The Importance of Self-Advocacy

with Joan Baran, PhD and Meghan Collins, MS, MPhil

The Importance of Self-Advocacy

Episode 11, Season 3 | January 4, 2023

Show Notes

Self-advocacy is more than speaking up for yourself–it’s about self-awareness, understanding our needs and clear communication. It’s about asking for what we want and need, but not demanding it. In today’s podcast episode, CHC’s Catherine T. Harvey Center for Clinical Services experts Joan Baran, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and Meghan Collins, MS, MPhil, doctoral psychology intern share strategies for parents and caregivers to model and build self-advocacy skills, independence and confidence in our kids.

Guest Info
Joan Baran headshot

Dr. Baran has over 20 years’ experience working with young children in a variety of settings. Her expertise includes infant and young child assessment, autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. She speaks Spanish. She is an avid Tar Heel basketball fan.

Meghan A. Collins headshot

Meghan Collins is a Doctoral Intern in Clinical Psychology at CHC and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She is particularly interested in working with children and families impacted by complex trauma, as well as those experiencing depression, anxiety and/or interpersonal conflict. Meghan believes in taking a person-centered approach in which children and families feel empowered to reflect on and share how their background, experiences, and identities impact the challenges and strengths that they bring into therapy. She flexibly integrates family systems and interpersonal approaches with techniques derived from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), parent management training (PMT), motivational interviewing, and other approaches to meet the needs of each unique family. She is also passionate about working with trauma-impacted young children and has received training in child parent psychotherapy (CPP) and assessment approaches for children ages 0-5. Meghan is deeply committed to mental health advocacy and increasing access to high-quality, culturally responsive mental health care for underserved families.


Meghan graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BS in cognitive studies and honors in neuroscience. She then spent two years at the National Institute of Mental health as an Intramural Research Training Awardee (IRTA) studying clinical, neurocognitive, and functional brain dynamics among adolescents and young adults with autism. Meghan completed her Master of Science (MS) and her Master of Philosophy (MS) at Yale and is currently in her sixth and final year in Yale’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program. In May 2022, Meghan successfully defended her dissertation examining how trauma, poverty, discrimination, and other forms of adversity impact brain development and mental health outcomes among youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis.


Meghan enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and biking, listening to audiobooks, traveling, cooking and watching comedy/drama TV shows. Meghan is a true llama llover and frequently finds ways to bring llama-related content into her work with children!