Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer

Bruce 300x260
Values and Philosophy

The Art of Creating Change

Psychotherapy is the art of creating change by joining the experience, wisdom and knowledge of the therapist and the client with the care and connection of a trusting relationship.

For over thirty-five years, I have been helping individuals, couples and families find solutions to often vexing challenges, including anxiety, depression, trauma, relational conflicts, loss, health problems, and various life transitions. I have also devoted much of that time to promoting the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified people. This has deepened my appreciation for both the experience of difference and the impact that various systems such as families, communities, laws, schools, and religious institutions can have on individuals. I therefore pay close attention not just to what is happening within you, but what is happening around you. I utilize many approaches to solving problems. In addition to my systems focus, I can incorporate psychodynamic, body-centered, trauma-based, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused and narrative strategies into my work. However, no one size fits all. My work involves creating an amalgam of approaches tailored to your needs, goals and concerns. Furthermore, all of my work with you is strengths-based. I focus not just on your problems and barriers, but on your strengths, talents, and capacities.

Training and Experience

Early in my career, I was fortunate to work in a variety of settings: an in-patient psychiatric hospital, a psycho-social rehabilitation center, a community mental health center, and a school-based counseling program for youth. Each of these professional experiences taught me about the relationships between individuals and multiple systems and cultures, grounded me in the realities and challenges of human life, and honed my skills in helping others to meet them. Through my own experiences as a gay man, I have been a committed advocate for LGBT concerns in the fields of social service and mental health for all of my adult life. I served for 6 years as the Executive Director of The Center on Halsted (formerly Horizons Community Services) and also served as Clinical Director of The Evelyn Hooker Center for Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, a program of The University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry. I was an Adjunct Faculty member for the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, where I taught a course in Clinical Practice with Lesbians and Gay Men. I am co-author of Something To Tell You: The Road Families Travel When A Child Is Gay (Columbia University Press, 2000), and write an online column about and for LGBTQ couples for Windy City Media Group. Founding Live Oak with my friend and colleague, Jeff Levy, allowed both of us to enhance services for LGBT individuals and their families. We recognize that working with the LGBT population requires so much more than just being "gay-friendly".  We have therefore dedicated ourselves to learning and applying the sophisticated body of knowledge that now exists, and training hundreds of mental health professionals in providing quality service to this population. These years of practice, learning and teaching infuse and inspire my work. I have presented nationally on a range of issues affecting the LGBT communities, have served on numerous boards and advisory committees, and am a recipient of the City of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Award, the HUMAN FIRST Award, the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force Human Rights Achievement Award, the Gay Chicago Magazine Hall of Fame Award, and the Grinnell College Alumni Award. My work with the LGBT population does not preclude my working with non-LGBT people, and my practice is comprised of both. It does, however, strengthen my resolve to empower others, celebrate difference, and recognize the uniqueness of every individual and family.

Range of Focus
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, couples and relationship issues

  • Childhood trauma, including physical/sexual abuse,

  • Psychological abuse/neglect, ostracism and harassment,

  • Depression, anxiety and stress,

  • Addictive behaviors,

  • Bereavement, loss and grief 

Individual Psychotherapy

Our work together begins with building a partnership of mutual trust. In addition to my expertise, I bring to this work my respect, honesty, commitment, openness to your concerns, self-awareness, an ethical approach to practice, and a desire to succeed. As we establish a trusting relationship, we can challenge old patterns of living that may no longer be useful and construct new ways of thinking or acting in the world that offer greater satisfaction. Through this process, change happens. Through practice, work, and attention to new challenges, change deepens and becomes consistent over time. I will engage actively with you and listen closely to your perspective. During the beginning phase of our work, we will assess the reasons you are coming to see me. With the greatest sensitivity, I will ask you questions so that I can more fully understand your concerns and learn any relevant history. I will review my thoughts and observations with you, spend some time constructing and clarifying the goals of our work, use the experience of our relationship to understand what is occurring elsewhere, and suggest some ways to move forward. As we build both a solid relationship and solid understanding of your goals, strength, and challenges, we will enter a "working phase". I may ask you to apply strengths to new arenas, offer new strategies and ask you to practice them, challenge existing patterns of thought or behavior, and provide techniques for mastering them. As always, I will welcome your honest feedback and respond with new ideas. When new and successful patterns emerge, we will focus on ways to consolidate and strengthen them. Through practice, courage, and commitment, change becomes consistent.

Couples Therapy

I welcome and immensely enjoy the opportunity to work with couples. Although the phases of our work are similar to those described above, the work is by necessity more active and immediate. I will attend to your needs and identities as both individuals and as a system, and work with your strengths to address your challenges. There will be times where I may ask you to engage directly with each other in my office and I will offer suggestions and guidance as you do so. At other times, I will encourage you to practice new behaviors at home, and to review with me the effects of that work. I will always work to help you resolve conflict by learning new skills and strengthening the bonds between you, and to construct new meanings for the relationship. Finally, I recognize that many of the concerns affecting same-sex couples are unique, including differences in access to legal rights and recognition, managing the impact of homophobia, and living in multiple cultures simultaneously, including gay and lesbian sub-cultures. My familiarity with these and other forces insures that I bring greater understanding and skill to my work with same-sex couples.

Professional Consultation

As I have benefited from receiving quality supervision and mentorship throughout my career,  I am pleased to offer this to others newer to the profession. Consultation reflects my philosophy of clinical practice in that I approach learning from a strengths-based perspective within the context of building a trusting relationship.  With a focus on creating sound case formulations and timely and appropriate interventions, I welcome individuals who are seeking to deepen their skills, expand their clinical repertoire, and enhance their use of self in order to provide quality service to others.

Professional Training
  • Adjunct Faculty, University of Illinois - Jane Addams College of Social Work Graduate course in Group Therapy 
  • Adjunct Faculty, Argosy University (formerly Illinois School of Professional Psychology) Psychotherapy Graduate course on Clinical Practice with Lesbians and Gay Men 
  • Core and Associate Faculty, Chicago Center for Family Health Couples Therapy with Same-Sex Couples Affirmative Therapy with LGBT Individuals and Their Families 
  • Lecturer, University of Chicago - School of Social Service Administration Graduate Course in Family Therapy I have also presented on a range of LGBTQ issues, including: Affirmative Practice, Domestic Violence, Same-Sex Couples, LGBT Youth, and LGBT Seniors.
Degrees

1979 M.S.W. Jane Addams College of Social Work University of Illinois at Chicago 
1975 B.A. Grinnell College Grinnell, Iowa

Certifications

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Since 1990 
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation License Number: 149-003431 
Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) Since 1984 
National Association of Social Workers

Specialized Training

2006 Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) 
2005 Critical Incident Debriefing 
1998 EMDR Level 1and 2

Office Hours

Tuesday: Noon-8:00pm 
Wednesday: Noon-8:00pm 
Thursday: 1:00pm-7:00pm 
Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm

 

Contact Information
Contact image

1300 W. Belmont, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60657

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

773.880.1310 ext. 81