I have been practicing psychotherapy since 2003, having earned my master's degree in psychology from Duquesne University. I earned my PsyD (doctor of psychology) in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2010. I have worked in a wide variety of settings over my 12+ years in the field, including private group practice, community mental health centers, hospitals, a residential facility and a cancer support center.
Originally from Pennsylvania, I now call Park Ridge home with my wife and new daughter. My newest hobby is watching my little girl grow by the second, but I also enjoy spending time along the forest preserve trails, sitting down with a good book, and streaming shows on Netflix. Every fall is a little extra fun when I can root on my Pittsburgh Steelers, too.
The most important factors about whether or not you have a beneficial experience of therapy are:
I have outlined my general framework to the left ("My View of Therapy") and below ("My Approach"). My style is naturally semi-structured. I generally offer a "big picture" framework for understanding what we will be doing and then simply ask you to describe your experiences. I do not place much emphasis on diagnosis. I have found that therapy looks so wildly different for people with the same diagnosis that it does not have much impact on your experience. Instead, I am more interested in how your concern has been troubling you, as well as how it has worked well enough to stick around.
I view therapy as a matter of working through relationships. That includes the relationship between you and me, your relationships with other people, as well as your relationships with feelings, patterns of thinking, and life experiences. The children and teens I see often struggle with their relationships with parental divorce, friend making, self-esteem, attention and concentration, bullying, and acting out behaviors. With adults, it is often a matter of relationships with partners and children, long-standing patterns of behavior that are no longer effective, traumatic experiences, and overwhelming and exhausting circumstances.
I like viewing therapy in this way because it provides a framework for working with what we have available to us now, as opposed to focusing on how things "should" be. You may have noticed that simply trying to force ourselves to think, feel, or act differently does not always work. In fact, sometimes it even seems to make things worse. Recognizing the relationships you have with your goals and your barriers typically helps "put the cards on the table," so to speak. It may sound counterintuitive, but whatever it is that is troubling you is probably also doing something beneficial for you, or at least trying to do so. For example, many people have come to me saying they want to "get rid" of their anxiety, only to discover that they need some anxiety to make sure they pay attention to their surroundings and stay motivated to do their best in life. Instead, the act of improving their relationship with their ways of being anxious empowered them to differentiate between the beneficial and detrimental ways they did so.
My approach is also grounded in the belief that we are always changing, even when we feel stuck. We may not always be changing in the way we want, but we are changing nonetheless. This provides an opportunity: if we are always changing, every moment is a new choice to make within the limits that life throws us. It is a notion rooted in mindfulness and existential analysis, and it leads me to wonder what keeps us in patterns of feeling stuck. If we are to work together, I will invite you to approach that work through the following three overlapping tasks:
"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."
"... the purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free."