Dr. Kaitlyn Wilbur-Smith is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Selective Mutism Services at the Boston Child Study Center. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, mood, and disruptive behavior disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Wilbur-Smith is certified in perinatal mental health (PMH-C) and also enjoys working with individuals in need of support around life transitions including pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum health, and parenting. She provides evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Dr. Wilbur-Smith is a Certified PCIT Therapist by PCIT International and is clinically trained in treatment adaptations for selective mutism (PCIT-SM) and anxiety (PCIT-CALM). She is also certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C).
Dr. Wilbur-Smith graduated from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT with a Master of Arts in clinical practices and a Doctorate of Psychology. For her dissertation, she investigated mindset and the ability to delay gratification in children and their mothers. She continues to be interested in clinical research. Dr. Wilbur-Smith also holds a Master of Arts in general psychology from The New School for Social Research in New York, NY. Given the ethnically diverse areas of Greater Hartford and New York City, Dr. Wilbur-Smith participated in clinical rotations and research centered on children and families from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. She completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship at Franciscan Children’s in Brighton, MA, where she served a culturally and linguistically diverse population presenting with a broad range of medical and behavioral health diagnoses. Through the use of interpreter services, she was able to provide caregiver coaching to the caregivers of bilingual youth. Dr. Wilbur-Smith completed a postdoctoral fellowship here at BCSC where she received intensive clinical training and supervision in DBT, CBT, and PCIT.
One of Dr. Wilbur-Smith’s primary clinical interests is treating youth with selective mutism (SM); she takes an inclusive approach considering family history, cultural context, and bilingualism when relevant. With younger children, she implements family-based behavioral interventions, including PCIT adaptations for SM and anxiety. When treating older children with SM, she utilizes cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and caregiver coaching. Within her treatment, Dr. Wilbur-Smith incorporates an individualized approach and collaborates closely with caregivers and school personnel. She also provides school consultation services, including professional development on selective mutism. Dr. Wilbur-Smith, alongside BCSC’s SM team, started a group treatment program series called Get Heard! in early 2019. Get Heard! uses an evidence-based exposure therapy model and is geared toward youth with selective mutism and social anxiety.
Within her DBT work, Dr. Wilbur-Smith enjoys working with youth struggling with emotion dysregulation, anxiety, and depression. In addition to leading a DBT Skills Integration group for adolescents, Dr. Wilbur-Smith created and currently leads a Middle School DBT Skills Training group for preadolescents at BCSC, one of few groups in the region tailored to this population. She has received training in DBT for Children (DBT-C) by its developer, Dr. Francheska Perepletchikova. DBT-C was created to address the treatment needs of “supersensor” children who tend to experience strong emotions and who often feel overwhelmed by their big emotions. Dr. Wilbur-Smith has always loved working with these children and their families and has been excited to offer this prevention-focused treatment to them. While she is committed to evidence-based practice, she also seeks to individualize the treatment with respect to family history, current coping mechanisms, and the strengths of the child and caregivers.
More recently, Dr. Wilbur-Smith sought training in perinatal mental health in order to expand her clinical practice from childhood and adolescence to parenthood. When treating individuals in the perinatal period, her treatment approach is both evidence-based and experience-based. She has received clinical training in perinatal loss and grief and strives to support individuals who have endured pregnancy loss(es). She has also received training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and seeks to help new parents improve the quality of their lives during the perinatal period. Dr. Wilbur-Smith is dedicated to reducing stigma around pregnancy loss and help-seeking in the perinatal period. With all of her patients – from the littlest ones to the parents of the little ones – Dr. Wilbur-Smith practices with openness and compassion, welcoming individuals to a warm, nonjudgmental therapeutic space.