Would you believe that I almost went to law school?
Being drawn to intelligence, I try to surround myself with inspiring people. It’s allowed me to emulate a lot of their skills and make them my own.
I remember being a high-school student, struggling with life, enmeshed with unhealthy friends, my priorities got rearranged, and I considered my education a nuisance. I was blessed with a brilliant tutor, a bit older than me, who was becoming a doctor. He inspired my passion for writing and education. This happened through his modeling of the art and his thinking out loud. Later, in college, I’d catch myself using his “word-smithing” techniques, and from there, I realized the value of being exposed to gifted teachers. Talent and skill are contagious!
As a curious and persistent “truth seeker,” law was a natural interest, and if I’m honest, legal dramas on TV in my younger years also piqued my attention. Learning and understanding the world gave me a sense of security and confidence in myself that didn’t exist before.
Philosophically, the idea that laws are essentially words on a piece of paper, command order from chaos, and are sufficient to establish and maintain society is fascinating.
That, despite irreparable differences of opinion, somehow the principles have prevented a fall into a complete tyranny.
So… why did I become a therapist?
I gave the law an honest shot. I decided to complete a Paralegal program – at this time, living in Toronto, Canada, where Paralegals can practice without the supervision of a lawyer appearing in small claims courts, agencies, tribunals, and boards. I still maintain the license as I can’t bear giving it up. The certificate is just too nice!
I worked in the field and planned to attend law school after getting my BA. But, I realized through practicing that I wasn’t happy with some of the ethical conundrums – sometimes, finding myself on the wrong side of my conscience. Confident that I didn’t want the challenge that the profession posed to my character, I decided to change course.
I decided that being a therapist was a good fit. My passion was more than just the law. It was understanding people.
Law and psychology share the ability to animate ideas with life. Lawmakers bring bills to life, whereas the human mind turns ideas into self-fulfilling prophecies. Acknowledging the danger harmful thoughts pose to health, I realized that I needed to help people put their thoughts on trial!
I feel I have a deep comprehension of pain.
Growing up, I had my own issues, including impulsivity, anxiety, substances, and social challenges, resulting in a fair share of painful lessons. After many false starts, I sustained momentum in recovery since 21 years old.
Immaturity and low self-esteem led me to seek validation from unhealthy kids. I confused the present moment with permanent reality. I had no idea that I was going through “growing pains” and that the parts of myself that I hated were ultimately just undeveloped aspects of my personality.
Looking back, I think I had a hard time accepting that I wasn’t one of the “cool kids” and didn’t want to embrace my identity as a nerd. A profound life lesson here was that failure to accept reality results in suffering. As much as I wanted to be like the people I classified as “cool,” it wouldn’t change me. Instead, every time reality reasserted itself, I would be injured again. Recovery began when I started to take responsibility and accept myself as is.
My style is unique and creative.
I prefer to think outside the box and dive deep into understanding why things are as they are. As an example, I recently started working with a young man who was struggling with moving forward, “failure to launch.” He had been to treatment programs all over the country and hadn’t been able to get any momentum.
Through many discussions, it became obvious that he lacked meaning in his life and had started to see everything as an empty experience that wouldn’t put him in a better situation. He admitted that he had a long history of being bullied, leaving him a “shell of a person” without confidence. There were some issues that he had never found the courage to face and instead became prey to obsessive and self-defeating ideas. Although he was embarrassed to discuss many thoughts, he mustered the courage and shared. One issue was a strained relationship with his sister.
After processing his concerns, I was able to facilitate a call and help the conversation move in a positive direction, modeling effective communication skills. After the call, he reported, “I think that was the most meaningful conversation I ever had with my sister.”
Being bullied made it difficult to assert his needs in relationships. We did some role-playing of some effective strategies to express himself. As time went on, more and more opportunities to practice skills were presented, and I was able to assist him in bringing skills to life.
Eventually, it became time to look at options to move forward with his life. We explored many different career paths. He mentioned that he loved working with dogs. We researched careers, training programs, and ideas that could get him invested in something he’d be excited to do. Ultimately, we located a grooming school, and he applied. He’s been happy to go in each day, something that hasn’t happened before. His progress was not free of bumps along the way; however, they were all opportunities to empower him to keep going no matter what.
As a therapist, I try my best to identify the issues and then create meaningful interventions to get over the blocks. Different things will work for different people. I work hard with my clients to find strategies and apply them.
Some of my education and experience…
I got my bachelor’s degree in Talmudic Studies (Jewish Religious Studies) in New York. The degree focused on the principles of Jewish thought and ethics. I was inspired by the depth of wisdom dating back thousands of years and especially favored texts on self-development.
The insight into human behaviors and their driving forces remains relevant to the modern person. There really is “nothing new under the sun.” ~ King Solomon A.K.A. The wisest person in the world.
I then moved to Minnesota and completed my master’s degree in Addiction and Mental Health Counseling at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. After graduation, I worked at the Betty Ford Foundation Addiction Treatment Center (for teens and young adults) in Plymouth, where I spent 3.5 years working with adolescents.
In 2018, I joined the team at NUWAY Minneapolis, a community-based adult residential setting providing treatment to adult clients with severe mental health needs, chemical dependency, socioeconomic stressors, and complex legal concerns.
After several years in Minnesota after grad school, I moved to Florida with my wife and three boys. We had considered NY for a long time as I’m from Toronto and my wife is from Brooklyn. However, things kept getting in the way, and it never worked out. We decided that if we were going to be away from our families, we should at least be somewhere they’d want to visit us. Naturally, Florida came to mind and has proven to be a good choice. After all, who doesn’t take a vacation to Florida?
When I’m not doing therapy…
When I’m not doing my work as a therapist, I can be found at home with my wife and three boys. Sometimes building Lego sets and others playing with our dog, Blue (an Australian Shepherd).
Let’s work together and end this cycle of misery!
Asking for help can be the most challenging part.
There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainty about taking this step. I hope this page allowed you to gain more insight into who I am.
I love what I do and have been privileged to help a lot of people live more fulfilling lives. I extend the same offer to you!
If you feel that we might be a good fit, please contact me. Consultations are always free, and there’s no obligation to commit.
Take a healthy risk! Call today: (561) 717-3227.