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Dayna Zatina Egan, Psy.D., IMHE
New Jersey

Associate Director for Relational Health

Montclair State University

Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health

"Fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune to accidentally stumble upon Dr. Gerry Costa during the course of my doctoral training when I was in pursuit of a practicum training with young children. I had just moved to New Jersey, and I had no idea at the time how lucky I was that fate brought me to YCS many years ago and offered me the opportunity to have Gerry as my supervisor. Very quickly, I learned that Gerry’s ways of thinking, conceptualizing, doing and being, where the missing connection in so much of my prior training and schooling thus far.  He opened my eyes to what Infant Mental Health is and all that it encompassed. Further, he showed me how this work cannot solely stay in the clinical room, and Gerry was integral in helping me cultivate my now love of advocacy work in this field.  He infused in me the idea that this work cannot be individual-focused and needs to incorporate everyone in any family system, of all ages, “from womb to tomb”; and in order to do that, we need to focus on all the places and spaces that families are and show up for them in advocacy efforts in all of these areas.  
One of my favorite Gerry quotes is “never be afraid to wonder, just don’t fall in love with your hypothesis”. This is something that Gerry said to me early on, and it stuck with me tremendously over the years (so much so that I currently have it on a sign, hanging in my office). Further, Gerry always created an easy, safe space to wonder in our time together, and I believe this provided a firm foundation for my current passion and commitment to reflective supervision/consultation, reflective practice, and reflective leadership. And I think that his way of being during our supervisions together set the stage for my own excitement about becoming a supervisor myself, as I now work with professionals across disciplines in supervisory and consultation relationships.
Over the years, I feel blessed to have been able to have Gerry as a mentor throughout my various professional journeys. To be with Gerry is to feel valued, connected, and inspired. He makes me feel like I am making a difference, even when the work feels hard and insurmountable. Whenever he and I connect, I know that I can share openly and honestly, without judgment, and that he will lead with his heart as he attempts to support me in whatever way he can. And I work to channel his words and this feeling whenever I can. What a privilege it is to have Gerry’s voice and words in my head as I think through tough cases and stumble upon hard-to-open doors in advocacy work.  

And the best part of all is when I need a little extra support or guidance, I know it is only one call away….thank you, Gerry, for all that you are, have done, and continue to do for the many lives you have impacted in your own professional journey!"

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