Herbert L. Gravitz, Ph.D
P: 805.963.9309
F: 805.687.1977
2020 Alameda Padre Serra STE 217
Santa Barbara, Ca 93103
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A brief introduction to Dr. Gravitz and his services:



Having been in practice for over 35 years, I have seen a lot of trends in therapy come and go. The one quality of healing that remains constant is the quality of the relationship between the client and therapist. More than any other variable, this determines the success of psychotherapy. I hold the therapeutic relationship as a sacred covenant. Both my client and me are accountable to each other, as I help her or him become the person he or she always wanted to be. Ultimately, I believe it is harder to be who we are not than who we are.

While I believe in the dignity and worth of the individual, my focus has increasingly become the relationships of individuals to one another, especially their family. Rather than seeing cause as linear, that is A causes B, I have come to learn that cause is circular and reciprocal, as residing in the interface between individuals. Thus, A doesn’t cause B, but A and B mutually cause each other. Similarly, responsibility is mutual and control is a bilateral process. Because I believe we are all involved in each other destinies, I am mindful that even when I am working with one person, that person is part of a larger network and everything I say is funneled through that network.

I am a specialist on the impact of illness, addiction, and trauma on the individual and the family. I am best known for my work in systemic traumatology, specifically the impact of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia on the individual and the whole family. I have authored or co- authored books and articles on trauma, healing, and recovery, and have led workshops and seminars throughout the United States on the traumatic impact of alcoholism, as well as major mental illness, on the family.

Because illness, addiction, and trauma so often occur together in the family, I have learned to address all three issues in unique ways that go beyond most traditional approaches. In my work with families, I have learned to address the special concerns and needs of each member of the family first. When each member’s plight is addressed and witnessed separately as an individual and simultaneously as family members, a happier and more meaningful family life is the natural outcome.

While many people originally come to see me to get rid of troublesome problems, they often find that they disappear quickly as they come to see the broader situation in which they find themselves. My commitment to clients is to see the very essence of their struggle, communicate this back to them, and help them create a life worth living and losses worth enduring. I believe that virtually any circumstance can be overcome and triumph can occur in the midst of adversity. In fact, adversity is the father of triumph, just as need is the mother of invention.

Mine is a message of hope and optimism regarding the impact of illness, addiction, and trauma. I operate from a strength-based, solution-oriented focus. I believe we get much further by developing our strengths rather than exploring our weaknesses. I believe we have an inherent, fundamental need to grow and develop, which is released in an atmosphere of respect and dignity, and that problems are the fodder of this growth. While we certainly can grow from non-traumatic situations, they may be the greatest impetus to our evolution.

What I have come to appreciate is that psychotherapy is returning to its roots. The original meaning of psyche comes from the Greek word soul or spirit; hence, psychotherapy was intended as a healing art of the soul and spirit, and psychology was the study of spirit and soul. With the medicalization of therapy, this meaning of impacting the client’s whole life and impacting the client’s destiny became more obscure. With the advent of managed care, or as some call it “mangled care,” the original meaning of this sacred type of healing became even more obscure.

The services I offer include individual, family, couple, group therapy, and intergenerational healing. I offer consultation to primary and secondary sufferers, including traumatic event processing, clinical hypnosis, public speaking, workshops and seminars.



II. Calendar info—presenting as SB NAMI—Oct 27 NAMI in Santa Barbara on mental illness and family triumph—on November 1 a talk on OCD and family at Stanford University and November 16 a keynote address at Adult Children of Alcoholics in San Diego, Ca..