My Role As A Therapist
After 35 years of experience in the field, I would say that a person who makes the first contact and asks to be in therapy actually is ready for a change, ready to improve his or her well-being and better his or her life. My role as a therapist is to use professional tools to facilitate the change, to change old sets of perceptions about the self and others with new sets of perceptions. Every person has a subjective world of experiences and therefore, every person needs specific, particular tools to promote the change. Treatment is a challenging journey of changes in perceptions of the internal world and the outer world, the journey in which there is a process toward a healthier and better life.
After completing my B.A. and M.A. in Social Work at the University of Southern California (USC), I became actively involved in the Jewish and Israeli communities in Los Angeles, which was a very rewarding experience. I felt I was contributing to the bonding of the two communities. However, in my work with patients in the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, I felt that I hadn’t the extensive knowledge required to really bring about change. Therefore, I decided to continue my education toward a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the California Graduate Institute (CGI) with a psychoanalytic orientation.
After completion of my Ph.D., I did a post-doctorate with Robert Stolorow, Ph.D., the global leading authority in Intersubjective Systems Theory. The knowledge that I gained from him made me feel that I had finally acquired the depth and expertise that would enable me to truly help patients achieve the changes they desired. Over the years, Dr. Stolorow became my supervisor and mentor and is my guiding voice to this very day, especially when I am dealing with a patient with deep psychological issues. My relationship with him enables us to consult and brainstorm together on appropriate therapeutic interventions.
Since 1983, I have been practicing psychology using the Intersubjective Systems Theory. I use this treatment modality for individuals with various conditions, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, relationship issues, etc. I am available to see couples and families privately as well. In addition, I treat bereave families through the Ministry of Defense and terror victims through National Insurance (Bituach Leumi).
What is the Intersubjective Systems Theory?
The basic idea is that no person lives in isolation. Every individual is part of a system, and in fact, of many systems, defined by various common terms such as family, couple, mother-child, teacher-student, to name a few. In order to understand an individual’s behavior, we must understand the systems in which the individual functions, together with the subjective experience of each member within each system. The degree to which a system is healthy or unhealthy results from the role of each part of the system (i.e., each individual in the system).
This means that a healthy system can only be established by each individual examining themselves and their behavior within the system, “Am I responding adequately to my (spouse, child, friend, employer, etc.)?” In other words, we must focus on ourselves and try to adapt our behavior in relation to other individual(s) in the system.
It’s important to emphasize that every individual’s perception of the world is based on experiences from early infancy and throughout life, which shapes their individual world view (defined as their “organizing principles”). In order to improve a system, we need to identify the organizing principles that influence their behavior, especially in cases when this behavior causes friction or conflict. In other words, the ideal way to improve a system is for each member to take responsibility for his or her own actions. When one part of the system changes, the entire system will change as a result.
About Me & My Treatment Model
35 Years Experience Treating The Following Conditions
Dr. Genstil is a very knowledgable and through therapist. Her background of having lived in both the U.S. and Israel allows her unique insight that is very helpful for Olim. Her English is fluent and she is flexible with virtual appointments as well. Highly recommended!
Sara helped me make sense of not only living in a new country and culture, alongside a new extended family but also the issues that were coming up from the past because of and in spite of these changes. Her warm, understanding character, as well as understanding of life outside Israel having lived overseas herself for many years, excellent English and her professional insights have made me a much happier and better person. I recommend Sara to anyone wanting to be their best self and live their best life.