Emotions are held in the body,” says Dr. Peter Crist, a psychotherapist who works with patients of all ages from infant to adult. “That’s why when we say someone has a stiff-necked attitude they often do literally hold tension in their neck.”
Dr. Crist, whose practice is located near Ringoes, not only works with individuals, but also has an organizational consulting practice, Ergonexus LLC, in which he works with corporate executives to develop healthier organizational cultures, evaluate new hires, and assist in the improvement of work relationships.
Dr. Crist practices character-analytic, body-oriented emotional therapy; and it this understanding of the language of the body that helps him to work with young children who are not yet verbal. “I don’t depend on verbal communication or on medication in my work,” he explains. He has worked with children with ADHD to affect behavior changes without the use of medication.
“I enjoy working with children; they are less set in their behaviors and it is often easier to effect change,” he says.
It was his work with children, in fact, that brought him to the realization that to support his therapy with the child he also needed to work with the parents.
“Often when there are problems for the child there are also problems for the parents — in their marriage or in the way they work together as parents,” he says.
“It’s all about our contact with each other,” adds Dr. Crist, “whether we are talking about individuals or couples or people in a work situation, one of the most important things is how we connect with each other.”
Dr. Crist also feels that in today’s society “there is often a tendency today to medicate our emotions away.” For example, if a person is anxious he or she is given medication to relieve the anxiety. “But anxiety is not the enemy; the way we handle it is. I believe in helping people to find rational, constructive ways to deal with their emotions,” he says.
He has found that his no-medication approach to treating anxiety or depression is very important to many executives who do not want to take medication that may decrease their drive and ability to function at the highest levels. In addition, his one-person office assures confidentiality. “I am the only person in the office and the only person who answers my telephone. That insures a level of confidentiality that many people in executive positions feel is important.”
Dr. Crist works with people in their immediate, present-day situations. “Many traditional therapists spend a lot of time discussing the past; instead I deal with the past only as it affects the present,” he says. “I believe the best way to find satisfaction in our lives is to focus on how we function now, day-to-day, whether it is in work or in a love relationship.”
Peter A. Crist, MD, LLC, 62 Wagner Road, Stockton. 609-397-5729.