Markus is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) specializing in individual and couples therapy, addictions, bereavement, and maintains an international Mental Health Consulting firm in Bali, Indonesia.
With 10 years experience in helping professions and over 4 years experience as a Licensed Therapist, Markus has devoted his efforts to finding the best methods to help his clients become mentally healthy and hardy. He has aided his clients to move beyond Depression, Substance Addictions (including the less-noted ones, such as GHB, chocolate, video games, etc.), Anxiety Disorders and Phobias, Posttraumatic Stress, Grief and Loss of loved ones, and has employed progressive strategies including Mindfulness, Music Therapy, Adventure Therapy, and Guided Meditation. Markus has spent valuable time in 21 countries - some briefly, some extensively - on the quest for collective human traits and the attitudes which fuel acceptance and growth. He has entered the towering cathedrals in Europe, practiced samurai swordmanship with some locals next to Mt. Fuji, Japan, experienced the ancient monuments and staggering artistry of Rome and Florence, chanted with orange-robed Buddhist monks in the foothills of Yunnan, China, and been invited to sit with small island Hindu villagers for some of their private family ceremonies. (If you're still curious, see Travel and Experiences below.)
In the Mental Health community, Markus has spoken on a number of topics including mental fitness and emotional exploration, acceptance and finding purpose, the physiological benefits of meditation, multicultural expectations in psychotherapy, the behavior patterns of addiction, assertiveness versus the aggressions of passivity, guided meditation dos and don'ts, depression and intrusive thoughts, anxiety is your mistress/mister, hierarchy of human needs revisited, among others.
Markus is a dynamic, humane and honest practitioner who cares about the direction and safety of his clientele. He promotes solution-focused and long-term methods as needed. His therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. Working from Humanistic-Existential and CBT, Markus integrates complementary methodologies to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client. With compassion, understanding and a lot of listening, he works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to achieve.
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology - University of North Florida
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Sociology, Professional Education - University of North Florida
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) - MH11957, USA
St. Augustine's Best Counselor: Runner-up (The St. Augustine Record, 2012)
Travel and Experiences
Since I am mostly commute or internet based, my clients appreciate my policy of transparency. Here are some of my values.
I initially set out on a journey to discover some qualities that all human beings share. The treaures I have found along the way made me realize the opposite. I've walked on charted and one or two uncharted paths and I found wonderful diversity instead of commonality. I mentioned above I had spent time in 21 countries. Here is the list in no particular order:
Istanbul, Turkey (briefly)
South Korea (briefly)
Many parts of China and Hong Kong
Malaysia (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur)
And I don't forget my homeland, America: Miami, Chicago, New York, LA, Dallas, New Orleans, Washington DC, San Diego, etc.
My experiences in these places have shown me the kindness of people and their general will to be at peace and a part of something. There is also danger, of course, but not nearly as much as you might think. For women and minorities perhaps there's a little more (I have to check my white male priviledge here), but it's never what you assume. This taught me that fear is one of those things that is very unreasonable in modern times. It exists to keep us alive. But, on a daily level, I would say that a person is usually in his or her own way toward a healthier or more balanced existence of their choosing. Fear is not our enemy but our mismanagement of it.
Mind, Body, and ?
In graduate school, I learned to appreciate the interdependency of mind and body. I was led to Abraham Maslow's studies on the building blocks of basic human needs and self-actualization. I wouldn't say this is the only theory with which I agree, but it is a major influence on my choices in life and counseling practices. I think this is what first led me to Asia; in particular, some Eastern teachings of mind over matter.
Developing science (specifically brain scans and full-body heat signatures) shows us that our body is responsible for many kinds of moods and, potentially, attitudes. Even with this new knowledge, I have always maintained that mental choice is an essential human quality. Without the ability to decide on pieces of our own fate, we are just particles falling in and out of hate and love for no reason. As a man of clinical psychology, I must believe in choice and I do.
Your body has power when, say, you haven't had anything to eat all day and try to crunch numbers at work. Or, if you happen to be genetically sensitive to caffeine, you drink 2 cups per day and you are baffled over why you can't fall asleep. Our body can be incredibly incovenient at times but if you learn how to manage it, like your mind, you can access its full potential. This is why I study the idea of martial arts and yoga. Focus, in all contexts, can be incredibly difficult. Being able to listen to your body and treat it well automatically pumps new abilities into your mind and relaxes your daily actions. At its most basic level, bloodflow increases and oxygen is more readily absorbed by your brain. Not everyone can or wants to reach black-belt status or is even motivated to buy a yoga mat. Physical fitness, though, can solve many of the mind's shaky foundations. If a client is adamantly against taking up an exercise, I recommend daily walks. That alone has been proven to dramatically restructure certain mood disorders, like depression.
There is nothing I respect more than this. When there is no music in a room and somebody picks up an instrument or puts on a track, you get my meaning: The mood of the room shifts entirely. Waves in our brain switch on command, cells in our body vibrate with energy, powerful memories are recalled, connections are made and possibilities presented. One good album or live concert can change lives. Music Therapy isn't utilized enough, in my opinion. Probably, this is because there isn't enough research on how it affects patients long-term. I bring music into my sessions sometimes. Music and film in your life are discussed. If something influences your memories and identity, we discuss.
Final Thoughts on Therapy
Early in my college career, I was struck by a particular work: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. When I finished this short read my view on what is meaningful changed. In essence, I learned that meaning itself is the vital journey of an individual. Psychologists around the world recognize this approach and call it Existential Psychotherapy (EPT). In short, EPT is looking at your life through the lens of mortality, death. You will die. It is inevitable. Once a person fully acknolwedges this, they can begin to live with completeness and according to their goals. I know it sounds a bit dark, the death topic, but the results speak for themselves. That death anxiety we all feel lurking around every corner is transformed into productive energy and grattitude. Regrets become goals and purpose becomes less an abstract concept. Of course, this therapy approach isn't for everyone and all situations. However, I find it useful in most. Irvin Yalom is famous for popularizing this concept.
Other practical methods I use are Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy and Gestalt techniques. Evaluating behavior and mental processes is no easy task so it's good to be structured. Whichever methods I employ, rest-assured I will let you know. There is no brainwashing in my sessions. Like I said, we are teammates for your mental wellbeing.