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About

What therapy approach(es) do you utilize? What issues do you specify treatment for?
The therapeutic modality that I utilize is a Rogerian/Humanistic approach—specifically that of unconditional, positive regard and active listening—which means that I will be working hard to understand where my Clients are coming from without being judgmental.

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Q&A

I find it satisfying to be part of helping people discover who they can be and realize that perhaps they’re more than who they thought they were. Ultimately, if each of us can achieve balance and make our own little corner of the world a little bit more satisfying and a little safer, we help to create a better reality for all of us.

I have always seemed to be in a helping position. Before graduating high school I started work at a large veterinarian hospital/boarding kennel in Blue Bell, PA as an animal health technician and then the hospital administrator, where I stayed for over 15 years.

I decided to return to school to pursue a degree in psychology and have been in the mental health field since 1998, working for such organizations as Special Equestrians as a side aid volunteer assisting people with physical and/or mental health disabilities and Lenape Valley Foundation as both a house advisor and a Partial Hospital Program group therapist for people with severe and persistent mental illness. I also worked for Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for their Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Program where I was a counselor for people addicted to heroin. I recently worked for Catholic Charities in NJ in the roles of therapist for the Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program working with kids diagnosed with substance abuse or dependence, as well as a clinical supervisor for the Comprehensive Family Treatment of Addictions Program (CFTA). This led to the position of Program Director for CFTA, the Therapeutic After-School Program (a therapeutic group for kids ages 8-12) and an In-home therapy/case management program, while also carrying a small direct-service case load at my private practice. Finally, after taking the position of Service Area Director, with responsibility for 13 substance abuse, mental health and social service programs, I realized that I was moving further and further away from my original ambition of providing one to one service to clients. This realization led to my decision to get back into direct service.

As noted by the award-winning nationally and regionally recognized correspondent, television and radio host Jim Masters (of PBS and Close-Up Talk Radio), “effective therapy requires a combination of compassion, skill set and education level, as well as a safe environment in order for clients to share their feelings", and “nowhere is that more true than at Lehigh Counseling led by Bill Dougherty.” Furthermore, Jim points out that “Lehigh Counseling provides a client-centered approach….and I love when I hear that phrase, client-centered ….its all about you, its not one size fits all, it’s tailored to you…”

The ability to provide a safe environment for people to share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences is essential to effective counseling. Studies have shown no one therapeutic modality utilized by therapists is superior to another; rather, clinicians themselves ultimately determine whether treatment will prove effective. It’s not about the model being used; it’s the relationship between the counselor and client. This principle guides my work, in that I strive to provide a client-centered, strength-based counseling setting to individuals, couples and adolescents for issues related to addiction, anxiety, career or relationships.

I look to my clients to be the experts of themselves, which encourages them to guide the therapy where it needs to go. What I offer is a space to gain insight in order for that insight to become the catalyst for change. I believe that once a person sees their truth, they have no choice but to accept that truth…though we often do our best not to. Each of us develops psychological schemas that teach us how to interact with people and the world. When we grow accustomed to a certain pattern of behavior, however, we look to repeat it, even after it’s outlived its usefulness. Addiction, for instance, is a maladaptive coping skill that worked at one time but does no longer.

With a background in English literature, I bring a decidedly post-modern perspective to my therapeutic approach. One of the concepts I utilize is Narrative Therapy, which encourages and compassionately challenges clients to be mindful of the story they’re telling to better utilize their strengths. This theory acknowledges the power of language, in that not only does the language we use reflect how we feel, it also affects how we feel. Therefore, the words we choose to use can help to manifest the changes we hope to bring about. The idea is to encourage the use of more positive words as opposed to negative words while telling our life story. I have found this approach to be remarkably effective in helping clients confront the challenges of their lives in order to bring about lasting and meaningful change. Other approaches and techniques I draw from include Humanistic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Enhancement Therapy (with a strong working knowledge of Motivational Interviewing), Trauma Informed Therapy, and Systems Theory.

Degrees and Credentials:
Bachelors Degree in Psychology/English Literature from Arcadia University in Glenside PA
Masters Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology from La Salle University in Philadelphia PA
PA Board Licensed Professional Counselor
PA Board Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor
PA Board Certified Clinical Supervisor
PA Board Certificate of Competency in Problem Gambling
NJ Board Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor
NJ Board Licensed Professional Counselor
NJ Board Certified Clinical Supervisor
Member of the Psi Chi, Phi Theta Kappa, and Sigma Tau Delta National Honor Societies.