My name is A.J. Heritage and received my Ph.D. in Clinical Science from Vanderbilt University in 2017. I completed my pre-doctoral internship with the Vanderbilt-VA Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology. I am currently a provisionally licensed (TN License #3499) Post-doctoral Psychologist working in private practice under the supervision of Dr. F. Joseph McLaughlin (TN License #721), who has been in practice as a clinical and developmental psychologist for more than 25 years.
Personally, I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado but have lived in a few different places since then including Winnipeg, Manitoba; Auckland, New Zealand; Saint Paul, Minnesota and now Nashville, Tennessee. I have both Canadian and U.S. Citizenship and have family spread across both countries. In my free time I play ice hockey, enjoy camping and hiking with my dogs, and like trying new restaurants with my friends. Another passion that I have, which was passed down from my grandfather, is nature photography. You can see some of my work (including the photo above) here at Heritage Photography.
My Approach to Therapy
The relationship between therapist and client is the single most important factor in the success of any psychotherapy experience. Therefore, my goal is to provide a safe place for all people to come and experience healing. If, after reading about my services below, you have questions about whether I am the best person to work with you, please feel free to contact me so we can discuss your specific needs and make that decision together. If we decide together that I am not the right person to meet your needs, I will gladly help you find the right person.
I approach my work with clients from a holistic (i.e. biopsychosocial) and collaborative perspective. This means that I will work with you, as a team, to identify and address how a range of factors from thoughts and behaviors, to family dynamics and life stress, to sleep and physical activity, are contributing to your current distress. I also believe that you have skills and strengths that you can utilize to help meet your treatment goals, and that you know yourself best. I’m not the “expert” here to “fix” or “change” you. I’m here to help you reach your goals, learn some new skills, and grow your strengths.
My therapeutic orientation by training is primarily Cognitive-Behavioral, which means I use primarily Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you identify thoughts and beliefs about yourself, others, and the world that are contributing to negative feelings and distressing experiences. However, I also incorporate mindfulness techniques, interpersonal approaches, behavioral interventions, and skills based techniques to meet you where you are and give you the best chance for success in therapy.
I provide both individual and family psychotherapy. I primarily work with children, adolescents, and young adults, but also have experience working with families and older adults. I treat a variety of conditions and difficulties including anxiety, depression, behavior/ or social problems, ADHD, adjustment difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and phobias. I have a particular interest in working with adolescents and pre-adolescents who are having behavioral or adjustment difficulties related to this difficult stage of life.
I also specialize in working with athletes. As part of my clinical internship I provided assessment and therapy services to athletes at Vanderbilt University under the supervision of Dr. Vickie Woosley. Personally, I have played hockey for over 20 years (and still playing!), including three years of hockey in Canada following high school, and college hockey in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. I am also a certified level-4 coach though USA Hockey giving me a unique perspective when working with athletes.
I work with athletes of all ages and skill levels on issues of sport performance improvement, performance anxiety, confidence, and difficulties with attention/focus. I have a particular interest in working with athletes who are having difficulties adjusting to higher levels of competition, athletes returning to competition from injury and athletes transitioning from high school to college athletics.
In addition to psychotherapy services I also provide in-depth psychological and psycho-educational evaluations. These assessments can help to answer a range of questions including diagnoses of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disability (e.g. reading or math), or more general diagnostic clarification. Psychological assessments are often used to guide recommendations for therapy, medications, academic accommodations, or eligibility for other community services.
For questions or to schedule an appointment please call my office or cell phone, or you can email if you prefer. I work in two locations and have flexible hours (no weekends) so I’m happy to work with you to find a time that works well.
If you would like more information about my clinical training, research interests/publications, or my teaching experience please follow the links below.
A.J. Heritage, Ph.D.
Remember, you are the most important person in your healing,
and you are worth it!