Staff Collaborate Conference Room

Michael Smith, PsyD


Michael D. Smith, PsyD

Assistant Clinical Professor


  • Medical College of Wisconsin
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
    Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1987, Dr. Smith then obtained a school psychology master’s degree in 1990. He worked for three years at several inner-city Cleveland public schools and joined a group psychology practice where he provided assessment and psychotherapy services until 1996. These experiences focused Dr. Smith’s interest in risk behavior and the adaptation of individuals to their environments, leading him to a PsyD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1999.

Dr. Smith completed a two-year NIH national research service award (NRSA) post-doctoral fellowship at MCW’s Center for AIDS Intervention Research, focusing on the reduction of risk behavior in marginalized populations. He then entered 13 years of university teaching, attained the rank of full professor, and was elected department head. He continued clinical work by seeing patients in private practice and in a community mental health center. Dr. Smith has more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters, as well as a specialty book.

Now with Froedtert’s CARF accredited spinal cord injury and general rehabilitation programs since May 2014, Dr. Smith provides integrated behavioral health services as part of an interdisciplinary team. He rounds with physicians, builds staff capacity to incorporate cognitive-behavioral principles into the rehabilitation process, conducts assessment and intervention with patients, provides didactic education, co-coordinates peer mentoring programs, works to enhance patients’ effective health behavior, and sees outpatients who need a rehabilitation perspective incorporated into their care. Dr. Smith has also been spear-heading initiatives in nonpharmacologic pain management and the development of education materials regarding relationships, sexual intimacy, and parenting.


BA, Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
MEd, School Psychology, John Carroll University, University Heights, OH
PsyD, Clinical Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
Residency: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, Milwaukee, WI
Fellowship: Center for Aids Intervention Research (CAIR), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Research Interests

Dr. Smith employs Cognitive-Behavioral methods embedded within a Structural-Strategic framework. This approach reflects a social-cognitive perspective where behavior, cognition, and the social context interact to produce human functioning. Considering social context is particularly important in rehabilitation given that most patients will be returning home to pre-existing relationships which now must accommodate a disability. By starting to address this adjustment process during the inpatient phase of care, such an approach enhances the potential for successful community re-integration and a satisfying quality of life.

Dr. Smith’s practice is also informed by Feminist Psychotherapy where power differentials are minimized between practitioner and patient in terms of the various socially constructed categories into which society sorts individuals. This orientation results in a genuine patient-provider partnership, boosting patient empowerment relative to participation in the rehabilitation program, self-care, and successful lifespan adjustment in the face of disability.