Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard J. Loebl.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Richard. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Like many psychotherapists, my early family life was influential in my decision to become a therapist. My mother suffered from bipolar disorder and was institutionalized when I was a teenager. My older sister recognized that I was depressed and helped me get into therapy when I was 17. The next year, I decided to become a therapist.
The Vietnam war was also influential. I was never motivated in school and was in danger of flunking out of community college. One day at lunch, I found out that a kid from my high school was killed by a mortar blast in Vietnam. This 19 year old kid was a handsome football player who sang in the school choir with me. I always looked up to him, and his death was a great shock. I knew I was in danger of getting drafted myself, so I started to apply myself to my college studies. In 1970, I became active in the anti-war movement and we organized the Student Lobby for Peace at the University of Maryland. I was voted in as Chairman of the organization because of my leadership abilities, much to my surprise. Those abilities developed and matured over the years – although I always doubted myself.
I excelled in graduate school, even though my family situation deteriorated. I needed a lot of therapy to get me through some very tough times. My scholastic accomplishments and my interest in mental health and personal growth also helped sustain me.
My first job out of grad school was in the addictions field. Because of my leadership skills – and my big mouth – I was rapidly promoted and within 4 years, I became the Director of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs for Fairfax County, Virginia (at the age of 30 years old). I also worked part time at a local mental health center to get the clinical supervision I needed to become licensed as a therapist. As soon as I got my license in 1985, I left Fairfax County and went into my first private practice. There’s much more to this story, including a brief stint as Program Director at a private psychiatric hospital. But I was always a therapist in my heart and soul. And 15 years of private practice experience in Virginia taught me a great deal about how to be a good therapist.
Several personal struggles, including a divorce, were influential in my decision to specialize in relationships and couples therapy. I also seemed to attract a lot of men to my private practice (women are vastly over-represented as therapists and therapy clients). And my early experience in working with Vietnam Veterans, many of whom had severe PTSD, encouraged me to specialize in men’s issues.
I moved to South Florida in the year 2000. I knew I wanted to develop my own group practice and went through a process that included attending a personal growth workshop called TLC. I became an instructor at TLC and it helped me to form my current concept of practice. I started Relationship Center of South Florida a little over 10 years ago and we specialize in relationships, couples therapy and men’s issues.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is there ever such a thing as a smooth road? My biggest struggle has always been my own self-doubt. Fears can be crippling and for a long time, I was quite risk-averse. My performance anxiety showed up as a fear of public speaking and resulted in my adopting a new specialty – anxiety disorders. I also struggled with my own relationship problems, including my divorce in 2002. I’m now happily remarried since the year 2009.
Finding my true voice as a therapist has also been challenging. Most therapists face this challenge – as well they should. Early in our careers as counselors or therapists, we tend to adhere to the “therapy scripts” we learn starting in graduate school. Many years of experience and maturity taught me to trust my inner wisdom. And hundreds of hours of advanced training and continuing education hasn’t hurt!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Relationship Center of South Florida – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Relationship Center of South Florida is a multi-disciplinary private practice. We have a staff of 2 part-time psychiatrists, along with 10 therapists and counselors. We work with all types of emotional, psychological and relational problems, including anxiety, depression and relationship distress.
We’re especially well-known for our work with couples. In addition to cutting-edge couples therapy methods, we developed our Connections program of marriage retreats and couples therapy intensives. Connections is a unique program designed to help couples overcome all types of relationship distress (fighting, conflict, distance, infidelity, etc.), and to create loving partnership. We’re proud to report that Connections has received national recognition and is ranked the #1 marriage retreat in the State of Florida. I’m nearing final completion of our Connections: Workbook for Couples, which will be printed and available for purchase this summer.
My other primary specialty is men’s issues. I developed a unique concept and model for working with men who tend to self-sabotage (problems with jobs, careers, family and relationships). I refer to them as the LATE Men (adult men who function like Lost, Angry Teens). This is based on my “Who’s In Charge?” model of our internal parts (all of us have an Inner Child, a Teen – who may be lost and angry, an Inner Critic, and a loving, responsible Adult self). I recently completed a great deal of research about male psychology and have started writing a book called The LATE Men.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My wife and I are traveling to Israel in May and we hope to do a safari in Africa in 2 years. A personal goal is to learn how to play electric guitar.
Our Connections Workbook for Couples will be published this summer and we will sell the book on our web site and through Amazon.
We have completed over 50 connections weekend marriage retreats and couples therapy intensives and I’ve trained 5 therapists to use our unique model of couples therapy. We hope to expand this program and offer retreats in Miami, New York City and Denver.
A few years ago, I developed a personal growth workshop called PDR – Personal Development and Recovery. We conducted this 3-day program 8 times at a local intensive outpatient recovery program. We are developing plans to offer this program to other recovery programs and the community at large.
I hope to complete my book on The LATE Men in 2019 and I’m hopeful that it will be published and sold nationally.
- Address: 2200 NW Corporate Blvd.
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
- Website: www.RCOSF.com
- Phone: 561-955-6090
- Email: Richard@RCOSF.com