Adolescent Therapy with specialized experience in Attention
Deficit Disorders and substance abuse issues.
Therapy with specialized experience in social developmental
delays, post traumatic stress, dissociative disorders and
Group Therapy with
specialized experience in trauma, relationship development,
assertiveness and self-care issues.
Marital Therapy with specialized experience in relationships
destabilized by individual changes in one partner, traumatic
events or developmental life milestones.
I am a Clinical Psychologist in
practice in the Washington, D.C. area since 1986. I went back to
graduate training in Psychology after several years of working in
the international relations area so I maintain a strong interest in
cross cultural issues. Although my original training is in Child and
Adolescent Therapy, I also see adults and couples. During my
graduate education at Duke University I specialized in behavioral
and cognitive approaches, especially social skills therapy with
children and adolescents. During my fellowship training at New York
Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, I also specialized in
child and adolescent treatment.
My original training in child development strongly influences my
clinical approach with adults and couples. For example, in my work
with many individuals and couples who are "stuck" or troubled, I
often find that important aspects of their personal development have
become stymied or had to be sacrificed in order to deal with some
form of family, relationship or environmental stressor. I have found
an important part of effective therapy involves "jump starting" that
stalled development. Sometimes these developmental delays can be
very serious. For example, someone may lose their ability to
regulate, translate and use specific emotions or perform types of
self-care that can lead to anxiety and depression. In some clients,
there are often personal, relationship, or work barriers that must
be overcome to allow personal development to resume. But once these
innate developmental processes "shake loose" their natural energy
and motion often becomes self-reinforcing and self-sustaining. Under
these circumstances, progress is often rapid and rewarding (and my
job gets a lot easier). In addition, those of us who work with
children must learn to work well with parents. As a matter of fact,
some of our most effective therapy with children involves a "child
guidance" model where we work with the parents directly and help
them deal with their child differently.
This type of work has also helped me develop as a couples/marital
therapist. Since moving back to Washington from training in New York
I have taken a strong interest in combining psychodynamic theory
with pragmatic approaches to behavioral change. I became a Founding
member of a psychodynamic training institute for therapists
(Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis) and
served on its Board and Faculty for several years. I also
participate in peer supervision and reading groups on adolescent
therapy and trauma through this organization. Our teaching and
training focuses on constructing active models of a client's
problematic current functioning and helping them understand how
their emotions, assumptions about
themselves and others, and characteristic behaviors may have been
useful in the past but are not working well now. We can then use a
variety of dynamic, behavioral and cognitive methods to help them
develop new ways of dealing with themselves and others.
Sometimes therapy can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor.
However, it is my firm belief that therapy should pay for itself in
terms of derived benefits in the areas of love and/or work. I work
to set specific goals for my clients and revisit and judge progress
on these goals at regular intervals. Sometimes individual therapy
may not be the most effective intervention for problems related to
relationships, so many of my individual clients are also involved in
group therapy. Group therapy is an excellent way to practice what
has been learned in individual treatment and a good transition for
departure from individual work. For many persons with specific
social or relationship problems, group therapy alone is often an
excellent treatment format.
My other clinical and academic interests include organizational
behavior, problems in the workplace, leadership, and political
psychology. I also teach at George Washington University and perform
research and consultation for other organizations. Sometimes these
other areas of interest are also of benefit to my clients.
© Copyright 2009 by
Eric D. Shaw, Ph.D.