Employee SpotlightEric Dykstra, Psy.D.
Name: Eric Dykstra
Position: Clinical Psychologist
How long have you worked at Developmental Enhancement and how did you get here?
I have been a part of DE since late 2006. I first met Dave in 2000 at Pine Rest and we stayed in touch while I went to graduate school. Following my internship I was hired by Dave at Hope Network and he provided invaluable training, supervision, and mentorship. Once he started DE he continued with my supervision and we gradually transitioned me into a full-time psychologist position by spring of 2008.
Where are you from originally? Why did you move to Greater GR?
I am originally from Hudsonville. I went to graduate school in Denver, CO and did my internship in Chicago, IL. I returned to the Grand Rapids area because it is home! Its a great place to raise my boys and is wonderful to be close to family and friends. And we can’t forget Lake Michigan!
What was your first impression of DE? What’s your first or favorite memory at/of DE?
Back in 2006 DE consisted of Dave and Tracy in two small offices in the old Vision and Sensory Center, sharing space with Molly Buist and her team. It was a small, homegrown, specialist team with huge potential! One of my favorite memories is of the tower, hammocks, and swings in the old building at Byron Center. Another of my favorites is moving into the Center for Childhood Development building in Jenison with the huge amount of play space.
What does a day in your job look like?
A typical day starts by 8:15am, seeing individual clients every 45 minutes. There is a nice variety of talking, counseling, teaching, and playing. Certain days will involve intakes for new clients, psychological testing, and running groups as well.
If you weren’t working in your current field, what would you be doing instead?
I would hope I’d be sailing – either professionally or as a sailing instructor.
Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work in your field.
My parents influenced my decision to become a psychologist, but very indirectly. Experiencing the adoption of my sisters, seeing their parenting challenges with my siblings, and having their support to pursue my passions were instrumental in my becoming a psychologist.
What do you wish other people knew about DE/ABA/Psych?
I hope others know and can experience the passion that we have for working with children and families facing all sorts of challenges.
Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working at DE?
I have had the opportunity to speak at state and national conferences and meet people from around the country who are experts in Autism and other developmental differences.
Some of my favorite clients have included a 4 year old little girl who gave exuberant hugs every time she saw me and one or two teenage boys who have refused to speak to me the first few sessions who now look forward to coming to therapy.
What do you think will change about your field in the next 5 years?
Significant challenges and changes in the areas of reimbursement and coverage of services due to national health care and managed care/insurance changes.
Do you have any personal philosophies or favorite quotes?
“We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust our sails” (Anonymous). This quote encapsulates much of life for me, as I am an avid sailor to start with. Further, my life experience has taught me that there are many things that I do not have control over, yet I do have control over myself and my decisions.