Victoria Chialy Smith, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

About me

I am a Johns Hopkins-trained licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in the cognitive behavioral treatment of depression, anxiety, mood, and stress. I specialize in child, adolescent, and adult mental health, supporting clients in navigating difficult life stressors and periods of transition and adjustment. I also work with many individuals coping with health conditions, including infertility and chronic pain.

Philosophy

My approach is integrative, recognizing the interconnectedness between mind, body, and life experience — drawing from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches to promote healing, growth, and wellness. 

I am passionate about helping clients live lives of greater authenticity, hope, and meaning by building upon their strengths and abilities to overcome challenges they may be facing. Every client I welcome is seen, heard, and met with warmth and positive regard. I work to create a safe, supportive, and nonjudgmental therapeutic environment to help clients navigate what can often be an uncertain and challenging time. 

I work from a humanistic perspective, which means that I want to truly connect with you and understand you as you truly are. Therapy is a process and what can be most healing about it is the use of the genuine quality of our relationship which is used to help you gain deeper insights into yourself. This is what I strive for —

  • authenticity & genuineness

  • being sensitive to who you are and all the domains that have come together to shape your identity whether it be cultural, spiritual, family, educational, life stress, or other domains

  • use of scientifically validated and research supported psychological treatments

  • supporting you in understanding your experience in the world

  • tailoring our sessions to meet your unique, individual needs

  • supporting you in developing a new relationship with yourself and with emotional pain or suffering

  • helping you gain insight into your patterns and tendencies to develop healthier coping strategies

  • helping you grow and actualize into your highest self

  • exploring what your unique values and strengths are to build a fulfilling life of meaning and purpose

my Story

My own family life was significantly affected by bipolar disorder, a genetic illness with multiple members affected.  I understand firsthand the pain and devastation that bipolar, depression, stress, and anxiety can bring — how difficult it can be to work through periods of suffering and hopelessness, and the critical difference that therapy and support can make in healing.

Given how stigmatized mental health can be in our society, I know how important it is to openly share my story. These life experiences motivate me. They deeply inform my clinical work with clients, and inspired me to establish this practice to help others struggling with depression, mood, stress, and anxiety know that hope and wellness are possible — that through darkness can come greater light, wisdom, and wholeness.

education and training

I earned my master’s and doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). I completed predoctoral clinical training in pediatric psychology and behavioral medicine at Children's National Health Systems and in general child and adult psychology at the University of Maryland Psychology Clinic, followed by a predoctoral clinical internship at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where I worked as a clinician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and received training in the LEND (Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) fellowship program. I then completed postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health.

I have special interests in entrepreneurialism and am the recipient of scholarships to Johns Hopkins Carey Business School to study how healthcare businesses and providers can best make a positive societal impact to foster human growth, development, and well being. I believe that businesses must serve and elevate society, and am dedicated to this mission with my practice, hope+wellness.

As a licensed clinical psychologist in the states of Virginia and Maryland, I am grateful to all the clinicians I've had the pleasure of training with, and feel honored to walk alongside and support patients through difficult journeys and events in their lives.

research

Research plays a critical role in improving and accelerating therapies for those living with depression and anxiety today. In collaboration with other scientists, I've studied and written peer-reviewed articles on women and maternal mental health including depression, anxiety, parenting, and life stress. I have also written extensively on child depression and mood disruption, with a risk and resilience life course perspective. This work has been published in the following scientific journals:

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

Psychological Medicine

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Sleep Medicine

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

Child Development Perspectives

Developmental Psychobiology

service

I am passionate about serving the community, supporting various health-related causes and initiatives throughout my training and career at the university, local, national, and federal levels. Currently, I serve as the Executive Board Secretary for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), Northern Virginia to advance mental health awareness and support for individuals in the Falls Church, Fairfax, Loudon, Arlington, and Alexandria Northern Virginia areas. I also serve on the executive board for the Northern Virginia Clinical Psychologists (NVCP), a non-profit association of local psychologists.

Organizations I support include:

The Blue Dot Project. Raising awareness of maternal mental health and combating stigma and shame

Project Semicolon. Mental health and suicide prevention — because your story isn’t over yet

professional associations and memberships

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Northern Virginia Clinical Psychologists (NVCP)
Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)
Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (APA, Division 53)
Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP, APA Division 12, Section III)
Society for the Psychology of Women (APA, Division 35)
Postpartum Support International (PSI)

people I work well with

Many people I work with are highly functional in their lives, yet feel as if something is missing — whether it be a spark, connection, joy, passion, creativity, I have special interests in helping people identify what may be missing and supporting them in the process of self-actualization. I work with many young adults and individuals at midlife who are going through difficult seasons in their life that are seeking help and support to help make sense of it all — who wish to use these experiences as fuel for deeper, positive growth filled with hope and meaning. The work I do with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs is also deeply fulfilling to me. I also work with a lot of teens and older children who are in the process of developing their identity and figuring this whole life thing out.

areas of expertise

Academic Stress and Pressure
Adjusting to Life Transitions
Adolescence
Anxiety
Attention Problems
Bipolar
Child Anxiety
Child Depression
Child Therapy
Depression
Discovering Your Identity
Existential Depression
Finding Meaning and Purpose
Finding Passion and Creativity Again
Giftedness
Generalized Anxiety
General Stress of Being Human
Grief and Loss
Identity
Infertility
Life Stress
Life Transitions
Living with a Chronic Illness
Low Self Esteem
Maternal Depression
Maternal Anxiety
Mid-Life Crisis
Mood disorders
Perfectionism
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Personal Growth
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Pre-teens
Relationship and Communication Difficulties
Seasonal Affective Disorders
Self-Care
Self-Criticism
Self-Esteem
Sensitivity
Social Anxiety
Stress Management
Struggling to Launch
Quarter-Life Crisis
Young Adults

favorite QUOTE

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

We're glad you found us. 

We strive to help people overcome adversity and find their way to health, happiness, and new possibilities. We can help you take the first step toward a healthy, meaningful, and fulfilling life.

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