1943938549Almost everyone starts therapy feeling defeated…

… or like they’re stuck in quicksand.

If either of these sounds like how you are feeling, I can assure you that together we can turn what feels like defeats into victories.

I can also throw you a rope with a harness to get you out of the quicksand by tapping into your strengths and help you move forward toward living a life of possibilities with a glass that is more than half full!

Your emotional well-being is inextricably linked…

… to how you feel about yourself. You’ve probably learned that the hard way.

As your problems and concerns have exceeded your ability to cope, you have unintentionally become your own worst enemy.

You feel trapped because there is no way to escape this inner critic that magnifies your shortcomings, ignores your strengths and accomplishments, and sometimes makes living with yourself hell. It’s a monster, keeping you consumed with self-doubt, pessimism, and, worst of all, shame.

In therapy, you’ll learn to challenge, disarm, and even make peace with that inner critic so that you can live the life you were meant to lead.

288970127Your quality of life is connected to your relationships, too.

Our lives are marked by an ever-turning wheel of relationships – with our family of origin, friends, loved ones… even with ourselves.

You come into the world in relationships…

And you get wounded in relationships…

But you can also heal through supportive relationships.

Good therapy always effectively enhances your relationship with yourself by learning to accentuate your strengths and building the confidence to only seek relationships with others based on love, compassion, support, and trust.

Therapy can be challenging.

Therapy can be challenging because some people feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeing a therapist, are afraid they will be judged, or feel pessimistic because they tried therapy before, and it didn’t work out so well.

Some people don’t really believe that it would be possible for them to change or get what they want.

Moreover, talking about trauma, panic attacks, mood swings, having a broken heart, feeling trapped in a bad relationship or job, having an anger problem, or feeling isolated or lonely combined with a relentless internal critic naturally triggers emotional pain.

Therapy can also be difficult because it can take time to work in an enduring way.

One step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, one half a step back is the nature of the beast.

Yet, when you think about it, isn’t almost everything in life worth having kind of the same way? Can you think of anything worth having that is pain or effort free? I cannot.

Without hesitation, I can say that feeling good about yourself, overcoming the problems that are prompting you to seek therapy, and building the life you want is more than worth the inherent challenges in therapy.

1860057529But I’m here to help you… every step of the way.

Sitting with each other, you’ll quickly see that I’m down-to-earth, approachable, listen well, encourage often, and have a boatload of patience.

Therapy can be an intense experience (sometimes with tears), but I know how to help you feel safe so that you can bring your strengths to the table and keep growing.

But we’ll also laugh! We might discuss a new Netflix series or something fun that happened in your life that week.

The best predictor of your success in therapy…

… is a good therapeutic alliance. In plain language, you’ll need a good connection with your therapist.

A good connection with your therapist requires that they understand your story, which includes your struggles, strengths, and goals, and they should have compassion and empathy for what you are going through.

From the very first session, you should sense that your therapist “gets you” and can help you navigate the inevitably challenging parts of your healing journey so you can live the life you want.

I know that finding a good therapist isn’t easy.

The connection and vibe have to be there, AND they need lots of training, expertise, and experience in treating the issues you face.

When searching for a therapist, it’s a good idea to ask them open-ended questions about their educational and professional background… and for specific examples of clients they have worked with who had challenges like yours.

Don’t be afraid to ask for details about how they help their clients overcome problems with anxiety, relationships, work, trauma, panic attacks, social anxiety, self-doubt, motivation, life transitions, or any other issue you’re having.

It’s also good if your therapist can articulate a clear plan of action to help you heal and live the life you were meant for.

Here’s what I would like to offer you as your therapist…

You’ll get an empathetic listener.

You’ll have a partner with a wide range of experience who can give you new insights into your problems.

I’ll give you coping skills to make day-to-day life more manageable and maintain the gains you make during your healing journey.

And on those days when you feel like you’ve stalled or things are getting worse, I’ll help you navigate those feelings, encouraging you to stay on track and keep moving forward.

So, if you’re determined, goal-oriented, and ready and willing to put in the effort needed to get to a better place, I would love to help you get there!

About Me

About JoeMy road to becoming a therapist…

I feel lucky in many ways because I knew I wanted to become a psychologist from the time I was 19 years old.

