There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

Mitch final web picture
Mitch Bobrow

Psychotherapist - Couples Therapist - Life Coach

When life becomes more of a mystery to embrace than a series of problems to solve- a shift, or a crack OCCURS IN OUR PERSPECTIVE.

This crack allows the light and miracle of peace to gently blossom. This peace slowly dissolves anxieties and pulls the rug out from underneath our depressive and fearful tendencies. What’s left then is a sense of intimacy—a deep connection to ourselves and others. Intimacy and its close cousin vulnerability allows us to melt into a partner’s arms or our children’s innocence. It allows us to experience empathy for another’s pain and compassion for universal suffering.

Leaning into mystery and discovering intimacy has been at the core of both my personal and professional journey. Of course, life is always going to be a series of problems to solve. That's the content of our lives. But mystery supplies a context or lens from which these problems are viewed. This allows us to access our light, common sense and dignity. Problem solving is then transformed and empowered. One of the most frequent things I hear clients say during our conversations is "I never thought about it this way."

As our fears diminish and we become comfortable with this new way of experiencing life, a faith blossoms within that allows us, despite the incredible madness on our planet, to greet each new day with a tender enthusiasm for the opportunity that life is. One might say what I'm selling here is intimacy, even though it's an experience that can be neither purchased nor sold.

The stories we tell ourselves about the nature of life define us. Our stories either open or close us. Among many other things, I am a storyteller. This means I practice a type of psychotherapy aptly called 'narrative therapy' where clients learn to become mindful of how stories determine their fate.

Working With Me


In addition to utilizing a narrative therapist perspective, my work is also steeped in an existential understanding of life. Existential therapy embodies both an awareness and acceptance of universal impermanence, which, when experienced deeply, allows us to realize how fragile and precious life is and how pointless it is to blame others for our shortcomings or failures. Intimacy naturally arises as we accept that 'all things must pass.'

However, we are not islands, and we must honor and be keenly aware that humans are interdependent and that society and civility break down when we aren't aware, respectful, and even generous as we explore and understand other people's perspectives and needs. This is the essence of systems therapy. We are forever related to each other and deeply interdependent on nature and each other.

Integrating these two potentially conflicting perspectives (I am alone and we are together) is in a sense the Zen or practice of therapy. So, if you asked me at a party what type of therapy I practice, you’d hear a mouthful. I am a narrative, existential, systems therapist attempting to bring mindfulness into everything. At that point some folks run—others are intrigued. Ultimately, I am attempting to help clients surf the paradoxes of life so that balance and serenity can become the context from which we live.

The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself. The other problem is that our hang-ups, unfortunately, or fortunately, contain our wealth.  Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. If’ you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom. Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy; that energy is what’s so juicy about him or her. That’s the reason people love that person.

Pema Chodron


Fair Fighting

Intimacy requires stretching ourselves, sharing our vulnerabilities in the present moment, remembering our intentions, and acknowledging our failures. Clients practice intimacy with each other in their sessions even though it’s sometimes uncomfortable. Understanding what it means to fight fair in life and with our partners is at the root of a couple’s work. I think of this as mindfulness in action.

One misconception that leads to unfair fighting is a belief that relationships are fifty/fifty propositions. That paradigm results in couples trying to figure out who is working harder. Who is “good” and who is being “bad.”  And let’s face it, almost all fights you have with your partner start with one party thinking the other started it. Couples then expect me to adjudicate their dilemma and metaphorically slap the other (the bad one) on the wrist. That’s not my job. My job is to help clients discover what ‘fair’ fighting looks like and to instill a faith that this win/win approach is possible. Old patterns don’t dissipate easily so sometimes tough love or what the Buddhists refer to as ruthless compassion is useful.

Asked some years ago by a woman seeking couple’s work about my qualifications, I replied, “First let me say I am licensed in this state to practice psychotherapy. I have also immersed myself in professional education and literature about the tools needed to minimize the power struggles that destroy relationships.” I also let this woman know that my marriage works. “After being with Kathy for more than 35 years we’ve discovered one core promise that keeps our relationship vital and fresh—disagreements—work ’em out and work ’em out respectfully.”

Figuring out during a session what constitutes fair fighting reveals an enormous amount about a couple’s commitments. Kathy and I occasionally get stuck about what respectful communication is. When that happens, we call a time out, trusting that a pause will help us rediscover our intentions and find our path. Whether it's three minutes or three days there’s no point in talking unless we’re able to articulate our desire to understand the other’s point of view. Listening honestly and compassionately sends us in the right direction. These ideas are simple. Putting them into practice, well that’s the practice.

