Morrissey-Compton Staff Psychologists
|Surina Basho, Ph.D.
Director of Research in Learning Differences, Executive Function Psychologist
Dr. Basho has expertise in cognitive neuroscience, executive function, and learning differences. While earning her Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University, Dr. Basho worked with renowned executive function expert Dr. Lynn Meltzer, conducting neuropsychological assessments, individualized intervention for students, and research in the classroom. She also co-authored a chapter with Dr. Meltzer in the book, Executive Function in the Classroom: Fostering Strategic Mindsets across the Grades and Content Areas (2010). At Morrissey-Compton, Dr. Basho is currently building a research program around executive function and learning disabilities in children; providing one-on-one individualized educational therapy to students; training teachers and schools in how to integrate executive function into the classroom for all students; and providing educational talks to the parent community.
|Dr. Laura Guthridge Chyou
Dr. Laura Guthridge Chyou is a Bay Area native and completed her B.S. in Psychology at Santa Clara University. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. During her time at Boston College, Dr. Chyou conducted research on children's peer relationships, particularly how children respond to interpersonal challenges within their friendships and how their response styles affect their social and emotional wellbeing. She also completed research examining the role of friends as bystanders and potential allies in dating violence prevention efforts among college aged adults. Additionally, a central focus of Dr. Chyou's clinical work has centered around understanding best practices in providing mental health services to underserved individuals, families, and communities. Dr. Chyou served as a co-facilitator and member of the Diversity Committee both at Boston College and at the Massachusetts General Hospital Health Center in Charlestown, MA. She also founded and co-chaired a consultation and support group for Spanish speaking clinicians at Boston College. Dr. Chyou completed her predoctoral internship at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, CA. She has strong clinical training and experience in working with children and adolescents experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD, and traumatic stress. Dr. Chyou also enjoys working with young children in play therapy and assisting parents and families in supporting youth with mental health challenges. Dr. Chyou studied Spanish in college and throughout her graduate training. She has experience providing therapy and assessment services to Spanish-speaking children and families and is passionate about the importance of increasing the accessibility of mental health treatment to the Spanish-speaking community.
|Dr. Patrice Crisostomo, Ph.D.
Dr. Patrice Crisostomo is a licensed clinical psychologist who is passionate about working with children, adolescents, parents, and families. She has extensive experience conducting comprehensive psychological assessments and providing evidence-based treatments for youth and families. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology, with honors. Thereafter, she coordinated a longitudinal research study evaluating treatment outcomes for children with ADHD. She pursued graduate studies at the University of Denver (D.U.), where she completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology. At D.U., her research focused on understanding components of psychotherapy that lead to improvements in the treatment of adolescent depression. She completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral psychology internship at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University/Children's Health Council consortium. She sought continued training in comprehensive psychological assessments and evidence-based treatments of anxiety and mood disorders, autism and developmental disabilities, and eating disorders through a postdoctoral fellowship within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University (APA-accredited). She has previously served as the clinical director of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for adolescents and young adults with moderate to severe mood, anxiety and other comorbid disorders. A California native, she enjoys cooking, hiking, practicing yoga, reading, and traveling.
|Janet Dafoe, Ph.D.
Dr. Dafoe completed a B.S. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Child Psychology at Stanford University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford University Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Dafoe then worked at the Children's Health Council from 1985 until 2005. She served as a staff psychologist, a diagnostician on the young child, school-age, and adolescent teams, and conducted complex evaluations of adolescents. Her specialty areas include Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, school-related issues, and special education law for parents, school administrators, teachers, and probation officers. Dr. Dafoe has conducted numerous workshops on ADHD for school administrators, teachers, and probation officers. She is on the Steering Committee of the community Advisory Committee for Special Education in the Palo Alto School District, and leads an ADHD support group for parents of Palo Alto students. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology for 15 years, on the Board of Directors of the Children's Center of the Stanford Community for three years, and is currently President of the Board of Trustees of the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto. In addition, Dr. Dafoe has been a Girl Scout Leader for 12 years, winning the Outstanding Leader Award for Santa Clara County.
|Ben Morsa, Psy.D.
Dr. Morsa completed his undergraduate education at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is a bilingual psychologist and has studied Spanish for nearly two decades. Dr. Morsa later completed doctoral training at the APA-accredited Professional Psychology Program at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He has worked with a range of individuals from two to ninety-one years of age with a particular focus on the treatment of complex trauma and the impact of cultural oppression on individual development and functioning. He completed his predoctoral internship at the APA-accredited West Coast Children's clinic in Oakland, CA serving children and families in a community mental health setting. He later completed his pre-licensure hours through the Ann Martin Center as a school-based clinician in Oakland, CA.
Dr. Morsa utilizes a collaborative approach to psychological assessment informed by psychodynamic, attachment, and family / community systems theories. He has taught training psychologists in subjects including child / adolescent development, psychometrics, and child / adolescent psychopathology. In addition to providing bilingual assessment services at Morrissey-Compton, Dr. Morsa has a private practice in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Morsa is passionate about serving in the intersection of psychology and social justice, with particular attention to bilingual development, immigrant populations, sexual orientation and gender diversity, feminist practice, and neurodiversity.
|Jacqueline Nguyen, Psy.D.
