• Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do you have a license?
    Yes, I am licensed as a psychologist in the state of Florida. I have been licensed here since 1991. My license number is PY 4603. You can check the Department of Health website to verify my license. You can also check the PsychSearch website to see if I have ever violated state regulations that govern my profession. I have not. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • Where did you get your education?
    I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh (1990), whose program is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). I was honored as graduate student of the year by the clinical psychology faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. I also have a master’s degree in psychology from Fairfield University (1982). I graduated with academic distinction from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (1971). You can check out my credentials here. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • Where did you get your clinical training?
    My clinical training at the University of Pittsburgh included five years of didactic instruction and supervised experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of problems (1982-87). I then completed a one-year clinical psychology internship at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (1987-88), whose program is approved by the American Psychological Association. I went on to complete another three years of residency training at University of Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (1988-90), one of the nation’s preeminent psychiatric centers. You can check out my clinical training here. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • How much experience do you have?
    I have over 37 years of experience working with people from diverse cultures in corporate, academic, and clinical settings. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), I began my career in the field of employee relations/human resources and over the next 10 years held progressively more responsible positions at Citibank, GTE and PepsiCo. Travelling throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, I helped people from diverse cultures resolve a wide range of work and relationship issues. After living and working three years in Athens, Greece as PepsiCo International’s Personnel Director for Africa and the Middle East, I returned to the United States in 1981 and spent the next 10 years studying and training in the science and practice of clinical psychology. For the past 17 years, I have been in private practice as a licensed psychologist in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can check out my experience here. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • Have you published anything?
    I have conducted research and published scholarly articles on the role of positive and negative thinking in anxiety, depression, and stress; the effectiveness of cognitive therapy for depression; the effects of depression on sleep and sexual functioning; psychological factors in coronary heart disease; how to assess positive and negative thinking; and how to measure stressful life events. Within the scientific community, I am probably best known for the development of the “States of Mind Model,” which over the past 20+ years has generated substantial research contributing to our understanding of healthy and unhealthy patterns of thinking. You can check out my research here. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • Have you taught any courses?
    I have been a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an adjunct faculty member in the College of Health at the University of North Florida. I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses on introductory psychology, human sexuality, mood disorders, and research methods. I have delivered presentations and conducted workshops for employees, executives, academics, healthcare professionals, and patient support groups. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • Do you adhere to any professional code of conduct?
    As a professional, I will use my best knowledge and skills to help you while following the rules and standards of the American Psychological Association, or APA. In your best interests, the APA puts limits on the relationship between a therapist and a client, and I will abide by these. Let me explain these limits, so you will not think they are personal responses to you.

    First, I am licensed and trained to practice psychology—not law, medicine, or any other profession. I am not able to give you good advice from these other professional viewpoints.

    Second, state laws and the rules of the APA require me to keep what you tell me confidential (that is, private). You can trust me not to tell anyone else what you tell me, except in certain limited situations. I explain what those are in the "About Confidentiality" section of the FAQ. Here I want to explain that I try not to reveal who my clients are. This is part of my efforts to maintain your privacy. If we meet on the street or socially, I may not say hello or talk to you very much. My behavior will not be a personal reaction to you, but a way to maintain the confidentiality of our relationship. Even if you invite me, I will not attend your family gatherings, such as parties or weddings. As your therapist, I will not give you gifts; I may not notice or recall your birthday; and I may not receive any of your gifts eagerly.

    Third, in your best interest and following the APA's standards, I can only be your therapist. I cannot have any other role in your life. I cannot, now or ever, be a close friend or socialize with any of my clients. I cannot be a therapist to someone who is already a friend. I can never have sexual or romantic relationships with any client during, or after, the course of therapy. I cannot have a business relationship with any of my clients, other than the therapy relationship. Back to top
    Rate This Entry
  • What kind of treatments are available to me?
    Behavioral health professionals (also called mental health providers) use a number of methods to treat people with behavioral health problems (also called mental illness or mental disorders). The two most common treatments by far are pharmacotherapy (also called psychiatric medication or drug therapy) and psychotherapy (also called talking therapy or therapy).