I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them—it was that promise.

Thornton Wilder

Insight and Action

L, a bright 34-year-old professional, sits down as we share a few social amenities. She seems comfortable with herself and has a solid career. Her sweet smile disappears after she sizes me up. "I think it's ok to trust you. Can I get right to the point?" I nod welcomingly and hand her a box of tissues as I see her tears start to flow. Her story emerges—two consecutive long-term boyfriends who she breaks up with after discovering they don't want children. Within a year or so after each breakup, the guy gets married and has kids with someone else. "What's wrong with me? What am I missing? Can you help me?"

In my book Views from the Tightrope, I describe a two-step dance. Understanding ourselves is the first step (Insight). Step two is action. Being aware of our patterns isn't good enough. We need to take action to confront and change them. A common question I pose to my clients is what in your past might have predicted your predicament today. L begins to recognize she's reliving childhood patterns. She falls for men who are wonderful on the surface but also fearful and unavailable. She gets scared when others get scared, just as all children do.

Three months into our work, she starts seriously dating someone. "Do not wait one year to inquire about this man's visions. Your fear of rushing things is your fear of conflict," I tell her. A few months later, she drags herself into my office in despair. "It happened again. I took your advice and talked to him. He doesn't want kids." I probe. "He didn't say that, but that's what you heard. You were listening from your fear. He said he was afraid to have kids. I'd be scared of anyone who wasn't afraid to have children." Now she's confused. Did she misunderstand him? "Are you going to let his fears spill over into yours? You have a choice," I say. We worked out a plan of action and rehearsed it.

Two years later, she stopped by my office, an eight-month-old in her arms. "Would you like to hold her?" she offered. "This baby would not be here if not for you."

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

John Keats


My new client hits the ground running. Skipping any social amenities, he launches into his story, letting me know that he's seen many therapists, and he wants me to hear him out. After 15 minutes, I attempt to slow him down. Something's not working for me. I tell him, and he says, "Please let me talk more I want you to hear all of this." I give him the benefit of the doubt, and he talks. After 25 and then 30 minutes, I tap the brake pedal. He barely notices it until I say bluntly, "It's my time to talk. I want you to hear my observations. And please don't interrupt me. You're freaked out that your wife is thinking about divorcing you. Listening to you provides me with some insight into her loneliness. You want to be heard, but so does everyone else. Something is out of balance. Therapy also needs balance. I'm not here just to listen and sympathize. I'm here to have conversations that help you understand what's not working and how to remedy it. If you're looking just to talk, I'm not that guy. Intimacy thrives as folks learn how to balance talking with listening—giving and receiving. Therapy, like life, is about balance."

My words stunned him into a welcome silence. For the first time in 20 minutes, my shoulders relaxed. "You've nailed it." He finally said. "My wife, my boss, my parents, they all tell me they feel run over by me. You are the right therapist for me; I know it since I ignore stop signs." He became quiet again, then his tears flowed. I handed him a box of tissues, then he said, "I'm about to lose everything, my wife, my kids, maybe even my job because I can't shut up."

From that moment, a connection blossomed between us. He stayed in therapy for eighteen productive months, slowly learning the art of giving and receiving. His wife joined us from time to time and stuck by him.

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts; And when you cannot dwell in the solitude of your heart, you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime. And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered. For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words, may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

Kahlil Gibran


About 25 years ago I had a memorable session with a couple who showed up to check off a box. Their pastor insisted that they visit a couple’s counselor at least once before he’d marry them. They told me they were in love, that they never fought, and that they had no idea why they were asked to come to my office.

Despite noting my irrelevance to their life, the task in front of me was intriguing. How do I make this time useful for all of us? Since they were Christians I asked them what role they thought betrayal played in Jesus’ life. “Can love grow if it isn’t tested? Haven’t each of you ever felt misunderstood by the other?”

“I am trying to get you more comfortable with being able to discuss conflicts before they slowly consume you.” I said. We explored their childhood history to see if they could better detect what patterns they might be carrying from their past. They got more comfortable and even curious as the session went on. The possibility of a more intimate dialogue intrigued them.

I acknowledged their courage and let them know that there’s a fine line sometimes between complaining and venting and between picking at scabs and helpful problem solving. We had a good connection and they left knowing they had a safe place to talk should they ever need one. The simplicity of the session touched me. If couples come in before they accumulate years of resentment, it’s so much easier to access intimacy and resolution.

I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.

