For me, context is everything.
I’m an information seeker at heart. It’s in part what led me to my career as a psychologist, seeking to ask the right questions to piece together a new understanding of a person or situation.
I’ve learned that it’s the details of our stories, and all the complexities surrounding them -- issues of gender, race, culture, past experiences, and current circumstance – that impact how we make meaning of our lives. While we cannot avoid suffering, discomfort, or struggle, the way in which we respond to our challenges, daily routine and novel experiences creates a lens through which we see ourselves, others and the world. Having a sense of meaning also provides a guidepost for our values and strongly held beliefs; it helps us to take committed action toward the things we find most important.
My own story is one of a lifelong learner, daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. It’s one of a woman who has evolved in her values and perspective.
In former chapters of my life, I prioritized “doing” versus “being.” But after accomplishing academic and career success and then starting a family, my values began to shift from achievement to experience, from being overly scheduled to being fully present.
This evolution was most apparent when I made the transition from confident professional to novice mother and learned to ride the waves of parenthood. The knowledge of developmental milestones and attachment styles that I gained with a doctoral degree did not fully prepare me for parenthood. Knowing is not the same as doing.
Like most (especially first time) parents, I found myself having to sit in the uncertainty of many parenting challenges: “Should I take her to the doctor for this problem? How should we handle biting in the daycare classroom? What can we do to help her calm herself during a tantrum?” Bringing an attitude of curiosity and attention to my thoughts and feelings and then taking action, if or when I was able, helped me to manage this unchartered territory. The practice of mindfulness proved to be an invaluable tool in my parenting arsenal. It has allowed me to acknowledge thoughts or worries, to be fully attuned to my emotional state, and then to respond -- rather than react -- in a meaningful way.
Over time, I have come to appreciate the practice of being present in and for my daily life, rather than merely fulfilling duties and expected roles. For me, honoring my values and adapting how I live them out based on context has been very powerful.
One way I have exemplified my value of connection throughout my life is by forging close friendships, and choosing a career that allows me to build deep relationships with others. As a parent, connection looks like reading together as we snuggle in at bedtime, singing loudly and unabashedly in the car, or tight hugs and kissing of “boo boos” when we have yet another playground injury. Forming close bonds with others has remained central throughout my life, and yet the way it is demonstrated really depends on context.
My work in the world is to create a safe, open, and non-judgemental environment for others to share their suffering. However, I view my role as not only that of an affirming listener, but also as an active practitioner who can offer tools rooted in science for symptom relief, mindful awareness, self-compassion, and values-based living.
As part of that work, I find that understanding others’ unique lived experiences is essential as we navigate physical, emotional and relational stressors together. In my role as a clinical psychologist, I pair evidence-based practices with the art of witnessing individual stories to help others live out their values in meaningful ways.
I look forward to supporting you on this journey.
Dr. Sarah Cox is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in treating women’s behavioral health concerns with a focus on the mind-body connection. Dr. Cox received her doctoral degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Talbert House in Cincinnati where she later was employed as a clinician and supervisor for a trauma treatment team. Dr. Cox most recently worked with patients at TriHealth Women’s Center, and specialized in integrating physical and mental health care needs.
The most common presenting problems in her practice include mood disorders, anxiety, reactions to trauma, relationship problems and psychological responses to physical health problems such as chronic illness, pain, and non-restorative sleep. She focuses on women’s needs throughout adult life, including relationship stressors, pregnancy and postpartum challenges, and menopause. Dr. Cox aims to help people help themselves by changing thinking and behavior patterns, learning strategies for coping with emotional distress, and developing an understanding about how past events are impacting current functioning. In an effort to provide gender-responsive treatment to female patients, she offers evidence-based strategies while acknowledging women’s needs and perspectives.
- That our bodies are built to signal fear and also to create calm.
- That women need a tribe to thrive.
- That change is possible when we are ready and willing to experience discomfort.
- That being fully present is a gift, and a practice.
- That quality sleep is imperative, but strong coffee doesn’t hurt.
- That we deserve to be as compassionate to ourselves as we are to others.
- That when we are living out our values, we are most content.
- That details matter, and context is everything.
- That self-care can look like alone time, community, or binge-worthy TV.
- That we all have something meaningful to contribute to this world.
Sarah is a thoughtful, kind, and caring individual. I frequently seek her consultation due to her extensive background and skills in providing compassionate and high quality care to patients. She is extremely talented and I would highly recommend her as a therapist. She creates a non-judgmental, safe, and collaborative environment for everyone she comes into contact with. She truly is an asset to the community and field.
Margaret Lemp, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Lead Behavioral Health Consultant
Dr. Cox is an invaluable resource for our patients. She has a wonderful sense of calm and is extremely relatable. I would trust her to assess and treat any of my patients' psychological conditions. She is skilled at identifying a person's needs and coming up with an effective treatment strategy. She has a wonderfully collaborative nature that elevated the care we could provide.
Dr. Yvette Neirouz
Medical Director, Trihealth Women's Center, Kenwood, Ohio
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