Debra Sime Kilgariff
I believe that meaningful work and progress in counseling greatly depends on the connection between the client and therapist. A successful working relationship involves mutual respect, effective communication and an ability to understand one another. Choosing the ‘right’ counselor can be a difficult task; it requires that you find someone who is professionally competent as well as one with whom you can feel comfortable sharing personal information. My website was designed to provide you with necessary information about my background and practice, but it is limited in describing my personal style. For that reason, I encourage you to call me directly if you have any further questions.
(215) 794-2248 Doylestown, PA Office
(908) 403-7799 Somerville, NJ Office
My Education / Experience
I have a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and am a Licensed Professional Counselor in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, I am a National Board Certified Counselor with over 25 years of experience working with a variety of people in short and long term treatment. Since graduate school, I have had additional training in the areas of anxiety, depression, couples and family treatment, children and adolescents, addictions, and more.
My Theoretical Orientation
I believe that every person and situation is unique and that flexibility is required to meet the needs of each individual, couple and family. That being said, my approach to treatment involves some basic philosophies. I typically work from an empirically based cognitive-behavioral perspective, meaning that I will examine how one’s thoughts influence feelings, and actions. My objective is to provide feedback and suggestions about these perceptions and behaviors so that you can feel more productive and achieve success in reaching your goals. In addition, I also work within a family systems/interpersonal framework. I recognize the powerful effects of each person's history and the impact of his or her relationships, and I will provide guidance and strategies to help you achieve healthier connections and support.
The people who seek my services are often competent individuals who are encountering difficulties as a result of current life challenges. Some are experiencing stress related to career, academic, personal, or family transitions. Others may be struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, poor self-esteem, or conflicts in important relationships. While their skills may have served them well in the past, they have reached a point where they are feeling "stuck". "Stuck" doesn't imply weakness or incompetence. In fact, asking for assistance involves great courage as it means that one is ready to take action and to make the changes necessary to improve his or her life.
Certainly, change in itself can be difficult and anxiety provoking, but counseling with an objective, experienced, professional can strengthen one's ability to persevere and to succeed. My role as a therapist is to impart knowledge, provide strategies, and assist you in acquiring the skills you need to overcome obstacles and reach your goals. My relationship with clients is one of mutual respect, communication, and empathy and I will do my best to provide you with support and guidance in a warm, safe, comfortable environment. Our work together will always be collaborative and we will jointly develop a plan that builds upon your strengths and provides you with healthier ways of coping with life's challenges and struggles.