Searching for "the right" therapist can feel overwhelming. There are a lot of us out here, and most people don't understand all of the differences between us. FES is unique in some pretty cool and innovative ways, and below we lay it out in plain language. If you have questions, just let us know!
1) You want more than a bandaid.
Our team is psychodynamically oriented, meaning we will work with you on a deeper level to reach the root of the issues and help you resolve things once and for all.
2) You don't have just one problem or concern.
Our team works from a wholistic approach with an appreciation for the complexity of human beings and an understanding that problems can't be effectively addressed in isolation.
3) You need a therapist who is culturally sensitive.
Every member of our team comes from a social work background and is committed to the social work values of service and social justice.
Cost is almost always a concern for someone seeking therapy. At FES, we are very proud to have created a model that makes therapy affordable, without relying solely on insurance. We strongly encourage anyone with financial concerns to reach out.
Dr. Kate Smaller is a psychotherapist and principal of FES with 13+ years of clinical experience. She began her career in the Chicago area specializing in work with at-risk, gang-involved youth and survivors of sexual assault. Over the years, Kate has worked with adults, children, adolescents and couples to find a way forward through a wide variety of challenges. She earned her PhD from the Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago), a Master's in Social Work from Loyola Univeristy (Chicago), a Master's in Education from DePaul Univeristy (Chicago), and a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). At Cornell, Kate double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies while playing four years of Ivy League, Division I basketball. At FES, Kate oversees both clinical work and operations.
Dr. Mark Smaller is a psychoanalyst and principal of FES with 40+ years of clinical experience. He currently serves on the board of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), and he is past President of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). Dr. Smaller formerly served as Executive Director of the Neuropsychoanalysis Foundation in New York, and he was a former board member of both the Institute for Clinical Social Work (ICSW) in Chicago and the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Dr. Smaller was the founding director of Project Realize (formerly the Analytic Service to Adolescents Program (ASAP)), that began in Cicero, Illinois and is now being implemented here in Michigan. He was a recipient of the 2008 distinguished service award. Through Forward Edge Services, Dr. Smaller also provides organizational consultation for businesses, schools and professional organizations.
Amanda joined the FES team with 14+ years in the field of social work between NuPoint Services in Grand Rapids and Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Michigan. She primarily works with adults and adolescents. Her specialized experience is in substance abuse disorder, suicidal ideation, self-harm, domestic violence, trauma, and sexual assault. She has extensive volunteer experience in her community as well. Amanda earned her Master's degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University in 2020. We are thrilled to welcome Amanda as one of the newest additions to our team at FES, and are eager to share her with the Grand Rapids community!
Julie joined the FES team with 10+ years of experience in the field of social work. Her background was primarily in a medical setting, working with adults, older adults, and families cope with health-related issues. Julie currently remains a part-time bereavement counselor with Faith Hospice. Her expertise in grief and loss is such an important contribution to our team as we work to help people of all ages cope with the stress of this pandemic. Julie is now accepting new patients with us in the Grand Rapids office and via Telehealth as needed. We are thrilled to welcome Julie as one of our newest members to the FES team, and we are eager to share her with the Grand Rapids community!
Stephanie works with children, adolescents, adults, and couples from both our Grand Rapids and Saugatuck/Douglas offices. She joined Forward Edge Services with 5+ years of experience in the field of social work, and has worked with children and teens in some capacity for more than 15 years. Most recently, she was an inpatient clinician at Forest View Hospital in Grand Rapids. Stephanie specializes in anxiety, depression, and women's issues. Her warmth, authenticity, and clinical skillset are tremendous assets to our team at Forward Edge, and we are thrilled to be sharing her with the Grand Rapids and Saugatuck/Douglas communities.