Why do you do what you do?
I see people suffer, all the time, from challenging communication--misunderstood and misdirected. I hesitate to say “bad communication” because almost any communication is better than none at all. Even arguments are communication.
That being said, I encounter a lot of absent communication. Sometimes you just know something important isn’t being said and you are left to speculate. I have felt the pain of challenging communication, too, and I have empathy for the people I see struggling with communication.
Who can be the most difficult person to communicate with? Yup, yourself. Compassion does not always apply to ourselves. The understanding, the active listening just aren't there. A lack or challenge communicating with yourself can lead to anxiety, depression, self doubt, self criticism and, in general, not being happy with life.
How do you do what you do?
My approach is both pragmatic and philosophical. Let’s face it, most of the time, people come to therapy or counseling because they have a problem, they are in some sort of conflict, they are suffering some form of pain. My goal is to help identify these things and to help the client mitigate them.
Once a client is feeling better, they often want to go deeper. They want to find out how they ended up feeling the way that they do and they want to understand how things can be different going forward. Suffering can be a part of life and the goal may not to be to completely eliminate the suffering--this may not even be possible--but to find the best way to manage it.
What are you like?
Here is some feedback I have gotten from clients:
“I appreciate that you are direct and blunt without being harsh. You are gentle yet don’t let me get away with anything.”
“You helped us figure out the most important part of our conflict.”
“We did more than we thought possible in a short time.”
And here are some things colleagues have said:
“Joe can experience something new--a technique, a concept, an idea, something the client says--and integrate it right away.”
“I can talk to Joe about an issue and he often finds an insight that I missed.”
“When I see Joe talk to other therapists, I can see how he does his best to model for them. He practices what he preaches!”
How do you identify?
I am an assigned male at birth person who identifies as gender fluid and tends to present neutral or masculine. I generally use he/him/his pronouns. I also identify as queer and ethically non-monogamous. In terms of spirituality, while I don't have a current practice, I have have been exposed to a wide variety of spiritual traditions, including Eastern and Western philosophies as well as pagan practices.
What makes you different?
I believe that most people can benefit from some form of regular therapy or counseling. As people feel more functional, they may become interested in how they ended up in therapy. Every person, every couple, every family has a story and I am honored to be someone who gets to hear those stories.
Because I both work and socialize is the same community, I have learned the value of being transparent. This applies to disclosure in particular. I model being candid and direct when I talk to clients about possible community overlap or instances that we might see each other in social settings. I believe this helps clients be more comfortable disclosing to me.
Transparency also allows me to share experiences that I and others have had in a generic way for the benefit of the client. Sometimes, I will speak to my specific experience as long as I believe it is in the best interest of the client. Your therapy is not about me, it is about you.
What got you to do this work?
I was called to do this work while working as an Information Technology Manager in the New York office of a large law firm. Wait, what? You were an IT guy? Yes, though I was doing much more people managing than technology managing. I was promoting good communication, modeling managing conflicts, and modeling mediating between or among some very big personalities. These are my passions.
These skills are important whether I am seeing an individual, a couple, or more than a couple. For the latter two, it is likely obvious. For the individual, it is more subtle. Your internal and external worlds can be very different, and I can help an individual client manage these differences. I believe that the primary relationship that you have to work on is that with yourself.
How did you learn to do what you do?
For more information regarding my education, training, and experience, click here.
What else do you do?
I am an adjunct professor teaching Human Sexuality and, in Spring 2019, Therapeutic Communication and Counseling Skills at Golden Gate University and I am an EAP Counselor working for Concern EAP onsite at Google San Francisco. I am on the Board of Directors for Bay Area Open Minds as Webmaster. I co-parent elementary school-aged boy/girl twins, coach their co-ed soccer team, read a lot, dance to 80s music, and play board games. In the ideal world, I would also be knitting more, continuing to learn the bagpipe, and traveling more.
Do you only see people in open and/or BDSM relationships?
Although I specialize in alternative relationships, I see clients across the broad spectrum of relationships including monogamous individuals and couples and people who chose not to be in intimate relationships at all. I also see clients across the broad spectrums of gender and orientation.
What if you are my therapist and I see you out somewhere?
It is up to you whether or not you want to engage with me. I won't initiate engagement with you or identify myself as your therapist. You can certainly say hello if you like or tell anyone you want that I am your therapist. I will return the hello though I won't engage in extended conversation with you. If you are current client, I will bring up seeing you at our next session in case there is anything we want or need to talk about.
Do you take insurance?
I am Out of Network for insurance. I can provide you with a statement that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
How do I learn more about how we can work together?
Contact me and we can set up a free 15 minute consultation.