Welcome to The Brookhaven Center. We are grateful for your visit. We invite you to browse our gallery of resources to learn more about us and to understand how we might be helpful to you.
Our desire is to contribute to the well-being of each person we come to know at The Brookhaven Center. We are committed to going beyond the solution-oriented counseling and psychological techniques that merely reduce symptoms. We have the advanced training and experience to promote healing of both long-term and life-long emotional distress, grief, trauma, and an inability to thrive in loving and working. We are committed to helping people develop and mature toward wholeness by giving attention to each person’s difficult past and present relationships, physical and emotional well-being, wellness behaviors, financial stability, and if desired, spiritual vitality.
Our team of caring professionals at Brookhaven Center is prepared to partner with you. We will value the privilege of your request for our partnership with you to help you achieve personal and relational wholeness.
We are a group of mental health professionals who have undergone extensive training, personal growth, and expanded supervised experience in order to work with people whose problems are moderate to severe. Each clinician's work is informed by a psychodynamic perspective, and each clinician has sought the specific training and experience necessary to address more complex impairments over an extended period of time. When requested, we also welcome the opportunity to integrate a person's faith into their psychotherapy experience. You will find further information about each clinician and team member by clicking on their name.
The Brookhaven Center was founded in 1987 by Lowell and Marie Hoffman. From its humble beginnings in a loft at the Hoffman’s rustic country farm, to the present, The Brookhaven Center has been a place dedicated to restoring broken relationships, transforming lives, and training psychologists and mental health professionals.
The Brookhaven Center is located in a rural country setting one mile north of Fogelsville. Our secluded, yet easily accessible location is set in a wooded surround. Nearby a gentle stream flows through the valley. The grounds of the adjacent country roads are a respite to current clients and patients of The Brookhaven Center.
We believe every person has intrinsic worth and value and thus deserves to be related to with the utmost respect.
We believe that personal relationships are the ground of human being and the nexus of lasting meaning and fulfillment. We believe that mental disorders and emotional problems are multiply determined. Utilizing our experience and training, we focus on those problems which were and are precipitated by the vicissitudes and failures in the significant relationships of our patients and the trauma and tragedies in their lives. We coordinate and partner with physicians, allied health professionals and clergy when appropriate with the consent of each patient. We welcome the privilege (when granted) of integrating a person’s faith into our therapeutic relationship.
We believe that knowing ourselves is essential to our commitment to helping others. The pursuit of such knowledge for us includes advanced studies in psychodynamic therapy and other recent developments in psychology, intensive personal psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and ongoing supervision. We believe in accountability and collegiality and are members of the following professional organizations:
• American Psychological Association
• Pennsylvania Psychological Association
• Christian Association for Psychological Studies
• International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
• Society for the Exploration of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies and Theology
WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY AND MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING?
Psychotherapy and counseling are scientifically-validated modalities of helping people whose mental and emotional health is impaired. These modalities are most often beneficial to persons whose impairments are unremitting and/or severe, as well as acute and moderate to severe. Often, psychotherapy and counseling prove to be most beneficial when provided in a continuum of care with other healthcare professionals.
Counseling is provided by masters prepared licensed professionals who are competent to help with specific problems of up to moderate severity. For instance, a marriage and family counselor has the training and experience to help couples experiencing mild to moderate relationship discord. Counselors usually limit their practice to a range of problems that can be resolved in weeks or months.
Psychotherapy is most often best provided by a licensed mental health professional who has undergone extensive post-graduate training and expanded supervised experience in preparation for helping persons whose personal, vocational, or relational problems are moderate to severe. While psychotherapy can be short-term (less than six month’s duration), many chronic and severe impairments in mental and emotional health require the care of a professional whose extensive training and experience qualifies them to help with more complex impairments over extended periods of time.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PSYCHOTHERAPY?
While there are scores if not hundreds of variations of psychotherapy, they can be grouped into two distinct categories: Cognitive-behavioalr therapies (CBT) and psychodynamic therapies (PDT).
Cognitive-Behavioral and Counseling psychotherapies are similar in approach. The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is symptom reduction (less anxiety, less depression, etc.). The psychotherapist/counselor:
• Focuses on the patient’s/client’s current situation (the here and now).
