I work collaboratively with clients to help them establish and reach concrete personal goals. I believe that successful psychotherapy is a collaborative effort. As a therapist, it is not my job to cure anyone. Rather, I will offer a variety of resources: skills, techniques, insights, support and challenge. I will assist you in applying these resources in your day-to-day life so that you can reach your personal goals. It'll take work and determination on both of our parts.
It is generally my objective to help train you to become your own personal therapist. In other words, it is my aim that, when we discontinue our work together, you are left with insights, skills and techniques that you can continue using on your own to help you reach further goals and handle future problems. (I am also available for "booster" sessions down the road to help you with any new challenges or setbacks you may face after our initial collaboration.)
Most of my work with clients uses a very practical, active and goal-focused approach called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or cognitive therapy for short. During our work together, I help clients discover how your thoughts (self-talk, mental images, and underlying attitudes or core beliefs) affect your mood and behavior. We also look at how your mood and behavior, in turn, frequently affect the way others perceive and behave toward you. This often results in vicious cycles and self-fulfilling prophecies that worsen your mood, self-esteem and relationships, and make it very hard to get what you want in life.
I believe that, in order to be satisfying to most people, therapy must bring about concrete change. Traditional therapies (sometimes called psychodynamic or insight-oriented) believe that it is necessary to learn how a present-day problem got it's start in childhood. This is usually a very long-term and expensive process. Worse yet, research has shown that it is not likely to change our present-day problems very much. That is because, although often originating in childhood, our present-day problems have long since developed a life of their own.
In other words, there are self-defeating cycles of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that we repeatedly engage in that result in problems in mood, self-esteem and relationships. What is crucial in therapy is that we change the cycle in the present. Knowing how the cycle first started in childhood is interesting and perhaps useful ... but seldom necessary. After all, we can never, ever change what happened to us in the past. We can, however, change the beliefs, behaviors and feelings that we have learned from our past experiences.
That is why I believe that an essential part of results-oriented therapy is the work that clients do in between sessions to put into effect what is discussed during sessions. I encourage clients to choose some type of therapeutic experiment to work on: some simple way to think about and/or handle things differently than you are used to in order to understand and disrupt your self-defeating cycles. Often, I also suggest that you use a worksheet or journal to examine and challenge your thoughts and feelings, and the resulting behavior patterns. Part of what we normally talk about at each session is what you can learn from the past week's homework experiments and written exercises, and how you can build upon this in the coming week.
Larry Cohen, LICSW
4808 43rd Place NW
Washington, DC 20016
Office Telephone: 202-244-0903
Office Fax: 202-244-0903
Social Anxiety Help
Specialty: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Social Anxiety
Number of years in the field: 23
Work with adults and older teens.