Phone: (215) 640-0600 xt203
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Curriculum Vitae

I am a psychologist with a doctoral degree. Psychologists rely on communication as the basis of treatment. My approach to treatment might be described as a conversation between two people. My responsibility in that conversation is to use my knowledge of psychological principles in accordance with the requests of the person consulting me, in order to clarify and enable those requests.

In accordance with the wisdom behind, “Be careful what you wish for – you might get it,” part of the process sometimes involves some study of related changes that might come along with the wish presented.

Sometimes, behavioral and cognitive therapy, combined,  is a wise choice. Research indicates that for depression and anxiety, a combination of these two types of therapy provide the quickest recovery. I prefer to use an evidence based approach as a first choice, and also prefer to make this a part of the therapy conversation.

Sometimes, a person will tell me that they have tried cognitive/behavioral therapy for depression (or anxiety) and that their symptoms increased instead of diminishing. This deepens our conversation and points to a need for the original problem to be revisited. Possibly the problem was not actually depression and anxiety but some other similar psychological condition or state.

One of my ‘pet peeves’ is that some practitioners will take the client’s statement, “I’ve been depressed,” and convert that directly into a clinical diagnosis. We all use the term “I’m kind of depressed,” at times but that is not a basis for treatment. It is a statement of feeling, a subjective report. 

With me, the therapy conversation deepens at this point, and I am careful to make sure that the client feels a true sense of teamwork with me and that we share the task of figuring out the previous treatment failure and finding a better outcome. There are may modalities of treatment, and often treatment failures result from an inappropriate match of problem and treatment type.

If the conversation does not provide enough clarity, psychological testing is another option. Here we have a number of tools that provide useful information. I strongly prefer that psychological testing happen in a cooperative, supportive context. It can be unsettling to find out things about one’s personality function or symptom pattern, or any other finding. Sometimes even the results of a vocational preference inventory can be stressful. If testing is something that the client wants in order to clarify psychological function, our testing program aims at revealing inner dynamics in an interesting and useful way.

My personal bias is that psychological well being is best founded on a true acceptance of self, including the parts that we may judge as negative or frightening. The disowned parts of the self do not really go away if one tries to ignore them or act as if they are not a part of one’s self. Then, these parts of the self are more likely to cause trouble in some way, just as neglected children cause more trouble than the rest. We probably all need to pay more, rather than less, attention to the troubled parts of ourselves, as a way to heal. Sometimes, people just want the depression to go away and I am happy to enable that goal without preferring that each person examine the inner self.

Not all depression, or anxiety, is a cause for treatment, or a sign that the person has some problem at all. It can be a natural response to some life circumstance. Sometimes, a life circumstance is the focus of the therapy conversation. Often the nature of this conversation involves clarifying the way in which this life circumstance leads to the feeling of depression, or anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy has much in common with taking a class. The therapist teaches a variety of methods aimed at whatever symptom the client targets. Unlike a class, the lessons are tailored to the specific individual. Sometimes, homework is involved. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective for depression, anxiety – including phobias, and many social problems. Core skills have an effect on more than one problem. For example, assertive training increases effectiveness in dealing with difficult people. It also increases self-esteem and reduces anxiety. This combination of positive effects may also lead to less depression, even though depression is usually not a primary target of assertive training. Unlike medications, cognitive behavioral methods have positive side effects.

Multimodal Therapy

Arnold Lazarus introduced this term to describe a type of therapy that utilizes a wider bandwidth of methods into cognitive-behavioral therapy. Modalities such as guided imagery and re-evaluating the quality of relationships provide extra dimensions of impact on problems.

Therapy aimed at self understanding

This category of therapy is not aimed at symptom resolution alone, although that may be the initial reason for self investigation. This sort of therapy views a symptom as a meaningful statement from the self about the inner world and the subjective experience of the outer world. For some people, this sort of work helps prevent recurrences of depression or other symptoms. One learns to see how the various aspects of the self may not be in harmony and create inner conflict. Inner conflict provides a shaky basis for positive results in the outside world, as the self often chooses some aspects of the outer environment to match the factions within the self. People who notice that they have repeated negative patterns in the external world, such as similar relationships with negative aspects, may find that understanding the self is a basis for better outcomes.

If you experience yourself as a bit like an unruly group of factions with inner negotiation taking place frequently, you might enjoy this sort of therapy.

Dreams and psychological testing
Sometimes writing down dreams can be a way of understanding the inner self. There are two methods of understanding dreams that assist with this understanding. Part of the therapy work in the area of self understanding may include work with dreams, using either or both of these methods. Each method has a parallel in one of the two psychological tests that are most useful in the process of self understanding, the Rorschach and Myers-Briggs Type Inventory. Each of these tests can provide a different way of thinking about the inner self that allow for positive change and/or self acceptance.