Therapy Details

Counseling & Psychotherapy with Me

How It Works: My passion as a psychologist is to discover the unique way each client learns to change and grow. We’re all constantly learning, changing, and growing—often on our own and often with the help of a therapist. It’s not magic, but some think it is magical because many things are a mystery and many of the ingredients that make therapy successful can escape conscious awareness. For example, one of the most important factors is the therapeutic relationship which fosters a safe and supportive mental environment to promote exploration and personal growth. Even more subtle is the special therapeutic connection I create using specialized language, strategic questioning, implicit suggestions, cognitive seeding, neurocognitive restructuring, as well as more progressive techniques like radical acceptance and compassionate mindfulness.

Growing Without Knowing: When individuals and couples improve during therapy, they often do not know why or how exactly they changed. Sometimes it seems like nothing at all is happening in therapy yet things are already starting to improve in your life. And that’s alright. It really is alright to be surprised & mystified and at the same time to start feeling better. The therapy process can be mysterious, puzzling, or even illogical at times. Thankfully, you can improve drastically without needing to understand why or how exactly you are doing it. In fact, the single most important secret of success in therapy is actually within you.

Help Yourself: Your own motivation, strengths, experiences, and problem solving abilities will be the tools you will use to make therapeutic progress. That’s all you’ll need, but you will make even more progress when…
… you are listening closely with interest and curiosity about how this process may really help you
… you are opening yourself to the possibilities of new ideas and new understandings
… you are willing to experiment with new strategies of approaching situations in your life
Rather than just waiting for something to happen to you, your willingness to try nearly anything to achieve your goals is going to insure your success. Once you’ve begun moving in the right direction, clients often say they are finding life easier, they are affected less by problems, they are wasting less mental energy, and they are actually struggling less to feel even better than before.

Beginning of Therapy: Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs to help me deeply understand your situation and what you are going through. I will be asking a lot of questions about the details of your life and your issues, but I won’t be giving you very much guidance yet. Nonetheless, therapeutic things are happening already and most clients are beginning to show growth and improvements even by the first few sessions. After the evaluation sessions I will have a clearer understanding of your needs and the treatment approach that will work best for your own personality and learning style. You should evaluate the information I give you along with your own opinions about my style and approach. Therapy involves a large commitment, so you should carefully chose a therapist that you feel comfortable talking to and feel willing to listen to.

Goals: Within our first few sessions I will ask you for specific goals which will guide your treatment and our interactions. It will be my job to make sure that all therapeutic activities are constructed for the purpose of helping you reach your goals. So, you can rest assured that our interactions and the suggestions I make, no matter how curious they may seem, are strategically constructed for you, to support your achieving your goals.

Make the Most of Our Work Together: Effective therapy requires active effort on your part. Most clients use this time of their life to actively work on becoming a stronger and healthier person. To be most successful, you will need to be willing to engage in therapeutic activities during our sessions and to work on improving your life outside of sessions. I usually take lots of notes and you may find it useful to take your own notes in a journal during or between sessions. An important part of your therapy will be experimenting with new things that you will learn. I may ask you to practice outside of our sessions and, if appropriate, I may suggest readings or assignments to help. There are no instant, painless cures and no “magic pills.” Only rarely is change easy and quick, most of the time it will be slow and sometimes even frustrating while you keep working hard at it.

Course of Therapy: Most of my clients experience a gradual progression of learning over months of counseling until eventually they suddenly realize, “Hey, I’ve been doing a lot better lately!” Some have immediate insights and get what they need more quickly, while others are changing more slowly. Everyone is comfortable with a different rate of progress, so I will respect your own pace while gently encouraging you in the right direction. The frequency and length of therapy is unique for each person and is flexible based on your needs.

Ending Therapy: You can end or pause therapy at any time. If you decide to do so, I encourage you to return for at least one additional session to “tie up” our work together. If you feel that a change in therapists is necessary, I will be happy to provide you with names of others who may be able to assist you. Some clients find that pausing therapy can also be useful in trying things out on their own. By discussing and planning together, we can often increase the benefits of your plans.

Benefits & Risks of Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy has both benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, things may get worse before they get better. That is, you may experience normal but uncomfortable feelings like sadness, anger, and frustration. On the bright side, psychotherapy has been shown to have many benefits for people who go through it. There are no guarantees to how much benefit you will get from psychotherapy. In fact, in my experience, up to 10% of benefits you hope to get will be met with some form of failure. But you can accept and cope with failures, so you can learn from them and focus on the successes. When benefits come in therapy, they can come quickly. Even though I recommend taking your time, some folks are done within the first 3 to 4 visits. But most commonly I expect you to slowly benefit from therapy, making some immediate progress followed by brief periods of going backward before progressing even further and further.

Alternatives to Psychotherapy: Although there is no guarantee that you will improve in therapy with me, I do not accept clients unless I think I can help you. So, we can begin our relationship with mutual hope and optimism. You have a right to ask me about alternative treatments, their risks, and their benefits. If treatment with me is not helping, we may try alternative approaches or I may suggest you see another professional. As a responsible person and ethical therapist, I cannot continue to treat you if my treatment is not working for you. If you could benefit from a treatment that I cannot provide, I will try to help you to get it. If you wish for another professional’s opinion at any time, or wish to talk with another therapist, I can help you find a qualified person and will provide him or her with any information you permit. If you are treated by other professionals, I may seek your permission to coordinate my services with them.

Medication: There are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you want to address; however, working with me does not involve medications. As a psychologist, I cannot prescribe medications or give medical advice. According to research, the benefits of psychotherapy may be enhanced by taking certain medications. If you request, or if I think it could be helpful, I will refer you to someone who can evaluate whether medications in addition to psychotherapy might be beneficial for you.

Types of Therapy: I have experience with a wide range of therapeutic approaches, such as those listed on the About My Practice page. The approach I chose will be based on my professional opinion of what will work best for you to help you reach your goals. None of my therapeutic approaches will involve recovering “forgotten” trauma memories because of legal issues and research shows it may not be helpful. In our work together, I may use both developing and research‐based technologies. Developing technologies are those that may be newer and lack a strong body of research to support their effectiveness; however, in my professional opinion, they show promise. The research‐based technologies that I use are those which have been in existence long enough to support their effectiveness with clients who have goals similar to yours.

Qualifications: Many different types of professionals can be therapists. Masters-level therapists such Counselors and Social Workers are the most common. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD’s) who specialize in medical treatments such as medications and rarely have time for counseling or psychotherapy. Clinical Psychologists, like myself, have doctorates (PhD’s) in researching, assessing, and treating mental illness with counseling and psychotherapy. After 4+ years of graduate school, Clinical Psychologists have a year-long internship and at least a year of post-doctoral training. I received my doctorate from the University of Arizona, completed my internship at the VA Hospital in Tucson AZ, and then completed one post-doctoral fellowships at Yale University and another one at Veterans Affairs (VA) in West Haven. After working for 2+ years as a faculty research scientist at Yale and a full-time psychologist at the VA, I decided to start a private practice in Mercury Medical Wellness Center (Orange CT).

By your searching and finding yourself here, you are already making it through the first steps in the right direction towards your limitless future of health and well-being.
Why not keep up the good work? You really are worth it!

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My office is located at
Mercury Medical Wellness Center
35 Old Tavern Rd, Suite 101
Orange, CT 06417