Meet David Swirnoff, MA, Therapist
That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place.
Each of us has a unique and important story to tell about our lives.
I believe all of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have and the circumstances we find ourselves in, and that sometimes, when life leaves us feeling stuck, lost, or overwhelmed, it becomes necessary to reach outside of ourselves and ask for help. Rollo May defined depression as “the inability to construct a future.” My goal is to give you a safe space to be listened to and heard, to tell your story, and for us to work together toward constructing a future that feels hopeful and inspiring.
In my view, we are much more than a simple diagnosis, much more than the sum of our pain and struggle, much more than any statistic or stereotype can ever capture or describe. When you walk into my office I promise to see you as a highly complex, impossibly irreducible, fully unique person, and I will treat you with the respect and dignity we are all deserving of. In that same spirit, because I do not believe that one size fits all when it comes to people any more than it does to therapy, my approach will be for us to come up with a treatment plan tailored to your unique personality and needs, one that will serve both as a road map and a contract for the work we do together. Our lives are fluid and ever-changing; effective therapy should reflect that.
Coming to the field of psychology as a second career, counseling has always been my “other” aspiration in life, so when circumstances allowed me to transition from over twenty years working in the book business and writing, I jumped at the opportunity. Starting in 2014, I began my journey to become a licensed psychotherapist by completing a BA in interdisciplinary studies, where I combined the study of psychology with mindfulness and Buddhism.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2016, I moved into a master’s program in counseling psychology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, receiving my MA in the winter of 2018. While at Saint Mary’s, I did an internship at Catholic Charities Higher Ground long term residential homeless shelter in downtown Saint Paul, working with people with substance abuse issues, complex trauma, and the long-term effects of chronic homelessness. In addition, I also worked at a small psychology organization, working with individuals on issues of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and life transitions. Outside of schooling, for the past two and half years I have facilitated men’s support groups for the Face It Foundation, a non-profit organization offering free mental health services to men struggling with depression. Currently I am working towards my Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) licensure and work under the supervision of Joan Hause, MA, LPCC.
And though I am well-trained and well-versed in the latest theories and most effective evidence-based practices in the field, it is much more than a good education and training that I bring to my practice. When I sit down across from a client I bring with me the experience of 4+ decades of living. I bring the insight and understanding, and, most importantly, the empathy and compassion that can only be gained through real-world experience. It is this combination – of training and education combined with a lifetime’s worth of experience – that puts me in a unique position to offer help and guidance to my clients.
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