I am a clinical psychologist licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee and New York.
Licensed and practicing since 1984.
My practice offers services addressing the needs of adults through psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and psychological assessment.
I specialize in working with two groups of people.
- Individuals who are struggling to address issues that have emerged as they transition to adulthood;
- People who may seem successful to others at mid-life, but nevertheless know that they want to change course in their careers and relationships, perhaps because things just do not seem right or feel on track.
Collaborative and relational
I think of us as co-journeyers exploring and navigating through the past, present, and anticipated future of your life.
My job is to carefully listen to your story, your experience, your inner narrative about your life. Then, help you hear yourself with greater clarity, so you can define and construct a path toward the life you want.
Focused on what you want to change in how you live
I see myself assisting you in specifying the criterion to know you have reached that different place.
My work is based on state-of-the-art theoretical models that have been organized and validated by empirical psychological research.
The Prime Directive
The Prime Directive focuses us on helping you answer the following question:
Why does it make sense that I am having this set of problems with these people
in those situations right now in my life, and what can I do to be
more effective and satisfied in these relationships?
30 Years of Experience Integrating Two Empirically Validated Conceptual Frameworks
Lorna Smith Benjamin’s Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy helps people understand that they learned patterns of construing and relating to the world that at some point made perfect sense for their lives.
More on Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT): Book
Sometimes problems in living occur when these patterns no longer work: people can get reactions from others for which they do not understand and often experience emotional states that interfere with day-to-day living. Together our job is to:
identify these patterns block them help motivate you to change and learn new patterns
James P. McCullough’s Cognitive Behavioral Analysis Systems Psychotherapy (CBASP), is a cognitive-behavioral approach that helps patients learn to interpret problematic interpersonal events or situations. Typically the ones that cause us the most emotional difficulty. The approach helps patients interpret these situations in ways that are accurate and relevant to achieving realistic and obtainable outcomes that they desire. Therefore coming to identify moment-to-moment, especially in relationships with significant others.
Used concurrently, both models can provide a unique synergy that help us address what I call The Prime Directive.
After meeting with you for an initial 90-minute appointment, where I get a sense of the extent to which I think I can help you help yourself (and you get a feel for whether or not you want to work with me), I proceed by asking you to return within the week and complete a variety of scientifically validated assessment tools that quantify the relative severity of your problems in living (the issues bringing you to my office in the first place). Your answers to the questions can give both of us perspective on the specificity, breadth, and intensity of your struggles.
I think the assessments are one way that my approach differs from many other practitioners. As part of this initial pre-therapy assessment phase, I ask patients to complete an instrument called The Birkman Method (TBM), which helps unpack your baseline inner narrative: the story you tell yourself about how you perceive, interpret and typically react to the world in which you live.
The Birkman Method (TBM) uses a database of over 3 million adults to help better understand, measure, and quantify three principal dimensions of relational functioning:
- Usual Behavior – one’s most effective style and strengths for dealing with relationships and tasks, i.e., socially desirable behavior;
- Underlying Needs and Motivations – one’s expectations of how the interpersonal world operates, i.e., normal or predicted behavior from others;
- Stress Behaviors – one’s particular way of being ineffective, i.e., displaying stress, which occurs when underlying needs and motivations remain unmet.
- Nonpathologizing – it gathers information about how you function in the world, apart from any difficulties you may display that significantly interfere with your social or occupational functioning..
- Nonjudgmental – focuses on similarities and differences between you and your peers.
- Adult focused – developed and validated on samples of working adults from a wide variety of occupations.
- Productivity enhancing – clarifies how you see yourself at best and worst on the job or in school, and how together, you and your managers or teachers can structure the environment to increase your job or academic satisfaction, retention, and productivity.
- Proscriptive and prescriptive – provides information to your superiors about how best not to supervise you, as well as how best to coach and guide you, with logical, easy to understand, and practical suggestions.
- Developmentally oriented – provides data that both unpacks your personal life-history narrative and gives us a road map to follow in our work together.
- Contextualizes problems in living – when coupled with other assessment measures, helps us better formulate The Prime Directive.
Specifically, results from TBM help us develop a language to address directly The Prime Directive, to define the types of situations that bring out your vulnerabilities, identify the strengths you bring to solving life difficulties, and specify concrete recommendations from which to start our work together.
From these data and our discussions, together we collaborate to devise a plan from which to proceed toward the goals that you want to accomplish in psychotherapy.
Put another way, our appointments ideally provide a safe place for you to better understand and examine your relational, emotional, behavioral, and thinking patterns. My goal is to help you identify for yourself the strengths you bring to the current situation, that when artfully applied can heighten the likelihood of you living a richer and more satisfying life…
a life that you own . . . a life that you own on your terms.