Sessions with Dr. Downs

What Helps Us All to Change...

A lot has changed over the past twenty years in how the "helping" professions effectively work with individuals who are struggling with a broad range of difficulties from practical problems in everyday living to serious mental illness. The methods of Freud's "talking cure" have finally developed into some very practical and effective skills for creating a life in which emotional distress is minimal and experiences of contentment, satisfaction, and even joy are possible. The tools of traditional psychotherapy have been positively influenced by such diverse schools of thought as Zen Buddhism, Behaviorism, Life Coaching, 12-Step Programs, Emotion Regulation, and Metallization, just to name a few. The overwhelming research evidence is clear that these new methods, while simple and practical, also have the power to significantly change lives for the better.

It is now known that traditional psychotherapy that focuses solely on the traumatic issues of childhood is far less effective at helping us to change our behavior for the better. While understanding and insight into the roots of our distress is both interesting and comforting, too much focus on these issues can actually make problems in the present worse and increase our distress. There is no mistaking that becoming literate with our emotions is critical is critical to the process of improving lives, but that knowledge must also be accompanied by the regular use of practical behavioral skills that assist us in regulating our experience of distressing emotions and increase overall contentment and joy. Effective therapy now includes a great deal of what might be seen as "life coaching" as well as exploration of emotional roots and traumatic injury.

This is the kind of therapy or "consultation" that I provided in weekly, individual sessions which generally last for 50 minutes. Whether in person or over a secure, encrypted internet video service, these consultations assist individuals struggling with a broad range of issues to acquire the necessary insight and skills to make desired changes in their lives.

Supporting Gay Men

Much of my work over the past 25 years has centered on gay men. Although I have extensive business and corporate experience and have worked effectively with individuals from all walks and stations in life, I have a special love and passion for working with gay men to overcome the ravages of shame that have shaped much of lives, even long after we stepped out of the closet and thought we were done with shame. I work with gay men and couples from all over the world who, like myself, want to understand themselves more fully and to grow beyond some of the ineffective ways in which we have managed our lives and our relationships.

Setting Up an Appointment

If you are interested in setting up a consultation in my office in Los Angeles, California or over the internet, please click here. During this first appointment, we will get to know more about how we might effectively work together. Please consider the first appointment as an assessment during which we both assess how good the fit is between us. Your comfort and well-being should be the only primary concern during a first session, as these are necessary for a positive outcome. Prior to attending your first appointment, complete this form.

If you are experiencing acute psychological distress and/or overwhelming suicidal thoughts or obsessions, you should immediately contact a local psychotherapist or go directly to your local hospital emergency room for immediate help.


I do not accept insurance directly for payment. I can, however, provide you with a super-bill which you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement. Please do keep in mind that reimbursement rates vary widely among different insurance plans and companies, so check with your plan prior to making an appointment so that you will know the amount of reimbursement you can expect after submission of a super-bill.