Kathleen Kelly, MA; PhD Graduate Student

About Me

I was raised in south-central Illinois and currently live in DeKalb while I attend Northern Illinois University (NIU) to earn my doctoral degree in School Psychology. I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in a child clinical track at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. During this time, I conducted research investigating how anxiety impacts various body functions and the relationship between bullying and depression in school-aged children. It was during my undergraduate career that I discovered how integrated psychology is in so many facets of life and how a small, positive adjustment can lead to great outcomes that extend throughout life. The belief that small, manageable changes lead to big changes is reflected in my therapeutic approach. Positive change does not happen in one big “ah-ha” moment but over the course of numerous small victories with time.

I received my Masters of Arts degree in Psychology from NIU in the Fall of 2020, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in School Psychology. So far, my clinical experiences have been in a school setting supporting students with learning disorders, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and depression. My work in the schools has highlighted how treatment is more effective and stable over time when done collaboratively with both the client and the family. Together, my clients and I set goals to guide us in building skills that will help them express thoughts and feelings, see other people’s points of views, engage in appropriate behaviors, and regulate strong emotions. Our goals are uniquely tailored to the client and follow a problem-solving framework: 1) identify the problem, 2) generate solutions, 3) apply and modify those solutions, 4) identify what solutions work best for the client, 5) collaborate to implement the solution, and 6) monitor the progress.

Areas of Specialty

My clinical focus is working with children, adolescents, and their families from all backgrounds to identify and build upon strengths of the client. These strengths can be used to address the presenting concerns. I take an environmental approach to better understand how the client functions within their world through their behaviors and thoughts, and I work collaboratively to identify areas of growth. I take an integrative approach to treatment and pull from various therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Behavioral Modification Therapy (BMT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Skills Trainings.


M.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in School Psychology from Northern Illinois University

B.A. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Professional Affiliations

National Association of School Psychologists

Illinois School Psychology Association