“I am quite engaging, sociable, interactive, and interpersonally-focused; I often use humor or metaphor stories to exemplify psychological points, which most people find quite useful.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I was the top science student in my high school and a National Merit Scholar. I have a thirst for understanding life and knowing how things work, so I was originally an engineering physics major. I took quantum physics among other science courses, which were challenging mathematically and conceptually. I went to a very elite school and met billionaires, governors, CEOS, and even Nobel Prize winners. What startled me was that these brilliant, accomplished individuals were often not happy in their married or personal lives. I decided there was no point to financial success and notoriety without personal happiness. I then decided that my contribution to the world and others was to help them have better psychology and enjoy life, so I switched majors and became a happy psychologist!
What should someone know about working with you?
I am quite engaging, sociable, interactive, and interpersonally-focused; I often use humor or metaphor stories to exemplify psychological points, which most people find quite useful. I firmly believe that it is important to address deep issues but in a useful manner. Part of my job is to help a client create a new motivating understanding of themselves. I often ask clients if they have had previous psychotherapy. Many will report that they saw a therapist for years who they really liked to talk to, but they can’t think of anything they said that helped them in their lives. To me that is not enough. I, of course, want to have a good empathic relationship with my clients. I like to say I offer “empathy plus"; if I am not giving you useful new concepts or ideas, then I have not done my job well.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
My core philosophy is existential, which does not mean depression or despair but rather that you bear responsibility for your life and your relationships. This is meant to be an empowering philosophy. While you can't control the world or other people, it is very important to believe that THERE ARE ALWAYS MANY THINGS YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE when you take responsibility for the choices you make and the way you think. You will be impelled to change, have positive thoughts, and take affirmative action. I cannot overemphasize the power of belief in yourself and in making positive change. Attitude AND learned skills can help you with determined success. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't ... you're right."
What is the most important personal characteristic?
A. Personality B. Intelligence C. Athleticism D. Physical health E. Tenacity. ANSWER: E. Tenacity, because when you try and don't give up, you can improve ALL of the aforementioned.
“I like to say I offer “empathy plus"; if I am not giving you useful new concepts or ideas, then I have not done my job well.”