Robert Riordan, JD, PsyD
Attorney, Clinical Psychologist
My guiding philosophy is straight-forward: to have a different result, we must try something different. Sounds simple. However, there are often barriers to change. Some individuals need to first change their thinking; others, their behavior. In either case, therapy seeks to make people more expansive and to look at the world through a new lens that has yet to be experienced. Therapy is about the generation of new possibilities, and, as a result, the creation of hope.
I have an atypical background for a clinical psychologist. After I graduated from Trinity, I received my J.D. from NYU School of Law. I practiced securities law for ten years in New York, London and Rome; and, my transactional practice focused mainly on initial public offerings. It was during that time that I learned a great deal about myself and my true interests. I was “successful” but I felt disconnected from my life. After a successful stint in therapy, I emerged with a new sense of direction. It was at that time that I decided to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. I was fortunate enough to study at Rutgers, which is considered one of the leading clinical psychology programs in the country.
I completed my internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, where I eventually became the Assistant Director of the Behavioral Health Clinic. During this time, I also gained experience in psycho-oncology, as I worked with UPenn patients with late stage cancer. I received addition training in the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital in NYC.
I now practice in New York City and in Guilford, Connecticut. I am currently pursuing a post-graduate degree at Wesleyan.
WHO I WORK WITH
I have expertise in supporting high-achieving individuals who find that they are not satisfied with their lives despite their many accomplishments. These individuals feel they have accomplished all they had planned, yet an emptiness persists. Therapy offers an optimal space to help connect these individuals to a greater sense of aliveness and direction.
Have you accomplished everything that you planned, yet you feel empty inside? Do you feel disconnected from yourself, confused about the sources of constant negative feelings and unsure where to begin to look for a new, more positive experience? I work with individuals who struggle to understand their internal experience as well as individuals who have trouble forming and maintaining meaningful, reciprocal connections with others. My clients often feel misunderstood, angry, and deeply sad about the challenges that they face daily – whether it is a romantic partner who complains that he/she needs more, a boss or coworkers who fail to appreciate/honor significant efforts, or a general feeling that there must be more to life other than an endless list of obligations.
In this case, therapy may be of great value to help you find a path to a richer internal experience and to more mutually-satisfying relationships.
As an experienced couples therapist, I am often asked what are the ingredients to a successful relationship. My response often surprises people: the answer is entirely up to you. There are countless ways to be in a successful relationship so long as we account for the primary needs of each member of the couple. Those needs vary from person to person, and therefore, from couple to couple. Each couple is indeed unique. My work with couples relies on a variety of empirical research, in particular Emotionally Focused Therapy, a modality that helps couples gain the greatest result in the shortest timeframe.
Many couples with whom I work want to rediscover the spark that initially led them to make a commitment to one another. They have grown lonely in their own relationships and wonder: will I ever feel as connected and attuned to my partner as I used to? Other couples present with specific concerns – whether it is infidelity, sexual deadness, jealousy, anger… And some of the couples with whom I work are not sure what they want; in this case, much of their pain centers around a general hopelessness that things will never be different. In most cases, couples wonder, should we keep going? Can we do something different? The uncertainty of not knowing if things can be better is as painful as any conflict. As an experienced couples therapist, I can help guide you through the pain and find you a path to a new connectedness.
I have experience working with married couples (both of the same and different genders), couples contemplating marriage, couples who are looking to reinvigorate their relationship by negotiating new terms for their interpersonal or sexual relationship, etc…
OTHER DYADS (Parent-Child, Siblings, Co-workers)
Conflicts can sometimes happen between two people who have a shared goal and are struggling to figure out how to best accomplish it. I have worked with parents and their adult children to overcome past hurt and prolonged estrangement; siblings working to figure out how to best support aging parents; coworkers who want to negotiate a better collaborative environment… Therapy can be of great value whenever there has been a breakdown in communication between two individuals who must rely on one another for a better outcome.
INDIVIDUALS WITH TERMINAL DIAGNOSES
I have a particular interest, as well as experience, working with individuals with terminal illnesses. I have come to believe that that, medical issues aside, a terminal diagnosis is a relational event – in other words, the individual who is struggling with the illness must also struggle with changing relationships. I have had the honor of working with men, women and children as they negotiate all end-of-life experiences/decisions.