More times than not, during the first session with a therapist, you will be asked “what are your goals for treatment?” This is often a harder question than it would appear. If a person is depressed, then a reasonable goal would be to reduce depressive symptoms, or simply put, “feel better.” Because psychological wounds are not visible such as a broken arm, and finding the language to describe your inner experience is needed to develop clear and meaningful goals. Thus, determining a client’s goals is a fluid, ongoing process that is reevaluated throughout the course of therapy. Most importantly, goal setting is driven by the client and working toward one’s goals is a collaborative process between therapist and client.
Based on scientific evidence, my values, and my own personal feedback from clients, I believe therapy is most effective when the therapist is genuine, open, and nonjudgmental. Therapy should be a place where clients feel safe to share difficult thoughts, experiences and feeIings. I have a warm therapeutic style which tends to put people at ease quickly. I view therapy as a partnership; client and therapist are a team on a quest to alleviate psychological pain. I consistently ask for feedback and attempt to reduce the “mystery” sometimes involved in therapy by having an open dialogue about the plan for treatment and providing answers to the question “how will this help me?”. Every person should feel empowered to have a voice and input on his/her treatment.
When working with individuals seeking treatment, I take a person-centered, holistic approach, focusing not only on diagnosis, but also exploring other areas of a client’s life they seek to improve. In other words, I encourage personal growth & recovery while also treating the symptoms causing distress. I approach therapy with each client in an open, curious, and non-judgmental manner. More specifically, I tend take a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approach (CBT),, which helps people recognize unhealthy thinking patterns that are causing problems in their life. Through CBT, these thoughts are identified, challenged, and replaced with more objective, realistic thoughts. Secondly, I focus on increasing positive experiences in the persons life and thus improving quality of one’s life. In addition to treating what’s “wrong” with the client, I like to focus and increase client self-awareness by focusing on what’s “right” in your life. This includes identifying your character strengths and values, which allows each client to look at areas of their life he/she may want to improve. The goal is to find ways to increase each clients subjective experience of happiness and also reducing psychiatric symptoms. I will monitor progress (complete short self-report measures) to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment in order to make adjustments if needed. Treatment is tailored to each persons specific needs and preferences. I have extensive experience working with our nation’s Veterans and encourage those in need to schedule a session.
Anxiety can mean nervousness, worry, or self-doubt. Anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder that entails excessive, repeated bouts of worry, anxiety, and/or fear.
Mood disorder is a broad term used to include the different types of depressive and bipolar disorders, all of which affect mood. With a mood disorder, your moods may range from extremely low to extremely high or irritable.
Psychotic disorders are characterized by a disconnect from reality that stems from maladaptive thinking and perceptions. Primary symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. Common psychotic disorders include brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, paraphrenia, psychotic disorder due to a medical condition, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, and substance-induced psychotic disorder.
Trauma is the result of experiencing a perceived, extremely distressful event. Although the stress threshold for each person differs, meaning that each person considers and experiences trauma differently, it is an event that tops one’s threshold. It exceeds one’s ability to cope or emotionally process. Symptoms may include shock, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, feeling disconnected, mood swings, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts.
Veterans’ issues involve any issues associated with veterans and/or their family members (military families). Veterans oftentimes present with issues that are unique to the human experience. PTSD, suicide, and substance use prevalence are high with this population as a result of immense stress and trauma. Other issues may include adjustment to civilian life, re-integrating with family, medical care, mental health treatment, employment, and finances.
Grief is a reaction to an emotionally significant loss and often comes with symptoms of depression or anxiety. These symptoms can remain intense and last for a long time after a loss, making it difficult to move forward with a healthy lifestyle.
Self-esteem is the degree to which a person feels confident, valuable, and worthy of respect. Feeling low self-esteem can influence overall well-being and be linked to anxiety and/or depression.
ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) causes a hard time focusing attention and controlling restless or impulsive behavior. People with ADHD might have emotional outbursts, be forgetful, and/or find it difficult to stay organized.
Regular involvement with a substance or activity in a compulsive, hard to control way that often has harmful consequences. Often refers to substance use, but can include compulsive behaviors such as sex, gambling, or shopping.
Characterized by alternating symptoms of depression and mania. During more extreme episodes, depression may lead to the point of suicidal ideation and attempts while extreme bouts of mania are marked by impulsive behavior, lack of sleep, elevated esteem, and even psychosis.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Strength Based Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Psychological Testing and Evaluation
PA, Psychologist, PS017488
Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D), Clinical Psychology, Wright State University
In 2012 I completed my post-doctoral residency at a VA Medical Center, specializing in psychiatric rehabilitation of veterans with severe mental illnesses. After completing my residency, I accepted a position at another VA Medical Center working in the mental health outpatient clinic. In this setting, I worked with veterans with wide-ranging difficulties which included severe depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, and PTSD. I am considered a subject matter expert on severe mental illnesses. Because I had been at the VA Medical Center for most of my training, I decided to familiarize myself with a different mental health setting and began work in private practice. Examples of commonly presented concerns included mild-moderate depression, anxiety disorders, grief/loss, improving self-esteem, etc.
Brandywine Rd, Malvern, 19355, PA