Dr. McDonald graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She earned her Doctorate of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. She later completed an APA-accredited internship in pediatric neuropsychology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine, where she received extensive training in the neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with a wide range of medical, developmental, learning, and attention disorders. Further clinical training and experience include neuropsychology appointments at Children’s Hospital Orange County and in outpatient settings. Dr. McDonald also received two years of advanced post-doctoral training in neuropsychological assessment in a private practice. She also has experience in individual and family psychotherapy with children and adults, as well as group social skills training. Dr. McDonald has been in private practice since 2011.
Areas of research interest — which have resulted in numerous professional publications and presentations — include AD/HD, learning disabilities, autism, giftedness, and brain tumors. Her dissertation focuses on the cognitive ability of twice-exceptional students, children, and adolescents who are gifted but also struggle with co-occurring disabilities. Over the course of her career, Dr. McDonald has been awarded several honors for her work.
When not in the office, Dr. McDonald enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. They enjoy being outdoors, going on hikes, or playing at the beach with their energetic golden retriever. Dr. McDonald also enjoys cooking and testing out new recipes. In fact, while pursuing her undergraduate degree, she even worked as a personal chef for an NBA basketball player. Dr. McDonald grew up in Switzerland and together with her husband and children, she enjoys visiting her family there. She is passionate about traveling and particularly likes exploring new places and cultures.
Her work experience includes working with children experiencing trauma, adults, and families dealing with interpersonal challenges, couples in conflict, as well as psychological testing. In light of her own cross-cultural experience, she is passionate about working with clients from various cultures, countries, and backgrounds. She is fluent in Dutch, German, and Spanish in addition to English and has an understanding of Chinese cultural family values. Her therapeutic lens starts with the foundation of developmental history infused with dynamic understanding and a practical approach to managing day-to-day challenges with the goal to seek self-awareness and growth.
Ali has also gained extensive knowledge and experience working with parents and assisting them in identifying the barriers to experiencing a successful, loving, and unconditional relationship with their child. By exploring historical family values, core beliefs, and styles of communication Ali assists the parent(s) in developing a new way of holding space for their child so that they can work on creating a positive and healthy connection.
Ali is able to use her experiences working with teens and adults to bridge the gap in adolescent treatment between the “identified patient” and the parent’s role in the adolescents mental health and well-being. By creating an environment where the tenets of curiosity, safety, and positive regard are upheld, Ali is able to develop a deep and meaningful therapeutic relationship with her clients.
Emily runs Art Therapy groups for Ascend, incorporating a myriad of media such as paint, oil pastels, fiber, collage, and 3-D art interventions to support teens in expressing their thoughts and feelings, creative problem-solving, distress tolerance, mindfulness, anxiety-reduction, and cultivating healthy coping strategies. In addition to her work with Ascend, Emily runs a private practice in Newhall, CA, where she uses art therapy, mindfulness, and EMDR to support clients on their path towards healing, acceptance, and understanding.
Emily is a member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) and provides gender affirming psychotherapy for transgender, gender diverse, and non-binary youth, adults, family members and partners.
Dr. Ross has a special interest in lifestyle, nutrition, and weight loss. He enjoys teaching residents and medical students at Cedars Sinai. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Cedars Sinai Health Associates.
Aimee has experience in various settings in the field of nutrition. She has worked in the clinical arena in several hospitals throughout Ventura and Los Angeles counties. She has also taught Nutrition at the community college level. Aimee is incredibly active in the community, sharing her expertise in nutrition and teaching about living your healthiest life at local elementary schools, high schools, and community colleges.
In addition to practicing nutrition therapy, Aimee also enjoys living a balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity on a regular basis. Aimee grew up taking dance lessons from a young age and into her early adulthood. The love of dance has stayed with her, and she has the honor of teaching ballet to children at the Oakley Ballet Center in Ventura, CA.