More about Phil.
"I help people who are ready to take their lives to the next level by addressing chronic or more recent struggles with anxiety, depression, alcohol and addiction, meaninglessness, lack of inspiration, or relationship difficulties."
Although most people didn't realize it, from my earliest childhood memories, a part of me wanted to believe that I was less than others – less capable, less worthy, less valuable, less lovable. Running from that “less than” feeling essentially dominated the first decades of my life. Up until high school, I tried many tactics to cope with that feeling like getting perfect grades, excelling in soccer, serving in leadership roles in school organizations, avoiding intimate connections with my peers, following the rules, and not making trouble. On the outside it looked like I was high achieving and a good person, and yet I still felt worthless and it was starting to manifest as anxiety, particularly socially, and a slow build into depression. I found the appeal of escapism in its various forms to help ease the process of living.
Hard times are often accompanied with opportunity. After college I experienced a painful heartbreak. For the first time in my life, I confronted the reality that if I wanted to feel better and have a life worth living, then I would need to try a different approach. My life course changed because I walked into a therapist’s office after that breakup. I remember feeling afraid my therapist would judge me, and yet relieved that I was finally going to talk to someone about what I had been hiding inside of myself for so long. My therapist met me with compassion, love, and not a sliver of judgment. This experience kickstarted the next phase of my life where I have worked to confront all these feelings of worthlessness and to start to view them for what they are: a lie. I, like everyone, am a loved, valuable human being worthy of growing and building a wonderful life. All of my internal work has given me the tools to live differently. I am committed to continuing my growth for a lifetime in the same way I'm committed to each of my clients as they take on their own life work. This work is worth it.
I completed my graduate training at the University of Houston (go Coogs!) As a part of my graduate training, I worked through various rotations and gained extensive experience with anxiety, depression, and other mood disruptions. I completed a rotation at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic at UH where I was trained in providing cognitive-behavioral therapy for a variety of anxiety conditions. Once I completed my master’s degree, I was hired by The Council on Recovery, as a Mary Bell Behavioral Health Clinical Fellow. During the fellowship I received intensive training and experience in group and individual psychotherapy as well as assessment of mental health concerns and substance and behavioral addictions. Specifically, I received training in motivational interviewing, psychodynamic psychotherapy, family-systems psychotherapy, attachment-oriented psychotherapy, trauma-informed treatment, and neuroscience-based psychotherapy. My experiences were incredibly in-depth and gave me a kind of training and supervision in therapy that is hard to come by. My experience includes working in an Intensive Outpatient Program (which is basically a much more concentrated and high frequency therapy) so rest assured, I can handle your concerns.
Yoga. During my time at the Council, I also completed a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified yoga teacher training. This training has furthered my interest in understanding the neurological basis of mental health issues and how to gain greater access to deep/hidden parts of self through the body. Trust me when I say that at some point, with everyone I work with, I ask, “what is going on in your body right now?”
Since joining Modern Therapy I have expanded my skillset to include interpersonal, existential, and Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) oriented approaches. With this eclectic approach, I have gained the skills needed to help people identify their values, identify barriers to living in alignment with their values, and skill in helping people overcome these barriers using acceptance practices, mindfulness practices, confrontations with the facts of human existence, and through detachment from negative self-stories.
I am passionate about helping people who grapple with escapism. Escapists are masters at avoiding the uncomfortable parts of life whether that be uncomfortable feelings, memories, thoughts, conversations, or actions. The problem is that a well-lived, vibrant life INCLUDES discomfort. If you have trouble in your romantic relationship, you probably need to stop avoiding difficult conversations with your partner. Unsatisfied with your job? Procrastinating and all that TV time are sapping your ability to make positive changes. What if your life feels unsatisfying, empty, or meaningless? You will not find meaning in the bottle, your next romantic relationship, or social media. What gets lost in all this escapism is a relationship with yourself. I love helping people reconnect with themselves and start to find their fullest expression of life and self. What they often find is that any mental distress they have, starts to get better once they begin confronting their emotions; allowing them to build more fulfilling lives. It gives me so much life to see people evolve throughout the therapeutic process. I have a special care for working with men who are socialized to BE ESCAPIST BY NATURE. This to me is a tragedy and I am honored to do my part to reverse this bullshit socialization.
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