Shawniese Tilmon, PsyD, is a psychologist at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
What inspired you to pursue a career in behavioral health?
I have always been fascinated by human behavior and relationships. When I met four-year-old “Donny,” his parents were divorced and sharing custody. During transitions, Donny’s parents frequently argued, called each other out of name, and made derogatory statements about each other in Donny’s presence. Donny’s mother often spoke of these conflicts, her frustrations, and her struggles to keep her negative thoughts about Donny’s father to herself. I was curious about how interactions between his parents impacted Donny’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as his relationships with his parents. Hearing about the upset that arose during these transitions piqued my interest in family court and mediation. However, Donny also had a younger half-sibling, which made me curious about the impact of these transitions on his younger sibling. These curiosities and concerns inspired my interest in family dynamics and ultimately steered me in the direction of child and family therapy.
How has being in NUHW helped you in your profession?
Being in NUHW has helped me to feel valued in my profession. Having people advocate for things I deserve, like wages and benefits, makes me feel that I am valued and that I matter. The benefits I have received have made me feel empowered in the way that I want to empower my clients — to speak up, have their voices heard, and advocate for their needs to be met in the way they deserve.