25 Years Exp
25 Years Exp
Hi. I am Tom McCarthy. I am a Licensed Practicing Counselor with 25 years of experience in diverse settings, and with diverse individuals. I have worked with adolescents both in group homes and in private practice. I also have experience in corrections and the criminal justice system following 5 years’ experience in a county jail. I worked in higher education for about half of my career, and I am very comfortable with the typical college aged client, as well as academic and achievement issues. Finally, I have experience working in addictions on an outpatient and IOP level. I have personally facilitated groups, and individual counseling for those suffering from addiction. In all of my previous experiences in diverse settings I specialized in anxiety and OCD, depression, adjustment issues, and anger management, I believe the clinical relationship between a counselor and a client is special. I have an easy-going personality that usually allows me to connect with diverse individuals with diverse mental health issues. I have the ability to be serious, challenging, and even humorous when appropriate. Whatever issues you are experiencing I believe I can help. The counseling process is a journey. I trust that I can assist you on this journey with compassion, understanding, and honesty. Over the years I have learned many things, but one truth is especially evident- if an individual wants to change, wants to do the work, has a counselor who has knowledge and an ability to connect with that individual, and can be genuinely compassionate and honest, there is no limit to what can be accomplished in counseling.
I worked with a college student while working at the counseling center of a university that suffered from severe OCD. His condition had such an impact on his ability to function that he came to our second session stating that he had to quit college- “it’s too much”. I asked if we could meet a few more times before he made such an important decision. He agreed, and over the next 6 months we addressed his OCD and other anxiety. He made significant progress in these areas, and remained in school. I got to see the happiness in his face when he graduated. It is one of the things I will never forget.
Every person is different, as is each person’s experience with their mental health issue. Client’s can expect me to help them identify their issues, identify any underlying issues the client may not recognize, and develop a plan together to address, and ideally make significant progress with those issues over a reasonable amount of time. A client can expect that I will always have their best interest in mind, that I will use all my knowledge and skills to help them, and if needed I will learn more about any topic to be more proficient when working with any individual, or mental health issue.
Most people believe the first session is just about demographic information, or completing an intake. Although there is some truth to that view, I see the first session as much more. I find myself less interested in information, and more interested in the person. I see the first session as a way to build rapport, begin building a therapeutic relationship, and as the chance to ensure the person will return for a second, third... session. If a person and I can connect it is much more likely the person will return for future sessions. If this happens it opens the door to being able to address the issues that made that individual make that difficult call to schedule their first session.
The easiest and most truthful answer I can give is I genuinely like people. I have always struggled with seeing people suffer. Over the years it has become clear to me that mental health issues, especially if not treated, can be debilitating on so many levels, and affect every aspect of a person’s life. I view it as a privilege to be one of the many therapists who have some of the knowledge and skills that may be able to help a person change, to live a more fulfilling life, and ideally to be happy.
What can clients expect to take away from sessions with you?
My counseling style is to be genuine, authentic, compassionate, and fully focused on you. My approach to counseling is a majority Cognitive-Behavioral, although I incorporate other techniques such as DBT, Motivational Interviewing, solution-Focused Therapy, or a Humanistic approach depending on the person, the timeframe we have for working together, and the issue being addressed in counseling. I am interested in what you have to say, what your goals are, and what you want to achieve in counseling. This, most times, drives what we will address in counseling, and which approach would be most successful.
What treatment methods and tools do you utilize?
I utilize several evidenced based therapies and techniques including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and techniques that have worked for various issues in my experience. I believe I have expertise in several areas of counseling, and feel competent in most areas of counseling. In spite of what areas, I believe I am proficient I am always aware that each person I counsel is an individual with their own thoughts, feelings, and life experiences. Due to this belief, I never enter a counseling relationship believing I am the only one in the room who knows the right answers. I believe in actively listening to everyone I counsel, and meeting each individual where they are at. Of course as a counselor I often identify issues to be addressed, but I also believe in the individual in counseling “steering the ship” as well. As much as I believe in questioning an individual, or challenging certain beliefs I am open to an individual in counseling being able to do the same with me.
Explain to clients what areas you feel are your biggest strengths.
I have worked with diverse populations, diverse mental health issues, and a variety of age groups throughout my career. Several areas that I believe I have expertise include anxiety, OCD, depression, anger management, academic and achievement issues, and substance abuse. Beyond these areas I feel competent and comfortable working with individuals who have experienced trauma/PTSD, ADHD, behavioral issues, and grief and loss. I believe I work very well with adolescents age 12 and up, as well individuals from early adulthood to a geriatric population. I enjoy couples therapy, group therapy, and most passionately individual therapy.