• Focuses on cognitive (rather than emotional) themes, particularly thoughts and belief systems.
• Structures and directs the topics to be discussed in the appointments.
• Organizes the patient/client relationship as an expert teaching a less informed person.
• Offers direct guidance and advice to the patient/client.
Psychodynamic psychotherapies both relieve symptoms and foster within the person positive capacities and resources. The goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to
• Focus on the whole person with its additional capacities to work with a person’s feelings and unconscious. The psychotherapist and patient:
• Focus on the patient’s current and past relationships.
• Focus on the relationship of the patient with the therapist and link connections between the therapy relationship and other relationships.
• Seek to understand the patient’s feelings and perceptions in light of both past and present experiences (the there and then in addition to the here and now).
• Explore feelings regarded by the patient as unacceptable (e. g. anger, envy, excitement).
• Discover the patient’s defensive operations for avoidance of feelings and develop the patient’s capacities to better tolerate difficult feelings and situations.
• Explore the patient’s fantasies and dreams, and discover meanings for disowned or unconscious wishes, feelings and ideas.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy focuses on a deeper understanding and healing of the whole person whereas most counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapies focus on beliefs and behaviors to the exclusion of emotion, and are not suited for working with the patient’s unconscious.
ARE SOME PSYCHOTHERAPIES MORE EFFECTIVE?
Psychotherapy research has definitively demonstrated that the most effective component of a beneficial psychotherapy is the quality of the relationship between the patient and the psychotherapist. Related psychotherapy research has found that desired outcomes in psychotherapy are consistently achieved when the psychotherapist has completed extensive personal psychotherapy. When a psychotherapist has completed approximately 100 or more appointments of weekly or twice weekly psychotherapy with one therapist, it is more likely that they have done enough work on themselves to be aware of, if not resolve, their own emotional and mental problems which can significantly limit their effectiveness as a psychotherapist.
Common problems found in psychotherapists who have not worked on their own problems in psychotherapy are: 1) low self-esteem, 2) elevated levels of impulsiveness and anxiety, and lower levels of emotional expressiveness, 3) hostility toward themselves which is more likely to convert to hostility toward a patient or client, and 4) problems in their own child and adolescent development which correlate with negative psychotherapy outcomes with their patients.
Psychotherapy research has also demonstrated that psychodynamic psychotherapies (PDT) are more beneficial than other psychotherapies in many cases. The benefits of most counseling and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapies tend to erode following discontinuation of appointments. This decay of benefits in the empirically-supported non-psychodynamic therapies is found even with the most common emotional impairments including depression and generalized anxiety. Enduring intrapsychic changes including improved reflective functioning and more secure attachment organization have been found in persons receiving psychodynamic psychotherapy (PDT), but not with persons receiving highly regarded empirically-validated non-psychodynamic psychotherapies.
CAN INTENSIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY BE HELPFUL?
Intensive psychotherapy may be either two to three psychotherapy appointments per week over an extended period of time, or 15 or more hours of appointments in a period of several days. Compressed intensive psychotherapy in a several day period can be effective both in working through an impasse in an ongoing psychotherapy, and in initiating a process of healing, growth, or reconciliation in a chronically discordant relationship. Ongoing intensive psychotherapy, two or more times each week over an extended period of time, is often indicated with more severe or entrenched impairments in a person’s mental and emotional health.
HOW IS AN INTENSIVE/PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPIST TRAINED?
A psychodynamic psychotherapist is a masters-prepared or doctoral-prepared mental health professional who has also completed post-graduate training in psychodynamic psychotherapy at a psychoanalytic institute. Psychodynamic training includes additional post-graduate coursework, an extensive psychotherapy for the psychotherapist in training, and supervision of the psychotherapist’s psychodynamic psychotherapy relationships.
WE WELCOME YOU TO BEGIN YOUR HEALING/GROWTH RELATIONSHIP WITH US.
If you desire to enter into a healing/growth relationship with a psychodynamically-trained mental health professional, you can develop this type of healing relationship at The Brookhaven Center. We will welcome the privilege of knowing you and helping in your healing/growth experience.