Hi, I'm Ms. Halley
I believe that it truly takes a village to raise a child, to love a family, and to hold each individual. From my place as a helper in the collective village, I feel honored to be a part of the lives and journeys of everyone I hold space for.
Over the course of my career I've had the pleasure of specializing in and becoming an expert in the development of very young children, from birth through age 7. In a variety of roles (as a childcare teacher, an AmeriCorps volunteer, an elementary school tutor, a clinical social worker, a nanny and babysitter) and in many settings (classrooms, clinics, and homes), I've had the distinct honor of being witness to and assisting with the development of hundreds of young children. The amount of growth and the speed with which it occurs during these early years never ceases to amaze me and I am endlessly delighted by the hope and wonder that young children experience in the world as they grow.
What I have learned over time working with hundreds of families, and what is also supported by a vast body of research, is that while the period of early childhood can be magical, it is also very stressful for most families. Many parents are trying to break cycles and patterns that they experienced in their own childhoods and parenting with that goal takes a tremendous amount of intentionality, and often times, support and guidance. In our work, my role is to support you in being in charge of your child’s healing and your family’s future.
Beginning in graduate school, I have had the privilege of being mentored and trained by internationally recognized behavioral and trauma experts in the fields of infant and early childhood mental health. These incredible women instilled in me the value of evidence, research, and science that I continue to bring to my practice. Using evidence-based treatments allows me to say to clients, “If we work together and use this model or these strategies, things WILL get better;” and that’s incredible! I cant wait to be able to hear your story and your concerns and to be able to confidently give you the same hope.
As it has for most therapists, Covid-19 profoundly affected my practice. Never before having offered telehealth sessions, all of my work with children was moved online and there was one heck of a learning curve. Over time I have grown to have an appreciation for the flexibility that online therapy provides. Parents are no longer fighting traffic or having to corral kids into the car for yet another appointment; and I've been able to work with folks across the state that would not have been possible in person. There are definitely aspects of sharing physical space with my clients that I miss dearly but I have been so pleasantly surprised by the connections and healing that are possible online (including special virtual handshakes for saying goodbye at the end of sessions).
Getting to know me
Did I always want to be a therapist?
That's a big old nope! I always knew I wanted to be a helper but in college that looked like pursing Speech-Language Pathology. In fact, in graduate school I avoided every clinical class and didnt know how to give a diagnosis when I graduated. The universe had different plans for me though and very early in my social work career I found myself surrounded by amazing clinicians who shaped and nurtured me and helped me find my calling as a child therapist. For that I am so grateful!
Who Do I look up to?
I think there are too many to name! Historically I have very much looked up to the researchers at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard, particularly Dr. Jack Shonkoff, who have contributed tremendously to the knowledge base on early brain development and the impact of warm, nurturing relationships on development across the life span.
More recently I've been working to decolonize my therapy practice which has involved working with and learning from a diverse community of clinicians lead by Shawna Murray-Browne and her work on the Liberation Focused Healing Framework. She is just one of the many folks who are offering spaces for therapists to think critically about our work and how to make shifts that better align with our values and our imaginings of how our world could be.
I also really love Mr. Rogers and have a practice of taking off my shoes and putting on slippers when I'm working with little ones. If we work together you'll undoubtedly see me drinking from my Mr. Rogers mug.
What's my favorite thing about working with the littles?
I love hearing all the word-approximations that young children come up with as they're learning to talk and to have themselves understood. A couple of my all-time favorites are "whackamole" instead of guacamole and "bang bang" for bandaid. It's just the daggum cutest! I'm also always tickled by how little kids try to pronounce my name or the ways they describe me. I've been: Ms. Howley, Ms. H, Ms. Therapy, and "the girl who teaches us how to behave."
Where am I from?
I'm a California native who ran away across the country at 17 to go to college. I am the first in my family to go to college and had never left the state of CA which was the perfect recipe for a classically romantic dream of going to college "to find myself." Silly not-fully-developed brain. I ended up loving NC and stayed for fifteen years before deciding it was time for a new adventure and moving to south Florida in the summer of 2019. While I learned many lessons in my time in Florida, I eventually found my way back to NC and couldn't be happier to be home.
Feedback I’ve Received
"Halley has wonderful skills with children of all ages, and is especially gifted in working with infants and young children. Halley has a great knowledge of child development and is passionate about supporting children’s social and emotional development. She excels at nurturing and communicating with babies and young children in a positive, supportive, and calm manner, and modeling the communication and emotional regulation skills young children are learning."
-S.C., former client
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
North Carolina: C008379
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Concentration in Direct Clinical Practice
B.A. in Linguistics with Highest Distinction
Minor in French Studies
Certificate in Early Childhood Education Studies
Graduated Cum Laude
Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH)
Four years as a full-time clinician in the non-profit clinic. CCFH is an NCTSN (Nation Child Traumatic Stress Network) site whose mission includes disseminating research and training to clinicians throughout the Carolinas.
Rostered Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Clinician
Completed all requirements for state and international rostering to provide PCIT.
Rostered Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) Clinician
Completed all training and requirements for state and national rostering as a CPP clinician.
Rostered Cognitive Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Completed all training and requirements to be a state and nationally rostered TF-CBT clinician.
Accredited Triple P Provider
Completed training to become an accredited provider of Level 3 individual, Level 3 group, and Level 4 Triple P (Positive Parenting Program).