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An Empathy Based Approach To Psychotherapy

Empathy, our ability to understand and connect emotionally with others, is the key to our emotional well being. Our brains are hard wired to understand others and to seek understanding and attunement from our loved ones. Unfortunately, our past experiences of disrupted attachment or emotional trauma can interfere with our ability to provide and receive empathy. My approach to psychotherapy, rooted in contemporary Relational Psychoanalysis, seeks to repair our capacity to find, maintain, and provide empathic connections to others. This approach works well with both couples and individuals. Many of my couples clients feel that they are able to grow as individuals through the therapy process, overcoming lifelong self-defeating patterns. And in the safety of an emphatically attuned therapeutic relationship, individual clients can heal past traumas and find the capacity to grow into the self they want to be.


David Shaddock PhD, MFT has over forty years of experience as a psychotherapist. He is is an internationally known expert on relationships who has taught and lectured in Israel, Italy, Mexico and Chile. He is the author of two books on relationships and couples therapy. He is a clinical supervisor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, and visiting faculty at the Tampa Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. He is co-director of the Couples Therapy Interest Group of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. He is the author of three books of poetry and has won numerous awards. He maintains a private practice as a marriage and family therapist (license # MFT 20360) in Berkeley, California.

Dr. Shaddock was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He graduated with honors in English from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969. At Berkeley he studied with the acclaimed poet Denise Levertov, who became his lifelong friend and mentor. He received a Masters in Psychology from Antioch University in 1982 and received a PhD in Psychoanalytic Research in 2004 from Middlesex University in London. He lives with his family in Berkeley.