Brett A. Swords, Ph.D.
Hello! I'm Dr. Brett Swords, a licensed psychologist. First and foremost, thank you for considering me as your therapist! I would consider it a privilege to get to know you and help you work toward your goals.
I hold a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology (2013) from the University at Albany, SUNY. I am trained as a generalist and work with a wide range of people, but I specialize in working with relationship issues, anxiety, depression, adjustment problems, and life transitions among young adults. Currently, I am licensed in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In addition to these states, I am able to see clients from other states as well via telepsychology; see the FAQ page for more information.
Approach to Psychotherapy
My approach to psychotherapy begins with a focus on the therapeutic relationship. The bottom line is that if you do not feel good about working with your therapist or you are not on the same page, then therapy is not likely to be effective. Therefore, I place a prime emphasis on providing a safe, supportive environment that is free from judgment. Overall, my style could be described as highly collaborative.
One important factor to consider when working with a therapist is the therapist's theoretical orientation. A theoretical orientation shapes how the therapist understands clients' problems as well as the interventions that the therapist chooses to use. My theoretical orientation can best be described as integrative. In short, this means that I utilize different combinations of approaches in order to best suit each particular client. Below is a list of some of the therapeutic approaches that I utilize most often, along with a very brief description of what that means for each. Hopefully, this can give you a glimpse into what it might be like to work with me:
Psychodynamic and interpersonal psychotherapies: In order to better understand your current concerns, it might be helpful to explore your past and identify recurring themes in your life, especially related to your relationships with others. Additionally, I think that it is important to pay attention to and process emotions. One specific interpersonally-oriented therapy that I offer is called interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): By working on identifying and changing your cognitions (how you think) and your behaviors (what you do), you can change how you feel and your symptoms will improve.
Dialectial behavior therapy (DBT) acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness: Sometimes, fighting against our own emotions and problems only makes the situation worse. Therefore, we can often benefit from focusing on nonjudgmental acceptance. Additionally, it can be helpful to learn skills to better manage our emotions.
Person-centered therapy: I provide a supportive, nonjudgmental environment, carefully listen to your concerns in order to understand your point of view, accept you for who you are, and work within your worldview.
Multicultural counseling: In order for me to be able to understand you and your concerns, it is absolutely critical for me to have an understanding of you as a person, your values, and your beliefs. Additionally, I will explore your concerns within various cultural contexts (e.g., societal, socioeconomic, and ethnic contexts).
Regardless of the particular approach that I utilize, I strive to follow evidence-based practice. This means that when providing treatment, I will consider a) the best available research, b) what I have learned through my experience as a psychologist, and c) your particular situation, preferences, and characteristics. Most importantly, the treatment goals, plan, and overall treatment approach will always be developed with you in a collaborative manner!
Licensure, Accreditations, and Credentials
-Licensed as a psychologist in Maryland
-Licensed as a psychologist in Pennsylvania
-Credentialed by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists
-Authorized for Telepsychology under PSYPACT (see FAQ page for more information)