"Act with intent to attract what you want." While I do a number of types of counseling and coaching, I spend most of my time conducting individual counseling with adults and older adolescents. My work is positive, strengths-based and action-oriented. My favorite question is “What do you WANT? My second-favorite question is “What do YOU want?” Third, “What DO you want?” Fourth—you guessed it. With a Ph.D. in mental health counseling, I also do lots of straight-forward diagnosis and treatment for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, relationship issues, stress-related illnesses, and other psychological concerns.
Looking for marital or couples counseling? Many people think that marriage counseling is just like individual counseling, only with two clients instead of one. This is not true. Effective marriage counseling actually uses a process and philosophy that is different than individual counseling. True marriage counseling is designed to focus on the relationship and communication patterns between two naturally differing people. Pattern-changing is complex, but effective marriage counseling is fair-minded, forward-looking, and non-blaming. When both members of a couple are concerned about their marriage (or non-married relationship), I usually ask them to come in and work with me together. When one person wants help and the other doesn’t, I coach the individual to apply the same pattern-changing processes at home on their own. Sometimes people choose to end their marriages and then my job becomes helping them do so in the least destructive way possible.
If you’re presently in marital counseling and getting frustrated, consider this: the psychology of work with couples is different than the psychology of individuals. Almost all mental health professionals are trained only in the psychology of individuals. Look for a marriage counselor who: (1) has a specific license as a “Marriage and Family Therapist” in addition to his or her license as a generalist; and/or (2) has, at least, several years of clinical membership in a nationally recognized marriage and family-focused professional organization such as American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (www.aamft.org).
Be aware, also, that some marriage counselors hold particular religious views or pre-conceived perspectives which you may or may not share. Call and ask for a few minutes of telephone time to briefly interview potential therapists before you choose one.
Most couples consider sex and affection to be an integral part of a committed relationship. However it's not at all unusual for couples to have concerns in these areas--whether it be differences in levels of interest or major or minor performance issues. Part of my approach to couples work involves helping each member of the couple learn how to both get and give more of what they want and need in the relationship.
Similar in principle to marital counseling, family counseling involves examining family patterns—the ways in which members interact to bring out the best—or the worst—in each other. While sometimes mental illness issues are present and I help people deal with them, for the most part my job is to use principles of couples and group psychology to coach family members in ways of interacting differently with each other. As a part of my work as a family counselor, I do a lot of parent coaching and specialize in blended (divorced and remarried) family issues. I also do a lot of work with adult families, and have a specialty in family business families.
Adolescent and Child Counseling
I am often asked if I do adolescent or child counseling. My answer is a carefully-worded “kind of”. Once I get to know a child or adolescent and their parents, I prefer to coach the parents to work with a child or younger adolescent rather than work with the child privately myself. Your kids don’t need to have a relationship with me—they need to have an appropriate relationship with YOU. Sometimes a team approach is what is called for, and I maintain close working relationships with a few child psychiatrists and therapists.
I do work with older adolescent and college-age persons independently. My fourteen years of experience at the Kent State University Counseling Center stand me in good stead in this regard.