Welcome to my Website.
In my 35 years’ experience as a clinical psychologist, I have been privileged to work with diverse client populations in varied settings. From early on, fate seemed to have led me to a particular specialty. I found myself treating civilian and military clients with trauma issues. Beyond my clinical training, these clients taught me the true nature of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), a condition I refer to as ‘Dancing with Demons’. The complexity of this clinical challenge can be daunting. In addition to the complicated nature of this condition, co-occuring addictions are frequent and aggressive. I therefore had to become highly proficient in both areas: trauma and addictions.
Despite the fact we have been treating and researching PTSD for decades, there is no singular conceptual model or treatment modality that captures its full range and complexity. I have described myself as a ‘technique agnostic’. I do not believe in any singular model or approach. I believe that individuals must find their own path. Clinicians are here to educate and demystify, not fix or complicate. Part of my mission is transmitting some of the wisdom I acquired treating those who suffer. I aspire to simplify some of the complex aspects of PTSD and open up simple and pragmatic pathways for achievable and sustainable recovery. This web page is a small contribution to that end.
My current mission is as Senior Psychologist for the Northern California Veterans Health Care System. I continue to lecture and write about the challenges for clinicians and clients.
The clinical opinions offered on this website and in my writings are intended for general guidance, and reflect my opinions only. You, the clinician, must be the party ultimately responsible for your clinical interventions. My comments are not intended as a substitute for formal supervision since I would not be privy to all of the available clinical data. My comments, as are my positions in my books and blogs, are based on my own vision toward a balanced, integrative therapeutic approach. I recognize that even a balanced position might offend some sensibilities, and that is not my intention. I welcome questions and challenge, but I tend to be skeptical of hard-line polemics or hidebound approaches.
As readers might discern, I am integrative and practical, but not concrete or mechanistic. Words and style are very powerful and developing skills in the art of clinical delivery will serve our increasingly complex population of clients.
In my books and in my lectures I articulate caution about the over-use or misuse of somatic and/or expressive approaches. The careful reader will discern that I am not against these approaches as long as they are used within a balanced clinical context and milieu. I emphasize caution since the 1980’s and 1990’s emphasis of expression resulted in iatrogenic consequences for too many clients. I do believe that insight, and expression of emotion are integral parts of the effective therapy. To summarize the dilemma, I offer the following:
Cognition without intensity is non-therapeutic, and intensity without integrative cognition can be damaging.
My books can be ordered directly from the publisher: Hazelden Publishing.
Comments and questions are welcome and it is hoped that some of my answers will lend additional clarity for those of us who treat this challenging clinical population
Jerry A. Boriskin, Ph.D., C.A.S.