There’s always a bit of mystery around how a therapist and client come to work together, and what happens when they do.
My aim in this website is to assist with discerning whether you might want to work with me. If your reaction to what you encounter here is positive, contact me. We’ll have a short telephone conversation to get more of a feeling for one another and then decide whether it makes sense to meet in-person (which these days usually means by video “Telehealth”). If we decide not to work together, I often can offer suggestions of other people you might see. If we decide to go forward, we’ll talk about the process of therapy. I normally work weekly with most persons.
What’s it like working with me? If I do my job well, it is different for each person; everyone I see draws something differently from me and together we establish a unique field or relationship. I tend to work well with people of all ages; typically, my caseload includes women and men from their 20s to their 70s or 80s, and every decade in between. Those who find working with me most helpful usually come with good access to their humor, humility, courage, and compassion -- or a desire to develop a connection to these virtues. It is hard to be human, but the more we can embrace the vicissitudes of our humanity, the more abundant and full our lives will become. And these traits are vital.
I primarily see adult individuals – and occasionally couples seeking depth work. Otherwise, I work with all kinds of people, especially clergy and clinicians – no surprise there! – plus folks from a variety of fields, including medicine, business, and law. Much more important than what you do for a living is what they you are seeking in life. I am always keenly interested in what is seeking to unfold in a person’s being – in psychological language, what the Self is seeking to engineer; in religious language, where God is leading a person.
Because developing a relationship in which you and I can discern together how the heart is seeking to change you, and where it is seeking to lead you, I am reluctant to offer the typical list of “conditions” I “treat.” Indeed, most people come to me not with an “illness” to be cured but with a “problem” they wish to explore. So I simply note five areas that have loomed large in my practice over the years -- with the caveat that what is important to me is not your “presenting concern,” but the whole of you. And my ability to be of tangible assistance.
Retirement. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed working with people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s as they contemplate the array of issues that surround retirement.
"Getting established in life." From the earliest years of my practice, I’ve worked with young people, usually in their 20s, helping them figure out their paths through those two great challenges of life which Freud identified: love and work. I’ve found this work lovely.
Relationships and sexuality. This has been one of the richest areas of my work for decades, as I’ve walked with people through all sorts of relational and sexual issues: falling in love, falling out of love, being hurt by the one you love, getting divorced, getting remarried, having affairs, being the partner of someone in an affair, intentionally entering multiple relationships (polyamory), being different or out of the sexual mainstream, finding self-acceptance, coming out (in a variety of ways), coping with the religious dimensions of (and judgments about) sexuality, and more. I love the complexity of human relationships and how we express them sexually, as well as the social and religious contexts in which all this occurs. Inevitably, love, sex, and relating take us into the messy depths of our humanity – and into wonder and mystery, if we are patient and do our work well. I find equal joy in working with LGBTQ and heterosexual folks.
Illness, disability, death, mourning. The sudden death of a close friend, and later my deep involvement in AIDS ministry during the 1980s, were crucial factors that drew me into both psychological and pastoral work. The confrontation with mortality and its consequences – and the unexpected physical events we encounter as we move through life -- continue to be a key focus of my clinical work.
"Mentoring" of younger professionals. I see many clergy and mental health clinicians – my two realms of professional practice. My work with them is sometimes deeply personal, as we explore personal growth, other times quite practical, as we pursue professional practicalities. Most of those I see are younger and I find it gratifying to seek to guide others on paths I also have walked in my own way.
A few other things that may be helpful:
I have been practicing since 1987, so if you are seeking a young, whippersnapper of a therapist, determined to use the latest fad, technique or recently-invented therapy because it’s-new-and-so-it-must-be-better, I may not be your man. Although I know many of these therapies well because I’ve taught them to grad students, I am more interested in what Jung termed the “spirit of the depths” than the “spirit of the times” because as research is beginning to show, relationally-focused depth work is what produces lasting change.
Although Jung’s work particularly influenced me professionally and personally, I value highly the insights of contemporary psychoanalysis and family therapy – and quite comfortably use most of the other “models of psychotherapy”-- when they are useful.
Regarding insurance, fees, and payment, I am paneled only with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO. For other insurers, I can provide you with a statement to submit to your insurer so you can get some reimbursement. For those who prefer not to use insurance, I ask you to pay each session – I find the administrative side of practice burdensome and this lessens that burden. For those unable to afford the full cost of therapy, I make a practice of reserving some "sliding scale" hours each week and I’ll be happy to let you know if one of these is available.