I am a therapist, patient advocate, and author, specializing in helping clients deal with the emotional impact of chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I work with them to understand and cope with their emotions, to learn about their lifestyle and treatment options, to maintain compliance with medical regimens, to communicate effectively with the medical establishment, and to listen to their own inner voice as they make decisions about the future. I consult with community organizations on the needs of newly-diagnosed patients, and have spoken on topics such as dealing with a medical diagnosis, being one’s own patient advocate, and communication between patients and family caregivers, for local and national organizations. I conduct training for community agencies volunteers and healthcare professionals on patient advocacy and communications. Additionally, I work with employee assistance companies to provide workshops and counseling in the workplace.
I completed graduate work in Clinical Psychology and Education, and hold a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. I am also a New York State licensed counselor, and am active in the HIV and cancer communities in New York City. I was formerly secretary of the board of directors of Miracle House, a non-profit organization that provides temporary housing to patients and caregivers who come to New York City to receive treatment for serious illness. I am active in a variety of professional organizations, and served as the President of the Association for Adult Development and Aging. I teach counseling students in two graduate programs in the NYC area.
I have co-authored books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Breaking Bad Habits, The Everything Managing People Book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living, and Empowering Your Life with Joy. I wrote a supplementary textbook for nursing and allied healthcare programs, After the Diagnosis: How Patients React and How to Help Them Cope (Delmar, 2010).
I have written for publications that include Body Positive Magazine, Caring for Cancer, Arthritis Self-Management, and Hep C Connection, and write a regular column on mental health issues for HIV Plus Magazine. I maintain a Website, www.JustGotDiagnosed.com, with information for patients and caregivers facing chronic and catastrophic illness, which was awarded the Standard of Excellence Award in the Healthcare category in 2008. I conduct discussions and blog as “Dr. Gary” on a patient social networking site, www.alliancehealth.com.