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Larry Cohen

Featured Therapist Interview

Mr. Cohen has provided cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) services in Washington, DC, since 1990. His CBT clinic specializes in helping people with social anxiety, other anxiety-related disorders, mood disorders, relationship and career problems, and LGBT concerns.

He co-founded and co-chairs the National Social Anxiety Center, with 18 regional clinics around the country, including his own in DC.

He has conducted several professional training workshops and webinars on CBT for social anxiety through the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. He has also led many dozens of free educational workshops on social anxiety and CBT for consumers.

He received his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Michigan in 1987. He is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

He has been extensively trained in CBT, group psychotherapy, and crisis intervention. He is a Certified Diplomate in Cognitive Therapy through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is also a Diplomate in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, the highest credential offered by the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. He is certified in Trial-Based Cognitive Therapy, which utilizes role-playing exercises to facilitate attitude change. He is a Certified Group Psychotherapist, and a founder of the National Registry of Certified Group Psychotherapists. Washingtonian magazine included him in their most recent list of “Top Therapists” in the DC area.

He has worked for several years at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, DC: one of the nation’s largest health centers for HIV and AIDS, and for the lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) community. He served as their first Mental Health Services Director, as well as their first Volunteer Resources Director. He has a 40-year history of volunteer work in varied human services and social justice issues.

He has a special interest in therapy groups and support groups as a means of helping people with common concerns empower each other. He has led 94 social anxiety therapy groups (20-weeks each), as well as many other therapy groups for depression, relationships, self-esteem, coming out, and AIDS. He has also led many support groups on a variety of issues, and supervised a team of Whitman-Walker Clinic support group leaders for seven years.

First, we would like to know a little about your practice.

What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?

I have a very practical approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy: helping clients learn, practice and apply concrete skills and strategies to clients overcome personal problems and achieve their personal goals. It is my goal to help clients become their own person therapist, so that they can continue using these skills and strategies on their own after our work is over in order to make further progress in their lives, as well as to prevent relapse. I specialize in helping people with social anxiety disorder and related problems, and lead frequent CBT groups for social anxiety. I also specialize in serving the LGBT community.

How do you remind your patients of their strengths during the therapy process?

After every behavioral experiment the client conducts in session or as self-chosen therapy homework, I help clients identify ways they helped themselves during the experiment. I also guide clients in the use of a “Pride and Gratitude Log,” in which they daily identify positive things they have done, and their underlying qualities and strengths that these things exemplify.

Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?

I lead frequent educational workshops on social anxiety for consumers, as well as professional training workshops on CBT for social anxiety for other psychotherapists.

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?

Effective CBT doesn’t just help people recover or achieve a goal. Effective CBT helps clients master key strategies and skills that they can continue using after therapy is over to help them prevent relapse and continue making progress on their own.

How do you use the local or social media to educate your community on the benefits of CBT?

I participate in a blog and Facebook page on social anxiety through the National Social Anxiety Center, which I cofounded.

Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

8 years.

What services do you consider the most valuable from ABCT?

Conferences and webinars for clinical education.

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