    Pharmacotherapy is the treatment of behavioral health problems through medication. A patient receiving pharmacotherapy takes a dose of a psychiatric medication that is prescribed by a physician and is intended to reduce symptoms of a mental illness.

    There are five main groups of psychiatric medications:

    Antidepressants, which are used to treat disparate disorders such as clinical depression, dysthymia, anxiety, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder. Some commonly prescribed antidepressants today are:

    Citalopram (Celexa), SSRI
    Escitalopram (Lexapro), SSRI
    Fluoxetine (Prozac), SSRI
    Sertraline (Zoloft), SSRI
    Duloxetine (Cymbalta), SNRI
    Venlafaxine (Effexor), SNRI
    Bupropion (Wellbutrin), NDR
    Mirtazapine (Remeron), NaSSA
    Isocarboxazid (Marplan), MAO Inhibitor
    Phenelzine (Nardil), MAO Inhibitor

    Stimulants, which are used to treat disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy and to suppress the appetite. Some commonly prescribed stimulants include:

    Methylphenidate (Ritalin), (Concerta), (Daytrana) atypical stimulant
    Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) D-isomer of Methylphenidate stimulant
    Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), (Dextrostat), (Vyvanse) D-Amphetamine-based stimulant
    Dextroamphetamine & Levoamphetamine (Adderall), D,l-Amphetamine salt mix stimulant
    Methamphetamine {Desoxyn), D-methamphetamine-based stimulant
    Modafinil (Provigil), stimulant

    Antipsychotics, which are used to treat psychoses such as schizophrenia and mania. Some commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs include:

    Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Typical antipsychotic
    Haloperidol (Haldol), Typical antipsychotic
    Perphenazine (Trilafon), Typical antipsychotic
    Thioridazine (Mellaril), Typical antipsychotic
    Thiothixene (Navane), Typical antipsychotic
    Trifluoperazine (Stelazine), Typical antipsychotic
    Aripiprazole (Abilify), Atypical antipsychotic
    Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Atypical antipsychotic
    Quetiapine (Seroquel), Atypical antipsychotic
    Risperidone (Risperdal), Atypical antipsychotic
    Ziprasidone (Geodon), Atypical antipsychotic

    Mood stabilizers, which are used to treat bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Some commonly prescribed mood stabilizers include:

    Lithium Carbonate (Carbolith), Regular Mood stabilizer
    Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
    Valproic acid (Valproate), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
    Valproate semisodium (Depakote), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
    Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Atypical Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer

    Anxiolytics & Hypnotics, which are used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. Some commonly prescribed medications in this class include:

    Diazepam (Valium), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Nitrazepam (Mogadon), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Zolpidem (Ambien, Stilnox), an Imidazopyridine
    Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Alprazolam (Xanax), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Temazepam (Restoril), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Clonazepam (Klonopin), Benzodiazepine derivative
    Lorazepam (Ativan), Benzodiazepine derivative


    Psychotherapy is the treatment of behavioral health problems through verbal and nonverbal communication between the patient and a trained mental health professional.

    A person can receive psychotherapy alone (i.e., individual therapy) or with others (i.e., couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy) or both (e.g., individual therapy for depression and couples therapy for marital problems).

    Any form of psychotherapy may be combined with drug therapy.

    People often seek individual psychotherapy after they have tried other approaches to solving a personal problem. For example, people who are depressed, anxious, or have relationship problems may find that talking to friends or family members is not enough to resolve their problems. Sometimes people would rather talk to a therapist about personal problems because they would feel uncomfortable discussing highly personal matters with friends or family.

