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Featured Therapist Interview
Dr. Greenaway has a private practice at Marsh Landing Behavioral Group in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, which was started in 1996 by psychiatrist Dr. Mark Tomaski. Marsh Landing Behavioral Group has an impressive reputation in the community and is well known in the Jacksonville/Ponte Vedra area and beyond.
Dr. Greenaway’s treatment specialties include working with adults and children suffering from depression or anxiety, and he helps individuals learn strategies for managing the effects of ADHD. Dr. Greenaway also offers structured behavioral programs for parents dealing with oppositional children.
Before becoming a psychologist, Dr. Greenaway earned his BA in Education at Penn State University. He taught school in Los Angeles for eight years, where he was teacher and tutor to the stars’ kids, working academically with the children of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hugh Hefner, Bob Saget, Kenny Loggins, Barry Gordy, Tracey Ullman, and other celebrities.
Dr. Greenaway obtained his MA in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Los Angeles. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas in 2004. He was introduced to CBT in 2002 by his graduate school professor, Dr. Ramirez Basco, author of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder, The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings, The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done, and Never Good Enough.
Dr. Greenaway completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Bluestem Center in Rochester, Minnesota, assessing and working with adults and children with neurodevelopmental disorders and emotional issues. In 2006, he moved to Atlanta, where he completed the 70-hour Clinical Certification Program in CBT at the Atlanta Center for Cognitive Therapy, under the training of Dr. Mark Gilson. Dr. Greenaway went on to co-direct the Atlanta Center for Cognitive Therapy with Dr. Gilson for six years, and he continues to co-direct their CBT training program for advanced clinicians.
In 2013, Dr. Greenaway relocated to the Jacksonville Beach / Ponte Vedra Beach area, joining the team at Marsh Landing Behavioral Group. In 2015, he earned diplomate status, becoming board certified in behavioral and cognitive therapy, by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). His research and writing projects have primarily focused on CBT for depression, ADHD, and child oppositional behaviors. For more information go to www.drgreenaway.com.
First, we would like to know a little about your practice.
What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?
I care about people, and I think patients see that. I can see things from their perspective, even if I don’t agree with the conclusions they come to. I think patients can tell that I’ve done this before, and that I’m confident that it is likely to work. This gives them confidence, which actually acts like a self-fulfilling prophesy. I also think my sense of humor helps when it’s strategically used at the right time. I saw a documentary with a clip of a motivational speaker in action, and right after the participant in the audience finished explaining something very emotional, and the room was silently listening, the motivational speaker, asked in a serious tone, “Is it your shoes?” the guy looked stunned and a little confused for a second, and the speaker added, “I mean, come on, they’re bright red!” You could see the distress fall from the guy’s face; his tense shoulders loosened, and he looked so relieved. It was a risky comment from the speaker, because it could have been seen as a criticism, but they had built up such rapport already, that the guy saw the humor and endearing nature in the comment. I don’t know if that particular type of humor would suit me, but it really was a demonstration of how humor at the right time and right amount can lessen the tension and actually help build rapport.
What “tips” can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
If you really want to be successful, I’d suggest finding a practice that is already successful and join them. In my experience, finding an established practice with psychiatrists has made a huge difference. Getting a steady stream of referrals from the psychiatrists is a real game changer, and many patients like the one-stop-shop of a multidisciplinary practice. The last tip I’d give any new practitioner is to have a couple niches. From my experience, three niches that seem to have an endless flow of clients are strongly adhering to CBT; seeing children in addition to adults; and offering testing for ADHD and learning disabilities.
How do you remind your patients of their strengths during the therapy process?
It’s a lot like Socratic questioning, where the patient begins to remind themselves of their strengths. This actually seems to come up within the first few sessions during CBT treatment. Many mood and anxiety issues stem from a negative self-view, and once we start examining the evidence for and against those negative ideas, the patient begins to see a clearer picture of their limitations and more importantly their capabilities.
Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?
Yes. I host the YouTube channel PsychologyWorks (https://youtu.be/yL0QfgsAApo), where I present evidence-based strategies for managing mood issues, ADHD, and parenting tips. That was a huge undertaking, as I’m a one-man show and had to learn a lot of components. I come up with the ideas for content, write it, present it, film it, do the lighting and sound, edit it, and get it up on the internet. I also hold a position at the Atlanta Center for Cognitive Therapy (ACCT), where we run a training program for clinicians learning how to use CBT. It can be frustrating, because so many therapists claim to use CBT, but they’re not really doing CBT. They like the idea of it and know a little about it, but they’re not using it in sessions the way the research shows it to be effective. So, it’s rewarding working with therapists who really want to know how to do it right. Lastly, I’m working with Arthur Freeman and a couple colleagues editing a new edition of one of Art’s books. I’ve written for books and magazines, but it’s exciting working with an esteemed author like Art, whose books I’ve been reading throughout my career.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
Regarding CBT and getting started in my career, Mark Gilson at the Atlanta Center for Cognitive Therapy really broke me in and showed me the ropes. I had trained in CBT in graduate school and during my fellowship, but Mark really showed me how to hone my skills as a CBT clinician. Mark was right there with the greats when CBT was still on the fringe of psychotherapy. Aaron Beck, Arthur Freeman, David Barlow, Donald Meichenbaum, Edna Foa, David Burns. He’s worked with all those folks, so to learn from him, that has really been something.
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
That is what I do for fun! Seriously, I’m a real family guy. I love spending time with my wife, and it really doesn’t matter to me if we’re on a trip somewhere, or just grocery shopping. I really love hanging out with her. I also have a 10-year-old boy in Boy Scouts and a 12-year-old girl in Girl Scouts, so you know that keeps me busy. I’m the den leader, so there’s always some project going on. One day, I’m helping my son on his Pinewood Derby, and the next day I’m walking with my daughter selling cookies door-to-door. I also have a jazz trio that I play piano with. There’s nothing like getting into a groove and really jamming out. I was thinking of calling the band Jazz Therapy, because it really is!
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?
Hands down, CBT helps clients understand the process of therapy. Once they start to become the observer of their own belief systems, behaviors, and emotions from a non-critical perspective, it opens all kinds of doors. Many times patients are reluctant to really confront aspects of themselves because of deeply held beliefs like what it means for a person to think this or that or what it might say about themselves to have acted in such a way. In CBT, we turn those notions on their head and show that it might not mean any of those things. This is especially true with the whole mindfulness movement, which can be considered the third wave of CBT (the second wave was adding behavioral components to cognitive therapy).
Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?
I see a huge place for behavioral therapies. Our society is changing, and people are looking for things they can “do” to better themselves emotionally. The stigma of therapy seems to be rapidly decreasing, and I think the application of behavioral therapies has helped. There is a lot of new data to add to previous research that supports the effectiveness of behavioral activation for depression, and behavioral therapy is one of only three evidence-based treatments for ADHD. Besides having less stigma, clients see the benefits of it, and insurance companies seem to promote its use. I think this will only become more solidified in the years to come.
Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
It’s going on 5 years now.
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
It is very helpful to connect to others who specialize in CBT. I’ve found the annual conventions and featured online presentations extremely helpful in continuing my education. The list serve also provides a fantastic venue for kicking around ideas or getting guidance when something comes up.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions!