Max Nisenbaum, PhD
Licensed Psychologist

My approach to Psychotherapy

I’m a psychologist who integrates cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic approaches. So I avoid the extremes of talking too much and not talking enough. I’ll tell you about the causes of emotions, I’ll guide you through science-based methods for managing anger, anxiety, and depression, and I’ll answer your questions instead of deflecting them. But, I know that what’s equally helpful about therapy is the opportunity for self-discovery through conversation. So one of my main goals is to listen and ask the right questions to help with self-exploration.

An important aspect of my approach involves an “interpersonal focus.” An interpersonal focus in psychotherapy refers to attention to and examination of the role that relationships play in your life. This means exploring how patterns of feeling and behaving in relationships impact your connections with friends, romantic partners, family, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Another emphasis of my work is on unconscious processes that interfere with well-being. These processes might take the form of “defense mechanisms” that buffer overwhelming or unacceptable emotions. While often healthy and adaptive, this sometimes harms more than it helps. Psychotherapy is a process of detecting counterproductive defenses and replacing them with more useful ones.

Education and Experience

I received a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Houston after studying psychology at Rutgers University. My dissertation research focused on anger expression in romantic relationships, in particular how attachment anxiety impacts anger expression. An abstract of my published research can be found here. I’ve held positions at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Houston psychological services, a veterans hospital, and at several New York City anxiety treatment centers.

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