Michelle Stern Orgel, MSW
Master Social Worker
My passion for working with children started from when I was quite young. I often volunteered at a preschool in my hometown when I was in high school, which opened my eyes to see the many emotional, behavioral and developmental struggles children often face. I became fascinated to understand these struggles and the barriers that often occur when trying to help these children. Because of this interest I later decided to attend a specialized psychology program at New York University where I would not only learn about psychology, but also apply it hands on.
Throughout my undergraduate program I had worked at the Child Mind Institute where I first specialized in working with children with Selective Mutism. As I spent more time I generalized my knowledge and practice to working with children with an array of mood and anxiety disorders as well as behavioral disorders. After I graduated, I started to do community based work, where I was hired by families to go into their homes, schools, camps, and other settings they believed their children needed help in. It was at that time where I started to truly understand the need to view the child or adolescent I was working with holistically, because no individual lives in a vacuum. Rather, the difficulties that we as individuals go through are a result of our biology, psychology and environment. I began to understand the value of not only working with a child in the office, but assess different areas in his or her life, so that the knowledge and benefits of treatment could be generalized to all areas of the child’s life. The success I had with the families I worked with was incredibly rewarding, and that strongly encouraged me to attend a masters and PhD program in social work.
I chose social work because of the emphasis of the holistic approach of working with an individual. I decided to earn a PhD as well, which is rare among social workers, because of my desire to understand research. As I progressed academically and professionally, I understand the value and need for evidence based practice. I wanted to not only be able to learn about past research and empirically supported treatments, but also be able to continue researching because the mental health field is constantly evolving.
Additionally, a year ago I had started training a dog to be a therapy dog who I often use with clients. He has been an incredible asset when working with children with animal phobia, as well as anxiety and depression. He is another one of our beloved clinicians at Milestones Psychology.
School based and community based intervention and collaboration
Behavioral Therapy (BT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Exposure Response Prevention
Program Assistant at the Child Mind Institute and Lead counselor of the Brave Buddies program
Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders Program
Counselor at Gotham Collaborative High school