My Approach to Helping
I practice a problem focused, short-term, and distinct form of cognitive behavioral therapy. I am an active directive therapist. I teach people how to change what can be changed and to accept what cannot be changed about themselves, others and life. I teach rational thinking. This approach is called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). It was created by Albert Ellis a famous psychologist who I worked with for many years. This is a no nonsense approach to emotional and behavioral health. I actively show you how not to upset yourself when you encounter difficulties so that you can then go about attempting to modify what can be changed. I teach people how to control their emotions and behaviors. I work with individuals and couples. I show people how to adopt sensible beliefs so that they can achieve their potential. Please go to my website and watch my video and read more about this very pragmatic, fast acting and direct form of psychotherapy.
More Info About My Practice
I do not require patients or clients to come in every week. I usually schedule weekly appointments for a couple of weeks to get the process started and lay the groundwork for change. After this we switch to every other week sessions. I foster self-direction and self-help. I try to liberate people rather than make them dependent on therapy. I charge $180 for a 50 minute session and do not accept insurance. I will give you a receipt for out of network benefits if you are eligible to receive such reimbursement. My goal is to teach how to be your own therapist and to learn how to change your own self-defeating thinking and behavior.
Please consider that not all psychotherapists are equally well trained. As I doctoral level clinical psychologist I am an expert in REBT and cognitive behavioral therapy in general. I teach a graduate course at New York University and work full time at the University of Pennsylvania. REBT delievered by an experienced doctor of psychology can make a considerable difference in helping you both feel better in the short run and get better in the long run.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I am particularly good at helping people take control of their emotions and to develop self-acceptance. People often do not appreciate how their beliefs about what others should or should not do are at the core of their emotional upset. I show people how to liberate themselves and to see that even when others misbehave each of us can choose how we think and feel so that we effectively cope with and respond to such misbehavior. I show people how to fully accept themselves so that they do not feel inadequate even when they acknowledge mistakes, failings, etc.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
The purpose of therapy is to liberate people and help them to see the profound impact their own beliefs and assumptions play on their emotional and behavioral responses. Once people see that they can control their emotional destiny by choosing to believe self-helping beliefs a great deal in life changes. I actively teach these self-helping beliefs so that people can approach problems rather than avoid them, cope instead of mope, and to take sensible risks so that they can create the life they desire. I help people to work hard to achieve what they want to achieve in life. I teach perseverance.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I love showing people how not to upset themselves when life is difficult, when others misbehave, and when they make mistakes. My approach liberates people and allows them to take control of their emotions and behavior. It is very gratifying to show people how to accept themselves as a fallible human and then to not use this to make excuses for their own behavior. I enjoy teaching people to achieve their potential and make life better by thinking in a sensible way, a rational and flexible way about the problems of everyday living.
My Role as a Therapist
My role as a therapist is to actively teach people sensible ways of thinking, relating, and problem solving. My role is show people that they can stubbornly refuse to upset themselves about anything and to stubbornly pursue what they want and not what others want. My role is also to model what I teach. I walk the talk and strive to show people that they can push themselves to do what is best in the long run so that they have the greatest amount of pleasure possible in life.
My Therapy Focus
I focus and zero in on the self-defeating beliefs people hold that make them upset when others misbehave or when life is tough. For example, people generally hold three major irrational, self-defeating beliefs. 1. I must do well. 2. You must treat me well. 3. Life must be easy. I show people how to hold onto what they value but to give up the rigid belief that they must get what they value quickly and easily. I show people to hold onto a healthy desire to do well and be treated well by others but to see that they never have to disturb themselves when others misbehave or life is rough. I show them that even when life is difficult people can choose to have some pleasure in life and accept what cannot be changed. I focus on helping people cope rather than mope.
What I Usually Need to Know to Help
I want to know what they believe about themselves, others and life in general. Does the person believe that they need the approval of others or do they have a healthy desire for approval but can fully accept themselves even when others reject them? I want to know if they believe they have to do things perfectly or that they can do things imperfectly and learn from their less than ideal performances? I want to know if people believe they can tolerate uncomfortable conditions or if they must be comfortable at any cost? I want to understand the beliefs people use to upset themselves and teach them to hold self-helping and sensible beliefs that will help them cope with misfortune.
