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 happiness. It’s normal to employ defense mechanisms that shield us from overwhelming or unacceptable emotions. In fact, it’s often healthy to do so. However, unconscious defenses can occasionally harm more than they help. Defense mechanisms take many forms, but a common example is belittling others to bolster one’s own self-esteem. Psychotherapy is a process of detecting these counterproductive defenses and healing the wounds they were intended to soothe.

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.

In addition to my work as a psychotherapist, I have been involved in the promotion of mental health through service in professional organizations and training of psychology students. I am a past president of the New York State Psychological Association’s Clinical Psychology Division and I have held a position as Clinical Associate with the New School Psychotherapy Program, where I supervised the clinical work of first year doctoral students in psychology.

Contact Me