Counselor in Missoula

About Missoula Counselor David Meurer, LCSW

davidI am an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in Montana. I earned a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Montana in 2006. In 2002 I earned my undergraduate degree at Montana State University in Health and Human Development. This academic emphasis has helped me to specialize in working with couples and families, as well as developing a keen understanding of the challenges we face as we move though our lives.

d-and-cSince 2003 I have worked in the mental health and social work fields in Missoula, MT. During this time I have continued to develop the therapeutic skills and knowledge to help couples, families and individuals make healthy changes in their lives.

I enjoy living in Missoula, being in the outdoors, and sharing my life with Christy, my wife since 2002. We enjoy backpacking, trail running and eating great food. We also love to travel, read good books and spend time with our friends. Our relationship continues to grow as we take the time to do what we are passionate about and make time for fun in our lives.

Therapeutic Approach

My therapeutic approach comes from several models based in the belief that we all have the ability to make healthy, sustainable changes in our lives. I draw from these models to tailor each course of therapy and help clients integrate the tools and skills they need to face the emotional and psychological challenges in their lives.

Family systems therapy helps couples and families as well as individuals develop by illustrating how:

  • Each family is unique, due to the infinite variations in personal characteristics and cultural and ideological styles;
  • The family is an interactional system whose component parts have constantly shifting boundaries and varying degrees of resistance to change;
  • Families must fulfill a variety of functions for each member, both collectively and individually, if each member is to grow and develop.
  • Families pass through developmental and non-developmental changes that produce varying amounts of stress affecting all members.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be relatively brief and solution-focused to help with specific insight and skills to address a wide range of psychological problems, patterns and acting out behaviors within couple and family interactions. Patterns of behavior, especially around issues of conflict, are examined to identify the roots of the problem, as well as the goals for the therapy. Therapeutic work is focused on helping family members to think and behave more adaptively, and to learn to make better choices in efforts to get needs met, so that the family environment is more stable and peaceful. Insight, empathy, respect, and caring are enhanced with family members who are invested in the treatment.

Choice Theory-based counseling (Reality Therapy) developed by Dr.William Glasser, Choice Theory-based counseling focuses on helping people to learn to make healthy, adaptive choices.

The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory:

  1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
  2. All we can give another person is information.
  3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
  4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
  5. What happened in the past has everything to do with who we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
  6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
  7. All we do is behave.
  8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.
  9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feelings and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
  10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

John Gottman and the Relationship Institute Model

John Gottman’s model of healing our relationships is based on years clinically based research that focused on not only what was “wrong” with a couple’s relational dynamics. But on what couples were doing ‘right.” This model is very helpful in exploring how evidence based research can be used in therapy sessions to build upon the positive aspects of our relationships and also learn how to live and love with our differences in relationship. Some of the important premises of Gottman’s model are below.

  • Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration. This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.
  • Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away. Acknowledging your partner’s small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.
  • Let Your Partner Influence You. It is important to maintain your own identity in a relationship, but it is equally important to yield to your partner and give in. If both partners allow one another this influence, then they will learn to respect one another on a deeper level.
  • Solve Your Solvable Problems. It is important to compromise on issues that can be resolved, which Gottman believes can be accomplished by these five steps: soften your startup, learn to make and receive repair attempts, soothe yourself and each other, compromise, and be tolerant of each other’s faults.
  • Overcome Gridlock. Major issues that cannot be resolved because both partners’ views are so fundamentally different involves understanding of the other person and . The goal is to at least get to a position that allows the other person to empathize with the partner’s view, even if a compromise cannot be reached.
  • Create Shared Meaning. Create a shared value system that continually connects the partners through rituals/traditions, shared roles and symbols.