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Portland Marriage and Couples Counseling
Bernard McDowell, LCSW
Psychotherapist & Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  811 NW 20th Avenue, Suite 104, Portland, Oregon 97209



Personal Statement:

In addition to refined skills, I bring my heart and soul to my work which is a great source of satisfaction to me. Certainly, it's gratifying to hear reports of  clients' success or about a sparkling moment of personal growth but most meaningful to me is a kind of joy that comes in the creative processs that therapy can be.  As noted below in the summary of my educational background at Carnegie Mellon, I have a solid grounding in science and an enduring interest in research related to psychotherapy and human development. 

Between 2015 and 2016, I wrote all but a half of a chapter of a book I hope to publish within a year. As part and parcel of that project, I reviewed many of the major theories to guide couples counseling and layed out a simple model for communicating in accordance with much of the latest science on how individual identities form in relationships and then must adapt in primary relationships.

I occasionally give lecture/presentations to professional groups on 'technical' details of human developmental research and other professional issues.  However, if logical analysis alone was sufficient, couples would rarely hurt each other's feelings, depressed people would quickly engage in vital life interests, and IBM's Watson could serve as the therapist for the world's population.  More often, therapy takes a skillfully guided, creative process for clients to see themselves and their conditioned patterns freshly.  Even our identities are, in effect, an habitual pattern or lens from which it's very hard to see ourselves or relationships with new eyes.  We all have our blind spots and therapy may help us learn new relationship skills, reclaim self-worth, unfold a surprising resolution to a problem, or, rediscover the obvious--love in ourselves and ease with those around us. 

Education and Experience:

Bernard McDowell studied Electrical Engineering and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University from 1965-1969. Finalizing a BS in Psychology from the University of the State of New York, Regents College in 1989, he decided to pursue a formal career as a psychotherapist. At the time, the two most commonly accepted degrees leading to licensure were a doctorate in psychology or a masters in social work. Taking the most expedient route entailed gaining a Masters in Social Work 1992 from Portland State University.  Subsequently, he's accumulated hundreds of required hours of "continuing education" as required to  maintain licensing.  He's also participated in hundreds of hours of "peer consultation" groups as well as study groups on the work of the premier philosopher and theorist of psychology -- Ken Wilber.  Mr. McDowell has also trained hundreds of other professionals on technical models of human development and professional issues such as HIPAA while an active Board  member of the American Mental Health Alliance for 6 years.

Work Experience: 

In private practice since 1998, Mr. McDowell has seen thousands of clients as couples and individuals for a wide variety of concerns.  Prior to private practice he worked a therapist for an "Employee Assistance Program" while accumulating years of supervised hours required to meet criteria to test for Licensure which he gained in 1995.  Those hours included working with depression, anxiety, relationship dynamics, workplace issues, conflict resolution, and management consultation among other matters.  Along the way he also gained clinical experience supervising counselors for a program devoted to teens, his own work with adjudicated teens, and an internship in psychodynamic therapy with the chronically mentally ill.

A Few Other Notes:

I've my share of success and painful failures at finding rewarding work and relationships. It is virtually a cliche that therapists end up in this work to heal their own wounds, That has a dark side when therapists who have only begun to examine their own issues charge ahead to "help" others. Yet, self-awareness is the primary quality of a good therapist. I'd advise counseling with a mature, ripened person who has done an enormous amount of work on him or herself. In addition to therapy, I have explored my own development through many different avenues including yoga-like movement disciplines, different styles of intensive meditation, many psychological methods/workshops, and much reading regarding consciousness, psychology, philosophy, and personal growth. Of course, such learning experiences only meet a true test in real life, to the great challenges life presents--to illness, a broken relationship, or difficult financial challenges. I find, that taken together, my life experiences provide compassion, understanding, humility, and gratitude--in a way that graduate schools could never teach.