358 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Commack, NY 11725 | (631) 543-8336
I generally work with young people between the ages of 12 and 50. Occasionally, I work with younger children or older adults if my schedule permits. I frequently refer those whom I cannot accommodate to one of the other highly experienced psychologists or social workers who share professional space in my office suite.
Having worked for so many years in a public high school, many families are referred to me by colleagues within various school districts, who know the quality of the services I provide.
Being in distress is a good reason for seeking help, so you do not have to arrive with an established diagnosis. However, if you want to know what type of problems I help with, here is a list of the most frequent ones:
Many individuals who may be seeking help due to one of the above problems have never been evaluated for the presence of a personality disorder. While it is essential to develop an understanding of the observable behaviors that bring people in for treatment, I not only examine the visible “tip of the iceberg” behaviors of concern, but also explore the possible co-existence of one or more underlying, chronically maladaptive clusters of traits called Personality Disorders. If mental health providers should not assess this dimension properly, this partially explains why the relapse rate in so many mental health disorders is so frequent. Patients may “feel” better for a while when the behaviors of concern show some improvement in treatment, but they never really “get” better until their underlying personality disorder is addressed.
The traits of one particularly challenging personality disorder are increasingly seen in young people – Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Not surprisingly, it can be difficult to make this diagnosis because so many non-clinical adolescents tend to be impulsive, act-out, and are subject to hormonally-driven emotional changes. While typically above average in intelligence, persons with BPD suffer from what is a biologically fragile emotional system from birth. They feel all their emotions more intensely than non-BPs, and tend to get intensely attached to people, then feel betrayed when something goes wrong in their relationships. Those with BPD seem to have trigger-happy hostility, extremely low frustration tolerance, and want what they want NOW and will go to extreme lengths to get it. They cannot tolerate emotional pain and often try to rid themselves of it by turning towards self-injurious behaviors which, they find in the long run, only increases their pain and isolation. They are often miserable in their own skins, have abysmally low self-confidence, and are often accused of being manipulative – when maybe all they were really trying to do is to cope as best as they could. Within each BPD sufferer is the original goodness of their childhood waiting to be uncovered once again. What they need is a new “toolkit” of coping resources.
The good news is that the treatment options and prognosis for young people diagnosed with BPD in the last twenty years have improved dramatically. Since it is essential to ask the correct diagnostic questions in order to evaluate whether BPD might be present, I take special care in evaluating young people for BPD.
I have had many years of experience as a therapist with programs for young adults, such as Alternatives For Youth (AFY), Person In Need of Supervision (PINS), Child Protective Services (CPS) and Family Court, the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), the NYS Office for Persons With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and the NYS office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR).
I take special pride in assisting the families of adolescents who have been placed on long-term school suspensions, and in working to guide those families to make the best and most informed choices for their child.
All of my patients receive my personal cell-phone number and are instructed how to reach me in emergency situations.