I'm a "Reality Therapist". It's a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that's grounded on the principle of: "If you hurt, take action, lessen the hurt, smile more." There are those who believe total sobriety from all substances is the only way. Others say you can "reduce harm" by accepting small substance engagement. I'm on the fence because we're all different and every case should be tailored to the specific needs and qualifications of what the loved one defines as their model of a healthy life. I consider it my job to help them reach their goal. I'm infinitely creative and pledge to do my level best to find the right course of action for the family as well as the addicted loved one.
I hold a Masters in Education focused on counseling psychology, a Certified Intervention Specialist (CIP), a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC1), and a Certified Recovery Coach, and Recovery Coach for the Emergency Department.
Intervention: Clinical Family Interventionist trained at the Love First Institute in Minnesota by Debora and Jeff Jay, and ARISE invitational intervention trained by Dr. Judith Landau. My philosophy is: "Love Always Wins!" Nothing has been closer to the truth. I lead with my heart and pull resistance towards me. We all want to simply be happy. We can do this, but it takes a team.
Raised outside Asbury Park during the 60’s I somehow survived the Age Of Aquarius. My father was a practicing clinical psychologist, who ran group therapy in the living room of our home. He was truly a “forward thinker”, a real hippy in conservative clothing who blew the doors off of standards, expectations, and conformity. That form of upbringing impacted his children in ways that provided us without blinders, the spirit to explore, fearless risk-takers, and the mindset to ignore society’s limitations. But there was the dark side, including excessive exposure to abuse in various forms, and the fact that I was already doing drugs at 13, which no doubt initiated the age of my arrested development. This lifestyle opened the door for extraordinary substance use that leads to episodes of depression that could have been the end of me if it weren’t for my mothers' indomitable spirit to overcome life’s obstacles. That was imbued in me at such a young age and helps me to this day- to simply never give up... on anything, or anyone. That’s the spirit of how I look at life and how I help others in my work.
A musician at heart, I’ve pursued a variety of industries from television to motorsports but got my degree in counseling psychology in 1985. My work in psychiatric hospitals, an alternative education high school, managing a group home, and many years in emergency services in Colorado, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have given me a wide and varied exposure to mental illness, and treatment, in many forms. I married my darling Jenny, a “native” of Martha’s Vineyard, and after living in Dorchester, a suburb of Boston for eleven years moved to the island in 1995. We raised two successful children there, who have seen their own fair share of challenges and injustice. Keep in mind that our beautiful island is cold, wet and very alone most of the year. While picture book landscapes are beautiful, isolation and limited social interactions have their devastating impact. Dukes County is the poorest in Massachusetts, but you wouldn't know it from the advertisements.
Besides my tenure as Emergency Services Clinician for eleven years and staff on the Substance Use Disorder Team at our hospital, I've been blessed to get to know hundreds of people through the D24 Drivers Alcohol Education Program and Second Offenders Aftercare Programs, and my work as a Recovery Coach for Emergency Departments, and on our hospital's Substance Use Disorder Team. Many engagements have been through my association with the Martha's Vineyard Community Services- Island Counseling Center since 2011. Also, I'm a pilot and serve with the US Coast Guard Aviation AuxAir D1NR.
Being a parent has been the most rewarding element of my life, and joyously embraced the confrontations of raising children in the midst of excessive technology growth, watching social standards lower, behavior codes vaporize, and the rise of drug use acceptance that has almost destroyed the past couple of generations. This accomplishment allows me to stand strong on how I view child-rearing and have developed a style of communicating which seems to transcend age differences, and somehow allows me to relate to kids one third my age (...some of the time).
I view family gestalt as an essential influence on the decisions we make, and work hard to employ the family as a whole when addressing substance, alcohol and technology addiction, and incorporate highly specific tailored treatment strategies to address the impact of they make, and focus specifically on the impact of trauma on the psyche of all involved.
While I follow a number of therapeutic philosophies, the vast majority of my work is critical short term resolution of errant behaviors, to improve the quality of life of the family members impacted using Motivational Interviewing and a form using Reality Therapy, a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with clearly defined goals. This allows the clinical process to be monitored for progress in a way which enhances the therapy, by empowering family member, providing dynamic and joyful results in a timeline beneficial to all. I am also a disciple of Stephen R Covey's "The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People" and work those principles into the fabric of my service. I am inspired by the words of Andy and Red from Shawshank Redemption, who individually reach an epiphany about their lives when things were the toughest: "Either get busy living or get busy dying." I prefer the former.
While the road to sobriety and “sane living” can be more like a lightning bolt than a freeway, and knowing that setbacks, trip-ups, slip-ups, and simple gaffs make up that road- I face each family members challenge together, as a team, as a coach, as someone that earns trust, and pays off in dividends of hope and love.