Psychotherapy Services: Expertise, Orientation and Style of Therapy

I have extensive training in working with clients who have difficult-to-treat disorders.  When working with eating disorders or substance abuse, my preference is to work collaboratively with other professionals (psychiatrists; nutritionists, etc.) to form a cohesive treatment team that can help the client make the comprehensive life changes necessary for true recovery.  I have a special interest in working with individuals with personality disorders such as Narcissistic or Borderline Personality Disorders.  My active style and willingness to give direction when necessary is a good match for these kinds of problems. I also particularly enjoy working with young adults (college age & recent graduates) and helping them navigate the new challenges of this stage where they are developing an identity as an adult.  This is frequently a difficult transition as suddenly there are a myriad of new expectations and freedoms for which they have no previous experience.   As a seasoned professional with expertise in dealing with difficult disorders, I am often referred patients who have had previous psychological treatment which has been less than successful, and where the goal is to determine a treatment plan that will be more effective and result in more permanent change. 

 

In addition to helping clients with more long-standing disorders, I find it very rewarding to work in psychotherapy with professional adults who are experiencing obstacles to acheiving the success that they are capable of due to unresolved issues from earlier in their lives.  In these cases, targeted goals in therapy might include freeing themselves from beliefs or schemas which are inhibiting their personal growth and development.  Like most well-trained psychologists, I have substantial experience with the evaluation and treatment of more common difficulties such as mood disorders, anxiety, and interpersonal conflict.  Learning to better manage intense emotion, to set appropriate interpersonal boundaries effectively, to improve communication, and to reduce self-destructive behavior patterns: all of this can result in significant improvement in the quality of daily living.

 

Family therapy is often the treatment of choice with adolescents, especially those with oppositional disorders or other behavioral problems. In these cases, I work with the parents on strategies to increase their success with managing their children while also helping the adults increase their attunement and better appreciate the adolscent's worldview.  Treatment for acting out and defiant adolescents often requires a treatment team where one therapist works with the parents and/or family system, and another works individually with the teenager.  As is obvious, the earlier the intervention, the more likely that the family can avoid ongoing conflict and crises, and the adolescent can get back on track towards a life of greater autonomy and self-management.  Family therapy can also be extremely effective when adult children and their parents are able to resolve problems from the past which continue to negatively affect their current relationships.

 

An additional area of my expertise is working with the parents and family members of persons with addictions and other out-of-control behavioral problems.  I work with the significant persons in the addict's life to help them understand how best to deal with the addict and their own feelings about the addiction and how to avoid the experience of being a "hostage" to their family member's troubled behavior.  This is useful whether the addict (or eating-disordered individual) themselves are in the process of recovery or whether they are still in denial about the severity of their problem.  Furthermore, with a history of working in adolescent residential treatment, I am familiar with the difficulties that parents of acting-out and rebellious adolescents can experience when trying to work as a team to deal with their teen's behavior, and I frequently provide "family therapy" even when the identified patient is unwilling to attend the sessions.  Unlike many professionals in the field, I do not believe that it is critical for a person to believe that they require treatment in order to be helped by psychotherapy whether they attend the sessions or their parents are the people requesting intervention.

The Initial Diagnostic Session:

The goal of the initial diagnostic appointment is for the therapist to collect relevant information about the client's reasons for seeking psychotherapy, including his or her goals for the treatment.  The therapist will be asking about the patient's personal and family history, will inquire about past experiences in psychotherapy, and may request permission to contact other mental health providers, both past and present. 

 

As the client, you should feel free to ask the provider about her orientation, training, style of therapy, and how she will be working with you during the therapy.  She should also make clear what her expectations are of you as a client, how often she recommends meeting together, and how she understands your current situation.  One of the central purposes of the initial session is for both people to determine whether they can work together as a team to address the client's concerns and to meet the goals of the therapy.