Clifford Zeller MD

Treatment Approach

There are two main ways to help: medication and listening – talking (psychotherapy).

Research shows the best outcomes for most patients are when these approaches are combined. I feel that the communication with my patient allows me to prescribe the right medication at the right time, at the right dose for each individual person. If you are already in therapy with another provider then our talking primarily focuses on psychoeducational and behavioral interventions to integrate the medication with the treatment program you designed with your therapist. When done properly each approach enhances the effectiveness of the other. I like to tell my patients that by the time they are done with our visits they will know just as much about how their medication works as I do. My goal is to help you become an expert on the medications you are using. Medication is quite individualized in terms of response and side effects. There are no cookbooks and finding the right medicine to help with symptoms really requires a collegial relationship between physician and patient.

I have extensive training and experience in various modalities of psychotherapy and use approaches that include cognitive, behavioral, self-awareness, mind-body training, hypnosis, biofeedback, bibliotherapy, and problem solving psychotherapy tools. A very satisfying form of psychotherapy is called psychodynamic psychotherapy. This approach develops enhanced insight and self-awareness as to how experiences from our own personal history are now affecting our emotional world. The patterns and types of relationships we have had with important significant others throughout our life journey have a deep impact on the quality of our life and our current relationships.

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With my patient’s approval, I find it is can often be beneficial to involve the spouse or significant other in the treatment process.

Young Seniors: The term “young seniors” represents a new concept for individuals who are 55 and over, living vigorous and healthy lives but dealing with serious pressures and conflicts. Young seniors are the beneficiaries of our increased knowledge of good medical preventive health practices, exercise and nutrition; however, they sometimes face complex medical decisions worsened by conflicting information about their personal healthcare and our complicated and fragmented medical care system.

Young seniors are frequently pulled between two polarities: children and grandchildren needing assistance, while simultaneously caring for aging parents. Young seniors are also dealing with the challenges of the economy. This can result in delayed retirement or 2nd career decisions, made more difficult by competition from younger individuals and market instability. Working with young seniors requires a comfort with the biological/psychological/social model of psychiatry which I can offer to my patients.

Time: Your initial visit usually takes about one hour and focuses on history, diagnosis and treatment recommendations. It is an opportunity for you to get a feel if I am right fit and for me to give you a frank assessment of what I think I can do to help you. During the first visit we will plan together for what services will be included in your treatment. Frequently past medical records and physical exams are requested and lab tests are ordered as a prerequisite to considering medication. Often medication is not prescribed on the first visit as this important step, if decided upon, needs careful thought and consideration as well as a solid follow-up plan.

Follow-up visits are usually either 30 or 45 min. This allows for the visit to provide some integration of talk therapy with medication. I work with each patient individually to help design the treatment approach that is right.