about Laurence Drell, MD my profile and my thoughts about therapy

I am a board certified MD psychiatrist in private practice in Washington, DC for over 30 years.

My work with patients has always been focused on using psychotherapy to help the patient get to a better place in their life.  I believe that therapy improves our minds and actually changes our brains.    I also believe in the usefulness of meditation and the necessity for humor.

As a physician and psychiatrist I am trained to look at the whole person to evaluate the interactions of mind and body. Many medical illness and medications can affect our mood and our thinking.  If I think it might be helpful to include medication to facilitate our work I will suggest it, explain my thinking and I can prescribe it if the patient agrees.

However my main focus as a psychotherapist helping patients through stressful periods of anxiety, depression, and limiting behaviors by helping them step back and understand what is occurring. To help them develop the strength to not immediately react to the stress and anxiety.  I also believe my responsibility is also to help people reevaluate all areas of their life that may be limiting them in ways they may never have realized.

My efforts are to help people make better choices when they feel they have no choices.

My style as a therapist is not to remain quiet and ask you: ” what do you think about that?”  I am not going to make you guess what I am thinking. Nor do I believe I have all the answers.

But I do believe you have answers and abilities to change your life that you are not using and perhaps not even aware that you do have.   I believe we have the ability to be constantly evolving, growing and developing our experience of living.

Although I am direct and honest in expressing what I do think, I do this to offer you information that you may not be aware of (we all have blindness, myself included).  But I also think that we often have a vague notion of what needs to be done but discount it (or avoid it).  My job is to help you focus your attention and your abilities on what is most important for you.  I do not know what is best for you or how you will choose to accomplish what you want  (sorry I have no magic words or magic pills.)   But I can help you discover this for yourself in your own way.

The direction (and outcome) of therapy is always determined by the patient.  You may be saying,  “If I knew what to do and could do it, I wouldn’t be coming to you!”

That is partly true but I feel my job is to facilitate you learning how to better access and focus your own thinking (and abilities) and alter old habits of responses. My effort is often to help you do what you know you have to do but have avoided facing it.

Part of our wiring is to avoid facing distressing and unknown situations.  Survival has been more important than growth for a long time.  However by considering therapy, you open the possibility of growth rather than just repair and maintenance.

Despite all my academic and professional training, I have always seen myself as a coach.   Although I think the word has been overused lately,  I see do my role as clearly observing your unique situation and letting you know what I see and what I think and then help you find the ways to accomplish what you want to do.  This includes being aware of what your strengths are as well as seeing what you do that really doesn’t help you in your current life and limits what you can be.

I have been told (not just my mother) that I am good at making people feel comfortable.   I take that as a great compliment.   It is probably because I basically like people and enjoy their uniqueness.    I like to think of myself as someone who is good at allowing people to “open up”.    I have been told that  I help people be their best…. It is probably why I continue to be excited and enjoy the work I do.  It also  gives me pleasure and a certain pride in my work.   I also have been told that I am good at telling people tough things.  I try to be honest with myself about my own struggles (and failures and regrets) and I think that makes me better at explaining to others what I see in their lives.

Despite some very painful experiences in my personal life, some bad decisions I made, and several dark periods, I feel extraordinarily fortunate.  Despite the frustrations, aggravations and disappointments of everyday living, I continue to appreciate life and enjoy the work I do.    Generally I do feel lucky.      Sometimes I think it is just Karma, other times I remember Vince Lombardi’s quote:  “the harder we practice, the better our luck becomes ” and I consider the possibility that I have shaped some of the good fortune I feel I have.

Personally, I struggle daily to stay aware of how I live my life now.  Some days it’s easy.  Others days not so easy.  Being aware is a full time job.  Humor helps.

I hope I will never stop growing in my curiosity and appreciation of life.

If I can be of any help to you or if you have any questions please contact me.

Larry Drell, MD


One Response to “about Laurence Drell, MD my profile and my thoughts about therapy”

  1. Irene Savarese Says:

    Hi Larry,

    It’s great to know that there are psychiatrist like you out there! Let’s keep in touch and I will get back to you about the link.


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