Bobby Liebman LCSW
“Therapy is more about showing up and doing the work than expecting radical results…It's like going to the gym…You can't always go to the gym and set your personal best. You just have to go to the gym because you're trying not to die. Most of us don't have an hour where we can just unzip ourselves, and I think that's an important part of therapy." —W. Kamau Bell
I am glad you have found yourself on my profile and I am hoping it will give you a sense of who I am and how I can help you. I am dedicated to finding a way to work through whatever challenge you are experiencing. You are unique and so is your path. There is no road map, no predetermined process, no set number nor order of steps.
I primarily work with “men’s issues”, aka, the way in which men deal with emotional and relational challenges. Our work often starts when some patterns or habits have now grown into intolerable burdens that may be threatening things like their ability to work, stay in a relationship, or keep emotions like anger and shame at bay. Additionally, most men are simply tired and do not feel like themselves—essentially a sense that something has to change. Men are experiencing a crisis of connection and what men need most is the very thing they fear: emotional honesty.
Some men may have been raised in environments where the very experience of an emotion was unacceptable. This can result in attempts to avoid or control emotions and withdraw in relationships. Men often “compartmentalize” parts of themselves that tend to get heavy and full over time and will eventually start to leak out in ways looking like: anger, depression, relationship discord, and unhealthy coping behaviors.
These internal “parts” or adaptations are survival maps you developed to protect and manage your vulnerabilities, such as: “I can only depend on myself; I must always please people; I must be strong and not show vulnerability;" and “emotions are not safe.” These positions were the best way you found in the past to maintain a sense of integrity and control in emotionally difficult situations.
A man disconnected from his inner world is usually not a pretty sight or very easy to live with. They may know that their wife or partner wants them to share their feelings more, and they know that's supposed to be a good thing. Unfortunately they don’t know how. I will work to provide you with the safe and necessary space in which you can take emotional risks, discover hidden resources and learn tools for facing emotional challenges.
Here are some of the more common men’s issues I see in my work:
Anger and irritabilityOften men are taught to hide more vulnerable emotions such as hurt or sadness and instead express anger and lash out. This may be the only way they have learned to communicate they are hurting. However, anger can have disastrous effects on relationships. Learning how to communicate hurt and sadness effectively can facilitate an opportunity for repair and even strengthen relationships.
Intimacy and affectionStereotypical male ways of expressing love are to “do stuff” for their partner. This could be buying something, fixing something, or attempting to solve problems for their significant other. Sometimes this is not helpful to create closeness in romantic relationships. Partners of men can sometimes feel emotional distance when they want someone to listen without problem solving or communicate love instead of “show” love by buying something or doing something.
Numbing or pushing away emotionsSome men may have been raised in environments where the very experience of an emotion was unacceptable. This can result in attempts to avoid or control emotions. For example, drug/alcohol use, ending relationships, physical altercations, devaluing the importance of loved ones, or keeping people at a distance can be ways to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Unfortunately, these attempts to control emotions can result in even more problems and even more difficult emotions.
Non-medically explained sexual problemsMedically explained causes of erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive (hypoactive sexual desire), or premature ejaculation are addressed by medical doctors. However, psychological and lifestyle factors can also contribute to these difficulties. A therapist can help by treating underlying anxiety (e.g., performance anxiety) and depression that can contribute to sexual difficulties.
If you are interested in working with me, our next step will be to schedule a complimentary 20-minute online consultation so we can feel out whether we would be a good fit. The consultation also helps to give me a clearer sense of your therapeutic goals and how I can help. If during the course of our talk I get the sense that my therapeutic style or skillset is unlikely to be helpful for your particular situation I’ll let you know and will make appropriate referrals whenever possible.
I don’t approach my work with clients from a “one size fits all” approach. Rather, I draw upon a variety of therapeutic approaches in an effort to target my intervention to what might be most beneficial or transformative for my client at that moment in therapy. Mindful awareness, somatic resources (including gestures, posture, facial expressions, eye gaze, breathing, and movement), and methods for working with internal parts are often incorporated. I am also experienced in the practice of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).
*Please note that the free 20-minute consultation will not be a therapy session, but rather a chance to clarify your goals and to evaluate our therapeutic fit so that we can get down to work from the start of our first therapy session.
CredentialsSan Diego State University, M.S.W. Social Work, Clinical Emphasis
Florida State University, B.S. Speech Communication and Psychology
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, North Carolina License #C010618