DR. Justin Bush, PhD Adolescent Psychologist

Dr. Justin Bush, PhD

Dr. Bush earned his Masters’ and doctorate degrees at the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Gonzaga University. He has worked at hospitals, school districts, community mental health clinics, and integrated pediatric primary care clinics including Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Momentous Institute and Pediatric Associates of the Northwest in the Portland metro area. In 2010, Dr. Bush co-founded PDYF with Dr. Vázquez. As a licensed psychologist, he is passionate about helping youth gain clarity about their unique profile of character strengths so they can learn to use them to solve problems and see what is best in themselves.

Dr. Veronica Vázquez, PhD

Dr. Vázquez co-founded PDYF in 2010 and has been exclusively in private practice as psychologist in Portland, Oregon since 2012. She earned Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Law & Society at Purdue University followed by a Master’s degree at the University of Louisville. She then earned her doctorate at Loyola University of Chicago. She’s a bilingual (Spanish & English)/bicultural psychologist whose expertise is in conducting diagnostic evaluations with children, adolescents, and adults with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. As a psychologist, she’s passionate about helping youth and families learn about their strengths and weaknesses so they can work toward their goals while navigating life challenges.

Dr. Veronica Vázquez, PhD - Adolescent psychologist in Portland, Oregon

Positive Development for Youth & Families, Inc., is a private group practice of licensed psychologists in Portland, Oregon. We specialize in serving adolescents (ages 14 to 19) and parents by providing psychotherapy, parenting skills training (for parents with children of all ages), psychological testing and evaluation of children through adulthood. Our mission is to help them understand and use their character strengths to resolve common mental health problems, behavioral and learning difficulties, parent-child relationship challenges or sibling relationships problems emerge. Our expertise utilizes cognitive-behavioral (including ACT and DBT therapy skills), mindfulness, and strengths-based interventions with the goal of promoting positive development of youth and families. 

WHY Positive Development for youth and families:

Research continues to clearly show that good mental health is the cornerstone of a person’s overall health. Physical and emotional changes along with social challenges during the developmental years of life sometimes lend themselves to stress, mood problems, unhealthy choices and coping, mental, and behavioral health concerns unique to youth. Early, middle, and late adolescence provides an ideal window of opportunity to foster character strengths in terms of brain growth and psychological development.

Getting clearer insight for the unique issues youth face is an essential first step to helping them stay or get back on track for positive youth development. As youth gain clarity about their unique profile of character strengths and start to learn how to use them, they apply their new knowledge to solving problems they are facing. They also start to make new goals and to head into new life directions with their character strengths in mind and develop them further into adulthood. 

Research has discovered across cultures all around the world that there are 24 central character strengths* in human beings that are stable over time (e.g., hope, kindness, curiosity, perspective, creativity, perseverance), each falling under large categories called virtues. There exists a scientific classification system for people’s character strengths just like there are for diseases and psychopathology. Each of us has character strengths in varying degrees and we used them in diverse combinations. Every year there are over a hundred new studies on the science of character strengths. Research also shows that a strengths-based approach to parenting improves teen’s academics and predicts youth’s school engagement and perseverance, and betters their mood and mental health. Building character strengths in youth is essential to the 21st century competencies they need to be successful in life.  

*The 24 Character Strengths are the VIA Classification of Character Strengths. For more information visit: VIA Classification © Copyright 2014-2020, VIA Institute of Character. All rights reserved.

HOW do we do it:  

As child, adolescent, and family psychologists, we provide scientifically researched and supported psychological services rooted in the fields of psychology and character strength science. We emphasize “what’s strong rather than what’s wrong” with our psychotherapeutic approach when providing individual adolescent therapy, positive parenting skills training, family therapy and psychological testing and diagnostic evaluation. 

WHAT we do is:  

Offer evidenced-based psychotherapies in conjunction with character strengths interventions (CSI) as a strengths-based and positive psychology therapeutic approach to providing behavioral healthcare to adolescents, parents, and families. Positive psychological interventions like CSI are sets of scientific tools and strategies that focus on increasing well-being, positive cognition, and positive emotions. We meet with youth and families in person at our Portland, Oregon, office and remotely by offering online telehealth video sessions. Upon request, we give supportive supplemental video-, phone- and email consultation to youth and parents as well. 


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