Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor

Michael 300x268Philosophy

Psychotherapy is effective because of the relationship that client and therapist create together. It takes patience and courage to develop the trust that makes this relationship possible, and it is my job as a therapist to create a space in which my clients and I trust one another enough to look together at what is most distressing in life. I believe that the self-awareness and the self-acceptance that results is the surest way to move beyond distress and to truly flourish.

My work is oriented toward insight, toward changes in behavior, and toward releasing the capacity for everyday action and life satisfaction that have been inaccessible due to trauma, depression or anxiety.

Training and Experience

My clinical training is in social work. I am a Licensed Social Worker with a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and I am committed to social work’s insight into the importance of social, political, and cultural context for understanding our lives. During my training, I was an intern at ABJ Community Services in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood and at Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center in Skokie, Illinois. At ABJ, I lead job search and substance abuse counseling groups. At Turning Point, I worked as an individual and group therapist.

My work as a psychotherapist is rooted in thirty years of experience as an administrator and as a teacher of philosophy and literature at the University of Chicago, where I also earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy.

My career change was motivated by my long-standing interest in what makes life meaningful and by my own liberating and enlivening experiences in individual and group psychotherapy. Bringing the full range of life experience to my work, I create with my clients a therapeutic relationship based on mutual trust, within which clients can express distress without shame, access their inherent strengths and overcome blocks to flourishing and well-being.

Range of Focus
  • Adults, individuals and couples
  • Men's Issues
  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Relationship issues
  • Adjustment to life transitions
  • Sexuality
  • Affirmative practice with LGBTQ individuals and couples
Psychotherapy
Individuals

Some years ago I took an acting class where we worked on improvisational scene building. The first principle, our instructor said, is always to say yes to your partner. If you start the scene by saying, “It is raining,” then I ought to say, “Yes, and the rain is cold,” not something like, “No, it is sunny.” Our purpose is to build something together on stage and only by cooperatively accepting and interpreting our shared world can that building occur.

This principle guides my works as a psychotherapist. Saying yes to what my clients bring to our sessions: this seems to me to be at the heart of psychotherapy. As therapist, I want my clients to teach me about themselves and to be open to the challenge of new ways of experiencing themselves. My job is to clear a space for that teaching and learning to occur.

What we build together is our relationship as therapist and client. It is informed by life outside the therapeutic space but it is also a new relationship in the moment. The scene comes to life in the play of our conversation. In the therapeutic space, I strive to give my clients permission freely to develop the scene, openly telling the story of who they are. This work can be difficult; conflict and fear and anger will be a part of what we cope with together.

Working together, my clients and I build up a store of common experience, we explore the client’s life story and we experience our relationship as a way of understanding sources of distress and of practicing new ways of living and responding that will relieve that distress and increase self-acceptance.

Someone once said that a friend is another self. In this spirit, I would say that a therapist is a friend who shares the therapeutic process. That process clears a space for the client to learn to say yes to the scene that is her or his own life, to see even painful realities clearly, to challenge old ways of living, and to build a new life with confidence and joy.

Couples

My work with couples also depends on creating a therapeutic space. Since couples come to therapy with a way of relating to one another that has become problematic, our goal is to build a new community of three that will help a couple learn to understand one another and their partnership in new ways and to develop practical means of enacting that new partnership in daily life. As with individual therapy—where self-awareness leads to self-acceptance and self-transformation—couples experience new awareness, new acceptance, and a transformed life for their partnership.

But sometimes partners learn that they do not have a future together, and that is progress too—what I work toward with my clients in couple’s therapy is for the sake of the well-being of the two people who come to see me.

Whatever the outcome, couples therapy is an exhilarating experience as clients learn to bring to practice new ways of communicating with each other—a process that deepens intimacy and openness.

Groups

I also facilitate a weekly group for men. The group is a place where men can build a sense of brotherhood, safety and community with other men, outside the conventional and very limiting ways in which men often interact with one another.

Men’s Group is a working therapeutic community that welcomes all the experiences and all the conflicts associated with masculinity in our lives, and gives us a chance to experience mentorship with other men in a safe setting. Topics may include, but are not limited to, decisions about our careers; conflicts with our partners, parents, and children; what we mean by success; how we express our anger; our resistance to asking for help; how we experience sexuality; and our relationships with our fathers, our sons, and our daughters.

Degrees and Certifications

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, State of Illinois
Fellowship Program, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, 2012-2013
MA in Clinical Social Work, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, 2012
PhD, Philosophy, University of Chicago, 1988
BA in Liberal Arts, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1977

Office Hours

Monday-Saturday: Days and evenings, please call for available times.

Contact Information
Contact image

1300 W. Belmont, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60657

30 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 508
Chicago, IL 60602

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

773.880.1310 ext. 7893