Orna Goldwater, PhD Psychologist and Life Coach

Designing Lives Together with Positivity

Welcome to My Practice in Washington DC.  I am a collaborative and interactive psychologist.  I have Practiced in Dallas Texas for over 27 years.  As my Children grew, and they are now adults-not living in Dallas, I chose Washington DC to be my home for the nest semester of my life.  Practicing independently, Since 1996. I bring to my patients a common sense approach to understanding and managing psychological and other life problems. 
 I believe that problems impact more than one person and as such they can be solved faster when working with the family or a group when possible. Specializing in multi generational approach to solving behavioral, health, or mental health problems, I help patients address long standing positive and negative familial patterns.  


Orna Goldwater, PhD


I am a collaborative and interactive psychologist. Practicing independently, Since 1996, I bring to my patients a common sense approach to understanding and managing psychological and other life problems. As a clinical, family & health psychologist, I speciliaze in treating symptoms associated with Depression, Anxiety, adjustment disorders that impct mood and fear, and may physical problems that have both pysical, psychological, and behavioral /cognitive symptoms.  These conditions include: ADD/ADHD, Addictions, Fibromyalgia, Chronic and deteriorationf conditions such as muscular dystrophy ans parkinson's.  I believe that conversations about change lead to repeated exposure and practicing the target behaviors till they become natural.  Motivation is an important aspect that seperates success from failure.  



Most Patients seeking help in my office are seeking help in coping or improving their skills to live a competent and successful adult lives.  Their desires usually involve managing three basic roles, personal/familial interactions, career choice and development and managing or regulating emotions to be productive and be acceptable to others.  Managing or coping with mental illness can be one element impacting their performance. 

Adulthood involves all the following: managing life challenges, Managing Emotions, Coping with Depression, Managing Anxiety, Addressing Chronic Illness, Addressing Cognitive or Physical Limitations, Motivation, & utilizing core skills with Mindfulness & Positive Psychology.

Becoming healthy and well functioning adults or individuation is one of the primary goals of patients seeking help in my office.


Addictive behavior is one of the methods people use to avoid growing up and becoming fully functioning adults.  To change addictive habits, patients first need to acknowledge that their addictive behaviors are interfering with their ability to reach their personal or professional goals.   Denial, blaming, or other methods of accusing others or their circumstances will make it difficult to take on the needed challenge or conjure up the motivation needed to change. 

Addictions (alcohol, substances, angry and lashing out behavior, food, sex, shopping, internet, or just passivity and sleeping), are methods we find to avoid reality or hold on to fantasies that often lead to self sabotage or chaos. 


Childhood Disorders

As a family psychologist, I sought extensive training to help understand how to best help new mothers prepare for motherhood.  How to best allow the father to become an integral part of the nurturing bond that leads to raising an optimistic and resilient child.  One in every fiveor six new mothers experience mild, moderate, to severe symptoms of postpartum anxiety and depression.  One in every ten fathers is demonstrating symptoms associated with post Partum.  Depressed and anxious parents are unable to be present in a loving way and to allow for healthy bonding and the connection that the baby needs to help foster the healthy development of the regions of his/her brain most responsible for regulating emotions, self calming, and healthy exploration.

Childhood disorders can be genetically endowed, environmentally induced, or the result of an acute or repetitive traumatic experiences.  Correctly identifying primary, secondary, or tertiary causes to symptoms that become evident in early or middle childhood help build a treatment plan that will involve the child and others who interact with him/her.  Recent research has made it clear that treating the child without including and coaching the adults is far less successful in comparison to choosing a team approach. 


and other physically based disorders

Attention Deficit is not specific to children.  It is a physiological syndrome with positive and negative traits that impact people from early childhood till late adult life.  ADD/ADHD may impact some or all the following: sleep, attention, concentration, tendency to procrastinate, anxiety about forgetfulness due to impact on short term memory, organization, emotional regulation, a tendency to act impulsively, due to underdeveloped filters, difficulty reading or interpreting social cues, and boredom.  In United States there has been a trend of over diagnosing and over medicating ADD/ADHD.  Differential diagnosis is of outmost importance since in childhood many different disorders (especially childhood anxiety and depression) look similar to ADD/HD. 

Treating Childhood Disorders

Physical and psychological disorders can start during gestation, as part of our biological/chemical make up, or due to childhood trauma.  Helping parents to understand the origins of their children's symptoms and becoming versed in how to manage symptoms without destroying the child's self worth and self image is one of the priorities in my office.  

Managing Sleep

Over the last decade, researchers found links between sleep disorders and variety of physical and psychological difficulties.  Restful sleep is linked with improved attention, reduced anger/irritability, reduced fatigue, reduced addictive behaviors such as smoking, over eating, drinking, and risk taking behavior.  Many engage in such addictive behavior in order to self-calm. I encourage my patients to explore sleep hygiene: behaviors that aim on calming your body and mind a head of time before going to bed.  If behavioral change does not lead to relief, I will work with your physicians to seek a formal sleep study and explore available procedures.  Sleep experts suggest pursuing activities that help clearing the breathing pathways, swimming, hot showers, weight loss, reduced alcohol consumption, reduced smoking, are all areas that can help improve sleep.  

Managing Relationships

Couples Therapy

Managing Fights & Conflicts

Relationship rules and expectations


Current research in happiness indicate that having meaningful connection is the one single item related to happiness and motivation.  Dr. Goldwater received her Masters degree and Doctorate in counseling psychology in TWU.  The program focused on family systems theory.  Dr. Goldwater also completed a full year practicum at Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Services, and two years pre-post doctoral internship at Southwest Family Institute.  Dr. Goldwater also pursued post doctoral training in Emotionally Focused Couple's Therapy & The Gottman Institute. In this practice, learning how to engage in meaningful intimate relationships is the key to not only having good romantic relationship with a partner.  We engage in meaningful intimate (not romantic) relationships at work and at home with sibling, parents and children.  People with strong interpersonal skills tend to be trusted at work and promoted more often than individuals who are just skilled in their chosen profession without good "bedside manners".