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Meet Dr. Barbara Fritts, Ph.D., Counseling Psychologist in Walpole

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Barbara Fritts, Ph.D.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Fritts. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Born and raised in Western NY, I spent my early psychology career working in South Boston in various supportive housing locations for folks with chronic mental illness. A doctoral program in Counseling Psychology took me to the Midwest and then Rocky Mountain west, a natural playground for my love of all things outdoors and photography. Having moved back to the Boston area in May 2015, I bring with me a Massachusetts born husband, two precocious daughters and amazingly sweet dog, whose name happens to be Boston.

I am currently an independent licensed psychologist in private practice, working within a group entitled Walpole Behavioral Healthcare. Working independently while sharing space with other clinicians provides a beautiful balance between autonomy and support. While trained as a generalist and competent to work with all kinds of mental health diagnoses, I have also honed my interests into specialties including LGBTQ issues, perinatal and postpartum mental health, and trauma. I am invigorated and inspired by the work I do and feel privileged to be a part of peoples’ healing.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Graduate school in and of itself was likely one of the biggest struggles on my road to becoming a licensed psychologist. The six-year program was rigorous and pushed my brain and emotional resources to the limit. Beyond the academic content, I learned lessons about vulnerability, authenticity, perfectionism, self-care, work-life balance, and the invaluable importance of comrades. The friendships I made among my cohort remain some of the most valuable in my life.

Some of the most important work I did in graduate school was on becoming more aware of myself as a multicultural being. I am European American, with a mix of Italian, German and Irish roots. For the first time in my life, I began to see myself as having a race (White), and became aware of the fact that unearned privileges were bestowed upon me because of that race. The journey to awareness of my “Whiteness” was painful, and emotions of incredulity, anger, shame and guilt emerged. This was the inception of my life’s work as a social justice advocate and activist. I believe that this work is as important as the work I do in the office every day. I consider it a part of my professional and personal identity, and work hard to weave it into all areas of my life.

Dr. Barbara Fritts, Ph.D., Counseling Psychologist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I practice within the umbrella of Walpole Behavioral Healthcare. Walpole Behavioral Healthcare is a group of mental health clinicians who provide individual, couples and family psychotherapy in a private practice setting in Walpole, Massachusetts.

I specialize in LGBTQ issues, perinatal and postpartum mental health, and trauma and abuse, as well as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, couples counseling, and adolescent psychology. I have increasingly become more well-known as a transgender affirming psychologist. I help people with all stages of transition and have collaborated with medical providers to provide comprehensive care. I am also known for my work with new and expecting mothers, bringing both a personal and professional expertise into the unique experiences of this population.

As a professional, I am proud of my commitment to authentic and quality care. Research has shown that the therapeutic relationship is a key factor in psychotherapy outcomes and I feel good about my ability to connect, build rapport and stay attuned to clients throughout the process. My commitment to understanding and connecting with clients as multicultural beings within their socio-cultural context is imperative in this process. Continued examination of my own identities, racial and otherwise, is crucial for this authentic and honest communication.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Rather than proud, a more appropriate expression for moments of positivity in my career is somewhere between gratitude and happiness. I feel immense happiness whenever a client of mine has a breakthrough. Letting go of something that has tormented you is an amazing feeling, and knowing that I have aided in someone else’s healing is incredibly gratifying. It brings so much joy to me and reaffirms that I am making an impact. I like to think that I am part of a ripple effect beginning with helping one person become a little lighter, a little more whole, making each interaction in their lives and the lives of others that much more positive.

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