Irina Banfi-Mare, Psy.D.
Education & Experience
My doctorate in psychology focused on clinical and health psychology. My approach to therapy integrates cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic-existential therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. My personal style is warm, direct, conversational, and as structured as you prefer. I will help you clarify your goals from the beginning and balance focus on insight and action. I will help you improve your “emotional intelligence” so that you can feel better about yourself, your life, and relationships.
We all have the capacity for growth and change, yet too often people get stuck in toxic patterns and then feel hopeless about change. When that happens, struggles can seem pointless and never-ending. While we all want to be heard and understood, our fear of rejection or failure can prevent us from being willing to be seen as we really are. We have the desire to connect and grow, but sometimes we lack the tools or emotional safety we need to move forward.
How can therapy help? Therapy offers a place to explore the desire to understand and be understood in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Through therapy, you can become more aware of different kinds of experience (thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, behavior, relationships), look at how they influence each other, and make changes in the patterns that are harmful for you. Therapy can help you better understand and manage your feelings, improve your communication with others, and increase your satisfaction in relationships.
Making sense of your experience is essential, but insight alone is often not enough. True change often requires hard work and a willingness to deal with issues that are uncomfortable. I help people feel more powerful in facing life’s struggles and to use such challenges as opportunities for growth and wisdom. Often, people discover an increased sense of compassion for themselves and others, which helps them let go of unhealthy feelings that prevent them from moving forward in their lives.
I see my role as a therapist to help you suffer less and to increase your sense of joy and satisfaction in life. I will help you identify, emphasize, and build your core strengths and values. If you are missing or have lost a sense of purpose, I will help you develop a more meaningful life. Some people are unsure of what their goals are for therapy and just want to feel better. I will work with you to identify or clarify your goals so that you can get where you want to go faster and without wasting precious time and resources. I view therapy as a collaborative process and will regularly ask you about how you feel about your progress on your goals and the quality of our sessions together.
I have trained in a variety of therapies and am primarily informed by humanistic-existential, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic approaches in my work with clients. My approach includes careful consideration of how different elements (biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences) may be affecting well-being. As my training is in clinical and health psychology, I often pay attention to the connection between emotional and physical health and how they influence each other.
Areas of Treatment
Tuesday through Friday: 9:00AM to 6:00PM
Saturday: 11:00AM to 1:00PM
Contact info & Fees
$220 for initial 50-minute session
$190 for regular 50-minute session
$285 for 75-minute session
$220 for 50-min couples session
How DOES change happen in therapy?
Is a good relationship with your therapist enough?
The Role of Emotions in Life and in Therapy
Goethe said, “You can never get rid of what is part of you, even if you throw it away.” Sometimes, trying to throw “bad” parts of us away, or just “accentuating the positive,” can be a major part of the problem. Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Exactly so.
The body-centered part of the therapy is the method for going into the basement. The relational part is how we build the trust and safety between us so that we can open the door and work in whatever way may be necessary to help you get what you want from therapy. The existential part is the commitment to a kind of change or transformation that is felt clearly, and that is lasting and authentic: a process oriented to feeling and action–to attain congruence between one’s inner felt-sense and one’s ideal self-in-the-world. For couples therapy, it means a transformation in the way you connect, trust, and find solace in one another.
“Propriophobia” is Greek for “fear of the inner self.” It’s at the root of many psychological symptoms, including depression, addiction, and anxiety problems. We avoid what makes us uncomfortable. In trying to distance ourselves from a felt truth inside us, we develop all sorts of symptoms and problems.
We want to escape something that’s inside, and we cannot. Paradoxically, not trying to get rid of the problem makes it possible to begin to get rid of the problem. A full embracing of these difficult feelings tends to dispel them. Like a horror-movie poltergeist that won’t leave the house until respected on its own terms, such ghosts inside us must get what they need before they can rest in peace. Propriophobia is a repulsion between different parts inside us: an inner war between body and soul, our head and guts, how we feel and what we think, or between who we are and what we’re expected to be. Therapy for this consists of dissolving and moving beyond these tensions.
Who are my typical clients? The broken-hearted. The betrayed. The unmotivated. Overwhelmed parents. Struggling couples. Those with feelings that are too powerful. Those disappointed by ineffective therapy. Lonely and disconnected executives. The numb and alienated. The traumatized and deeply shaken. Those who are spiritually yearning. Those who are missing their inner compass or needing it seriously recalibrated.