My Approach To Therapy


I am a board certified MD psychiatrist in private practice in Washington DC for over 35 years.
My work with patients has always been focused on using psychotherapy to help the patient get to a better place in their life and see what is truly possible for them.

As a physician and psychiatrist I am trained to look at the whole patient to evaluate the interactions of mind and body.
If I think it might be helpful to include medication to facilitate our work I will suggest it and explain my thinking and prescribe it if the patient agrees.
However I believe that psychotherapy is an essential part of healing and growth for there to be lasting changes.

I have always been fascinated by how the mind works and I continue to be excited by the new developments in neuroscience showing the amazing plasticity of the brain (the ability of the brain to continue to grow and develop by intention). There is now clear evidence and explanations why psychotherapy works. Relationships from the earliest moments of our life affect how our brains grow. Our minds are the product of the activity of the brain and growth occurs with every experience and thought. Growth of the mind and the brain does not end in childhood. Relationships, experiences and thoughts affect the growth and structure of the brain throughout life. By changing the way we think and the choices we make, we change the structure of our brains and this in turn sets the stage for how we think and view the world.
By allowing ourselves to be open to new experiences and making new choices in relationships with others (and with ourselves) our minds develop and our brains grow.

My approach has been to try to help patients thru stressful periods of anxiety, depression, and limiting behaviors by helping them understand what is occurring in their current life and help them make better decisions about what they need to do now. I also believe my responsibility is to offer people the opportunity to reexamine and reevaluate other areas of their life that may be limiting them in ways that they never realized. I do this (i hope) by creating an atmosphere of openness and non judgment.
I am probably the least judgmental person because I feel i have made so many mistakes.
I also believe that we can all change who we have been and how we have been living at any point in our lives.

My efforts are to help people make better choices when they feel they have no choices.

My style as a therapist is not to remain quiet and ask you: " what do you think about that?" I am not going to make you guess what I am thinking. Nor do I believe that I have all the answers. But I do believe that you have answers and abilities to change your life. Often you don't recognize or remember these strengths and abilities, especially at moments of confusion and suffering. We all have blind spots and can be helped by someone who can see what we cannot see and help us face what we feel we cannot face.

I am known for helping people through painful and stressful times. And I am told that I am good at telling people what is difficult to hear. Although I am direct in expressing what I do think, I do this to offer you information. Information that you may not be aware of (we all have a tendency to avoid seeing what is painful). I also think that we often have a vague notion of what needs to be done but we discount, minimize or deny it.

My job is to help you focus your attention and your abilities on what is most important for you. I do not know what is best for you or how you will accomplish what you want (sorry I have no magic words or magic pill.) The direction (and outcome) therapy is always determined by the patient. You may be saying: "if I knew what to do and could do it, I wouldn’t be coming to you!"
That is partly true.... but I feel my job is to help you learn how to access and focus your own thinking and alter old habits of responses and discover all your potentials.
Knowledge and insight help, encouragement and support help, but it is by taking that single step in a new direction that changes your life. By continuing to read this you are already opening new pathways for your life.

I have always seen myself as a coach (unfortunately it has become such a trendy word but I do see psychotherapy as coaching at its best ). I see my role, as to carefully observe and listen to you and let you know what I see and what I think. A great coach can see and notice what may not be obvious to another coach. In addition a great coach knows how to breakdown what he sees so it makes sense to the person and to know when and how to say what has to be said. If you do not understand what a therapist is saying (or actually anyone who is trying to explain something to you) the problem may not be you. It could be their problem that they cannot explain what they want to exlpain to you in a way that makes sense to you at that moment. It took me years to realize this. I have been fortunate to have had numerous coaches in all aspects of my life who have helped me see what I was doing (or wasn't doing) and have tried to help me "improve my game".

Since I am aware of many of my own struggles (failures),regrets. short comings, blind spots, etc I make a great effort to explain what may be painful or difficult to hear in ways that can be heard and made use of. Since I believe our minds are a work in progress and I believe that we are all struggling to see more clearly and be more aware, I make a great effort to explain to people how much more is possible for them in their lives.

If you have questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

Call for an appointment and consultation 202-232-8608 [email protected]

Dr. Drell offers counseling and therapy services in Washington, D.C. He specializes in anxiety and depression counseling, therapy and treatment , as well as couples therapy and marriage counseling. Dr Drell's Psychiatry and Psychotherapy office is in Woodley Park, DC convenient to Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Potomac,MD, Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, VA

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