My Approach to Helping
Welcome. I am a licensed psychologist specializing in men's mental health and healthy masculinity. I work with adults and adolescent boys to become the best versions of themselves.
My approach is direct, active, challenging, solution-focused, and time-limited. I work with men on a variety of clinical issues (i.e., anxiety, depression, substance-use) as well as several related to the masculine experience, including: dealing with anger, developing mastery, and maintaining satisfying relationships with women. Contact me for a free consultation.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
It isn't easy being a man. Among these difficulties are a general lack of support and validation. Men's issues are not openly acknowledged. Expressions of vulnerability and need are incongruous with the male archetypes which men are socially rewarded for enacting. As a result, men are often left with the unappealing choice between suffering alone and suffering in silence. Other men make a virtue out of a necessity. They identify so intensely with their roles that they are left bewildered as to why they remain discontent in the midst of their success. Those who cannot navigate these waters skillfully often flounder on the shoals of bitterness and resignation. They come to believe that this is just the way things are. However, safe passages exist if one knows how to seek them out.
Psychotherapy is one such way through. In a supportive and non-judgmental context, men are encouraged to discuss their real thoughts and feelings with a professional who will afford them respect and consideration. And this is precisely where a gendered match between therapist and client is so important. Research indicates that men are more comfortable talking about issues of personal relevance especially sex, money, and aggression with other men. There is a sense of safety that is derived from a shared frame that, for male clients, is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the counseling room. For psychotherapy, the old adage continues to ring true: a good man is hard to find.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
My approach is not for everyone. Fortunately, the Bay Area is home to many excellent therapists who utilize other effective approaches. However, if you find yourself resonating with the descriptors below, consider reaching out for a free consultation to confirm your initial impressions. My approach to psychotherapy is characterized by the following five elements:
Direct: The purpose of psychotherapy is to help clients achieve their goals. To that end, I am dedicated to objective growth and practical results. Clients should feel as though they are making progress toward the realization of their goals with every session. This is effected most efficiently with a directive approach. By means of incisive and compassionate feedback, clients are empowered to make informed decisions with respect to their own behavior in the service of goal attainment. This process might be described as therapeutic coaching, in that clients are explicitly made aware of how certain behaviors differentially further or frustrate their aims.
Active: Psychotherapy is a meeting between two complete individuals. Though the purpose of the meeting is determined by the client, the therapist can best fulfill this purpose by remaining fully present. As a result, I am an active participant in the therapeutic dialogue. I do not simply listen quietly or enigmatically answer questions with questions. Rather, I am thoroughly engaged in the discussion in order to move the client toward greater clarity and understanding. Using humor and erudition, I create a lively, discursive atmosphere in which any topic can be examined with curiosity and objectivity.
Challenging: Personal evolution isn't easy. The process of becoming a better version of oneself entails courage, persistence, and focus. It is a dynamic balance of holding on and letting go. Authentic growth also requires the humility to acknowledge that, if a problem could have been solved with one's present skill set, it would have been solved by now. I specialize in helping men become aware of self-limiting beliefs and self-defeating behaviors that can frustrate even the best intentions. By respectfully challenging their assumptions about self and others, I encourage clients to see the world in a new light and to engage with it in new ways.
Solution-focused: Understanding the origin of a problem is often unnecessary to solving it. Indeed, this level of analysis is appropriate only after successful implementation of a solution with an eye toward preventing similar problems in the future. Many psychotherapies are past-oriented. They operate under the assumption that processing the experiences that gave rise to one's issues is sufficient to resolving present difficulties. This is not true. Regardless of when a problem was created, it is always maintained in the here and now. Consequently, I focus on addressing present conditions in order to mitigate difficulties efficiently and effectively. Clients cannot build a better past -- but the choices they make today can construct a better tomorrow.
Time-limited: Psychotherapy should not be an endless process. Like a good physical therapist, a psychotherapist should constantly be working toward his own obsolescence. This is because a treatment is ultimately successful when it is no longer needed. I am not looking for professional patients. Rather I work with clients to restore and surpass their previous levels of functioning as quickly as possible so that they can get on with the business of living. To that end, treatment is generally brief and intensive. Once clients have attained their goals, the therapy is re-evaluated and, if appropriate, discontinued.