|Director Emeritus of the Miami Counseling Resource Center – As a practicing psychologist for the past 40 years, I look to many sources in order to keep developing my skills and sharpening my tools. Unquestionably, the most important of these are my patients themselves. I am in awe of the complexity of human beings, the hidden resources within them, and their individual differences. Every patient brings something new and challenging into my life, and from human diversity I learn about tolerance, patience, respect, reciprocity, empathy, and gratitude.The dynamic relationship with each patient is, for me, the essence and the cornerstone of good therapy. Only when my patients come to know that I will always listen, understand, and champion them, do they feel comfortable, confident, and secure in my ability to make a difference in their lives.
Although relational and psychodynamic in my approach, my modalities include deep muscle relaxation, hypnosis, mindfulness and meditation, interactive guided imagery, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and, most importantly, cognitive–behavioral techniques.Committed to the tenets of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and the notion that “man is disturbed not by things but by his view of things,” I demonstrate the principles of CBT to all of my patients, and teach them the many different ways to challenge their irrational and self-destructive thinking patterns. Changes in thinking lead to changes in feeling; anxiety, depression, confusion, guilt and self-doubt diminish, patients experience increased self-esteem, and feel happier, more in control of their lives, and more optimistic about the future.
I am fortunate to have specialized in two specific treatment areas: anxiety disorders and eating disorders. Because of these specialties, I have had the privilege of treating hundreds of patients over the years with an approach specifically tailored to their disorder, along with treatment tools and techniques that I know will lead to a successful outcome. From generalized anxiety disorders such as Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, to more specific diagnoses such as Fear of Flying, Tricholtilomania, Fear of Death, and Hypochondria, my patients feel confident knowing that they are in the hands of an expert. My interest in anxiety disorders began with my Ph. D. dissertation on agoraphobia, opening the doors of Agoraphobia Resource Center in 1977, and my involvement with the national American Anxiety Disorders Association (AADA).
I am currently the first clinician in Florida to own and utilize a specific treatment technology for Fear of Flying called VIRTUAL REALITY EXPOSURE THERAPY (VRET), an interactive, computerized program which guarantees to help most individuals, many of whom have not flown in years, to become confident and ready to fly in 6 to 8 sessions. COME FLY WITH ME!
I am also very involved in the treatment of eating disorders, as a clinician, supervisor, writer, national speaker, and founder of the two largest eating disorder organizations in our country, National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), and the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED). I am a past president of NEDA, and served on its board for many years, as well as on the editorial board of The Journal of Eating Disorders and Prevention. My work with anorexic, bulimic, and binge-eating disordered patients and their families has been the most challenging and rewarding in my career to date. Collaboration with the dedicated pediatricians, physicians and psychiatrists in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, has been professionally stimulating and gratifying.
In 1983, I opened Anorexia and Bulimia Resource Center, which, along with Agoraphobia Resource Center, has become part of Miami Counseling and Resource Center (MCRC.) As Director Emeritus at MCRC, I am still very involved in the practice, and see a broad spectrum of patients who come through our doors, not only those with eating or anxiety disorders, but also individuals and couples suffering from depression, grief, marital difficulties, parent-child issues, obesity, and the long-term effects of trauma, particularly sexual abuse. I have recently begun to work two days per week in my Coconut Grove office, so patients now have a choice of the Gables or the Grove.
For more extensive information about my philosophy, my training and my areas of expertise, please visit www.docpaulalevine.com. For consultation, I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org/miamicounseling, 305-448-8325, ext 122, or 305-606-4017. You can also find me editing our new MCRC feature, Paula’s FAQ (frequently asked questions.) If you send me a question, we might very well publish it and answer it online.