As a licensed clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst I strongly believe that each person has the potential to overcome inner conflicts resulting in sadness, anger, depression, anxiety and other crippling and potentially self-destructive emotions to experience contentment and happiness in his/her life. However, people often are unable to overcome these negative emotions in their lives and relationships because they don’t truly understand themselves and how they developed. Psychotherapy can provide the key to understanding oneself and ultimately overcoming the obstacles to achieve a fulfilling life whether alone or with a significant other.
The decision to enter into therapy is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it indicates a positive step towards achieving personal growth and development. All too often people try to solve their problems alone, only to see them recur or worsen. For many, therapy offers a way to understand where negative emotions and behaviors come from in an effort to become positive, optimistic, confident, loving and not burdened by the past. I use cognitive-behavioral, insight-oriented and psychodynamic approaches in both short and long-term therapy to help explore and uncover the conscious and unconscious reasons people function the way they do.
Childhood experiences and our family background are powerful influences in shaping who we become as adults -- significantly influencing our career, friendships, and romantic relationship choices. I believe the basis for many of the negative emotions people experience comes from what is referred to as their organizing principles. These principles can often be conscious such as “I’m responsible for other people’s happiness” or “If I don’t do a job perfectly I am a failure as a human being.” However, most organizing principles are unconscious and have a profound impact upon the quality of a person’s life and relationships. For example, an unconscious organizing principle might be one in which an adult female finds herself to be only attracted to males that are physically, verbally and emotionally abusive to her. It may very well be that this emotional pattern and behavior stems from her growing up in a home in which her mother was physically, verbally and/or emotionally abused by her father. This female child becomes unconsciously programmed to define love from a male to be demonstrated in this manner. She may not naturally be attracted to men who treat her with kindness, love and respect as this would be unfamiliar to her. One of the major goals of psychotherapy is to uncover and/or demystify these unhealthy and self-destructive organizing principles and replace them with more realistic, healthy and self-serving ones. The amount of time this process takes is dependent upon several factors: the patient’s commitment to the therapeutic process, the motivation to take control of his/her life, the chemistry between the patient and the therapist and the patient’s financial circumstances.
It is my task to explore with the patient the unhealthy and troublesome emotions which they are experiencing and causing them sadness, anger, confusion, unhappiness, etc. Together we work towards liberating them from these negative emotions to improve the quality of their life in the pursuit of happiness and contentment.