There are many paths to discovery and change, all of which begin with curiosity. If you have come this far, you are already well on your way.
About My Practice
I do not believe in dysfunctional individuals, families, or relationships. I feel that throughout our lives we respond to hardship and distress with highly effective adaptations. When those patterns of thought and behavior do not evolve, we can get stuck and feel trapped, individually and in stagnating, hurtful relationships. In our work together, we will wear new grooves, developing fresh perspectives and tools to guide us out of that stuck place into greater happiness and adaptability to an ever-changing life.
My approach is to offer you what I believe is needed to help that evolution along: equal parts compassionate encouragement and challenge. We will explore and co-create a new version of the story you have been telling about yourself and others, learning to identify and sit with emotions that you may be accustomed to brushing off or dealing with on your own. This can be challenging, but may help you to feel some relief right away. Sharing your story and experiencing validation and acceptance creates genuine connection which accelerates the therapeutic process.
Some of the challenges I can help you address are: relationship struggles, family conflict, parenting, self-esteem, shame, trauma, depression, anger, anxiety, job/financial stress, creative blocks, gender identity, spirituality, sexuality, life transitions, grief and loss. I enjoy tailoring the work we do to your particular needs, and I have a variety of tools available to meet those needs.
“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.”
My name is Reuben Simon. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Portland, Oregon (License T1912). I spent many years working in creative fields as a filmmaker, musician and writer. The work was challenging but largely dissatisfying, yet I pressed on feeling that "giving up" would be a failure I would forever regret. I quietly suffered professionally, in relationships and mind sets that did not serve my needs before reaching out for help. As a client and student of psychology, I awoke to an array of options that I never knew existed. Speaking my truth, acknowledging and sitting with suffering and vulnerability has allowed me to re-connect to myself and the people in my life I had longed to feel close to. I have also discovered that the self is far more expansive and elastic than I could ever have imagined. The creative process remains integral to who I am and I have cultivated an approach to therapy that involves what I feel are prime elements of creativity: a set of structured parameters, improvisation and a willingness to throw all that out the window for the sake of discovering something new. I have chosen to spend the next part of my life helping others to re-discover themselves through close examination of their core vulnerabilities, mind-body connection and the healing power of relationships.
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Every healthy relationship has conflict. Despite what you’ve probably heard all your life, conflict is good and can be an opportunity for connection. Every healthy relationship has conflict because the very nature of relationships breed conflict; no two people agree on everything all the time. It’s the avoidance of conflict, problems with how we recover from distress, or how we address conflict and deal with it, which causes strife in relationships. As your marriage and family therapist, I will work with you and your partner to address this relationship reality. In our sessions together, we will explore whether arguments that trigger strong emotional responses are rooted in needs that have gone unmet or boundaries that have been crossed. As human beings we all want to feel safe, respected, and valued. Many fights couples have arise when one partner feels unsafe, disrespected, or unvalued. Drawing from my training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a technique developed by Sue Johnson that emphasizes bonding and attachment, we will work collaboratively to explore your emotions, develop empathy and understanding, and reduce negativity in your relationship. The result: a deeper connection and increased intimacy between you and your partner.
Boys & Men
Contemporary masculinity is as diverse as it has ever been, but still often stifling and restrictive. Are you struggling to define what it means to be a man? Are you a father working hard to be present and caring, while also offering clear boundaries? Are you and your partner disconnected or overtly hostile toward one another? Do you find yourself containing anger or rage and not having an outlet for it? Are you dissatisfied with yourself professionally and/or financially? Do you feel you might have over-dependence on alcohol, marijuana, media, pornography, or anything that provides an escape? Being a man invites unique challenges to therapy that I feel especially qualified to address, having devoted myself to professional and inward investigation of the masculine identity. Please contact me if you would like to discuss working together.
Physicians & Medical Providers
I am very familiar with the struggles and contradictions inherent to the medical profession. The stress, exposure to suffering, and complex professional, social and financial demands of a hospital and/or medical group are immense. The expectations you have of yourself, and that are put upon you, frequently lead to burnout, "moral injury" and undiagnosed covert depression which then leads to long-term physical and mental health concerns, and negative impact on patient care and personal life. Even self-care often turns into a source of pressure, perfectionism and shame. Finding outlets and balance when work is as all-consuming as the medical profession is extremely difficult, but it can be done. Please contact me if you would like to meet in person to discuss your particular concerns.
Devoting one's life to creative expression, whatever form that may take, invites a host of potential challenges. I am all too familiar with many of them, having spent the first part of my professional life in a creative field. Some obstacles you may face are: isolation and loneliness, questioning your path, skepticism from family or friends, relationship distress, financial worry, emotional dysregulation, anxiety and depression. While it is true that all of these problems exist for people outside of creative fields, when your primary source of revenue and interaction is your self, the impact can be heightened considerably. It's as if the work never leaves you and lines can become very blurry. People with acute sensitivity tend to gravitate toward creative endeavors, and the task of creative immersion can then feed back on those impulses. If you would like to discuss working together, please contact me to set up an appointment.
“THE CURIOUS PARADOX IS THAT WHEN I ACCEPT MYSELF AS I AM, THEN I CAN CHANGE.”