about me

I established this website in 2009 with two goals in mind. Firstly, to introduce myself and my practice to individuals who are contacting me for the first time. Secondly, I wanted to create a forum in which I can address certain topics that I hope will be of interest to the reader. In the topics section, my goal is not to provide in-depth reviews. It is rather to offer some observations or opinions about the topics that issue from my long experience and may not be readily apparent to the reader.

It is time now in 2013 to update this website as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has recently been published, replacing the DSM-IV which was published in 1994. The DSM-5 has added and eliminated some diagnoses and changed the criteria of others.

I thank Scott and Mark of Scott Briefer Design for their excellent expert professional help designing this website and for their ongoing help as I add to it.

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I completed my psychiatric training at the NYU School of Medicine and currently am a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Professor of Child and Adolescent Psy­chiatry at that institu­tion. The service that I provided through NYU was in attending positions at Bellevue Hospital Center. In 2000, I transitioned from a full time position at Bellevue to a half time position so that I could devote more time to my private prac­tice. I have now left my half time position at Bellevue for the same reason but I will spend some hours supervising res­i­dents there so as to retain my medical school appointments.

I consider myself to be an experienced and knowledgeable clinician and psy­cho­phar­ma­co­lo­gist. I follow many individuals for their medication and some in ongoing therapy. Although the children and ado­les­cents I see in my practice have problems that run the range of many psychiatric dis­orders such as ADHD, anxiety dis­orders and mood disorders, I have sub-specialized in the area of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This focus has come about as a result of my experience at NYU / Bellevue and my private practice. I evaluate and treat many individuals who are diagnosed within the “Spectrum”. This includes many adults who were not accurately diagnosed as children mainly because the diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder, which has been eliminated as a diagnostic category in the DSM-5, was not widely recognized until the last 15 – 20 years.

When I am first contacted by a referral, we often get into some dis­cus­sion of how I proceed with evaluation. Following are some of the points that I usually address, more-or-less briefly on the phone. This website allows me to offer information in somewhat more depth and will hopefully aid readers and potential patients with answers to questions they have about the diagnostic process and my practice.
My role as a psychiatrist is to arrive at a diagnosis and understanding of an indi­vidual’s problem(s), and to devise a course of treatment. Diag­no­sis of psy­chi­a­tric dis­orders is however often a complex process. For most children and ado­les­cents referred to me, I begin by getting a detailed history from parents or other care­takers, interview their child, and then discuss my findings and recom­men­da­tions with parents or caretakers. Each one of these steps usually requires a session of about an hour. I can usually arrive at a sufficient understanding of a child’s prob­lem(s) using this format. The diagnostic process is often sup­ple­mented by my reading reports of previous evaluations and/or, when appropriate, talk­ing to staff at the child’s school.

When my task is to evaluate an adult for ADHD or depression, an interview – or inter­views – with the individual is usually sufficient. When an adult seeking an eval­uation for Asperger’s Disorder con­sults me, I inform the individual that I usually begin with an interview of an hour and a half. I also note that interviewing someone who knows the referred individual well (e.g. parent, spouse or close friend) is very helpful in arriving at a diagnosis. However, I cannot tell in advance of seeing the referred individual how important talking to a collateral person will be in clarifying the diagnosis.

The information that I want to gather includes problems that an individual has in relating to and communicating with others in the present and in the past. Sometimes it is clear from the interview with the referred person, by his or her history and current problems that the diagnosis is – or is not – Asperger’s Disorder. In some cases, speak­ing to close family members and / or friends greatly clarifies the diag­nosis. I have found that when an individual is referred to me, and that individual is married, or in a long-term relationship with another adult, that it sometimes makes sense to interview them together as long as both partners are comfortable with doing so. Please under­stand that I do not want to involve others if it will strain relations or cause dis­comfort to the referred person or others.