Combining a knowledge of evidence-based treatments with a passion for learning each client's unique story, Brian has 3 main areas of focus in his practice:

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Teens (and their Parents)

Is there any other period of life that brings so many new challenges all at once? The defining task for this age group is learning how to become more independent as they get ready to enter adulthood. So, it's natural that they start to pull away from the role that they have had with their parents - but it may also be the time when they need them the most. It can be really helpful to have someone to help both teens and their parents find new ways of dealing with each other; ways that allow the teen to grow appropriately independent but to also feel the support of the ones that love them most.

Brian loves being a resource to teens and parents that are struggling. There are many different ways to intervene. Sometimes, it works best to allow the teen to have some individual sessions of their own, and to allow them a place to feel the safety to share difficulties without fear of judgement or punishment. Parents might feel that they benefit from some sessions on their own to get some new ideas and support. Often, it might be a combination of these with some sessions together as well. Brian also offers some groups for teens  who are dealing with common struggles (anxiety, depression, grief, dealing with divorce).

He bases his therapy on the proven resources of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), Cognitive-Interpersonal Therapy, developing research on brain development in adolescence, and especially on the belief that each and every teen has a story that makes sense of their feelings and decisions. It is his desire to understand that story and see it from their perspective. This is an essential step prior to trying to effect any change. He holds the same approach for parents. 

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Couples

What could be more confusing than finding yourself unable to communicate well with the one person with whom you felt that you could share anything? How did things change so drastically, and how do you restore that? But, maybe restoring shouldn't really be the goal. Maybe it could be better. Maybe the valleys now, as low as they are, could provide just the opportunities that will enable you all to move to a level of support and understanding that you have never known before. Granted, that might seem difficult to believe right now - but isn't that the kind of hope that you would want in the person that you have entrusted to help in this most intimate of relationships?

Brian approaches hurting relationships with exactly this kind of hope. Best of all, he is able to have that kind of hope based on a knowledge of the ways to intervene with couples that have been found to be most effective. Beyond mere behavioral training and communication techniques, he uses the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples to go deeper into the core of clients' hurts, fears, desires, and hopes.  Famed marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, has found that most couples start to struggle in significant ways 6 years prior to seeing a professional for help. Unfortunately, much division can happen in those years. Don't wait until it's too late to reach out for a helping hand.  

 

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Adults in a Rut

"Why is it possible to learn more in ten minutes about the Crab Nebula in Taurus, which is 6,000 light years away, then you presently know about yourself, even though you've been stuck with yourself all your life?" - Walker Percy in Lost in the Cosmos: the last self-help book

The above quote comes from one of Brian's favorite books. It does such a great job of pointing out this oddity  that we can have spent so much time thinking about our lives, and still have so little understanding of ourselves and why we do the things that we do.  We get stuck in ruts and can't for the life of us figure out how to pull out of them. So we give up trying, or we hide the ruts. The crazy thing though, is that we all seem to have these ruts - whether we are feeling stuck physically, emotionally, relationally, vocationally, or spiritually. Though we tend to feel ashamed and try and hide these struggles, the irony lies in the fact that it seems that we usually only make progress with them in relationship with each other. It seems like we have been created in such a way that we need each other to help by listening, reflecting, encouraging, and accepting us - ruts and all. Oddly enough, in the midst of this grace - we start to feel empowered to change. 

This is a big part of what therapy is all about.  It is why the research shows that irrespective of the type of therapy used, the one essential factor for effective counseling is the therapeutic relationship. This does not mean of course, that this is all there is to therapy. Good therapy also includes a knowledge of research about particular problem-areas, improved insight, and sometimes a learning of effective skills towards making change. But it all starts and centers on the relationship. For this reason, Brian integrates the proven skills of listening, reflecting, and deepening that come out of Motivational Interviewing with the emphasis on understanding a person's story and giving them a new experience of acceptance that come from Dynamic and Interpersonal therapy models. When helpful, he will utilize insights and skills from Cognitive-Behavioral therapy and Dialectical Behavior therapy models as well. In a rut? You don't have to go it alone. Call for an appointment at (615) 861-2222.