Robert Hamm, Ph.D.
Psychologist West Hartford, CT

Philosophy

Psychotherapy is a collaborative endeavor that draws from a clinician’s ability to establish trust and confidence, relate to a patient’s experience, and to maintain sufficient distance at the same time to bring knowledge, experience, and insight into their problems. I bring to this endeavor my knowledge and skills founded on experience and scientific research and use those skills in accordance with the highest standards of clinical protocol. In real life problems and their solutions, however, aren’t so simple and thus often cannot be applied in such “textbook” fashion. A deeper understanding is often necessary that probes its connections to a person’s life in a richer, more meaningful way. Thus my approach blends the technical interventions tailored to specific disorders and problems, as is used in behavioral and cognitive therapy, with evocative approaches that draw on intuition, insight, creative, associative, and symbolic processes, such as used in the interpretation of dreams and the evocation of meaning and purpose in behavior, to achieve a deeper, more holistic understanding of a patient’s life especially as it is filtered through their identity or sense of self.

Factor analytic research has shown that the self is the most robust and influential dimension of the human personality. I believe this is so because the self, also known as the “transcendental ego,” organizes our experiences. Thus it directs our lives and when it is understood and embraced we are able to grow in dimension. Shedding light on underlying distorted perceptions and logic that negate the self, an outgrowth of emotionally-laden memories and experiences, helps us begin instead to harness its potential to guide our lives with greater awareness to be ourselves fully engaged and living in the moment.

My life’s work as a psychotherapist has been devoted to apply these insights and at the same time establish the validity of a basic existential challenge that I believe lies at the foundation of all endeavors to evolve as persons, that is how we negotiate the needs we have to grow as individuals in relation to the necessity that this takes place within the context of how we relate to others and the world around us. When these relationships degrade or fall out of harmony problems ensue both in terms of personality dysfunction, such as alienation and isolation, abuse and exploitation, or overdependence in relationships, and symptom formation such as anxiety, depression, physical symptoms, or addictions. Thus I look at each patient’s problems not in piecemeal fashion but within the context of their relationships with themselves and others. These relationships are revealed by how we live, for example whether we are living a balanced life, how we interpret our histories and the events that have shaped our lives, whether we see ourselves as agents or subjects, and whether we are living in accordance with our goals in life.

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