Lehigh Psychological Services, P.C. Picture of a troubled young boy.
Caring, experienced professionals
Psychologist focuses on communications disorders By Jim Marsh Business Journal Correspondent As Published in the EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESS JOURNAL May 24-30, 2004
Emmaus psychologist Adam Cox likes to tell people his wife married an artist who became a doctor. As owner and president of Lehigh Psychological Services, Cox has taken principals he learned when he was a fine arts painter mentoring young inner-city boys, and applied them to helping young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) problems and other disorders.

A native of Rhode Island, Cox took a rather unique journey to his current group psychological practice. He earned an undergraduate degree in fine arts at Ohio University, then moved to the New York City area where he lived for four or five years to pursue a career as an artist.

When he was in graduate school studying art in New York, Cox found an interest in abstract art. As his career developed, however, he gravitated more toward realism and representational art. He exhibited in New York galleries and was “enjoying a fair amount of success”.

He lived in a multi-ethnic community of Hoboken, N.J., where many children had no positive male role models in their lives. He practiced his art in a store-front studio and eventually started to invite children in for impromptu art classes to express their innate creativity.

“I found that children were naturally curious about people doing anything that was creative.” Cox says, “There was something marvelous to kids about someone who would spend their day with a piece of canvas and a lot of colored paints, doing the kinds of things they might do in school.”

Cox also found the children to be “incredibly hungry to be taught how to do anything. It was that experience that first introduced me to how important it is for children to pursue some type of mastery in their lives. They are fascinated with developing the skills and understanding that allow them to achieve some kind of competence in their lives.”

Cox says that continues to be an important concept that drives his work in his clinical practice today.

Psychologist Daniel Werner, in photo above, an associate at Lehigh Psychological Services, bids goodbye to a client at his office.

Finding his work with children was bringing out an interest in psychology, and finding that many of the principles he had been applying with the young students were sound practices found in psychology texts, Cox began to have second thoughts about his career choice.

“I began to discover I was much happier interacting with people than living the kind of loneliness that an artist often experiences,” Cox says. “It was not so much that I developed a disinterest in art, as it was gravitating toward working with people, and serving another purpose.”

A job offer from the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, further propelled him toward a career change. He was hired as a counselor to students who were about to graduate to do some of the things Cox had already done as an artist.

As Cox began that task, he said he began taking the counseling part of the job more seriously, and he pursued a master's degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. In connection with his academic work there, he also began working with students at Harvard University 's graduate school of design, counseling them in architecture and urban design.

Psychologist Adam Cox, Shown above, of Lehigh Psychological Services, Emmaus, uses a variety of games and other devices to to evaluate his young clients.

Dianne Gehman, office manager at Lehigh Psychological Services, makes an appointment for a client at the Emmaus group practice.
Jacquelyne Cox, left in photo above, goes over items with billing coordinator Nanette Balliet-Exley.
He worked extensively with art and design students for five years, first helping them make career transitions, then later with traditional psychotherapy. At that point he decided to apply to get his PhD. An offer from Lehigh University brought Cox and his wife, Jacquelyne, to the Lehigh Valley in the early 1990s when he was in his late twenties.

Cox received his doctorate in psychology from Lehigh and did his clinical training at Friends Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in Philadelphia. From there he served for two years as program director at Salisbury House, a crisis stabilization facility in Salisbury Township, and worked at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Allentown.

Yearning to work with people with syndromes he felt he could have the most impact in helping, Cox began looking for private practice opportunities. He began Lehigh Psychological Services in January, 2000, in a 100-square-foot office at 1040 Chestnut Street, Emmaus, where he now has a suite of offices. “I was working by myself in one small office, doing the clinical work, the billing, the bookkeeping and phone answering, and all the while continuing to hold my other job,” Cox recalls. After five months, he had built enough caseload to transition to full-time practice.

Being closely allied with Dr. John Heid, the owner of the building housing Cox’s practice, has helped shape Lehigh Psychological Services.

“Dr. Heid has practiced as a family physician under the name of Family Doctor, Inc., for the past 30 years in Emmaus,” Cox says.

Their proximity led to Heid referring many patient evaluations to Cox’s practice – especially children having adjustment difficulties in school with attention deficit-type disorders.

Cox says the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has declared ADHD is one of the major health epidemics facing children in this country, and a significant threat to children’s health throughout the world. This being a clinical population that has been under-served, Cox says, has led to an area of emphasis for his practice.

"We have developed some close working alliances with area schools, and other facilities that treat children that have needed someone to do in-depth evaluation of children and provide behavioral support and recommendations for medication, and those kinds of things," Cox says.

"As we began taking referrals and treating some of these kids," Cox says, "and helping families resolve some of the behavioral problems which are so common, especially among school-age boys, those families began referring many more clients to us. Our practice began to grow at almost a rate we could not keep up with, because of the expertise we have developed in handling some of these problems among school-aged boys."

Cox now has another doctoral level psychologist, a clinical social worker and a doctoral psychology intern working in his practice over a wide spectrum of specialties. Cox says his group has between 150-175 clients active at any given time, of which about 100 are seen in a typical week.

The expertise Cox has developed has put him in demand as a speaker across the country. He recently made a presentation at the International Learning Disabilities Conference in Atlanta . He also has written a book, "Boys of Few Words - Helping Our Sons Across the Communication Divide," which will be published next spring, by Guilford Publication, New York . He is also a sought-after speaker and seminar leader in the Lehigh Valley.

Adam Cox is very happy with the results he sees in the niche treatment area he has developed. “Most people in this field of mental health don’t get particularly excited about spending their days with conduct-disordered boys.” Cox, though, has found that many of these boys “are just hungry to have a mentor in their lives, and some leadership and guidance in developing some of the skills they need to feel good about themselves.”

As this suggests, Cox’s experience reaching out to children from his storefront art studio is still reaping human dividends.


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