My Approach to Helping
Finding the right therapist is hard—harder than it ought to be. Especially when you're already struggling. But it's essential. The person of the therapist, their fit for you, and the therapeutic relationship are all more important to successful therapy than any degree, license, orientation, or even years of experience. Making the call and actually doing therapy is even harder—but worth it. Psychotherapy works. It can be one of the most significant and transformative experiences of your life. It's also a big investment of time, money and effort. I honor your courage and support your commitment to yourself to even consider it.
I work at three levels: short-term adjustment or coping counseling, longer term relational psychodynamic therapy for fundamental change in your experience of life at the personal level of becoming your true self, and mindfulness-based transpersonal work toward profound experiences of mental and emotional health beyond the personal self at the level of being.
I feel honored to be trusted and privileged to be able to spend my days working at the very heart of what’s most important in the lives of my clients. I am happy to speak with you by phone at no charge, to hear about your present concerns and see if I may be able to help, and also to answer any questions you may have—about me, or about therapy in general.
More Info About My Practice
Most of our troubles come from trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Things we learn to think, say and do. I see these patterns as signs of health, not symptoms of disease. Natural responses to universal life experiences. Creative attempts to cope and thrive. But they can become habits that don't always serve us. Faulty assumptions and unconscious beliefs about ourselves and others. Limited ways of being in the world. Most uncomfortable feelings arise in relation to other people. We are relational beings by nature. But patterns formed in relationship can be changed in relationship. I offer a professional helping relationship as the vehicle for that change. In meditation we practice global "affect tolerance" of whatever arises—by ourselves. In my work with you we practice feeling what arises in relation to another person—in the safety of an authentic, nonjudgmental, confidential relationship. And explore new ways to see it. Choose new ways to respond. Experience new ways of being. In the living moment, the very moment of change.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
In every time and place, and by whatever name -- counselor, confidant, advisor, guide, minister, mentor, therapist, coach -- people have always sought someone trusted and trained to talk to in a helpful way.
For over fifteen years as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Aspen, Boulder and Denver, Colorado, I worked with high-functioning, non-mentally ill individuals and couples. To prevent an unnecessary diagnosis, avoid medical records, and protect their privacy and autonomy, these clients frequently chose not to use their health insurance to pay for therapy. To better serve these clients and others who prefer to work outside the mental health care system, I now practice Psychodynamic Personal Coaching: an independent, non-clinical alternative to psychotherapy for well-functioning adults.
I provide an authentic, nonjudgmental, confidential relationship with a seasoned professional peer who does not diagnose, treat, heal or "fix" you, but has many years of experience as a strategic thinking partner, providing honest feedback, understanding and working with feelings and emotions, and facilitating your own intra- and inter-personal process around making decisions, navigating life-stage transitions, resolving moral and ethical dilemmas, confronting existential truths, clarifying personal purpose, relationship enhancement, life design, visioning, self-actualization, and personal, professional and spiritual growth. The experience of a therapist, the independence of a coach.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
I have a masters in Counseling Psychology, a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, completed a further two-year post-graduate psychotherapy institute training, and have been a licensed psychotherapist for over 15 years.
In 2014 I completed coach-specific training designed for and available only to professionals with graduate degrees in psychology at the College of Executive Coaching, approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) and accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), and became a Board Certified Coach (BCC) through the Center for Credentialing & Education (CEE).
In my psychotherapy and coaching practice I take an integrative approach including four primary influences:
* Contemporary relational and intersubjective schools of psychodynamic psychotherapy
* Person-centered humanistic-existential traditions
* Transpersonal-contemplative perspectives, especially Buddhist psychology and vipassana meditation
* Mindfulness-based somatic-experiential therapies, particularly the Hakomi method
I have taught theories and techniques of psychotherapy to masters and doctoral level students in accredited counseling and clinical psychology degree programs.
I have also published on the topic of meditation and psychotherapy in Hakomi Forum:
Making Hakomi More Transpersonal - Hakomi Institute
And I am the creator, writer, and English language voice of YOU-Productions mobile apps for psychology and meditation:
About YOU Productions - Mindfulness for modern lives
I am a fifty-two year-old father of two grown sons and have been married for twenty-six years.
I have practiced, studied and taught vipassana (insight) meditation for over thirty years and remain active in programs of the Cambridge Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
I served for many years on the Alumni Council of Dartmouth College and the Board of Directors the Dartmouth Association of the Rocky Mountains, formerly as Vice President and District Enrollment Director for alumni admissions interviewing in Colorado.
I am also an avid backcountry skier and tournament tennis player.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
Psychotherapists perform an invaluable service: the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. They also provide therapy to many people with no mental illness or disorder. In order to protect both the public and the more vulnerable mentally ill, mental health professionals are obligated and empowered as mandated reporters, with a duty to warn, and with the power to place clients on 72-hour hold. I am proud to have done this job for more than fifteen years.
Many people are also helped by a psychiatric diagnosis itself. Not only those who genuinely merit one -- and through it get the care they need -- but also others who may not. Some people find relief merely in learning a name and receiving a label for their experience. They may be reassured that they are not alone, and find hope and motivation in knowing that their difficulties can be helped.
But others have the opposite response. In our efforts to make psychotherapy reimbursable by medical insurance, we often over-diagnose people who are not mentally ill. In doing so we may pathologize normal emotions and medicalize natural responses to universal life experiences. In the process we can inadvertently disempower the people we are entrusted to help, undermining the very self-esteem, self-efficacy, resilience and resourcefulness we are meant to foster--strengths we all inherently possess and need to thrive.
Psychotherapy clients can be literally disempowered too. DSM diagnoses form permanent medical records that can jeopardize future insurability, employability, security clearance, licensing, and appointment or election to public office. Psychotherapists are also required to keep case notes which can be subpoenaed, and may be compelled to testify in divorce, custody, and other civil and criminal proceedings.
As psychiatric diagnoses proliferate and mental health care becomes more medicalized, mentally well clients often choose to avoid psychotherapy and keep their power and their privacy, as we all commonly do whenever we seek the services of independent professional advisors, consultants, coaches and others. If you are a well-functioning client reluctant to be labeled disordered, positioned as passive or powerless, or adopt a disease model for challenges that are not diseases; if you prefer to self-pay, are not seeking treatment for any mental illness or disorder, but still want to talk to someone professionally trained in a helpful way, Psychodynamic Personal Coaching may be for you.