Since each person is unique, as a therapist I feel that the approach to therapy should be unique as well. To that end I combine existential philosophy with cognitive behavioral tools thus allowing a person to feel empowered to take concrete actions in order to change or cope with his/her current level of distress and achieve success in improving everyday life.
I have a MSEd in Counseling and Personnel Services from Fordham University. I am currently licensed to practice independently in New York and New Jersey. While working on my degree, I was introduced and became intrigued with the 'Existential' approach to psychotherapy. I especially connected with the idea that a person has responsibility and control over themselves. I believed that this concept is very empowering. Although an individual may be suffering from a situation or a physical condition, which they are not in a position to change, they can certainly take control of their thoughts and feelings in regards to the situation.
Prior to opening a private practice, I was a Group Home Psychologist for dually diagnosed adults with 'Developmental Disabilities' and 'Psychiatric Disorders'. The therapy modality in the group homes were strictly limited to 'Behavioral' and in some case 'Cognitive Behavioral'. At first this seemed like a total contradiction to my Existential philosophy, however, the more I worked with this approach the more I came to realize that 'Behavioral' and 'Cognitive Behavioral' approaches are excellent tools that flow perfectly with 'Existentialism'. Merging the two approaches, I can now take the ideas of controlling your own emotions and give people the actual behavioral tools to be able to do so successfully.
I advanced this approach further with EMDR. People usually experience very strong feelings of helplessness after a trauma. EMDR is a relatively fast approach used in conjunction with therapy that allows a person to gain back a sense of control and stability over his or her life while eradicating anxiety symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, fears, difficulty breathing, etc., so that a person can get back to his or her normal routine.
I truly believe and integrate the words of Irvin Yalom (my favorite Existential therapist) to "invent" a unique approach for every patient we are honored to work with.
Goldie Rabaev, Founder of Life Psychotherapy