Christy Peterson is a third-year doctoral student in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at the University of Memphis. Christy received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and her Master’s degrees from the Mississippi State University. Working in the field of ABA is the nexus of Christy‘s professional experience and passion, and she strives to foster positive youth and young adult development and education.

Christy’s professional experience is varied and multi-faceted, ranging from Youth Coordinator for a non-profit system of care, school-based therapy for Shelby County Schools, to Associate Director for the Center for the Advancement of Youth Development with the University of Memphis Department of Social Work. Christy oversaw training and data programs related to administering national evaluation studies and projects in this role. Those duties involved intervention research, translating basic science, and other forms of data into applied skills and points of intervention. She also served as the coordinator for the SMART Center (School Mental Health Access to Resources through Telehealth). The mission of the SMART Research, Training, and Treatment Center is to develop scholarly research in the field, provide competency-based professional training and consultation to the community, provide training in higher education to support the workforce development of this growing field, provide effective, evidence-based therapeutic interventions, and advance the responsible use of technology in school-based and mental health practice.

Christy has over 10 years of clinical mental health experience that includes community mental health, case management, residential programming, ABA-based programming, school-based programming, parent coaching, integrated behavioral, and home-based services. Christy has worked with specialized communities, such as youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, youth impacted by trauma, and youth at-risk for detrimental social and educational outcomes.  In addition, Christy has worked with adults with mental and behavioral health diagnoses and individuals with developmental disabilities for years. She also trains and supervises others in trauma-based interventions (CBITS, TB-CBT,  Mental Health First Aid, etc.).

Christy uses her platform to advocate for more informed policies and less prohibitive practices related to addressing behavioral issues in our school systems, community agencies, and more.  Christy’s research interests include the use of evidence-based behavioral interventions for addressing client’s needs, the use of expressive art therapies/ experiential therapies in the field of psychological practice, expansion of ABA principles and methodology in educational/clinical settings, equities in treatment and access to treatment, and developing best practices in emerging telehealth models.

About the author:

Christy Peterson loves to travel and hopes to experience all corners of the globe throughout her lifetime. She loves animals and fosters whenever she can. She’s an avid sports fan who roots for the home team (Big Memphis) and her Alma Mater (Hail State) with all her heart. She believes in the power of music and will definitely hit the dance floor every chance she gets!