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Phone:  919-903-3182

How do individuals and families change and how can a counselor help? Motivation and awareness are the keys in my experience. Most of us have wanted things to be different. The heart of counseling is listening to you and arriving at the best possible understanding of your concerns. Often this starts with awareness and acceptance of your feelings and thoughts. From this place of understanding, we can look at the changes you truly want to make and ways you might make them.


I have worked since 2001 with adults who have abused or become dependent upon drugs and/or alcohol- most of that time at Kaiser Permanente in California, where I was previously licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I have also worked extensively with family members and other codependents of our clients. Since many of my clients also suffered from depression, anxiety, and the effects of trauma, I have considerable experience working with those problems. For substance abusers the work may center on motivation for abstinence (or harm reduction when applicable), management of stress (including work stress, family problems, and so on), development of support systems, and relapse prevention -including identifying and dealing with triggers, mindfulness with challenging feelings and cravings, and learning how and when to ask for help.


My approach is integrative, incorporating several kinds of therapy into my person-centered counseling framework. Which methods we will use depend on your personality and the issues you present. The essence is responsive listening, and I will often bring in interventions from cognitive, mindfulness-based, or psychoanalytic theories. With couples and families, the key is often establishing healthy communication- so that behavior doesn’t communicate for us- and finding more effective ways to resolve conflicts and accept differences.

Disclaimer:  This is not a group. All individuals working in this facility are independent practitioners. Gary Schwager is an independent provider with no affiliation to the other practitioners in this facility and shares no joint liability to the other practitioners in this facility.

Gary Schwager is listed at

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