Living a Life of Self-Awareness and Self-Actualization
We all want happiness and contentment, but all of us encounter times in our lives when we are faced with certain challenges that make us feel stressed, anxious, depressed, angry or scared. Getting support and insight from a trained counselor can help you understand more clearly what’s really happening and help you see new and healthier ways of relating to yourself and those around you. By identifying and overcoming your internal barriers, you will learn how to make better decisions, discover new opportunities, achieve your goals and feel more at peace.
In my practice, I work with children, teenagers, adults, couples, and families. Here is how I work:
Helping You in the Here and Now
Your problems affect you now and you want solutions now so I work in the present using a Solution-Focused approach. Your past will come up in the course of our conversations, but my focus is more on how to solve your problem as opposed to what deep-seated factors caused you to have your problem. I take a creative and down-to-earth approach that allows you to understand more clearly what motivates you and what constricts you. As we identify these factors, I will show you how to become more effective in coping with and overcoming the challenges that face you. Life is really simple, yet we complicate it unnecessarily. I will you help you reduce the “clutter” going on inside of you so you can truly learn how to enjoy life with friends and family and be more productive at work.
Valuing Your Uniqueness
My therapy approach is unique. If you have ever been to the local diner, what we all love about it is that the menu, with a hundred or more dishes to consider, is custom-made for our tastes. We love things that are unique and customized for us. We all have different wallpaper on our computer screens, we like different flavors of ice cream, and we own different makes, models and colors in the cars we drive. Therapy is also a unique process. Every human being desires the same basic things, to be loved and give love, be respected at work for their talents and skills, make enough money to live comfortably, to be healthy in mind and body. However, everyone has a unique set of personality traits, relationship history, family dynamics, and work settings they occupy. Therefore, every person who enters counseling deserves a customized approach to helping him or her become moreresilient and happier in their day to day lives. You are you. In trying to solve your problems, you should not compare yourself to anyone else or look to copy them and what made them successful. The goal of COUNSELING IS is for you to get to know yourself better. In that process lies the growth and healing.
Practicing New Skills Within Therapy Sessions
There are many tools that I use in session to promote and expand a person’s ability to cope more effectively with life stressors. These include the following:
1) Role Playing-Role playing involves my taking on the role of a person in your life who makes you feel anxious, afraid or angry. I speak in the way this individual would speak. Meanwhile, you are coached to interact with me in ways that demonstrate more confidence, self-assertion, acceptance, tolerance, flexibility, etc. The idea is that you will be able to transfer these skills into your real-life interactions with these people.
2) The Empty Chair-The Empty Chair involves you imagining that your antagonist is sitting in an empty chair in the room. You speak to that person as the “new you” conveying all of your sense of hurt and anger in a manner that acts as an emotional catharsis. Whereas before you would suppress your feelings of frustration and resentment, now you communicate it clearly and directly.
3) Inviting in collaterals into the therapy sessions-By collaterals, I mean family members or significant others with whom you are engaged in a conflict or misunderstanding. The function of myself as your therapist would be to help you and your partner or family member communicate in a forthright and candid fashion. I act as a mediator allowing both sides to learn the art of negotiation and compromise. Sometimes, the collateral can act as an informant for the therapist providing heretofore concealed information about the client–information that may be crucial to understanding the crux of the problem at hand.
4) Guided Relaxation and Guided Imagery-These techniques allow you to enter into a mood state that is self-soothing. Initial with your therapist as a guide, you learn how to become more attuned to your bodily presence. By becoming more sensitized to your being present in the “here-and-now”, you are able to loosen your preoccupations and worries with the past and future. You are truly in the moment. This is very empowering.
5) Connecting client to the community-I am a big believer in the power of association, of being connected to a community. That community can come in the form of shared interests, artistic sensitivities, volunteer pursuits or spiritual leanings. It can also manifest in terms of involvement in the realm of health and fitness in organized sports and gym attendance. “Man (and woman) does not exist on an island.” Over the last 50 years, life in America has become increasingly atomized and fragmented with the resulting feeling of isolation and loneliness that many feel. We have to connect. We have to see ourselves in terms of something outside of ourselves, something larger. We have to give back.
Permanent and Lasting Changes
In counseling, everyone loves those “light bulb” moments, those flashes of insight, those “aha” moments. Everything seems to come together. You understand how your relationship and communication patterns affect your life. These insights feel great. However, insight needs to brought into practice. I will help you APPLY your self-knowledge and self-awareness in all areas of your life. With the insights you have acquired, I will provide you with the strategies and skills to become a better parent, friend, co-worker and romantic partner. You will come away with practical coping mechanisms to deal with the inevitable stress that will come your way. You will no longer be paralyzed by anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, and anger as your self-awareness and coping skills will prevent these feelings from taking over your lives. You will feel more flexible, hopeful, and resilient.
I help people with a variety of issues, and I have particular expertise in:
We all know what it is like to feel nervous when we have to give a speech, attend a job interview, or ask someone out on a date. We also know that it’s to be expected to feel fear and anxiety when faced with a traumatic situation or impending danger. If you are in a bank when it is being held up or you are awaiting news on blood tests to rule out cancer, you will surely feel anxiety and fear.
Most of us can manage these momentary crisis situations and restore our emotional balance after the incident has passed. We don’t remain plagued by our apprehensions. However, millions of people experience panic, phobias and overwhelming shyness that disrupt their everyday functioning. These symptoms interfere with their ability to perform at work, make friends, establish intimate relationships, travel for a vacation and engage in athletic or recreational activities. Some individuals are literally locked up in their homes, perceiving their homes as their only safe haven.
