Aaron Dodini, M.S., M.A., Ph.D., CGP
I’m the oldest of ten kids. I think that may mean I was born to become a psychologist! My early life experiences have prepared me well and gave me the skills to be a great psychologist. After spending some time in my ancestral home in the Swiss Alps and finishing my undergrad degree in Psychology, I enrolled at Virginia Tech’s Marriage & Family Therapy master’s degree program. Two years into that three year program, I began what would be a six year Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at Catholic University. I attended the two schools concurrently. I don’t recommend concurrently attending to two graduate schools while at the same time expecting your first child. That would be the NON-balanced approach to living. Needless to say, after nine years of graduate work, four children, and two decades of marriage, I have come to embrace a philosophy of life balance. Over the 17 years I’ve been in practice, it’s been my great honor to help others identify and pursue their own version of growth and balance. I believe in the basic truth that we grow and learn life’s greatest lessons in the company of others. It is on this core philosophy that my practice is established
I believe that in life we inherit much of our personal strength from previous generations. I am lucky to have inherited some of the positive traits of my ancestors. My great great grandfather immigrated to the United States from a small pastoral village in Southern Switzerland. As a young man, he built a solid home for his large family out of stone he quarried, shaped, and detailed from the imposing Swiss Alps. The mountains offered both formidable challenges and life-sustaining opportunities for him. I believe my grandfather’s strength and ability to thrive despite significant hardship came from overcoming the challenges presented by the rugged, mountainous terrain. Due to his perseverance and drive, he built a life for himself among the mountains that was humble, balanced, and stable – much like the home he built that still stands today as a testament to his endurance.
I carry forward this legacy of resilience in my professional journey to become a psychotherapist. I started a graduate program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and though I deeply enjoyed my courses, I felt as if I was being exposed to only a small piece of the mental health pie. After two years, I concurrently started a PhD program in clinical psychology at Catholic University. At this point, my wife became pregnant with our first child. Life was hectic with a number of personal and professional responsibilities, but after nine years of graduate school, four children, and more than two decades of marriage, I discovered that my personal philosophy is founded on life balance. In part because of my own beliefs and in part due to the hard work and perseverance of my ancestors, I understand the importance of ambition and drive, but also the value of family and relationships.
I believe in the basic truth that we grow and learn life’s greatest lessons in the company of others. It is on this core philosophy that my practice is established.