My private consultation and psychotherapy practice focuses upon these 3 areas:
1. Program consultation and staff training in Deaf mental health care.
The last 30 years has seen the slow emergence of a clinical specialty called Deaf mental health care. Not just mental health care with Deaf people, this specialty requires specialized personal and cultural self-awareness, mastery of a growing body of knowledge about Deaf people, and a variety of specialized skills in addition to sign language skills. This specialty revolves around two key themes. On the one hand, there is the need to provide culturally affirmative mental health services, with an appreciation of how diverse deaf people are. On the other hand, there is a need to serve the large numbers of deaf people who do see themselves as having a disability, or who have a disability which is not deafness, but language deprivation. Unique cultural and disability issues present therapeutic challenges but also the opportunity for some creative new approaches. My 5 books on this subject, and extensive consultations and trainings, have helped define and create this field.
I have over 30 years experience working with hundreds of Deaf and hearing people in every kind of clinical setting: psychiatric inpatient (I administered and served as psychologist for a specialty Deaf inpatient unit for 14 years), private and public mental health clinics, psychiatric emergency settings, day treatment and partial hospital programs, residential treatment (group homes) and private practice.
2. Program consultation and staff training on adapting cognitive behavioral therapy for deaf and hearing persons who have language and learning challenges
I’ve been a practitioner of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for two decades. My clinical experience has been largely with Deaf and hearing person who have faced very severe life challenges and who were receiving services in hospital, residential or community based treatment programs. Many of these people have been language deprived and as a result have poorly developed communication and problem solving abilities. Most of these persons were not ready for psychotherapy as normally understood and performed. I have come to understand that much of the work of these treatment programs needs to be focused on addressing developmental gaps, such as poor problem solving skills, as well as a lack of sense of “personal agency,” (that is, that they have the ability to do something to change their own lives for the better. I developed the notion of CBT pre-therapy, presented it in two books, the second being a 12 lesson training manual for staff scheduled for release the summer of 2016. This pre-therapy work is best done in schools, agencies or residential treatment settings.
3. Small private practice of psychotherapy.
I also offer a small private practice of psychotherapy for Deaf or hearing adults who want help with problems like depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, addictions and relationships. I use a CBT model, adapted for each person, and strive for treatment that is as brief and focused as possible. I work hard to be empathically attuned and respectful to every person I work with. My practice is located in Natick, Massachusetts and at the moment is limited to Saturdays and Tuesday afternoon/evenings.
My consultation and staff development services include:
1. Program development: Creating culturally affirmative mental health services for Deaf people
2. Program evaluation: Have served as an expert evaluator of the appropriateness of clinical services provided to Deaf people
3. Staff development: Training and consulting to administrative, clinical and direct care staff on various aspects of mental health care for deaf people
4. Consultation on treatment of “difficult to serve” persons
and consultation on the subject of adapting cognitive behavioral therapy for
deaf and hearing people with language and learning challenges.