How I Work

I often tell folks that the only thing I know how to do is to have good conversations and to help others do the same.

On the one hand, that sounds like I’ve not gotten a very good return on my educational and professional investments over the last 20 years and maybe I should rethink my career path (currently my backups are pizzaiolo, Christmas tree farmer, or helicopter pilot). And maybe you should look for another therapist!

On the other hand, human beings have been engaging in dialogue within the context of authentic relationships for thousands upon thousands of years…and when it goes well, amazing things happen – people grow, relationships heal, families and communities flourish, literal and figurative bridges get built, and societies advance.

I don’t do “sexy” therapy. If you want the latest and greatest interventions, to have a wand waved in front of your face, get hooked up to things or have your brain stimulated, or be coached into actualizing and maximizing your potential so you can join the FIRE movement, I’m happy to refer you to others who do those things (and well). Just about all therapy methods are useful and what is most effective often just depends on the uniqueness of client, the therapist, and what happens between them.

Instead, in the therapy room, whether with individuals or couples, I do “tried and true” – create an open, receptive, and genuine connection; bring my own awareness and personality to bear in professionally-responsible ways; get to know the client(s) and his or her world from the inside out; give feedback and ask questions; provide an adequate mix of nurture and challenge; and share as many perspectives as possible. Change is (almost) all but inevitable in such a process, because, as the inimitable existential therapist Irvin Yalom says, “it’s the relationship that heals.”

But it’s not navel-gazing. So if you want someone to simply vent to because you choose not to cultivate friendships organically, or you’re only interested in trying to answer all of life’s (ultimately unanswerable) “why’s” but not actually do anything to make your life better today, you may want to look elsewhere. To me, therapy is about CHANGE – in perspectives, behaviors, emotions, and/or relationships. And change is what I assume you are here to do (or are at least considering…I can work with that too). So it’s my goal to help you get unstuck and back to a life worth living.

That’s one reason why, when working individually at least, I tend to prefer to first lay a clinical foundation on what’s called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (referred to, and pronounced as, “ACT” for short). This model focuses on three general change processes:

  • becoming open and aware of your internal and external experience (thoughts, sensations, etc.)
  • not getting bogged down and missing life by avoiding unpleasant thoughts/feelings/situations, on the one hand, or buying into all the nonsense your mind often tells you, on the other
  • identifying and acting on your cherished values in a way that makes life worth living

ACT provides a number of experiential tools to change the way you relate to yourself on a fundamental level. Once clients have gained some initial stability by putting some of these into practice, then our work can really take off.

Important Documents

If after a brief consult we decide to work together, I’ll eventually ask you to complete and return some of these.

Intake Questionnaire

Download the intake questionnaire here. It is an MS Word form. Click the link, and once the document appears in the Google Drive site, click “File”, then “Download”, then “Microsoft Word (.docx).”

If you prefer a version to print and complete by hand, follow the same instructions after clicking here.

Professional Disclosure Statement

Click here. Once the document opens, click the “download” icon (a downward arrow), usually in the top-right portion of the screen. This includes more information about the process of therapy and logistics as well as the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices, a telehealth consent, and – for couples – a specific couples therapy consent and “no secrets” policy. This must be signed in the appropriate places and returned to me before our first session.

Good Faith Estimate

Click here for a sample. This GFE will be reviewed with you if we begin to work together.

Release of Information

Click here if you’d like me to have contact with another provider or contact person.