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FACES OF NEWTON: Priscilla Faulkner
Aiding the community through psychology practice, family farm
Priscilla Faulkner.jpeg

Serving the community through her psychology practice, an animal assisted therapy program at her family farm and being involved with the Division of Family and Child Services (DCFS), are just a few ways in which Priscilla Faulkner exercises her passion for people.

Located at 3155 Mill Street in Covington, Faulkner began her practice, Southeastern Psychological Associates, Inc. in 2011. Despite initially expecting to work primarily with children, she discovered her calling elsewhere in the field.

“I have always been interested in people and why people do what they do,” Faulkner said. “I thought that I would work with children, but have found my work with the accountability courts to be my favorite part of my work right now. I really enjoy seeing people who have struggled with mental illness and substance abuse and been involved with the criminal justice system find new hope, repair relationships and become valued members of their community.”

Faulkner’s introduction to DFCS began at an early age when her parents began fostering children. An internship emphasizing forensic services allowed Faulkner to refamiliarize herself with the court system, where she became comfortable with testifying and grew to enjoy it for the sake of strengthening safe and nurturing family dynamics. 

Through DFCS, Faulkner conducts assessments of parents in order to evaluate “parenting competence,” potential risks for children in their care and issues that could impact parenting. She also consults on cases, assesses parent and child bonding, testifies on hearings related to child abuse or neglect and testifies on factors in early attachment. 

Additionally, Faulkner works with Newton County’s Family Treatment Court in cases where DFCS is also involved with a parent due to substance abuse.

At Falconwood Farms, owned by her family, Faulkner breeds dairy goats as well as offers riding lessons, vaulting and boarding. Faulkner’s nonprofit, Horse Time, Inc. – which she started with her friend, Maureen Vidrine, also operates on the farm as an animal assisted therapy program.

Faulkner explained how animal assisted therapy serves as an outlet outside of regular therapy for children to learn and understand things in a different light.

“I think for some kids, it’s a nonjudgmental, kind of co-therapist,” Faulkner said. “For others, watching the animals and interacting with the animals lets them learn things about themselves.”

Faulkner and her husband, Ray have been married for 21 years. When they married, Ray was already a father of three, whom she considered “so nice that they tricked [her] into thinking parenting was easy.” Together, they had three more children and are now grandparents to six. 

Work aside, Faulkner enjoys thrift shopping, working outside on the farm and spending time with her children. As a native who ventured back to Covington after going off to college and living elsewhere for several years, she remains enthralled by her hometown. 

“I love the history,” Faulkner said. “I grew up in an old home and have always been fascinated with the history of Covington and all the changes it has gone through.”