I am a student of Psychology with University of Phoenix.  I need to interview an individual who is a psychology professional.  I need a clinical psychologist and another professional in counseling or psychology.  I was hoping you could help with this assignment.  Your help would be greatly appreciated.  Here are the questions that need answered.
  In what setting do you practice? How long have you been practicing?
  What are your specialties or areas of clinical focus?
  What are the most common disorders you treat?
  Do you have any special certifications or training beyond your original graduate coursework?
  How do you approach therapy or treatment? Do you use specific modalities, techniques, or interventions?
  What ethical and legal issues do you think are the most challenging or common?
  Do you have an opinion on where you think the field of psychology is heading?
  What do you enjoy most about your work?
  What advice would you provide an aspiring psychologist or therapist?

Hi, Brittany, I'll do my best.

1) I'm in private practice and I've been in practice for over 35 years.
2) I practice solution focused brief therapy.
3) I don't have conversations with disorders, I have conversations with people.  Diagnosis is irrelevant to me and only useful for getting me paid by insurance companies.  Beyond that, it doesn't cross my mind when I'm woking with clients. I'm infinately more interested in their abilties than their disabilties.
4) I've done advanced training in solution focused brief therapy at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, WI with Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer, the originators of the model.  I also completed advanced training and certified in Ericksonian hypnosis and psychotherapy with the NY Ericksonian Society.
5) As stated above, I practice, teach and supervise using solution focus brief therapy.  I would also add that I consider myself a social constructionist assuming that realities are created by language and language is used in social contexts. As Dr. Thomas Szasz says "most people think we live in our bodies.  I submit to you that we live in our languages."
6) I'm not sure about legal issues:  I suppose improper relationships with clients is probably the most common.  As regards ethical, I suppose that's pretty personal; one person's ethical issue is another's theory.  I've been accused of being unethical because I don't delve into problems (from their point of view, I ignore client problems) but from a solution focused point of view that makes perfect sense.  From my point of view, the focus on problems is unethical, and it's unethical to assume that long term therapy is somehow better than brief therapy when 80 years of meta research tells us the contrary.  Do therapist's keep people in therapy longer than needed because it serves the client or because it serves the therapist or the therapist's theory?
7) There's a greater attempt to categorize models of therapy by their effectiveness with specific diagnoses.  This has become based more on politics than research.  I think any focus on diagnosis as a basis for practice is heading in the wrong direction.
8)  Watching clients use their personal and social resources, their innate wisdom and ability to figure things out.  I love it when clients say to me "that's a good question" or "that's a hard question" because it tells me that I helped them consider fresh perspective and this leads to changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaivors.  It also tells me how smart they are to take a question and make it useful.
9) Be curious, abandon your theories, view every client as unique, approach every client with a "not knowing" stance.


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Joel Simon


General questions about counseling, psychotherapy and mental health.


Over 30 years as a therapist, clinical supervisor and solution-focused trainer. I've worked in a variety of settings including adolescent day treatment, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, and hospice. Further information is available on my website:

A founding member of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State.

Co-authored "Solution-Focused Brief Practice With Long-Term Clients in Mental Health Services: I'm More Than My Label." Authored: "Solution-Focused Practice in End-of-Life and Grief Counseling" Several articles published in professional journals including 2 with Insoo Kim Berg. Further details are available at

Masters of Social Work (Yeshiva University 1978). 5 years training in Transactional Analysis, certified in Advanced Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis with the New York Society (NYSEPH), Advanced training and advanced supervision seminar in solution-focused brief therapy with the co-developers of the approach, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer

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