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Featured Therapist Interview
Dr. Carol J. Dorfman has an adult practice with offices in Englewood and Livingston, New Jersey. She is licensed in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has been a practicing Psychologist since the early 1980’s. Prior to her solo practice, she worked in Health Psychology for 16 years with an emphasis on medical and pain conditions. In her work, she has developed expertise in treating trauma, depression, anxiety, stress disorders, sleep problems, as well as eating and weight management difficulties, and relationship and career issues. She served as a consultant to multidisciplinary pain-management teams, and has presented numerous Stress Management seminars to industry, insurance reps, medical and patient advocacy groups, as well as to the public. She participated in a Public Radio broadcast on the Treatment of Chronic Pain (Voices in the Family), and has been quoted in newspapers and other publications regarding women’s issues.
Dr. Dorfman’s treatment approach is strongly influenced by Cognitive Behavioral Theory. She has a Ph. D. from Bryn Mawr College in Human Development and Counseling Psychology (1988) and completed the Licensed Psychologist Training Program at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania (2003). Over the years, she has pursued numerous training programs in CBT and other orientations, both here and abroad.
Congratulations on being the ABCT Featured Therapist.
First, we would like to know a little about your practice
When did you begin your practice?
I have been practicing since the 70’s when I received my Master’s degree. At that time, it was possible to become licensed with a Master’s in Pennsylvania. After completing a PhD, I was licensed in NJ as well.
Do you have a specialty?
Although I now work with a general adult population, I have had extensive experience working with health problems, weight management, relationship problems, trauma, and career issues.
What are your personal strengths as a practioner?
My strengths lie in my desire to continually learn and build my skills; in my openness to feedback; and in the diversity of my experience. I firmly believe in the ability to make positive change, having made many changes in my own life.
What is one method you use to promote your practice?
I attend professional meetings and seminars: APA, ABCT, NJPA (state), county psychological associations, cognitive therapy group meetings.
How important are board certifications and/or credentialing programs to your practice?
I am licensed in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I engage in ongoing training, which is crucial to keeping my work interesting and exciting.
What tips can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
Become active with professional organizations and market yourself to appropriate referral sources. Don’t be shy!
What sorts of literature do you make available in your waiting room that describe evidence- based therapy?
CB- related articles and brochures; relevant magazine and newspaper articles that describe how CBT can help.
What self-help books do you suggest to your clients?
Mind Over Mood by Greenberg & Padesky; The Beck Diet Solution by Judith Beck; The Worry Cure by Robert Leahy; Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown; various books on relaxation techniques.
What one book do you recommend as a must read to improve your practice?
There are many great books which have helped. One of many that I like is Cognitive Therapy for Challenging Problems by Judith Beck. It provides descriptive and useful applications.
Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?
I am involved in a peer supervision group with other psychologists and social workers in which we discuss specific clinical issues and present cases, and share feedback, suggestions, and support.
Next, we are interested in your continuing education activities.
How do you stay current with new research or advances in the field as applied to your practice?
I consult with colleagues; I read professional journals and newsletters such as ABCT’s Behavior Therapist, the Beck Institute newsletter (online), the NJ-ACT newletter.
Where do you earn your continuing education credits?
I attend live seminars and conferences.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
I’ve had several. As an undergraduate, I had a fabulous psychology professor who inspired me to pursue a career in the field. Then, after finishing a Master’s degree, I had a clinical supervisor who was bright, perceptive, supportive, and a fount of information. She encouraged me to pursue the doctorate, and continues to be a friend and inspiration. More recently, while engaged in the Licensed Psychologist training program at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the U. of Pennsylvania in 2002-2003, I had some wonderful teachers who brought new energy to my thinking about psychology.
What is the last book you read?
I am reading (and rereading) Bipolar Disorder: A Cognitive Therapy Approach by Cory F. Newman, Robert L. Leahy, Aaron T. Beck, Noreen A. Reilly-Harrington, & Laszlo Gyulai; Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Challenging Problems by Judith Beck; Dialectical Behavior Therapy by Marsha Linehan; Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Couples: A Contextual Approach by Norman B. Epstein and Donald H. Baucom.
How do you avoid burn out?
Look for the humor in daily life, and take pleasure in doing effective work.
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
Cook, dance, garden, travel, and connect with old and new friends. I relocated to Northern New Jersey/ NYC metro area three years ago from the Philadelphia – South Jersey area and am really enjoying the energy and diversity of this area.
We are also interested in some of your views of cbt.
What do you think is the single most important thing cbt can do for your clients?
Give them practical, learnable strategies to overcome obstacles and move forward to their goals.
Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?
Hopefully, behavioral therapies will be increasingly recognized and valued by the larger culture.
How do you use the local media to educate your community on the benefits of cbt?
I participated in a public radio broadcast on the psychological treatment of pain. I have been quoted in local newspaper articles on attitudes toward women. I hope to do more of this.
Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
About 3 years.
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
ABCT has been an invaluable resource. I use the listserve daily. I attended the Orlando conferences last year.
What service(s) are missing from ABCT in your role as a practitioner?
More seminars on CBT for couples, eating disorders, sleep problems, coping with changes in the workplace and the economy, and personality disorders. Pperhaps Bob Leahy’s articles in tBT and the web on anxiety and the economy begin to address one of these areas.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.