My Philosophy

Most people come to a therapist because some need conflict resolutions. Some come with a specific question and want an opinion. I do my best in the beginning to identify the issues. I am not a passive therapist. I interact and, when I think I have something important to say, I do so without hesitation.

Humanism best describes the core of my philosophy of therapy. I believe in the value of an individual’s dignity and believe people enter this world striving toward understanding themselves and in so doing find contentment. I am a believer during therapy of helping people identify their virtues. I am also a social scientist and when painful symptoms exist, I work hard to determine where the symptoms are coming from, the difference between the necessary pain to grow and the pain that one must get over to continue growing. If I feel medication is warranted, I will say so. I am a big believer in neuroplasticity suggesting there are other methods available besides medicine to help peoples’ brains chart new pathways that can help them get over things such as obsessions and compulsions and even learn how to better cope with pain.

Besides Humanism, I consider the writings and theories of Carl Jung as coming the closest to the way I think about psychodynamics. We are all born with a genetic template, the heredity issues set some limits but our environment realizes our potential. I truly believe life is the best therapist for all of us. If we develop a pattern of ignoring or avoiding the issues our inner self tells us we need to face, we won’t find contentment.

My Approach With Adolescents

Adolescence has been referred to as being a psychiatric diagnosis in itself. So, depending upon the age of your teenager and circumstances, more than likely I would request an initial meeting with both parents. There are always exceptions that in my mind are more typical than not with adolescents. For example, if there is a family crisis at hand I may decide to meet first with the adolescent and parents to try to help the family regain some stability. Depending upon the specific circumstances, treatment with an adolescent will always require communication with parents. Confidentiality is often an issue and I prefer to use my own clinical judgment as to how to handle confidentiality issues.

My Approach With Adults

While there are exceptions with children and adolescents, with adults I do not spend early sessions obtaining a lot of family history. It has been my experience the relevant history unfolds as necessary. I believe in helping the patient identify the issues they want to change as quickly as feasible and sometimes that has nothing to do with their childhood.My approach in individual therapy with an adult would be to conduct an intake interview. During this interview I will ask what brought the person to me seeking professional help and the sorts of things tried to solve the particular conflict. I would then obtain relevant history of when the conflicts began, doing a lot of listening and note taking. Depending upon the comfort level of both of us, another appointment would be scheduled to begin the process of therapy. Due to the vast number of people claiming to be experienced practitioners, I offer an initial 30-minute visit at no charge so we can determine if and how we can work together.

Marital/Relationship Therapy

It has always been my belief that any relationship is only as healthy as each individual in the relationship. There are always exceptions, such as an individual spouse that may develop an addiction or have a hypo-manic episode. There are events that happen in life that are not predictable and relationships are no different. Change is a fact of life and every relationship must adjust accordingly. My program for marriage counseling involves initially seeing both individuals separately to listen to each partner’s perspective. While in some cases I would continue to meet with both partners, in relationships where there are more serious issues I like to meet with each individual to obtain more history and assessing the extend of each individual’s problems. Depending on the severity I will often refer one of the partners to another therapist. After the other therapist has evaluated the other partner, we would then consult to see if joint sessions would be appropriate.For those people who contemplating getting married, I also offer pre-marital counseling. Instead of treating possible conflicts as not important prior to marriage, I work with couples to explore what issues exist in the present and how to prepare for solution solving after marriage.