As a counselor I bring over 31 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 aims to help clients safely embody presence, perspective, curiosity, creativity, playfulness and compassion by interweaving the principles of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) couple therapy, and the practice of Mindfulness.
- Trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS) as a Counselor (www.ifs-institute.com)
- Trained in Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) as a Couple Counselor (www.toniherbineblank.com)
- 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
- 15 years of dedicated mindfulness practice and multiple retreats with
Thich Nhat Hahn, Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, and Adyashanti
- Professional jazz musician
- Father of two young-adult sons
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
Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO)
“Intimacy From the Inside Out© is a psychotherapy method using a systemic approach to heal, improve, and provide relationship help. The IFIO method combines deep intrapsychic work along with interpersonal exploration. It’s a powerful relationship therapy model with applications for work with couples and families. In IFIO counseling, each member of the couple is invited into a process, which leads to a self compassionate, and secure relationship with him or herself. This then makes it possible to stay connected with oneself and one’s partner even in times of stress and relational rupture. The application of the model moves between fostering internal attachment work and doing relational work between partners. Inviting the exploration of each partner’s individual’s inner life supports couples in envisioning a lively dance that includes: Communicating well; Repairing inevitable rupture; Making room for the needs of both individuals, as well as the relationship; and Exploring authentic heartfelt connection.”
Toni Herbine-Blank, MS, RN, C-SP
Before coming to David, I felt trapped inside myself. Everyday was a battle in which I felt unable to persist through both mundane and difficult moments. I was hesitant about embarking on a journey with counseling as I had never done it before. Then, when I met with David, life and light was brought back into my life. He makes you feel comfortable and that you are actually being heard. His ability to guide me through slowing down and processing what is going on in my life and with my parts has opened a world of possibility. Through different forms of counseling sessions such as engaging with my parts and having profound conversations with my loved ones, I have been able to see how moments in my life have intertwined with my parts and with the self. Sessions with my parents and me with David facilitating allowed us to come closer together and grown both as individuals and as a family which we are forever grateful for. David has helped guide me to see what matters in life and has provided me with a toolbox to face moments of anxiety or challenge with a new sense of strength.
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.
In the past seven years, I have seen more than 10 different therapists and counselors. At best, these counselors helped me “band-aid” my deeper problems, and served as temporary fixes. After beginning IFS sessions with David a little over three months ago, I became more in-touch with myself and my needs, and for the first time I saw a future that I could look forward to. He has been the first and only counselor who I’ve felt truly sees me as the person I am, and not someone with a problem that needs to be fixed. In just this short time, I have seen my relationships improve, I have felt my confidence increase, I have sensed my positivity grow, and I feel myself becoming my most authentic Self. Through my work with David, I can confidently and honestly say my outlook on life has vastly changed for the better!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!