Do you find yourself stuck repeating patterns in relationships that no longer serve you? Are you experiencing conflicts with your partner but don’t know how to communicate your needs? Is your child going through emotional irregularities that you don’t know how to support?
With over 35 years of experience working with couples, children, and families, Bob Chabot, LICSW with HBH is here to guide you through your life challenges.
Bob draws on his academic training, experience in the field, and personal inquiry into people’s lives for helping individuals move forward on their prospective journey with compassion, curiosity, integration, and growth.
Bob serves as a listener, facilitator, witness, and guide to support his clients in a collaborative way to a place of connection, understanding, and growth. His emphasis on forming supportive relationships with his clients teaches his clients to skillfully identify their perspectives and values, and use them as a vehicle to create lasting change.
We sat down with Bob to learn more about his background in the field of mental health counseling, and what someone can expect from working with him online.
Q. What brought you into the field of mental health counseling?
A. A series of seemingly random events led me in the direction of mental health counseling.
I worked on highschool retreats in college; I really enjoyed listening to people, and felt good at offering guidance. I then switched majors in undergraduate from computer science, to psychology.
My first internship was at an emergency shelter for adolescent girls, which inspired me to pursue my masters degree at Smith College for Social Work.
In the summer of 1984, I was laying on the field in the middle of Northampton reading Freud; it was a very idyllic and romantic time.
After earning my MSW from Smith, I worked at a child guidance clinic in Connecticut. The separation of child and parental guidance counseling at the clinic discouraged me from working there, but inspired me to work in residential treatment for adolescents and further my training at the Family Institute of Westchester (FIW). It was here that I received training in Family Systems Theory, which augmented my earlier training in psychodynamic theory at Smith.
Q. What is Family Systems Theory?
A. Family Systems Theory emphasizes the idea that we all exist within the constructs of the relationships that formed us, and need to be understood as such; parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, etc. It examines our relationships, including intergenerational themes, and triangular relationships that we often find ourselves in. Following family systems theory can improve our functioning within those relationships that will help us move forward in our lives.
Q. What is your therapeutic style and approach?
A. Oftentimes, people seek therapy when they find themselves stuck repeating patterns in relationships, work situations, and behaviors that no longer serve them; my job as a therapist is to help the client get unstuck.
Therapy is generally a forward moving process, but first and foremost, a strong relationship between the therapist and client must be established.
I see the therapist as a listener, facilitator, witness, and oftentimes a guide. I begin the therapy session by asking the client what they need help with, and listening to their perspectives and experiences throughout. My work involves a lot of listening, and I avoid offering suggestions until I really understand the client.
I like to break the therapy process down into three components:
- I invite the client to be motivated and honest throughout the process.
- I ask that the client trust my skills as an experienced therapist.
- I emphasize the importance of a strong alliance between the therapist and client. You can be a great therapist, but if the client isn’t speaking your language, the work will stagnate.
My approach isn’t as reliant on techniques and methods as it is on bonding with the client. It’s my priority to make sure the client feels understood and heard throughout the process.
Q. What clinical modalities do you typically use?
A. My training in family systems theory and psychodynamic theory are present in my practice. Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. I strive to understand the client’s unique experiences and perspectives in an effort to help them develop new tools and strengths to meet life’s challenges.
Some clients want to go deeper into their early childhood experiences. Other clients like to stay more in the present moment. I find it helpful to dance between past and present.
For adult clients struggling with a midlife crisis, I invite them to pause for a moment to reflect on their lives. When life slows down, and we have the opportunity to reflect on who we’ve become and what experiences we’ve gained, the realization of life being finite can stir feelings of anxiety. I often invite my clients to write a letter to their younger selves, expressing what their younger self might need to hear and forgiving themselves for any mistakes they might have made.
I focus on fairness, equality, and voice when I’m doing couples counseling. A relationship requires full attention and effort from both partners to thrive. Together, the couple must understand and work toward the needs of the relationship, not just their own individual needs.
I’ll often recommend “The Dance of Anger,” by Harriet Lerner when I’m working with couples and individuals struggling with relationship issues. It is a guide to differentiation in relationships from a feminist family systems perspective. Areas of focus include speaking from an “I” position, pursuer/distancer dynamics, intergenerational themes, and triangles.
Lerner investigates how people in a relationship can express their voice constructively, without attacking or blaming their partner. She strives to help men and women identify their true source of anger, and use it as a vehicle for creating lasting positive change in their relationships.
Q. What populations do you work with?
A. Over the years, I’ve worked extensively with children and families in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In my private practice, I’ve worked with couples, families, and individuals.
I like to keep a balance of clients; my youngest client is 9 years old, while my oldest is 78.
I offer couples therapy, family therapy, and therapy for children and individuals experiencing a wide range of mental health challenges including:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD/ADD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Attachment Disorder
- Divorse/Custody Disputes
- Adoption/Foster Care
- Ethnic/Cultural Issues
- Adjustment Disorder
- Parenting Issues
- Academic/Occupational/Work Issues/Career
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. Therapy allows me to learn something new about people and the world around me.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of different people from many walks of life; when I worked in residential care we didn’t have a lot of transportation, which led me to do therapy from people’s living rooms.
There’s something deeply enriching in getting immersed into people’s lives from their personal spaces.
Now over telehealth I’m invited virtually into people’s present lives.
Q. What do you like most about living in Massachusetts?
A. I grew up in a small town and have always liked having a sense of community. Massachusetts is a place where I can find both a tight-knit community, and have access to plenty of good restaurants, music and art events, and live among a diverse population of people. I’m close enough to both Boston and New York, and I’m within driving distance to my children.
Interested in scheduling an appointment with Bob?
If you’re looking to find a therapist who specializes in relationship counseling for children, families, and couples, Bob Chabot, LICSW is here for you.
With over 35 years of experience in the field, grounded in extensive training, Bob is equipped to provide you the solutions and tools to improve your relationships in the long term.
Bob offers online therapy for families, couples, and individuals of all ages. He serves the entire community of Massachusetts. To schedule an appointment with Bob, please call us today at (413) 343-4357.