About me

Patrick GruganTherapy is first and foremost a healing relationship, so for that reason, I will tell you a little about me.

I did my undergraduate work at University of Pennsylvania, and did graduate work at Clark University and California State University, Long Beach, where I got my MSW. I also got an MFA in fine arts along the way.  I am licensed by the state of Pennsylvania (LCSW) and have specialized training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia.

Over my career I have worked both in behavioral health settings and with community-based organizations. My behavioral health work has included research on cognitive issues within university medical settings, inpatient work, and has focused on outpatient therapy in community and private settings.

My treatment philosophy

I believe that every person has different life experiences, issues, and ways of working towards healing. For me, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

That said, I believe there are some commonalities too. I believe in the good in people, and that most of us, most of the time, are doing the best we can. I also believe that the society we live in is a difficult one, and often makes it harder for us than it needs to be, particularly if we’re part of non-dominant groups.

I believe that change is possible. I think we each have strengths and wisdom within us that we can access toward becoming our best selves. Some conditions make accessing that strength and wisdom easier.

Specifically, understanding the roots of our feelings, and the experiences that brought them about, can give lasting relief. Mindfulness tools can help us tolerate difficult feelings when they do arise; instead of being freaked out by them or judging them, we can learn to identify them and experience them with more compassion, more clarity, and a greater level of peace.  And a warm, caring therapeutic relationship is essential.  It can help us feel supported, give us new perspectives, and allow us a place to try out new ways of being with another person.  Finally, having a sense of compassion for ourselves – and others – as we try to make positive changes seems very important.

In broad strokes, I see the goal of therapy as helping people to unlock their best, truest, most effective selves. The ultimate goal of this process is to help us act with integrity and joy; to be connected with others in satisfying relationships; to spend our time doing things we think are meaningful; and to enjoy our lives. I would enjoy the opportunity to help you do this.