Thanks for visiting my site. On this page and the others I try to demonstrate how I think about the innate struggles of human life. If you would like to talk either in person or over the phone to get a sense of what it might be like to get to know me, feel free to call or email and we can set something up. Sincerely, Dr. Klein

About Dr. Klein

Seeking Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

I listen to the struggles involved in life with more than just a focus on symptoms. You may be struggling with depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, trauma, relationship problems, career or job difficulty, and more. All of these are reasons to seek therapy, and each have underlying causes.

I would like to demonstrate below how I think about a particular aspect of living so that you can get an idea of what I am like and whether you would like to call. If you do want to schedule an appointment, I usually recommend that we set just an initial meeting where you simply come in to see how it goes and whether the experience is such that you believe scheduling a second appointment is in your best interest.  

Inherent in life itself is a sense of angst and for many, a traumatic experience. What most of us think of when we hear the word “trauma” is post traumatic stress disorder. I would encourage you to consider something different. First, there is never a “post” trauma, because one aspect of trauma is that it “destroys time” (Stolorow, 2011), and one is recurrently experiencing the traumatic state in present time. Hence, one’s sense of self in time and space becomes vague and less grounded in the midst of a traumatic period. The idea that treatment should move someone “past” trauma or “resolve” it often unfortunately causes therapists to treat patients as though the thoughts and feelings that form the traumatic re-experiencing need to be vanquished. I have seen that type of treatment leave patients feeling alone with their trauma. My way of being in therapy involved dwelling as deeply as I can in a person’s traumatic experience, and my hope is to form a relational home where those experiences can be organized and rendered comprehensible between us. This form of treatment helps people feel connected in the world again, which is needed to counteract the dissociation that often comes as a reaction to traumatic experience, depression, loss, and more. 

Second, I think the word “disorder” is a misnomer. Trauma is so ubiquitous and a part of human existence that labeling it as a disorder likely merely indicates our social unease in knowing somewhere inside that any of us can be or have already been thrown into a traumatic experience. Third, most people usually think of a narrow range of experiences that qualify as traumatic, such as war time tragedy or assaults. These incidents are of course tragic and important consider in the range of experiences; moreover, in my view there are innumerable situations that beget traumatic dissociation and what follows as self-protection through life. It is the costs associated with the ways you have kept yourself safe in the wake of overwhelming emotional experience that form vexing relational patterns or mood disturbances. 

For instance, a traumatic experience can be growing up with a fragile parent who could not endure separateness or autonomy. In order to maintain the attachment that a child needs to have to a parent, the child may comply and become essentially a part of the parent’s inventory of needs, relinquishing independence. There is nothing wrong with the child for doing this. He or she needs to have a connection to the parent, and it is clear in this situation that it is not safe to be separate, or the parent will perish (or so the message is portrayed by the parent). The implicit meaning for the child may be that the self exists for someone else entirely, and that the child is not safe to act on his or her own behalf. This, I would argue, is a form of relational trauma over a long span of time in development. This child may turn into an adult who now lives a life with markers of having survived that protracted trauma. This may include the development of relationships where he or she has a partner who does not allow for separateness (an unconscious repetition). This person may also have healthy relationships that allow independence and autonomy, but which cause internal guilt…as the child was not free to have such things growing up. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may be intertwined with these complications, and that person may seek therapy as a result. 

I believe people need to feel safe enough to venture forward in life in a way where they can do things that help them move past old ways of being that have been the cause of so much pain. That requisite safety is known through a relationship with someone else, or is torn down by the same. Relationships are the organizers of the mind, which is why we are so moved and affected by the so called past.  Our pasts are of course playing out in real time between ourselves and others as we demonstrate to and with others how we have been shaped by being and time. Our unconscious organizing principles that were fashioned to help us understand emotional experience were learned in early development in order to protect us from disconnection, and symptoms and problems are often a reflection of unconscious efforts to feel cohesive as a self and to remain connected to loved ones.

Talking with me may help you relieve the tolls involved in the way you now live your life. If you would like to schedule, please call or email. I usually return calls within the same day or the next.

(503) 208-7881   or   Contact Form 

Testing and Assessment

I am also a regional expert in cognitive and psychological testing for adolescents and adults.