A Columbia University-trained psychotherapist with more than a decade of clinical experience with individuals, couples and families, including kids and teens, I’ve come to believe my role as a therapist is to help patients create their lives. Creativity to me is about cultivating a sense of possibilities–possibilities that may have been there all along, but haven’t yet been seen. I relish in this challenging, playful activity. I am a hands-on, active therapist who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
As Founder and Clinical Director of Tribeca Therapy, I opened the practice in 2009 in order to develop a non-diagnostic therapy center that provides engaging, collaborative therapy to a diverse range of New Yorkers. The therapy I practice also draws on my previous work with people in the creative fields in my years of private practice. I seek to give my patients real, concrete takeaways in order to help jumpstart meaningful change. This can include utilizing some tenets of more standard methodologies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but using them in the context of my work with people as a whole.
My development as a therapist has been deeply influenced by the study of philosophy and the practice of the creative arts. Studying philosophy in college, I was drawn to the field due to my interest in social justice and a lifelong love of politics. I came to see philosophy as a useful tool for thinking rigorously, examining assumptions and learning how to use words thoughtfully and with precision. I bring this into my work as a therapist–I’m less invested in certainty than in what can be explored and played with in the process of discovery.
I strive to be a culturally savvy therapist, working frequently with people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, trans individuals, and multiracial or multiethnic couples and families. I am politically engaged and reject the notion that a therapist’s politics are not relevant to his or her practice. I am fluent in understanding a diversity of what patients bring to the table, without the conceit that I know about all issues. I approach any patient with curiosity, support and a desire to help them grow.
Performance also informs my work. Similar to the collaboration between a director and fellow actors, therapy is a collaborative performance. At its best, that collaboration is (inevitably) messy, but also rich. As a therapist, it’s relatively easy to see how someone should manage a situation, habit or a tough person in their life. Much harder is helping someone discover how they can better deal with a challenging situation.
My choice to open the practice in Tribeca was informed in part by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Having lived in New York for a mere two weeks, September 11, 2001 occurred on what would have been my second day of graduate school classes. In the months that followed, I was assigned to work as a crisis counselor at one of NYC’s disaster recovery centers in Tribeca. Counseling New Yorkers who were affected by these attacks–witnessed the terror, been displaced from their homes, lost their jobs–many of the traditional conceptions of therapy were so clearly irrelevant. All of us were traumatized. The experience was unprecedented. We had to create the form of help, as people who’d been through the unthinkable, together. Through that experience, I learned not to be afraid to share a part of myself as a therapist, when it calls for it. I take that with me in my NYC therapy practice today.
After Columbia I furthered my training, receiving both a Master’s degree in special education as well as post-graduate training in individual, couples and family therapy. While the bulk of my practice is with adults, I have extensive experience working with kids and teens both in and out of schools and have particular expertise in working with young people with learning disabilities. In 2008, I published a book for teachers on using improvisation in the classroom as a tool for emotional development.