Scott Peck


More than forty years ago, as a freshly minted therapist, I began my career at a mental health clinic in a rural city in upstate NY. Every week our staff of fifteen therapists gathered around a table in a gray, windowless, bare-walled, unventilated conference room to discuss our clients. Thirteen of the fifteen clinicians smoked steadily through the hour. Even as I write this, it's hard to imagine that this was possible. The toxicity was overwhelming, emanating not just from the cigarette smoke but the utter cynicism and boredom that my burnt-out colleagues brought to our discussions. When I commented to the executive director about my discomfort, he laughed and told me, "Smoking is a choice. Get over it." I replied, "Oh, I thought it was an addiction." He didn't like me. My youthful, unbridled honesty and enthusiasm left us at odds with each other.

To curb that enthusiasm, one of the first clients assigned to me was an elderly gentleman who had been passed around to almost every other therapist at the clinic in the 25 years that he had been a patient. It was a hazing. Everyone regarded this man as impossible. Despite the best of my intentions, I was no match for this man's embedded trauma and neurosis. After a few sessions of twisting rudderless, I began to tune him out. One day I committed every therapist's worst sin I nodded off—not long enough to get in a good nap but sufficient to get myself killed had I been driving. 

When I jerked myself awake after a few seconds, he asked if I was boring him. A moment of truth. Should I tell him I overate at lunch? I hadn't. How about the suffocating heat or the lousy sleep I got last night? Lame. Finally, sadly, slowly, not trying to hide my own confusion, I answered. "Incredibly, you've been telling me this bizarre story over and over, and the way you're telling me this really does seem to bore me. I don't know what else to say". The truth, I had been told by a master therapist while being trained, is sometimes all you have to offer.

To my surprise, the man started to cry. There was a surprising vitality in his tears and the words that followed. "Thanks for being honest. No one is ever honest with me. You're the first one. Maybe my problem is I'm bored myself, and I need to stop telling the same sad stories all the time." A shift occurred between us, a crack, if you will, that let in some light. Different and more compelling conversations ensued over the coming months. My client's step had lightened, and even some of my colleagues commented on the change in this man's demeanor. I never fell asleep on a client subsequently since I had a better sense of how to shift a conversation into something useful and provocative.

Forty years later, if I were supervising myself in that situation, I might say to my idealistic, almost evangelical but well-meaning younger self. "I love your energy. You've clearly chosen this career because you have a good heart and a passion for sharing. Your clients feel it. But you need tools, grounding, and more self-discipline or like your colleagues at this clinic, you too could burn out. It's a tough job. Also, be careful of too much confidence. Remember also that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions."

To Thine Own Self Be True.



For the last forty-one years, I've been a psychotherapist, personal coach, communication trainer/consultant, relationship counselor and self-help author. I have four children, five grandchildren and a wonderful marriage. My ability to help people access the “better angels of their nature” stems from a deep-seated faith in humanity which has grown steadily as my own long-term spiritual practice of more than fifty-five years has matured.

My first book, Habit Breakthrough, offered a new approach to breaking unwanted behaviors that focused on changing one's entire relationship to a habit. After it was published in 1985, I taught courses for Cornell and led various workshops around the northeast. My second book, Views From the Tightrope: Living Wisely in an Uncertain World, was published in 1997. It challenged readers to recognize and face the risks inherent in life and use them in the quest for personal empowerment. I’m working on a memoir now, A Thousand Ways to Say I Love You, consisting of personal stories, some of which are accessible by contacting Mitch through his email.

My personal work with the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler provided my original motivation to become a therapist. I walked into a five-day workshop with her 45 years ago as a confused hippie. I walked out with a vision. In addition, I’ve been blessed to have Jack Kornfield as my meditation teacher for the past 35 years. I’m also indebted to Dr. Irvin Yalom, who gave me the faith to integrate my unconscious musings into my therapy practice.

Relationship counseling is one of my specialties. I think of myself as an intimacy coach. When couples love each other but keep getting get stuck in power struggles, my proactive approach and life experience works well. I’m also a long-time meditator who has experience helping people integrate their mindfulness practice into the struggle of daily life. Working with parent/children struggles also is dear to my heart.

Lately, the therapeutic community has developed a deep interest in the role that psychedelics might play in healing. I share this interest and am skilled as a psychedelic coach.

I’m licensed as a clinical social worker to practice psychotherapy in New York and Colorado and some insurance companies will reimburse you for my services. If you’re not in those states, then insurance can’t be utilized. My fees are on a sliding scale and are negotiable.

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