My story so far...

PhotoAbe2.jpg

I have always been curious about how people think and why they do the things that they do. That wish to understand others was a core part of my childhood when I became the translator and interpreter of the hearing world for my deaf family. Communication, understanding and explaining have always been and still are at the heart of my personal and professional life.

And this led me to the world of psychology. While completing a BSc Psychology at University College, London, I worked as a teaching assistant at Fairley House School, a specialist school for children with dyslexia. This practical experience in education was an important catalyst for my decision to do a doctorate at St. John’s College, Cambridge University in the field of language development and literacy.

After finishing my PhD in Cambridge, I worked as a research manager at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, on a large-scale project looking for the genes that underlie depression and anxiety in children and adults. The move to this field of psychopathology helped prepare me for becoming a clinical psychologist and to gain experience and understanding of working in the field of mental health.

I returned to University College, London to complete a doctorate in clinical psychology, in which I had the privilege to work with and learn from a wide array of talented clinicians. I worked with adults (aged 18-65), older adults (i.e., older than 65) and neuropsychology (i.e., cognitive and memory skills), people with learning disabilities (mental retardation and developmental delay), and with children, adolescents and their families. My thesis was on the topic of shame in teenagers, and how the tendency to feeling ashamed might be inherited. Shame is a powerful emotional force that can disrupt relationships and interfere with the healing potential of talking therapies

On completing my training in 2002, I decided to work with children, adolescents and their families and that this would become my specialty area. This was also an opportunity to integrate the knowledge and experience of my PhD into my clinical work. I worked in the National Health Service in an urban borough on the outskirts of London, where I provided therapeutic interventions to children and families, as well as conducting extensive neuropsychological assessments.

In 2005, I moved to New York and took up a position at one of the largest mental health service providers in the US, as Director for Performance Measurement and Outcome Research.  This job provided me with a chance to work on the big picture of how mental health services can be best provided, and to try to answer the critical question: how can we know if a person has really been helped by a talking therapy? I believe that the answers to this question need to be the foundation for therapeutic encounters of all kinds, and that it is critical to continuously monitor and reflect on whether the therapeutic process is really working.

My wife and I moved to Israel in 2007, after she was offered a job working for a large philanthropic foundation in Jerusalem. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to work as a research fellow at the Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem, conducting research and program evaluation in the Youth and Families Group and the Health Division. I worked on a wide array of research projects that included: implementation of family literacy programs in impoverished areas of Israel; and the effectiveness of integrating psychiatrists into primary care. I also worked with my close colleague and friend, Caryn Green, on developing a new private practice group: Jerusalem Counseling.

In 2011, my family and I moved back to the US, settling in Silver Spring, Maryland. I worked until November 2015 at Family Compass Group, in Reston, Virginia, and I am now working with Joel Gunzburg in Bethesda, providing neuropsychological evaluation services as well as child and family counseling (see website: Gunzburg and Associates).

Click here for my core principles.