No single approach works with everyone. Good therapy is as much art as science, and any advice or insights I have to offer can only succeed if they fit well within your present life. I’m a big believer in supporting people where they are, so I spend a lot of time exploring your strengths, to see if we can use them to help you move forward. Change rarely involves a complete overhaul in how you live your life. Our most powerful moments of personal growth generally strike a healthy balance between accepting things as they are and striving to make them better.
You can probably also tell from glancing at my site that I place relationships front and center in my thinking. That’s because the research on psychological change and growth—including studies on self-esteem, depression, anxiety, loss, and a host of other concerns—have pointed again and again to the importance of the people around us, in either helping us move forward or holding us back. It isn’t enough to want to change; you also need an environment that supports your efforts, including people who can appreciate your attempts to grow. What I’ve learned through my training, research, and practice, is that the process of overcoming any number of problems often involves changes in how we interact.
I also believe in an unconscious mind; the evidence is overwhelming at this point that we often perform a range of behaviors without always knowing precisely why. If I think an unconscious habit is causing you trouble, I’ll help you use that insight to keep yourself moving forward. The notion of an unconscious mind is currently embraced by just about every psychological perspective (people mainly disagree about what’s in it); in my case, I’m strongly influenced by a school of thought called relational psychoanalysis, which holds that many of our habits—helpful or unhelpful—stem from a healthy desire to feel like whole, genuine people while still maintaining intimacy with the people we care about. This doesn’t mean the past determines us. If anything, these newer ideas about the unconscious place greater emphasis on how we maintain our problems through our present behavior.
Having said all this, I should add that I’m also heavily influenced by research on what works. If a technique is known to be particularly effective with anxiety, I’ll use it to help you. For that reason my approach is often called integrationist: I’ve been trained in a range of techniques and schools of thought, and in any given session I might be drawing on several in an attempt to help you. My clients are used to hearing me refer to one study or another in the course of our conversations. I love reading about what works, and I love sharing it. I think it makes me a better psychologist and a better writer.
~ Dr. Craig Malkin
Dr. Craig Malkin is Lecturer in Psychology for Harvard Medical School and licensed psychologist with over two decades of experience in helping couples, individuals, and families. His research on the role of relationships in psychological growth has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and PsychologyToday.com has called his blog Romance Redux “an essential read.” He is also a frequent contributor to Huffington Post.
After teaching in local universities, Dr. Malkin became a Psychology Instructor at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, in Cambridge Massachusetts, where he taught interns, residents, and fellows the theory and practice of psychotherapy. In 2003, he left this position to expand his private practice and continued to supervise and teach for Harvard Medical School’s training program.
Dr. Malkin’s advice and insights on a wide range of topics within his areas of expertise have been featured in major national and international on-line and print media magazines and newspapers, including Match.com’s Happen Magazine, Marie Claire, and Women’s Health, as well as popular TV and radio news shows. He continues to practice full time in Harvard Square, in Cambridge Massachusetts, and serves as president and director of his own therapy and consulting company, YM Psychotherapy and Consultation, Inc., which he owns and operates with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Leigh.
PhD, Clinical Psychology – University of Missouri
Internship, Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts Mental Health Center)
Post-doc, Harvard University Mental Health Services
Full CV available upon request.