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’s worked at hospitals, school districts, community mental health clinics, and primary care pediatric clinics to further his expertise within innovative healthcare, therapeutic, and educational settings throughout his career including: Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Momentous Institute, and Pediatric Associates of the Northwest. In 2010, Dr. Bush co-founded PDYF with Dr. Vázquez. As a licensed psychologist, he is passionate about helping youth, parents, and families 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 and apply it to their daily lives.
Dr. Veronica Vázquez, PhD
Dr. Vázquez co-founded PDYF in 2010 and has been exclusively in private practice as a 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 is a bilingual (Spanish & English) and bicultural psychologist whose expertise is in conducting diagnostic evaluations with children, adolescents, and adults with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. As a licensed psychologist, she is committed to helping youth and families learn about their strengths and weaknesses so they can work toward their goals while navigating life challenges and live to their fullest potential.
Both Drs. Bush and Vázquez are members of the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as the Oregon Psychological Association (OPA).
They founded Positive Development for Youth & Families, Inc., as a private practice of licensed psychologists based in Portland, Oregon. They specialize in serving adolescents (ages 14 to 19) and parents by providing individual and family psychotherapy, parenting skills training (for parents with children of all ages), and psychological testing and evaluation of children through adulthood. Their mission is to help children, teens, and parents understand and use their character strengths to address common mental health problems, cope behavioral and learning difficulties, and resolve sibling- and/or parent-adolescent relationship challenges. Their clinical expertise utilizes strengths-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (including ACT & DBT), mindfulness, and positive family therapy (PFT) interventions to promote and foster 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 and wellness. 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: viacharacter.org 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 consultation to school personnel, medical- and other healthcare professionals as well.