Ariel Lachman, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
New York & New Jersey
Education and Training
Dr. Lachman is a New York State and NJ licensed clinical psychologist. He is currently an advanced post-degree candidate of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at NYU. He obtained his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University and a pre-doctoral internship at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Schoo/UMDNJ. He attended Boston Universtiy for his undergraduate degree in pre-medicine and psychology. Dr. Lachman has extensive experience working with depression, anxiety, and disorders resulting from trauma in adults and adolescents. His training included the Palo Alto Veterans Administration in the traumatic brain injury unit and Stanford University School of Medicine: psychiatry department in schizophrenia. The vast majority of his psychotherapy training was conducted at community mental health clinics working with a diverse range of ethnic and cultural minorities in English and Spanish. In addition to the above training and experience he has also developed a special interest and is working toward specialization in chronic pain issues. He has trained for over three years at nursing and rehabilitation homes toward this goal. He approaches every patient from the perspective that difficulties in life inevitably arise and that not only can each be guided to overcome their conflicts, but have the potential to develop, grow, and flourish.
What to expect on your first Visit
On your first visit you can expect to spend a few minutes filling out some basic paperwork, including your contact information and informed consent documents. Afterwards you will be given the opportunity to talk about what is bringing you in to psychotherapy; for example, what problems you are currently facing, what symptoms you have been experiencing (e.g., depressed mood, anxiety, or insomnia), and to talk a little about your background, family, and personal history. You may be asked to elaborate on certain topics in order to understand your situation better.
The first month or more (4+ sessions) of therapy is aimed at getting a fuller picture of your life: the assessment period. Yes, this may seem like a long time. But, in today's culture we are conditioned to seek-out "quick fixes" and "magic bullets" while psychotherapy offers the opportunity to slow down, examine ourselves, reflect, and be mindful of what conditions may be influencing our current challenges. Sometimes these challenges manifest into psychiatric symptoms and they may even warrant clinical diagnoses. However before treatment can truly begin and a real lasting cure reached a foundation of trust, understanding, and empathy must be built between therapist and patient. Each individual patient, regardless of background and clinical presentation is unique, and I believe must be treated specifically to who they are and the context in which they experience themselves.
My treatment philosophy is an integration of cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and humanistic-existential psychological theories. Which I will explain briefly later.
Despite what you may have read there is no "one right way" or form of psychotherapy that works better than any other for every psychological issue. The most sophisticated and recent research conducted to date indicates that most psychological orientations work about equally for most symptoms/disorders and that the "therapeutic agents of change" (the reason it works) is common in all psychotherapies. What are they? Elements of the relationship between the patient and therapist, such as; being experienced as trust-worthy, non-judgmental, and to be working together on established goals. Some forms of psychotherapy highlight and emphasize certain aspects of the work more than others and will work better for some patients, but not all. Finding the right fit for you is critical, and that might mean finding a therapist who you work well with and/or a type of psychotherapy that aligns with your view of the mind and world.
Now, back to my approach (orientation). I integrate elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy which examines how thoughts influence feelings and behaviors. This might mean recognizing and identifying ways in how your "negative" thinking is making you depressed and leading you to isolate from other people. In turn, that isolation may be making you feel more depressed and think even more negative thoughts about yourself. Generally these thoughts and behaviors are "conscious" or within our awareness.
Psychodynamic therapy emphasizes the role of the unconscious (below our awareness) on our feelings and behaviors. Psychodynamic theories vary widely and go back all the way to Freud, but have developed and changed dramatically since then. Contemporary psychodynamic therapy, in my particular approach, examines how our relationships past and present can provide information about how we feel and interact in the world below our "conscious" awareness. I emphasize the importance of early relationships (e.g., parents, caregivers, and siblings) on our development into adulthood and how we relate to people in our lives now. This approach also means we may talk about how you are feeling and what you are thinking about in the room as we talk. The goal is to illuminate relationship patterns and behaviors that may be causing dysfunction in your life.
Humanistic-existential theories explore the universal challenges of being alive that we all face at one time or another. Death, isolation, and freedom to name a few. The goal of existential psychotherapy is not just to be less symptomatic, but to be more content and accepting of life, and to truly grow as a human being. This is expressed less as "technique," and more so as an attitude to the world and the work in therapy. The concepts are far too complex to describe here, but if you are interested do an internet search for the famous psychiatrist "Yalom" who has written extensively on the subject, both through excellent fictional novels and non-fiction texts.