Are you plagued by constant worry and fear and paralyzed by inaction? Psychotherapy can be very helpful in reducing your feelings of anxiety to manageable levels. Therapy will provide you with strategies to distinguish realistic thoughts from irrational ones. It will also enable you to learn and apply self-soothing techniques designed to help you remain calm and composed in stressful situations.
Working with clients who are struggling with persistent anxiety and panic is my specialty area. I utilize a wide range of therapeutic approaches to help my clients gain control of their anxiety and thereby reclaim there lives. I have assisted hundreds of individuals in overcoming this affliction and I welcome the opportunity to help you too.
Mindfulness is a key skill that I seek to impart in my clients. Mindfulness is the ability to be in the moment and filter out the distractions in the environment that have a way to cause tension, worry, and fear. Everything is dependent on the interpretation of the mind and when the mind is active and constantly assessing the relative effects of any given situation, the result is taking away a person from the here-and-now and placing them in the domain of speculation. Speculation is, in effect, making assumptions about reality in the realm of abstraction. Engaging in mental gymnastics takes one out of experience life and others as they are and only as they are. What therapy aims to accomplish is take judgment and the critical mind of the jurisdiction of self-appraisal and out of the interactions that take place between people in intimate relationships. This calls for a suspension of judgment, allowing one’s loved ones to be who they are and as they are without a need or desire to change them. The same would apply to life circumstances. The objective is to abandon any preconceived notion that there exists an existence that is more gratifying and uplifting than the reality that presents itself now. This mindset needs to be discarded, since it leads to a making life an endless “treadmill”, whereby a person strives and strives for an ephemeral endpoint that is elusive and beyond reach.
Would you like to live life in the here-and-now? Would you like to be free of all the fears, self-criticism, and worry that plagues your mind on a constant basis? Therapy gives you the tools to learn how to be a more accepting individual, accepting of yourself and others. Love flows freely among people that can be truly present and attuned to one another’s needs and not always preoccupied with contingencies that almost never arise.
Please contact me as I would be glad to provide you with more information about creating a customized strategy to help you restore your quality of life and your ability to both give live and receive love.
I offer Skype counseling for those who request it. Here are some great reasons to chose this option as a viable alternative to “in-office” sessions:
1) Many people find it easier to express their thoughts and feelings via Skype counseling than within the traditional “in-office” format. These individuals feel less inhibited, since their appearance, facial expressions, and vocal responses are not being observed by the therapist directly in an in-office setting.
2) It offers a feeling of safety for people who feel uncomfortable disclosing intimate details of their life in direct proximity to their therapist in an “in person” encounter.
3) It presents a viable alternative to office visits for those people who are concerned about stigma and confidentiality (i.e., bumping into a friend, acquaintance, or colleague in the waiting room).
4) It can be quite convenient and cost effective. Instead of traveling and spending money on gas, my client can schedule his or her sessions whenever he or she so wants, within the complete comfort and privacy of their own home or office.
Marriage is a forum for self-discovery and discovery of the “other”. Couples counseling provides a vehicle for genuine communication and a candid disclosure of feelings, expectations, hopes, and dreams. With the active facilitation of a skilled therapist, misunderstanding and conflict can be converted into closeness and growth. He or she will help you see through the idealized fantasy of what your partner “should” be and learn to let go of hurt and resentment. Through guided communication, your counselor will give you the wherewithal to truly “understand” your partner deeply and authentically. The desire to change one’s significant other is transformed into a genuine sense of love and admiration for his or her special uniqueness.
Working with a couples therapist, you’ll learn skills to strengthen your relationship. These skills will include communicating openly, solving problems and discussing differences in an unemotional and reasoned manner. You will be encouraged to develop active listening skills so that you can actually “hear” your partner on a deeper level. You and your significant other will be able to identify the true underlying bases for your differences and become more adept at negotiating compromises that will enrich your relationship.
There will be times when feelings of anger, sadness and hurt bubble to the surface as you discuss your true feelings about your partner and his or behavior. Your therapist will act as mediator and coach, helping your process your feelings and communicate them in a constructive, relationship-enhancing fashion.
If you or your partner is struggling with a mental illness or substance abuse, your counselor will provide individual therapy as an adjunct and, if need be, coordinate services with an outside psychiatrist.
If your partner refuses to attend couples counseling, you can certainly attend relationship counseling yourself. It’s more of a challenge to heal the relationship when only one partner is willing to attend, but you can still improve the quality of your bond by learning more about your problematic behavior and communication patterns.
Making the decision to go to couples counseling is a difficult one since it involves admitting that the relationship is in trouble. Getting help is, however, more effective than ignoring the situation and hoping things will improve on their own.
Garrett graduated from both the University of Pennsylvania and New York University and has been in practice for over 15 years, seeing clients and supervising other therapists. He considers himself an eclectic practitioner who uses a wide range of growth-inducing therapy techniques to help his clients overcome obstacles both internally and within their relationships. He provides individuals with a unique space to explore their past, present, and future within an atmosphere of warmth, safety and respect. He encourages a collaborative process where goals can be defined and objectives achieved. Through increased self-awareness and ability to act assertively, Garrett’s clients experience more satisfying relationships and more productive work lives.
Sometimes you have a specific issue you want focused help with. If you’re seeking concrete, practical advice or you live outside the New York Metro area and can’t come to my office, I offer private coaching and consultation, both in-person and by phone or Skype. The areas in which I offer consultation and coaching would include:
Parent Skills Training
Parenting Coaching and Support
ADHD Coaching for You or Your Child
Aspergers Coaching for You or Your Child
Dating Coaching and Overcoming Relationship Issues