A distinguished psychologist for more than 30 years, Dr. Jeanette McDowell is highly regarded as an expert in family and child psychology. She became inspired to pursue her line of work out of her passion for helping people who may not be able to afford therapy but are in great need of a psychologist. Since spearheading her private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she has devoted herself to her clients, seeing around eight to 10 clients daily. In addition to counseling, Dr. McDowell works with people with disabilities, helping them apply for disability benefits and presenting their cases to the Disability Committee. She also conducts workshops and seminars on family and child psychology.
Before embarking upon her professional journey, Dr. McDowell earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of the Southern Caribbean and a master’s degree in educational and developmental psychology. She subsequently attained a Doctor of Philosophy in counseling psychology. Following these accomplishments, she commenced her career as a school principal and a school psychologist. Having enjoyed her time in the education sector, she moved on to gain expertise in teaching higher education, becoming a professor in the graduate department for St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina.
To remain aware of developments affecting her field, Dr. McDowell maintains membership with the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She credits much of her present-day success to the encouragement she received from her late father, David McDowell, early in her life. He consistently provided her the support and motivation to follow her passion, always citing her as “brilliant” and sharing his words of wisdom, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Dr. McDowell’s father passed away when she was only 10 years old, and due to these struggles, she had to work independently, even working four jobs while aspiring toward her doctorate, to reach where she is now.
In addition to the influence of her father, Dr. McDowell also recognizes the impact of multiple educators who uplifted her throughout her life. She recalls the positive power of Mrs. Olive Lewis, who she recalls as very intelligent, respectful and a “fashion icon,” as well as Dr. K.S. Wiggins, a psychologist who told her she was born with the innate gift of psychology and to pursue a degree in psychology. In college, Dr. McDowell remembers her first psychology professor, Dr. Elvin Gabriel, made her feel confident she wanted to become a psychologist.
Having accrued three decades of expertise in psychology and mental health, Dr. McDowell’s advice to fellow or aspiring members of her industry is to have excellent social skills and a high sense of responsibility. Likewise, she stresses the importance of being sensitive to the needs of others, intrinsically motivated, caring, compassionate and open to new ideas. She adds that it is imperative for the most successful professionals to be detail oriented in any field. Dr. McDowell notes that it is not easy to get rich in life but working in psychology is a rich and fulfilling field that makes for an outstanding career and life.
Outside of her primary work, Dr. McDowell travels to developing countries to work with nurses and doctors whose patients require mental health services. In addition to working in her practice and volunteering, she is currently spending much time writing books on her areas of expertise. In five years’ time, she plans to have written three books and also has plans to utilize them as a basis to conduct presentations in various locations around the world.
A distinguished Marquis listee, Dr. McDowell is married to Lennox Forrest and has one stepson. Born in Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean Island, she currently resides in Wyoming, Michigan.