Brian Cross, Ph.D., Psychotherapist Three Washington, D.C. locations - get directions Email Dr. Brian Cross at now Brian Cross, Ph.D. - return to main page Email Brian Cross, Ph.D. at

Psychotherapeutic Approach

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My Approach to Therapy

I think it necessary and helpful to articulate a statement of my take on ‘what is psychotherapy’ before I describe my approach to the work. In doing so, I believe my writing will capture some of the spirit of how it is I do what I do. So…Psychotherapy? Psychotherapy is a powerful option for change. In my estimation, it is a courageous, wise, and vulnerable act for you to seek help with the soul-work of life. This ‘soul-work’ may take the form of depression, anxieties, addictions, family troubles, difficulty with work/school or in maintaining intimate relationships in general. Whatever the issues, it is a responsible act to seek help and it is a gift to both yourself and to those whom you love. Entering psychotherapy is about expanding one’s perspective and gaining a new awareness about one’s ‘self’ that translates into action for change. It may result in simply re-doing what you have already attempted, but this time you will be doing so with the ‘presence, support, and witness’ of that guy or gal, …the psychotherapist. It is not for the faint of heart or for someone wedded to complaining about the ‘wrongness or brokenness of life.’ The work may start near this pole or in a dark place, but it should not end there. The basis of this emotional change is the initiation of a deeply personal relationship with a caring, supportive, intelligent, challenging, and hopefully wise ‘other’ who limits their emotional demands on you and seeks, truly seeks, to see you evolve in a life-living, loving, and generative manner.

Ok, so that is my brief take on psychotherapy. What next should know about ‘my approach’? One of the things that my clients know about me is that I know there are a lot of other wonderful therapists in town. It should therefore, not sound strange to state that I experience it as a privilege when a client selects to see me and I have a certain humility about the client choosing me that inspires me to honor them and their work. This is an essential part of me. Second, I have a deep appreciation for the ‘art of psychotherapy’, not the delivery of techniques. Evidenced-based treatments are great for promoting psychotherapy and demonstrate ‘slivers’ of how the process of therapy may work, but they fall short of capturing the nuance and magic of the client-therapist dyad as it evolves over time. I do not do 10-session therapy for major life difficulties. It does not work.

Third, I am an old soul. I always have been. I have a big heart and I share myself with others in a way that sustains me, that includes my clients. I am not a ‘sit-back’ therapist. I interact. I listen well to the stories of my clients, but I am not simply a good listener. Good listening aids change, but is sometimes insufficient and inefficient to affect change. There may be many times when I will risk speaking things to you that you do not like, and while such direct feedback and confrontations are not easy, they often move the work along. In turn, I encourage my clients to be direct, to respectfully confront, to self-regulate, to express, share, and experience themselves in the therapy relationship with me as it is necessary. The same is true for group psychotherapy and to some extent, for couples therapy. Why I believe I work well with those who see me is that the therapeutic relationship that we construct also encompasses; humor, deep connection, pleasure, losses, and anxieties that are representative of relationships that the client hopes to construct more fully with others outside of the sessions. At it’s best, psychotherapy is a very full relationship and becomes a working model of how the client wants to be in their world. It is my experience that people’s lives move forward in a rewarding and often less painful way.

In terms of my own unique approach, I strongly incorporate the idea that mind and body are intimately connected and to create the optimal therapeutic outcome, both are addressed through the course of our therapy sessions. The advances in neuroscience, attachment theory,gestalt theory, and experiential therapy inform how I work in the day-to-day sessions.

Lastly, when clients come for therapy sessions, I work with them from a ‘non-pathological’ model. That is, people who come to see me are not considered ‘defective or crazy’. Rather, I strive to help my clients understand the meaning of behaviors, moods, thoughts, body-symptoms, and agonizing interpersonal patterns of relating.
Many times the most stubborn ‘problems’ or long-term ‘struggles’ hold great meaning for the individual and if explored in a new way, with support, can function as a doorway to change and health, not simply as painful dysfunction.

Contact me today to arrange a consultation:

P: (202) 337-9555
Online contact form



Brian Cross, Ph.D., Psychotherapist

Brian Cross, Ph.D.

request a consultation

P: (202) 337-9555

1201 Connecticut Ave, NW
Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
get directions

online contact form

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