Alison Gardner, Psy. D., LCP (Licensed Clinical Psychologist)


Dr. Alison Gardner is a licensed clinical child psychologist who has been practicing since 2003. She specializes in treating preschool and school-aged children who are struggling with anxiety and other emotional and behavioral regulation difficulties. She also supports children and families through life stresses from divorce and other losses to school and social challenges.

She takes an integrative approach to her work with children and families. In so doing, she works strategically with children, parents, and schools in order to leverage multiple pathways for teaching new skills and fostering children’s emotional well-being and secure relationships with the important adults around them.

Dr. Gardner opened Nurture Child and Family together with her husband, Mark Gardner, LCSW, in McLean, VA in 2015.  Previously, she worked for 12 years with Family Compass, a private group psychotherapy practice in Reston, VA. She was also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University from 2012 until 2016.  

Dr. Gardner grew up in Pennsylvania and received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology (a university based program jointly sponsored by Eastern Virginia Medical School, The College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, and Norfolk State University) in 2002 after completing her internship with the Fairfax County Community Services Board (The Woodburn Center). Dr. Gardner trained with and worked for Fairfax County's Infancy and Early Childhood Program before joining Family Compass in 2004.    She has completed post graduate seminars in early childhood with the Washington School of Psychiatry, the Baltimore Washington Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the Selective Mutism Group (Childhood Anxiety Network), and in various topics related to ADHD, mood disorders, behavioral challenges, mindfulness practice, and sand tray work.  

When not at work, Dr. Gardner cherishes spending family time with her husband and son.  She also loves yoga, gardening, hiking and traveling to new places.   

Mark Gardner, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)

Mark Gardner, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, an early-childhood mental health consultant, professional-development provider, podcast host, husband and father.

For young children with emotional and behavioral challenges, he provides child & family psychotherapy services at Nurture Child and Family, PLLC in McLean, VA, (with his wife, Alison Gardner, Psy.D.) and at Family Compass, in Reston, VA, where he’s worked for the past 10 years. Prior to private practice, he worked for five years as an early-childhood therapist with Fairfax County’s community mental health centers, at Inova Kellar Center, and as a social worker at Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter.

When not at his office, you’ll regularly find him in preschools and child-care programs, working with children, teachers and parents to help foster young children’s social-emotional development and address challenging behaviors and stressful family situations. He is a staff member at Main Street Child Development Center in Fairfax City, VA, where, for the last eight years, he has provided mental health consultation services each week to the center’s children, families and staff. He also sits on Fairfax County’s School Readiness Community Collaborative Council.

Recently, Mark presented a series of workshops with multi-disciplinary groups of early-childhood professionals that focused on collaborative approaches for promoting social-emotional competencies in young children (sponsored by the Virginia Quality Rating and Improvement System & Fx. Co.’s Office for Children), as well as speaking at National Association of Education for Young Children’s (NAEYC) 2015 professional development institute and PWAEYC’s 2015 fall conference. He regularly presents talks to teachers and parents at local preschools.

He also hosts Nurture – An Early Childhood Development Podcast, which can be found in iTunes, your favorite podcast app, or at

Mark grew up in the area and has lived and worked in Fairfax for many years. He graduated from George Mason University in 1991 with a BA in Anthropology and received his MSW (Master of Social Work) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1997. He’s been licensed by the state of Virginia to provide clinical social work services since 2004.

When not working, he enjoys life at home with his wonderful wife and adorable six-year-old son.