    Psychotherapy differs from the informal help or advice that one person may give another. It can be very helpful to find and talk to a licensed therapist who has the expertise to understand emotional problems; training to select treatment methods based on well-developed, research-supported theories about the sources of personal problems; professionalism to be impartial while having the client’s best interests at heart; and objectivity to deal with emotionally charged issues and intimate relationships.

    Individual psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. What happens in sessions depends on many factors, including the personalities of the therapist and client, the particular problems brought forward by the client, the number and severity of these problems, and the training and experience of the therapist.

    “Psychotherapy” is refers to a large number of treatment methods, each based on different theories about what causes of psychological heath and illness. There are more than 250 kinds of psychotherapy, but only a few have found mainstream acceptance. Many kinds of psychotherapy are variations on well-known approaches of earlier theorists. Most therapies can be classified as (1) psychodynamic, (2) humanistic, (3) behavioral, (4) cognitive, or (5) eclectic. About 40 percent of therapists in the United States consider their approach eclectic, which means they combine techniques from a number of theoretical approaches and often tailor their treatment to the particular psychological problem of a client.

    I would consider my orientation to be integrative rather than eclectic because in case conceptualization and treatment planning I do my best to incorporate the best insights of psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive approaches. As a sort of default position, however, I use cognitive therapy to treat depression and anxiety because (a) cognitive therapy has been demonstrated to so effective in treating these conditions, and (b) I have been getting good results using this form of therapy over the last 20 years.

    In individual psychotherapy, I enter into contractual, professional relationship in which the client agrees to pay me a fee for providing psychological services designed to accomplish the client’s specific treatment goals. Generally, the most common goals of therapy are to restore and maintain the client’s psychological heath and well-being and to promote self-understanding and personal growth. The principles of the science of psychology as well as my clinical training and experience guide me in selecting techniques most likely to accomplish the client’s treatment goals. Treatment interventions are typically selected because they help the client identify, target, and change dysfunctional patterns of thinking, feeling, or acting. These patterns are considered dysfunctional because they are causing clinically significant (a) emotional distress and (b) impairment in the client’s social, educational, or occupational functioning.

    Developing An Effective Treatment Plan

    The nature and scope of treatment goals varies from client to client. Many clients come to therapy with relatively narrow goals, such as relief from anxiety, recovery from depression, or anger management. Other clients bring to therapy relatively boad goals, such as personality change, personal growth, optimal functioning, self-understanding, or deeper intimacy. My training and experience encompasses a large number of treatment methods derived from multiple perspectives on psychological functioning. This diverse background gives me the flexibility to deal with the broad range of issues that clients may want to address.

    The type and course of treatment I recommend for you depends on a variety of factors. First, I need to know what changes you want or need to make in your life. Your goals in therapy fall into one or more of the following categories:

    • Crisis Management/Stabilization (stopping something bad from getting worse and unbearable);
    • Palliation/Relief (getting some easing or partial relief from something bad);
    • Recovery/Restoration (getting full relief and a return to normality);
    • Maintenance/Relapse-Prevention (sustaining recovery);
    • Recurrence-Prevention (making sure something bad never happens again);
    • Personal Growth (getting and maintaining something good, or making something good even better); or
    • Optimal Functioning (getting something good to be the best it can be).

    If and when your goals change during the course of therapy, as they do with many of my clients (e.g., from stabilization to palliation to recovery, and then to prevention and possibly personal growth and optimal functioning), corresponding adjustments in treatment need to be made.

    My treatment recommendations will also take into consideration your positive or negative response to any treatment or self-help efforts in the past. What helped you in the past? What did’t help you at all? What, if anything, made things worse?

    Our work together will be guided by my best understanding of your problems and what would work best to help you resolve them. I will seek to understand internal and external factors that

    • Predispose or set you up to have problems;
    • Precipitate or trigger these problems;
    • Perpetuate or keep the problems going;
    • Palliate or provide relief;
    • Exacerbate or make them worse;
    • Prevent or protect you from having problems in the future.
    Back to top
    Rate This Entry