My Guiding Ethical Principles
My guiding ethical principles are to be authentic as a person and to walk the rational talk that I teach. I want to model for people what I am teaching them. It is unethical to teach people to delay gratification and to take control of their emotions but to not do so as a professional. I always strive to practice what I preach and advocate.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
First see that not all psychologists focus on the past, only listen, or are only into feelings. Realize that some psychologist are active, teach, model, and implement rational methods and rational ideas. Then accept that the saying nothing ventured nothing gained has validity. Go to my website REBTDoctr.com and read about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and think about how a problem focused, rational approach can be helpful.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Learn about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. See that not all therapy, not all cognitive behavior therapy is the same. REBT is unique in that it quickly and efficiently shows the client how they upset themselves through rigid beliefs.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
Look for someone who is rational, active, and practices what they preach. Find someone who looks authentic and is sensible and actively attempts to teach you new ways to think, feel, and behave from the start of therapy. Life is short and so your therapist should want to not foster dependence but encourage you to be self-directed from the outset of therapy. A good therapist is a good teacher and an active teacher. Also find someone who is smart but has a healthy sense of humor. If the therapist takes himself too seriously this is generally not a good thing.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
My own struggles have made me a better therapist because I see that people can change. My mastery over self-defeating behaviors and beliefs has shown me that I can change and maintain that change. I have come to see that I determine my own emotional destiny. I have come to be self-directed and self-accepting.
Theoretical Influences that Guide My Work
I practice a distinct form of cognitive behavior therapy originated by the famous psychologist Albert Ellis. This is the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. I was trained by Albert Ellis and worked at his Institute in New York for many years.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
I help them to trust me by being down to earth, using self-disclosure, having a healthy sense of humor, and actively teaching them ways to think differently. People trust me because I roll up my sleeves at session #1 and show them how to attack their problems. I answer questions with straight answers.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
All definitions of weakness are arbitrary. One person thinks going to therapy makes them weak and another thinks it makes them strong and noble for seeking good counsel. This shows that people cannot be rated or defined as flawed or noble. People are fallible and their essential worth cannot be validly measured. This worth cannot be reduced by going to therapy nor enhanced by going to therapy. People are people, neither subhuman or superhuman.
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
Clients should expect me to be collaborative and help them achieve their goals by actively teaching them new ways to think. The relationship is important but a good relationship with a therapist is not sufficient for change to occur. The therapist must have a good philosophy to teach the client so that the client learns not to disturb themselves when life is rough and others are difficult.
My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'
People are fallible humans and are biologically predisposed and also reared to have all sorts of emotional and behavioral problems. People are highly fallible and often will think in a crooked way that leads them to feel self-defeating feelings and act in self-defeating ways. The good news is that we are also biologically predisposed and capable of thinking rationally and to correct our thoughts, feelings, and behavior through work and practice! So the cause of your human problems is both your biological predisposition (nature) and the faulty learning you received (nurture). Emotional and behavioral problems come with being human. This is the human condition. We are certainly responsible for our behavior but we are not blameworthy for it because as humans we are fallible beings. The smart thing to do is to work hard and change what can be changed and accept what cannot be changed.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
The length of therapy is always a function of the types of problems people have, how hard they work at implementing the things I show them, and their available resources of time and money. People can do a great deal on their own and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy teaches them how to help themselves. The client, with my input, determines when therapy is complete. I will say this. I want to liberate people and get them out of therapy as quickly as possible. I think it is wrong for a therapist to foster dependency. I want to encourage independent thinking and self-direction.
What Makes up a Problem?
People are biologically prone to disturb themselves. That is the human condition. Then to complicate matters our well meaning but misguided teachers and parents and friends teach us self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. So people have two forces that lead them to be emotionally disturbable - their nature and their environment. The good news is that we also are capable of thinking about our thinking, thinking about our behavior and correcting it through work and practice. People have a tendency to learn better ways of living but it takes effort and some people are slow learners. This is the job of a good therapist to help them see how to be more efficient and develop new ways of thinking sooner rather than later.