As a counselor I bring over 30 years experience working with children, youth, adults, and families in a variety of professional settings. Over these years I have come to know that we are all capable of living deeply fulfilling lives, and that beneath whatever suffering we may be experiencing, we are all a wonderful and meaningful part of this world. My collaborative counseling approach integrates the principles of INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS therapy (IFS) with MINDFULNESS with the aim of embodying presence, curiosity, patience, persistence, perspective, creativity, and playfulness.
- Trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- 28 year career with YMCAs and JCCs as Executive Director of year-round Children’s and Family Camps in PA, WA, NY, MI, and MA
- 12 years as a YMCA CEO
- 14 years of dedicated mindfulness practice and multiple retreats with
Thich Nhat Hahn, Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, and Adyashanti
- Professional jazz musician
From time to time, most of us have internal conflicts. When in conflict these “parts” of us have become unbalanced by challenging beliefs,
attitudes, and feelings that were taken on at different stages of life. When we feel trapped and burdened by inner conflicts and also by our
efforts to avoid hurt and pain, counseling can guide and support us in bringing curiosity and compassion to all of our “parts” with the aim of restoring balance, and having more inner harmony.
Supportive counseling can guide you to tap into your inner wisdom and develop the self-knowledge, and self-acceptance you need to work with your life challenges.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
“Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy method that was developed by the psychologist and family therapist Richard Schwartz in the 1980’s. IFS is based on the idea that psychic multiplicity is normal. We all have “parts” and, in addition, we are all born with a core wise “Self” that is characterized by valuable qualities that include curiosity, calm, clarity, connectedness, confidence, courage, and compassion. However, some of our parts invariably feel obliged to take on protective roles in response to shaming or frightening events, especially in childhood. Although they aim to keep us safe from further harm by banishing injured, vulnerable parts from our awareness, they continue warding off or distracting from emotional pain beyond the time of danger and can affect our quality of life profoundly. Some protectors are proactive e.g. self-criticism), others are reactive (e.g. impulsive anger).
In IFS we do not do battle with parts who have developed extreme ideas nor do we push them away. Rather, we get curious about their motives and who they protect. We trust that they can express themselves and will emerge when they feel welcome and safe enough. Through the relationship between the Self and parts, IFS aims to heal vulnerable parts and release their protectors. This approach can help individuals, couples, families and larger systems restore harmony and balance.”
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD & Martha Sweezy, PhD
I am a public school teacher, husband and father of 2 teenagers. Upon meeting David I felt an immediate connection. He is a warm and present practitioner. During our counseling sessions he listens and understands deeply where my needs and challenges lie. He has helped me navigate my thoughts and feelings and developed clear models about the psychological dynamics at play and many strategies to help moving forward. During the intervening times between sessions he often sends me quotes, readings, or audio teachings to support the work that we've done together. To put it bluntly, I have never felt more supported and empowered to make positive changes for my life. Thank you David!
Throughout all stages of my life, David has helped me develop socially, intellectually, and emotionally. When I was a camper at David's Y camp, he helped me through a very difficult time in my life and provided me with guidance and structures to keep myself focused. During my time as a camp counselor, David continued to support my growth, particularly by mentoring me in mindfulness practices.These helped me to take a step back and see my thoughts and actions from a more useful vantage point. Now as an adult, I continue to seek David's wisdom and insight on difficult matters in my life.
David built a thriving community at the Hampshire Regional YMCA. He is a hand-on leader with unparalleled determination and dedication to a vision of success. His positive outlook and his compassion for education through creativity and health is unmatched.
David has exceptional skills in relating to a wide range of children, and a great ability to see and capitalize on " teachable moments". He also has a tremendous commitment to, and talent in, helping children fully realize their potential. He is extremely well organized, has strong written and verbal skills, and an ability to perceive group dynamics and respond insightfully in those situations.
Thank you David for the special care and concern you showed our son Patrick. We appreciate your phone calls, and the time you spend individually with Patrick to help him overcome his obstacles. This allowed him to return home after a month away at your camp feeling happy and proud of what he had accomplished. Your enthusiasm is contagious and a special thanks to you for always seeming to give the attention to the children in a positive and individual way. Mike and I are both school teachers so we understand how difficult it is to meet the needs of each student, and yet how important it is to do that very thing. You do it well David!
I always felt that the key to David's success was his ability to relate effectively to all the children and young adults who attended our YMCA camp or served as camp staff. David was a tremendous leader as Executive Director of Camping Services and a very effective communicator. In thinking about David's strengths, words such as enthusiastic, dedication, vision, good priorities, and the right values for working with youth come to mind.
Thank you David, for the outstanding job you did leading our Administrative Team Retreat. You are a skilled, nuanced facilitator who expertly guided us through activities to open our hearts and minds to each other as leaders and taught us to work as a team toward achieving our goals as a district. I appreciated all your work and how this created a willingness of the members of our team to take risks, open up, and forge new professional and personal bonds. It was definitely time well spent and, because of you, now we will move forward with high expectations for ourselves, our faculty, and our students.