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Hello and Welcome

This blog is an attempt to help readers by sharing what I have learned from many years of experience as a psychologist.

In terms of credibility, I offer the following. I am a licensed New York psychologist and for decades have been a psychotherapist for adults, individuals and couples. Additional credentials include having earned tenure and full professor status at a local college, chairing the undergraduate and graduate psychology department for over ten years.  The New York State Psychological Association and the Westchester County Psychological Association have honored me with several awards. I am a member the American Psychological Association and adhere to the guidance of their ethical standards. My writing has been published in a book, journals, professional publications and newsletters. I enjoy and appreciate my work. 
I believe psychology can improve lives because the evidence is overwhelmingly. One example of psychology’s effectiveness is psychotherapy.

Still, some question whet…

The FAQs and Not The FAQs About Psychotherapy: Part 1

The FAQs and Not The FAQs About Psychotherapy: Part 1

Most often, a caller in search of a psychotherapist leaves voicemail asking, “Are you taking new patients?” and “Do you take my insurance?” They rarely say, “I’d like to speak with you before making an appointment.”
Usually, callers have been turned away by several therapists. Prospective clients often get names of therapists from their insurance company which has limited the number of providers in their network. Clients also get names from the internet which does not filter providers based on insurance coverage. Insurance company approved therapists can quickly get an overwhelming number of clients and may not have room in their practice for another. Callers may be very upset, but they aren’t stupid. Their experience tells them they ought to save time by first asking if the provider is taking new clients. 
Asking if the therapist is taking new clients is an okay question. It is quick, easy and can save time. Colleagues not on insuran…

The No-Therapy Option

The No-Therapy Option
Pain and suffering from mental health problems is widespread. Fortunately, a cure does not require everyone to see a therapist or take psychiatric medication. Mental distress and its resolution has existed for all time, and we can employ other tried and true methods to bring relief. True, psychotherapy can enable more people to suffer less, and enjoy life more, but there are less expensive and often equally good alternatives. Before we examine when therapy might be useful, let’s look at the extent of most mental health problems, and how we might cope without psychotherapy.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the official USA government body responsible for monitoring the health of our country, “Depression is the most common type of mental illness, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population.” (Retrieved 7/20/2017 from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm) Shocking? They also found, “In a nationally representative face-t…

Individual Psychotherapy - The Crucible

A crucible is a vessel made of material capable of resisting very high temperatures, and which, under extreme heat, changes less heat-resistant materials from solid to liquid, and liquid to gas. A crucible also refers to a test, an intense challenge to analyze strength or character. For some forms of psychotherapy, it is a fitting metaphor. Under the right conditions, psychotherapy can test, analyze and change people. Like a crucible, the therapist must be able to “hold” the pain of the patient, listening fully, understanding without judgment. The metaphor partially fails because the crucible itself doesn’t change when the material it holds in its cradles changes. Unlike a crucible that holds physical material, the crucible of psychotherapy can change both patient and therapist.
If you have never been in therapy, here is what it is supposed to be: Two people having different labels, or roles, sharing the same space, relate to each other according to agreed-upon rules and expectations. …

Couples in Cars

This title should not be confused with Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars or James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, because from what I hear from couples in counseling, too often when they are in their car they are not funny or melodic. They are not having a good time. More often, they are highly anxious or angry, or both, and may engage unpleasantly. 
There is a time and place for important talks. Psychologists could not have designed a more perfect test of how couples can talk when under stress than the car ride. Modern ethical considerations prevent us from putting two otherwise healthy grown-ups in a truly life-and-death situation, making one of them almost totally responsible for their safety, and the other almost totally helpless in controlling the outcome. Such are the conditions of a ride in the car. You are either in the driver’s seat or not. If not holding the wheel and the responsibility for controlling the car, you would be the passenger or one of the passengers, completely free t…