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 am a high school freshman and although I wanted to seek counseling to help me work through both personal and family struggles, I wasn't sure it would actually be helpful to me in the end. After my first visit with David Marks, I felt differently. I was surprised that I felt comfortable instantly and I was even more surprised that I was able to connect with David. He is warm and kind, listens to what I have to say, and is able to understand what I need most. I trust David and I was able to open up to him so he could guide me to put the work in where I needed it most. He has helped both my family and I by providing us with the tools and skills to work better with each other and to better understand ourselves. David recognizes what obstacles we are coping with and he guides us to find the strategies to connect with each other and to make overall positive changes for our futures. He truly understands the difficulties teenagers and their families encounter and he is invested in helping us to grow individually and as a family unit. I feel more confident in myself and I feel more in control of my life after working with David Marks.
David has been working with my family and has been a great source of support for us. His experience and knowledge is amazing. Even more so, the amount of care and concern he has for our whole family is beyond words. David certainly has a special gift and especially has a knack for working with teenagers like mine. We look forward to continuing our journey with David, he has helped our lives become more fulfilling and happy. We are so very grateful to be able to work with him.
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.
I first started working with David four months ago to look at my personal issues, as well as things related to my marriage. Prior to working with him, I had worked with a few other therapists in the past on personal/family issues and felt uncomfortable, unsafe and let down with where my therapy had gotten me. I entered my counseling with David very unsure and with low expectations. I quickly changed my views on individual counseling as well as couple counseling. David is one of the kindest, most patient and genuine people I have had the pleasure of getting to know. He sincerely cares about his clients and their healing and personal growth and it shows in how he goes above and beyond in each session. He is very easy to talk to and I feel safe and comfortable being vulnerable with David as he supports and guides me in going deep to resolve burdens. The experiences in practicing mindfulness, as well as our working with IFS have helped me discover feelings of inner peace and happiness. The mindfulness practices he teaches have opened my eyes to new ways of living my life with more presence, understanding, and happiness.
I am introverted, shy and have always had great difficulty being vulnerable and opening up. I had worked with 5 different therapists/counselors over the past 3 years and never lasted more than a couple sessions with any of them as everything felt forced. It was like I was acting rather than letting my true self show, as I never felt heard or seen. It seemed like I was just another client, unimportant, a means of making money. I thought maybe I’m just too broken, too traumatized to ever be “fixed”. Then I stumbled upon Family Life Healing and met David. I was hesitant at first, as I had never worked with a male counselor before and much of the trauma I suffered as a child stemmed from men. To my relief I felt an instant connection the first time I spoke to David, permeated by a feeling of safety, soothed by the non judgmental tone of his voice. He has a calm, understanding, intuitive demeanor which is clear and comes naturally to him. He is living his passion, his purpose and it shows in each session. I feel seen, really SEEN for the first time in my life. I have gained so much clarity, confidence and hope since working with him. I am so excited to see what the future has in store for me. Just months ago I was simply trying to survive day to day, hoping to make it to tomorrow. I often questioned my purpose and everything felt meaningless. I felt like I was hanging on by a thread and David has had the ability to shift my entire outlook on life. I am forever thankful for finding this gem. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
As an expectant mother, David has gently and beautifully guided me in my own inner work as I feel into this new beginning. Without any sort of agenda, he gracefully helps me tune into my parts and find answers and ways of relating to myself. I immediately felt safe upon meeting David and continue to feel like I can be vulnerable and completely myself in our counseling sessions. He has helped me navigate my own relationship with my family of origin and as a result of our work together, I am stepping into myself more fully as I begin the journey of motherhood.