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About Me (Dr. Michael)

First, it is indeed courageous to contact a therapist at your most vulnerable time. 

When you see that you need help from outside of yourself, you must trust someone new and temporarily depend on them. That is why I respect the privilege of seeing into your world, an hour at a time.

If you decide to work with me, my process first depends on listening

I listen from the obvious, rational level, as well as from a subtler, less rational plane of metaphor. With more complete listening, you feel safely understood and not alone. Only then can you digest new insights, statements, ideas, and suggestions.

My goal is to get you some hope from the first session, as well as some understanding of your problem’s purpose and power sources. Eventually, therapy helps you see your difficulty fully, from new angles. When you get multiple angles, you can see more options for choice. You feel less ‘out of control’.

All of this emerges from just that first step of making contact.

What is it like to get started and go through the process?

First, we will have a brief, free consultation call to ensure that we are a good fit. I ask why you decided to get help now, how you see your problem, and what a solution looks like.  

In our first session, we are filling in your life context, your history, and how the problem happens now. It is also important to see how it happened or started in the past. Most likely, you will be familiar with some of that, but remember: I listen in a special way.

You may have helpful surprises even in the first session. Over sessions, your relief increases because the problem is now understandable. That comes from clarity and precision about the problem–as well as some intriguing new angles on it. 

Seeing how your old external, internal, and social habits work, I help you weaken the unhelpful old ones and develop new ones. You become more excited and optimistic. The problem is manageable, after all. Enough experience with that status and feeling, and you develop the confidence and hope to live fully, no matter what comes up.

Does the process require investment and consistency? Yes. Is it worth the investment? Definitely. And I’m here to see you through it.

What methods make these changes possible? 

I see problems as painful, rigid ways of managing life. There are ways you try to maintain an internal sense of full predictability and control, when actually life simply does not allow that.

Usually there are one or two reasons old control routines are painful and do not completely work:

  • Emotional conflicts between wishes and fears (conflicts with ‘parts’ of yourself, often expressed in relationships)
  • Incomplete, absent, or damaging past learning about relationships, identity, and trust (scary unknowns)

Having compassion for these reasons automatically brings new ideas to you, or for me to share.  Then, the more effective you get with implementing solutions, the more resourceful and insightful you become. You feel invigorated and start creatively managing problems on your own.

The basic traditions I draw from are psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and existential. I describe those more on the FAQs page.

How to know it is time for therapy?

There are many ways for you to know. One way is when you discover that the ‘social conventions’ most people offer to you aren’t helping–or even made things worse. What is a social convention?

Briefly, most folks mean well but provide quick, surface-level responses to quickly move on from your problem. They do that because they are basically nice–but are 1. untrained and 2. uncomfortable with your discomfort

Oddly, social conventions are ‘too’ normal to helpThey can be too dismissive, matter-of-fact, or rosy, leaving you feeling misunderstood or self-doubting. They can also be too concerned and worried, making you feel icky, overly pitied, or babied. 

Rather than quick clichés and over-worried sympathies, you need the right amount of support and perspective to become more aware and self-compassionate.

Then you can develop yourselfSo, I work to be socially unconventional in a helpful and safe way. My job is to really hear you and look deeply into what is troubling you. Perceptiveness and creativity, balanced by sensitivity and an appropriate level of concern. If you are ready for that, I would be honored to help.

How I became a psychologist and therapist 

I was first a music major and singer-actor. It was a passion, but only a fair fit for me. Mainly, I was unhappy with the competition, finances, and lifestyle. By my mid-20s I was reading psychology again, wondering what to do. I decided to add to my bachelor’s with core psychology classes taken for credit, and then went to graduate school. 

In my internship and post-doc, and beyond, my therapy experiences shifted me a bit farther from psycho-legal (forensic) aspects and more toward treatment (therapy). Now, psychotherapy is my passion and I frequently read in that area, think over cases, or consult, to get even better results for clients.

My background experience:

  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of Tulsa, 2006
  • APA-accredited internship: Patton State Hospital, 2005-2006
  • Post-doctoral fellowship: Patton State Hospital, 2006-2007
  • Licensed psychologist since 2008
  • Experience in multiple clinical settings since 2002
  • Private practice and contract work since 2009
  • One-year certificate in psychoanalytic psychotherapy – NPI, 2013

What are my pastimes? 

  • Cooking & eating with family
  • Movies, documentaries, music
  • Drawing and taking pictures
  • Encouraging our black cats to cross my path as often as possible

Making the first call or contact

In tough times, it is tempting to just go it alone or keep up the too-familiar routines. But if what I have written here clicks for you, working with me will give you new options.

It is important that you shop for the right therapist for you, whether that is me or not. A positive shift in perspective and a large increase in self-awareness is a crucial investment. Not only can therapy redefine or solve your current troubles, it can transform your relationship to your life, others, and yourself.

Reach out to me with the information below; I look forward to meeting with you.