How I work

We begin with a thorough psycho-social evaluation. I review your current substance use and history of use, consequences and related issues. I also get a family history, placing the current problems in the larger context of your life. Psychological functioning is the next area, and possible co-occurring disorders are assessed. Your own understanding of your problems and your goals become key elements in developing a plan of action. I am interested in learning about you as a person, not just about your problem.

At times, in addition to the individual assessment, it is quite helpful to include the input of other concerned parties, including spouses, family members and friends. This is always done with your consent.

After the evaluation is completed, I share my impressions and thoughts with you and solicit your own opinions. Together we develop a plan for your recovery. This may include individual work with me, family therapy, referral to a more intensive outpatient program or to a different outpatient clinician, or referral to residential treatment if that is warranted.

I am happy to work with people being discharged from residential programs who need continuing care support. I also work with family members of those with addiction problems, even if the other parties are not yet interested in treatment or recovery.

My style is based on the various traditions in which I've had training and experience. These include psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, 12-Step tradition and general systems theories. I have been influenced as well by humanistic and motivational theory. I feel that it is best to base our work on your goals and strengths and work toward solutions that will be effective for you. While I do not hesitate to offer recommendations and suggestions, I recognize that you are the person who must live by your decisions.

At times it may be appropriate to refer you to a psychiatrist or physician who specializes in addiction treatment to provide ancillary medical care. This may be relevant to provide help for an outpatient detoxification or to provide medical support for recovery. At other times, psychiatric care is important to help deal with related psychiatric problems, such as depression or anxiety. I will discuss this with you collaboratively and can make an appropriate referral.