“My greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that, as a result of professional training and personal experience, I have helped others survive their personal journeys.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Following a long corporate career in marketing, I decided to pursue a second career as a psychotherapist. My decision was largely informed by an early experience coming of age as a gay man during the 1980s and the AIDS crisis. The judgment inflicted on the sick, the dying, and the “worried well” only added weight to those of us already suffering from the guilt, shame, and stigma of growing up gay—of being marginalized and somehow different or “less than.” I am a survivor of that experience. My greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that, as a result of professional training and personal experience, I have helped others survive their personal journeys.
What should someone know about working with you?
During intake, I do an assessment of the client’s background and presenting problem. I prefer the sessions to be relatively informal in order to relieve any possible anxiety that the client might experience in engaging with a therapist and developing a mutual level of trust. Ongoing sessions are designed to engage and continue building trust. Sessions are nonjudgmental conversations rather than inquisitions. Unlike many other therapists, I am not a “blank wall” and remain extremely involved and interested in each session. I give homework, if appropriate and helpful, but I don’t want to burden a client with unnecessary paperwork that distracts from the sessions. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that through mutual trust and conversation, all issues can be successfully addressed.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I have a strong belief in the relationship between mind, body, and soul and have successfully worked with integrated teams of psychiatrists, physicians, acupuncturists, yogis, and other non-traditional healers, such as herbalists. I also try, as appropriate, to integrate meditation and mindfulness in my individual sessions.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Therapy is now recognized in the mainstream as being a proven treatment for depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. While being in therapy once carried a great amount of stigma, that is no longer the case. Being in therapy should not be misconstrued as a weakness, but rather as a strength—the strength to ask for help when it’s needed. Therapy does not just promote mental health—in turn, it helps maintain optimum physical health and personal fulfillment.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about developments in the use of psychedelics to treat mental health issues and, more specifically, their use in treating trauma and addiction. I have personally seen psilocybin successfully treat trauma survivors. Ketamine is also being used, under supervision, to alleviate depression. I am also interested in the renewed use of ECT as a last resort to treat cases of depression that seem untreatable.
“Unlike many other therapists, I am not a “blank wall” and remain extremely involved and interested in each session.”