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Leveling up applies to our mental health in another way as well.  Our brains develop—and are organized—from “bottom to top” (and also side to side), as early experiences are foundational to the ways we experience our emotions, the extent to which we are able to manage them, and whether our appraisal systems have an overall negative or positive bias. 

Our thoughts are shaped by both this emotional footprint along with experiences that accrue to us over our life span.  If a person grows up in an invalidating, abusive, or otherwise emotionally deficient environment, these unfortunate impressions imprint upon what they believe—and the stories they tell themselves—about who they are, what they are capable of, and what to expect from others.

Emotional dysregulation, cognitive distortions, negative self-talk and image, and maladaptive behaviors that arise as strategies to “manage” distress, can all impair a person’s desire and efforts to be the best version of themselves. They are the obstacles to “leveling up.”


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Our mental health does not exist in a vacuum; it is rather the intersection of our physical health, our experiences, in some cases, our genes, and most of all, the way our brains got “wired” in our earliest interactions with the social environment. Singular approaches to “symptoms,” product of DSM-driven diagnostic silos, are no longer sufficient.  We can do better, and that’s why I started Level Up.


At Level Up, we’re going to be the change I, and others, wish to see in the practice of psychotherapy.

Because psychotherapy is, or rather “will be,” more effective, when clinicians universally incorporate the knowledge gifted us by affective neuroscientists (starting in the early-mid 1990’s to the present) as foundational to their understanding of disorders of the “self,” and conceptualize every case through this lens.  From there, integrating wisdom garnered over the last hundred years of psychoanalytic/ psychodynamic practice about how, why, and when “talk therapy” works, and the empirically-validated interventions from the cognitive, behavioral, and affect-regulatory schools of thought, will greatly enhance client outcomes.

I encourage any licensed mental health practitioner inspired by the “Story” and goals of Level Up—who might like to be part of a collaborative, continuously-learning and results oriented environment—to contact me, and Level Up for yourself.

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