Let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Stephen Van Schoyck. Since my name is difficult to pronounce, my patients find it easier to call me either Dr. Van or Dr. Steve.
I am an experienced clinical psychologist with over 34 years in private practice. During that time, I have learned a great deal about human behavior from the combination of my clinical training, my patients, and my personal life experiences. The 65K hours of time I have spent face-to-face with my patients have shown me the immense power of human emotion. It’s also revealed the all-too-common challenges people have recognizing and managing their feelings.
Many psychological problems are related to relationship issues that result from the mismanagement of emotions. It’s wise to remember what my patients have shown me: that human beings are feeling beings who happen to think, NOT thinking beings who happen to feel.
Over the years I have learned that my job is to serve as a guide to recognize and use emotions to improve relationships, including the relationship to oneself.
My personal life has added to my knowledge of the human experience. I am one of four children in my family; the middle son with two older sisters and a younger brother. I have been a husband for 45 years and am the father of four grown children, one son and three daughters and am now the grandfather of two boys and four girls. I have experienced the death of both my parents with Alzheimer’s and a sister who died at the age of 70 from cancer.
I know the emotional work it takes to keep a marriage alive and healthy for over 45 years, as well as the struggle involved in raising four healthy children. I personally know the difference between raising boys and girls in today’s world of inequality and sexual abuse.
As a Dad, I have coached their soccer and baseball teams, attended the yearly back to school nights, listened to their struggles, and helped them grow their dreams. I know what it feels like to be a concerned parent. I also know the sadness and joys of watching them grow up. I have experienced the mixed feelings that come when you realize you have borrowed your children for a short while, and raised them to leave you.
All these experiences with the people in my life, patients and family alike, have given me the wisdom to share with you. I know what it takes to develop emotionally throughout life. Learning is a lifelong process; it never ends. It is not easy and requires effort, awareness, a lot of listening, and the ability to be vulnerable and humble.
It can’t be done alone. I try diligently to practice what I preach, and have spent seven years in my own personal therapy to understand my emotional reactions or the lack thereof and come to know myself. As a result, I do not believe that self-help, technique-driven treatment, advice giving, motivational training, or psychoeducational approaches are replacements for psychotherapy.
While each of these approaches may help you to build self-awareness, psychotherapy requires a depth of commitment to self-evaluation. Psychotherapy provides you with a professional relationship where the emotional patterns that drive your connections to others can be repeated and examined. You can’t trust what you learn in isolation. It needs to be tested in order to be trusted.
After completing my Bachelor’s at Princeton University in Biology in 1975, I was admitted to a seven-year post-graduate Ph.D. training program at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1984. My training was eclectic, meaning that I was exposed to different schools of thought in psychology.
Principal influences were the interpersonal school of psychodynamic psychology, cognitive-behavioral theories, and family systems approach. This training has enabled me to ground my approach in theories that support the treatment I provide to my patients.
In the course of my practice, I have had various experiences that have enhanced my knowledge of people, emotions, and the mind. I leveraged my expertise into the corporate world where I managed and directed centers for the treatment of medically significant obesity. I founded my own company and established five hospital-based nutrition and weight management clinics with over 40 employees. I wrote a book about my experiences, “The Burn Rate Diet” published by HarperCollins Publishers, New York in 2001.
I have also worked with physicians for many years, providing psychological services in the doctor’s office to patients suffering from chronic medical conditions. I have been accepted to the medical staff of several local hospitals and served as a member of Sports Medicine teams with physicians and physical therapists. With an orthopedist for a partner, I co-owned a physical therapy practice. All along, I have maintained a private practice in psychology for over 34 years.
Are You Like My Patients?
My typical patient, and the audience who reads my articles and books, comes to see me because there is some disruption in their emotional world or a change in an important relationship in their lives.
My clients take on many faces:
It may be a mother who doesn’t know how to handle their child.
It may be a husband who has had an affair and doesn’t know why.
It may be an adolescent who is depressed and doesn’t know what to do.
It may be anyone who is repeating behaviors that they know aren’t good for them, but can’t seem to stop.
It may be someone who blames himself or herself for everything that happens to them, and can’t feel happy.
It may be a person with a drug or alcohol problem that knows they are drinking or using drugs for the wrong reason.
There are some characteristics that all these people share. They are typically insightful, intellectually curious, and interested in improving the quality of their life. They know that there are no easy answers or quick fixes. All have tried more simplistic approaches, and know that they don’t work in the long run. My clients want something real, emotionally honest, and an approach that treats them as adults who are eager to learn, not children who need to be told what to do.
They also want a therapist who teaches them about themselves, understands the value of being an emotional mentor, and does not humiliate or shame them. They want a therapist who is honest about himself and who knows that the real answers lie in the patient, not the therapist. They want a guide, not a guru.
Welcome to My Website
If you are a person like my patients or readers, I welcome you and encourage you to read and learn from my articles. You may be interested in purchasing my book, but if you do, you must be prepared for the impact that it will make on your life.
My book will make you think and feel like you may never have done before. It will prepare you for the work of psychotherapy, or make you better understand the work that you have already done. It is an easy read, but a hard sell.
If you are a person like my patients or readers, I welcome you to my website and encourage you to read and learn from my articles. You may be interested in purchasing my book, but must be prepared for the impact that it will make. It will make you think and feel like you may never have done before. It will prepare you for the work of psychotherapy, or make you better understand the work that you have already done.