As a trauma trained cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) and a certified clinical hypnotherapist I specialize in treating individuals 18 years and older with a wide range of conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger disorders, and Adult AD(H)D. I also treat a number of addictions including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, narcotic, pornography and sex addiction. Frankly, the reason I mastered the CBT approach is that for many years it’s been the only psychotherapy that has consistently proven effective in clinical trials.

The premise of CBT is relatively simple. It focuses on the idea that people can be taught to think and act in more rational (effective) ways. This approach not only provides a means of changing the ways individuals view themselves and their environment (cognitions), but also the way they act in that environment (behaviors).

In my experience, the only downside to CBT has been the prescribed focus on helping individuals identify and change one irrational thought/pattern at a time. Because it’s estimated that the average person thinks between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day, you can image how inefficient it can be to focus on changing a a single irrational thought. With this limitation in mind I have struggled to find a more efficient approach to helping individuals deal with a broader range of issues. In fact, over time, all serious therapists who are also behavioral scientists tend to develop their own approach. I’m no exception.

Ironically, I discovered what has proven to be a more effective approach to individual therapy inside a Hollywood Studio. I was sitting across from several writers and a producer discussing the different ways one of the characters on a popular television program might respond to a number of “hypothetical” challenges in her life. For the first time, it occurred to me that what was happening in the studio was very much like what happens in my clinics.

As I answered questions about different scenarios the writers were editing the story line which would eventually be passed off to the actors in the form of a script. The actors would, in turn, rehearse their lines and play their parts.

This is also true with my clients. They listen and think through my socratics questions and suggestions, and based on their insights they will change their “life script.” In fact, I now tell all my clients that a necessary first step in improving their lives is to systematically identify and revise stories they tell themselves that undermine their success and happiness.

This new therapeutic approach, which I call Life Script Restructuring (LSR), taken together with my expertise in hypnotherapy and trauma has been highly successful in helping individuals overcome significant challenges and change their lives for good. Because of this success I’ve recently written two books that outline two different applications of the LSR approach.

The first book, released in 2014, titled “Life Script Restructuring: The Neuroplastic Psychology for Rewiring Your Brain and Changing Your Life,” walks you through the entire LSR process in a way that helps you identify and replace stories that you tell yourself that undermine your ability to be happy. The second book, released in 2015, is “Change You: A Scientific Approach to Recovery from Bad Habits and Addictions.” As the title implies, this book steps you through a process that helps you overcome addictions and bad habits.

Both books are based on contemporary Neuroscience which has demonstrated that our brains have the ability to rewire themselves in response to intentional changes in our thinking. This characteristic of the brain is called Neuroplasticity.

The concept of Neuroplasticity explains how the brain adapts itself to certain thought and behavioral patterns. Just as the brain can adapt in unhealthy ways that result in depression, anxiety, bad habits and addictions, the brain also can readapt to more rational, healthy thought and behavioral patterns that lead to mental fitness and good habits.

All of this is to say that I have discovered in both my research and my clinical practice that by using the right kind of cognitive reappraisal techniques, including Life Script Restructuring, anyone can replace old unhealthy thought patterns and habits with new, healthy ones. Although these techniques are similar to modern CBT, I’ve discovered them to be more efficient and effective. This is because instead of attempting to change how you see the world, one irrational thought at a time, through LSR you’re able to contextualize and change the entire infrastructure of your many life scripts that, at both a subconscious and conscious level, persistently dictate everything you think and do.

All of this is not just theoretical fun and games. I can’t imagine sitting across from clients day after day trying to persuade them to do something that doesn’t work. LSR and my approach to addiction recovery work because they are grounded in my clinical experience and based on what leading behavioral and neural scientists agree are the key universal principles required to help individuals make permanent changes and reach their potential.

Finally, given my research and experience with religiosity and religious trauma, I also provide support and guidance to individuals who have walked away from, been get kicked out of, or been abandoned by their religious (cult) leaders. In such cases it’s often a surprise to find that freedom from the cult or highly legalistic denomination is not necessarily freedom from their influence. After experiencing intensive mind control techniques — many times from childhood — it’s not a simple thing to walk away from these groups. Religious leaders know this and use this to their advantage by saying such things as “doubt your doubts before you doubt the church,” or “you can leave our religion but you can’t leave it alone.” This type of manipulation and “gaslighting” can cause what I call “cult-induced phobias, intense anxiety, and acute stress disorders.”

As a psychotherapist working with “ex-members” I can help you build a new life and sort through your values and goals. I can also help you deal with the sense of overwhelming loss and heightened emotionality that often results in PTSD-like symptoms including nightmares, depression, and a sense of hopelessness.