After our initial evaluation session, I will tell you how I think I can best help you with the issue(s) that brought you through the door. If I feel I’m not the best person to treat you, I’ll be frank about it – and recommend another therapist who might better suit your needs.
The one thing therapists of all stripes pretty much agree upon is that our previous life experiences, especially negative ones from our earliest or formative years, have a great influence – often unconsciously – on how we think, feel and behave as adults today. Yet insight and understanding about the seminal events that shaped our perceptions and behaviors do not by themselves resolve those events for us, or change, necessarily, how we think and feel and behave. So … whereas I do find traditional talk therapy can be very useful for problem-solving, decision-making, helping to gain new perspectives or ways of thinking, sorting out relationship difficulties, etc., both research and my own clinical experience suggest that getting over traumatic events requires more than some insights or recognition that a traumatic experience “happened a long time ago.” Often the emotions from those experiences – and the distorted, negative self-beliefs associated with them – continue to have power over us, a power that simply talking about them does not address. There are treatments, thankfully, to defuse that power and to neutralize the emotional charge from traumatic memories that often exacerbates our reactions to mildly unpleasant or even innocuous events that occur in the present. Perhaps the most researched among them – and one I use extensively – is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-Processing). See About EMDR.
But my overall method remains eclectic: in tailoring my treatment to the specific needs of the individual, I sometimes use cognitive-behavioral or even psychodynamic approaches when appropriate. Often, when people are “stuck” or “overwhelmed,” I find that ETT (Emotional Transformation Therapy) can be a particularly useful treatment. Yet regardless of what intervention(s) I use, helping you to achieve the goals for which you came to treatment as quickly as possible remains my primary focus.
Over two-thirds of my referrals come from patients, therapists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals who are familiar with my work.
Over the years, my mix of male and female clients has been remarkably about equal. There have been a number of other therapists and occasional psychiatrists among my clients (see Therapist Testimonials on this page), a good number of recovering alcoholics as well. I am comfortable working with people regardless of their sexual orientation, and my experience has been that the opposite is equally true .
Attachment / family-of-origin issues – abuse, neglect, abandonment, et. al.
Depression – often characterized by sad mood, sleep difficulties, loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed, lack of energy and concentration, irritability, feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth, e.g.
Grief and loss – the profound sense of loss of an important person in your life through death, divorce or break-up that does not heal in a “normal” period of time can be what we call complicated grief, often mimicking symptoms of PTSD. (Sometimes even the loss of a cherished job or pet can cause such symptoms.)
Life-threatening medical issues – including invasive treatments that can sometimes in and of themselves be traumatic
Psychological Trauma – a British study has shown that people who have experienced trauma – but don’t present with sufficient symptoms to be diagnosed with [full-blown] PTSD – can nevertheless experience the same degree of dysfunction in their lives as those who do.
PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) – characterized by: reliving the event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares; marked psychological and even physiological distress in response to [often benign] cues or triggers that somehow resemble or remind one of the event; emotional numbing and [pronounced] avoidance of trauma-related stimuli; hyperarousal, including insomnia, irritability, excessive vigilance, and increased startle response.
Self-esteem issues, such as: “I’m not good [smart, attractive] enough,” “I need to be perfect,” “My brother [sister] got all the attention when we were growing up.”
I have had the opportunity to work with Richard Gibson in a therapeutic relationship. As a therapist myself, I wanted to work with someone who had the knowledge and training to understand how trauma effects a person, and someone who knew how to help to reduce the symptoms and sequelae of traumatic life experiences.
I have found Richard Gibson to be very sensitive, knowledgeable and helpful in reducing trauma related symptoms. I would highly recommend him to anyone.