Are you in an abusive relationship and in need of support? Have you recently ended a toxic relationship and don’t understand what happened? Do you think you may have been the victim of narcissistic abuse? Or, involved with a borderline? Are you at your wit’s end going through a high-conflict divorce and custody battle? Does the information you’ve read on Shrink4Men resemble snapshots from your life and intimate relationships? Are you determined to have healthier relationships in the future?
If so, I’ve been providing individual counseling services via telephone, Skype and Facetime to adults seeking support, understanding and healing from emotionally abusive relationships with narcissists, addicts and other personality disordered individuals since 2009. I also work with friends and family members who have become estranged from a loved ones involved with abusive partner.s Altogether, I’ve worked in the mental health field for over 24 years and counting in a variety of therapeutic milieus including substance abuse, college counseling and inpatient treatment for the chronically and acutely mentally ill.
My academic credentials include a PsyD (Psychology Doctorate) in Clinical Psychology from Antioch New England conferred in 2005, a MSc (Master of Science) in Counseling Psychology conferred in 1996 from Gannon University and a BA (Bachelor of the Arts) in Psychology and Art Therapy conferred in 1994 from Mercyhurst College. My doctoral dissertation, Ce ci n’est pas une these, is a psychoanalytic study of the artist Rene Magritte that focuses upon childhood trauma, incomplete mourning and creative outcomes. In addition to my academic training and clinical experiences, I’m an adult child of a narcissistic parent and a codependent parent. Like many of my clients, I’ve had adult relationships in the past with abusive individuals who exhibited traits of narcissism and borderline personality disorder.
My practice combines a variety of cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic techniques along with practical advice, problem-solving, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. My style tends to be more active and direct than traditional psychotherapies. When a client’s safety, children’s safety and emotional well-being is at stake, clear communication is essential. To be otherwise would be grossly negligent.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the benefits of distance counseling or telecounseling?
There’s the convenience of meeting from home, place of work, your car or local park — anywhere you can receive telephone signal or Wifi. I once worked with a man from his gardening shed. For many individuals in abusive relationships, the most dangerous time is when you’re contemplating ending the relationship. Many abusers are extremely threatened when their targets practice self-care.
By meeting from work or while you’re running errands, you can get the help you need without alerting your abusive wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend that you’re working with a therapist. It can also be difficult finding a therapist who understands personality disordered individuals and the trauma many people sustain from relationships with them. This is especially important for male victims as many mentally health professionals make excuses for and enable female abusers.
Who are your clients?
Men and women in abusive relationships with individuals who have been diagnosed with or exhibit personality disorder traits, particularly the Cluster B disorders (i.e., narcissists, borderlines, histrionics, psychopaths and sociopaths); adult children of narcissistic, borderline and other mentally ill parents; adults experiencing workplace bullying; men and women embroiled in high-conflict divorce and custody cases. Family members who have become estranged from a loved one who is married to or dating a narcissistic or borderline abuser.
Do you work with women?
Yes, I do. Abuse isn’t a gender issue; it’s a people issue. My writing focuses on male victims of abuse because men don’t have nearly as many support resources as female victims. Nevertheless, I’m happy to work with anyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs who wants to heal and live abuse free.
What disqualifies someone as a client?
People who are psychotic, delusional, suicidal and/or in acute crisis aren’t good candidates for distance counseling. These issues require regular, in person monitoring. I also don’t work with personality disordered individuals. If you have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, please seek support from a local qualified DBT practitioner.
How does telephone or Skype counseling work?
If you have a telephone or a computer it’s easy. If you’re unfamiliar with Skype, it’s an instant messaging app that provides online text message and video chat services. It’s free to download and typically very simple to install and use. If you wish to have a video session, you’ll need to install Skype on a device or computer that has a camera. I’m also happy to use Facetime or Google Hangouts, which are, respectively, Apple’s and Google’s versions of Skype.
Do you work with people outside the United States?
Yes, I work with people all over the world. I’ve helped men and women in Canada, Mexico, South America, the UK, Europe, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Middle East, Africa — if you have a telephone or Internet connection and speak English, I can work with you.
What about payment?
I accept payment via PayPal. You don’t have to be a registered PayPal member to use the platform. There’s an option to pay by credit card without the registration requirement of sharing your bank account details, which I understand many people prefer not to do.
How will the transaction show up on my credit card statement?
Oftentimes, abusive wives and husbands are controlling, including financially controlling. They’re hypervigilant to losing control and potential abandonment. For the peace of mind and safety of my clients, my business isn’t incorporated under Shrink4Men. It will appear on your billing statements as a very anodyne sounding consulting business.
Do you accept insurance?
No, I don’t. I can provide you with an invoice to submit to your insurance provider. However, I cannot guarantee that they’ll reimburse you. As a solo practitioner, I simply don’t have the time to wrangle with insurance companies. Thus far, most clients who have submitted invoices to their providers have received reimbursement.
How do I schedule a session?
If you’d like to work with me, please send inquiries to email@example.com and I’ll send my fees and other information.
Are sessions confidential?
Yes. I won’t release any information about you to anyone without your written and time-limited consent. The only exception to this is if you disclose that you’re planning to harm yourself or someone else.
How long are sessions and how often do we meet?
Sessions are a “therapeutic” hour, 50-55 minutes. Double sessions are available upon request. Initially, it’s preferable to meet once a week and then, based upon progress, transition to every other week or every three weeks. Understanding the financial constraints many people face, particularly when divorcing, we can meet at a level of frequency that makes sense for you.
Do you do couples or family sessions?
Yes, however, I only work with adults and supportive family members. This includes new spouses or partners who are also dealing with the high-conflict antics of an abusive ex. In my opinion, it’s neither advisable nor safe to do couples therapy in a relationship in which there’s ongoing abuse.
What type of issues do you typically address in sessions?
My work with clients covers a wide range of issues.
- Overcoming codependency and other issues that make you vulnerable to narcissistic abuse.
- Identifying and understanding abusive personality disordered behaviors in your partner, family members, colleagues and friends to help facilitate your healing.
- Validation that perhaps you’re not “the crazy one” or that it’s not “all in your head.”
- Understanding the dynamics of personality disorders and other abnormal behaviors and how they affect intimate relationships, so you can make the most informed and reality-based decisions possible.
- Understanding the dynamics and long-term effects of abuse.
- Understanding and dismantling your buttons, by which your partner manipulates, controls and abuses you.
- Understanding your family and childhood experiences that make you susceptible to abusive individuals and bullies.
- Developing strategies and coping skills such as detachment and boundary setting if your relationship is ongoing.
- Exploring the option of divorce and developing strategies to navigate the family law system.
- Developing strategies and coping skills such as detachment and boundary setting post-break-up or post-divorce.
- Dealing with affects of parental alienation.
- Instituting and maintaining a No Contact (or Low Contact if there are shared minor children) policy.
- Teaching BIFF (brief, informative, firm, friendly) communication when you’re required to communicate with a high-conflict ex.
- How to effectively use third party communication platforms like OurFamilyWizard.
- Grief and trauma issues; breaking the trauma bond many victims share with their abusers.
- Mourning the loss of the relationship and letting go.
- Learning to recognize the warning signs of potentially abusive and/or personality disordered women and men.
- Learning how to avoid the traps set by emotional predators and bullies.
- Support for family members who have lost their son, brother, nephew, cousin, father or grandson to an abusive partner who has isolated him and cut off contact with him and his children (if applicable).
- Support and strategies for girlfriends and wives of men whose former partners were abusive and/or personality disordered and step-parenting issues.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but is typical of the work I do everyday with clients. To get started please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with you!