages 3-7. She has worked with occupational, speech, and physical therapists as well as several psychologists, teachers, and administrators. Dr. Olinger has extensive knowledge and understanding of PECS, social stories, and TEACCH and has learned to incorporate various techniques in the implementation of therapy for children with developmental disabilities. Her main area of emphasis is social and play skills training for all ages, as this is often the core issue related to difficulties throughout the child’s development and family life.
Dr. Olinger’s experience with early intervention working in homes lead her to a passion for developing services that incorporate the plethora of needs & stressors that impact the entire family. She began training as a Marriage & Family Therapist trainee with the Center for Therapeutic Collaboration (CTC), San Diego and completed an intensive training in Narrative Therapy through the Dulwich Centre, Adelaide, Australia. She is a published author and accomplished presenter. She founded Re Spectrum Community in 2009.
Dr. Olinger’s dissertation Working Toward Agency Among the Autism Community: A Participatory Action Research Study, included a post-structural critique of current theories related to autism and the ways these theories impact family identity, as well as a way to work with families in a group setting to take on an empowered position related to autism in their own lives. Dr. Olinger’s research experience also includes two semesters at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Autism Lab (run by Dr. Laura Schreibman) in which she took part in two studies: one studying child characteristics and the outcome of Discrete Trial (DTT) compared to Pivotal Response Training (PRT) therapy and the other studying and developing protocol for father-specific PRT parent training.Dr. Olinger is proficient in Spanish as she studied psychology for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, worked as a Spanish tutor for a year, and studied in Mexico City, Mexico for summer 2006 semester.