Dr. Jacqueline Nguyen is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in conducting comprehensive psychological evaluations and evidence-based psychotherapy with children and adolescents. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Psychology. She then joined a research study at the U.C. Davis MIND Institute working toward identifying behavioral markers of autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Nguyen attended the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium where she obtained her M.S. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. During graduate school, she received extensive training in conducting psychological assessments through the Stanford Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She completed an APA-accredited internship at the University of Miami/Jackson Health System where she continued her assessment training and worked therapeutically with children with acute and chronic medical conditions. She went on to become a Harvard Medical School fellow providing mental health services to medically hospitalized children at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH). She specializes in conducting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and individualizing treatment to each patient. She is dedicated to helping children build resilience to reach their full potentials. Dr. Nguyen is a Bay Area native who enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
|Dr. Sarah Ordaz
Dr. Sarah Ordaz is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience conducting neuropsychological and socioemotional evaluations of children and adolescents with ADHD, learning disabilities, concussions, and medical problems. In addition, she conducts therapy using research-based treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Her specialty is in working with depressed adolescents, and she also sees school-aged youth who struggle with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, trauma exposure, ADHD, and oppositional behavior. She works collaboratively with youth and their families to leverage existing strengths so that youth can thrive.
Dr. Ordaz graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Psychology with Distinction, where she researched neuropsychological characteristics associated with ADHD. After teaching middle school, Dr. Ordaz went on to the National Institutes of Health, where she conducted neuropsychological assessments and worked on a research team showing that brain development continues to mature through the teenage years. She then earned a Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she continued to study adolescent brain development, and she was trained in empirically-supported therapies. She continued her clinical training and research as an intern at the University of Washington, then as a postdoctoral fellow, and subsequently as faculty at Stanford University.
Dr. Ordaz is passionate about helping children, adolescents, and families reach their full potential. In her free time, she enjoys biking, swimming, and hiking with her husband and daughter.
|Natalie Poursohrab Wager, Psy.D.
Dr. Natalie Poursohrab Wager is a licensed psychologist with strong clinical experience in neuropsychological assessments, psychoeducational assessments, and evidence-based treatments for children, adolescents, and their families. She has worked within a variety of settings including schools, community mental health, inpatient hospital units, and outpatient clinics. Dr. Wager received her master's in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute. During her doctoral studies, she worked at Stanford University's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research where she conducted neuropsychological assessments for children with genetic disorders such as Turner Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome. Dr. Wager completed her APA accredited predoctoral internship at Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department and the Kalmanovitz Child Development Center. There, she conducted comprehensive assessments and provided individual and group therapy for children and adolescents.
Dr. Wager joined Morrissey-Compton Educational Center as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016 where she specialized in psychoeducational evaluations, treatment, and provided consultation services to Synapse School in Menlo Park and Department of Family & Children's Services in Santa Clara County. Dr. Wager has a great interest working with individuals who have anxiety, depression, social, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental differences including learning challenges, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
|Erica Ragan, Ph.D.
Dr. Erica Ragan earned her B.A. in Psychology with Highest Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at the university, Dr. Ragan worked on a research study on child development, the transition to parenthood, and the effects this has on the broader family system. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Denver's Clinical Child Psychology program, where she conducted research and received extensive clinical training in psychosocial assessment as well as evidenced-based therapies for children, teens, families, and couples. She completed her predoctoral internship at Stanford University's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children's Health Council. Dr. Ragan completed a two-year APA accredited postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Mood Disorders and Eating Disorders clinics. She has a strong background in evidence-based treatments for mood and anxiety disorders including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She also has extensive training in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and picky eating. In her spare time, Dr. Ragan enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the Bay Area, listening to live music, and going hiking with her dog.
|Niko Whitmire, M.A. - Psychology Assistant
Niko Whitmire uses a developmental neuropsychological perspective, alongside socio-culturally informed analytic understanding, to provide comprehensive neuropsychological and psycho-educational assessments as well as therapeutic treatments for children, adolescents, adults, and families.
Niko earned his B.A. in Psychology from U.C.L.A and went on to work with adolescents in both inpatient and residential settings in the Seattle Area. He also provided behavioral management services in a middle school special education classroom for adolescents with and worked with young adults struggling with psychoses. Niko completed an M.F.A. in creative writing at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, taught English to refugees, and worked in the nonprofit education and social services sector before returning to psychology.
Niko is working on his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Wright Institute. During his studies, he trained in community mental health and school-based settings before his internship at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Niko specializes in providing assessments and therapy for children, families, adults, and couples, and has helped individuals from all ages who struggle with the symptoms of autism, depression, anxiety, psychosis, and ADHD.
Niko is particularly interested in the intersection of psychoanalysis and neuroscience and how art, creativity, culture, and belief systems may support a child's development, as well as their ability to persevere and build resilience in the face of adversity. His doctoral research focused upon a neuropsychological examination of how art and travel can induce intense, transitory psychological distress and how the cascading interactions of different neural networks may be interrupted in order to resume normative functioning.
Outside of his clinical work, Niko's interests include backpacking, biking, and learning about those computer games that kids enjoy.