I have more than my share of stuff I am not so good at (see below for details), but at the risk of sounding immodest, I have always been patient, a good listener, and compassionate.

Frankly, I was probably more compassionate with others than myself, but it led to a career I truly love. Particularly when working with others who often feel stuck, I can help them manifest the necessary grit and determination to get what they want. I usually know what buttons to push as a therapist to help my clients keep pushing forward when they experience setbacks.

I lost some compassion for myself when I began experiencing panic attacks when I was 19 while walking in line at an ACME grocery store. Like many, I had no freaking clue what was happening but remembered thinking, “WTF? Am I losing my mind or having a heart attack at age 19?” I have plenty of healthy compassion for myself now.

However, this sad story has a pretty happy ending because once I learned what a panic attack was, I found the right help and overcame this problem in a big way. I went from a sad, clueless boy who did not even know what a panic attack was to someone who has published papers on this topic, and it is one of my clinical specialties.

I feel a little sheepish in saying all of that, but only a little. I have learned that overcoming shame is at least half the battle in taming one’s internal critic.

Here is a pop quiz for you: Did you know that roughly two-thirds of all people report having at least one panic attack per year when one describes the symptoms of panic to them?

I have a passion for this work.

And I’m committed to helping you get where you want to go.

I feel lucky because I love hearing about people overcoming adversity, and I get to hear that every day in my work as a psychologist. Of course, I hear about their pain and challenges, too. Then my natural compassion jumps out, and together we look for a way for them to get a “win” and get their mojo back which builds confidence and positive momentum.

When my clients tell me about their triumphs, I always get a big smile on my face and, often, my eyes get a little misty with joy watching their faces light up as they say things like, “I’m making progress,” “I got this,” or “I’m leaving the past behind.”

I have a lot of training and experience.

It’s a bit “blah, blah, blah” because I know it’s not at the heart of what you’re seeking, but you might be interested to know where my approach to therapy came from.

My education includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master’s degree in psychology from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech.

I completed a pre-doctoral internship in the Department of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and post-doctoral fellowships in cognitive therapy and clinical neuropsychology. I’m a certified forensic examiner.

I was a full-time staff psychologist for 16 years at the Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, treating various issues. I also trained psychiatry residents and doctoral-level psychologists in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy techniques, including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. I also have ten years of clinical experience treating combat veterans with PTSD.

I will be the first to admit that…

There are many things I do not do well.

I can’t sing, and I’m not much of a dancer. I recently saw a video of me dancing at my nephew’s wedding, and I looked a bit like a woodpecker.

Oh, and I’m pretty clueless about computers.

And I don’t do my own home or auto repairs.

But… I’m a pretty good athlete… and have a good sense of humor. 🙂

When I’m not doing therapy…

I love Netflix, being in nature, hitting the gym, pretending to play the guitar, meeting people from all over the world, and hanging out with my girlfriend and friends (one of my best friends is a 90 y/o guy from Scotland who has more energy and laughs more than anyone I know).

I was one of eight kids in my family, so I still on autopilot eat fast to make sure I get my share, lol. 😊

I once called a Roto-Rooter plumber because my kitchen sink was clogged. Within 10 seconds, he suggested I open the cabinet door below the sink and click on the garbage disposal switch. Presto! My sink problem was resolved. Regarding a stopped-up toilet, the plumber asked me to show him my technique with the plunger. He started laughing. Then we both laughed when he said, “Dude, to unclog the toilet, the big thrust has to come on the outstroke after the suction cup is in place, not on the way in.”

Bottom line: If you need a plumber, do not call me. If you need a good shrink, I’m your guy.

I am here to offer you shelter from this storm.

You’ve known for a while now that you’re not very happy with how life has been going, and you’re here because you’re ready to do something about it. I have the highest respect for you and this decision you’re making.

You don’t have to continue suffering in silence with no relief in sight, just hoping things will get better. You’re not alone anymore. It’s time for you to be heard and understood.

Let’s make some changes so that you can live your full potential!

Call today for your free consultation. I connect with almost everyone, but if we don’t, I’ll gladly refer you to someone who might be a better fit: (610) 209-8571.