About Jennifer Ra, PsyD

Some of what led me to become a therapist…

I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with kids.

My mom was an elementary school teacher. The hours were great because she could be home after school. But she also did a lot of work at night, creating projects and grading assignments.

I loved school and was good at it. But I worked hard for my grades, and I wasn’t the type of kid who loved presentations in front of groups.

I also loved children and babysat from a young age. I knew in elementary school that I wanted to have a job working with kids, with school hours and summers off, but I didn’t want to teach because the thought of being responsible for so many children at once overwhelmed me.

That’s when I heard about school psychologists. Seriously, I knew I wanted to be one from the day I found out what a school psychologist did. That was in elementary school, and I didn’t stop until I became a Certified School Psychologist and eventually a Licensed Psychologist.

Relating to people, especially children and teens, comes naturally to me.

It’s not something that you learn. It’s something inside you: compassion, empathy, kindness, humor… the way you talk with people, understanding and validating them.

I did my internship and post-doc in a foster care agency in NYC, and the experiences I heard about were heart-wrenching. Every day, I went with an open heart and open mind… and learned so much about myself and what people need to thrive. After two-plus years, I thoughtfully left that position to be a school psychologist and focus on starting a family.

I have four children, ages 5, 8, 11, and 13.

My oldest son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD with hyperactivity at a young age. My daughter was diagnosed with inattentive-type ADHD and dyslexia in elementary school. I learned early on how to advocate for my children.

As if I weren’t busy enough, for some reason, I got the urge to research and consider going into private practice in 2019. You might say, “What are you crazy… a working mom of 4? You want to add a part-time private practice?”

But I became so excited and knew in my soul that it was time for exactly that. I found the absolute perfect office, and five other super-women mental health practitioners surround me. So, I went for it, and here I am today with a thriving private practice that I now focus on full-time.

Education and training…

I began my psychology journey at the University of Richmond, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 1992. I then took off a year for discovery, where I babysat and made enough money to backpack across Europe for five weeks. When I got back from that amazing experience, I waitressed and lived at the beach for the summer.

Snapped back into reality, I then attended East Carolina University and earned my Master of Arts/Certificate of Advanced Study (MA/CAS) in School Psychology in 2000. I spent a year working as a school psychologist and realized that I wanted to learn more. I spent one more summer living at the beach (ahh… the ocean!) and then headed up to New York City to earn my Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in School-Clinical Child Psychology from Pace University in 2005. I completed my internship and post-doc at the Jewish Child Care Association (foster care agency in the Bronx and Brooklyn).

My professional work…

I am currently a Licensed Psychologist in New Jersey (#35SI00453400) and New York (#016995), and I’m a Certified School Psychologist in New Jersey. I have worked in high school and middle school settings for the past 14 years.

Currently, I use an eclectic therapeutic approach to help clients work toward their goals. This approach draws from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance, and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Client-Centered Therapy.

I am skilled in working with clients with anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, ADHD, and high-functioning autism. I have administered over 1,000 Psychological Evaluations to children, adolescents, and young adults, mostly to determine eligibility for special education.

I have an intricate knowledge of the school environment’s inner workings, specifically about providing Special Education and Related Services and 504 Plans, making me a strong Educational Advocate for children and adolescents in the school setting.

When I’m not in the office…

I love going to the beach, swimming, snuggling with my four children, running, and watching television with my husband. Yes, we are super exciting! lol

In December 2020, we decided that the time was right to add another furry pet to our home. So, we rescued a sweet pooch, Sheena, from Tennessee. She joins Louise, our guinea pig.