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John Gartner, Ph.D.
is a psychologist living and working in Baltimore and New York. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I served as a part time assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School for 28 years. My areas of specializations are Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Bipolar Disorder, and Depression. My therapy practice is in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, and Midtown Manhattan, New York.
Borderlines have problems with impulsivity, mood swings, unstable relationships, and self destructive behaviors. Despite the seriousness of the condition, contrary to the stereotype, BPD is treatable, and I've had good outcomes in the vast majority of cases. It's intensive long term work, but with a properly trained therapist and a motivated patient the prognosis is good. In 1987, I completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical in treatment of BPD working under the renowned Otto Kernberg, whose work helped define the disorder. While Kernberg's work emphasizes interpreting underlying psychodynamics and limit setting, in more recent years, I've been strongly influenced by Marsha Linehan's Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), with its emphasis on meditation, the cultivation of mindfulness, and learning of skills to manage emotional volatility. I offer my borderline patients an informed treatment approach which is both tough (when needed) and compassionate in the context of a committed long term relationship. Experience and research shows there is no substitute for this kind of therapeutic relationship.
While medicines are a valuable tool in the treatment of bipolar disorder, I have found that less is often more, and help patients find the balance that allows them to gain control without bearing the unwanted side effects of over-medication. In addition to traditional therapy techniques I also use meditation to help patients gain impulse control and self-awareness. While I treat all forms of bipolar disorder, I have a particular interest in hypomania, a mildly manic temperament often found among highly creative people. My book, The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a lot of) Success in America, which links hypomania to both success and the American temperament was named by the New York Times Sunday Magazine year in ideas issue as one of the most innovative and important new ideas of 2005. In my second book, In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography, named one of the best biographies of 2008 by Booklist, official publication of the American Library Association, I present Bill Clinton as a case study in hypomania. In my work with hypomanics I emphasize how to gain self control while at the same time not losing one's creative spark, working to capitalize on hypomania’s strengths such as energy, drive, creativity, confidence and charisma, while also guarding against it’s liabilities such as arrogance, impatience, irritability and impulsivity. The cultivation of mindfulness helps the hypomanic slow things down enough so that they can make better judgments and choices, and increase their empathy for how others experience them, and protect their relationships from being damaged.
Depression is complex, and must be approached as a cognitive distortion, chemical imbalance, psychodynamic issue, behavioral issue, and relational issue. I've been working with depressed patients for almost thirty years, and employ all these tools in helping patients reclaim their lives from depression.
What makes Bill Clinton tick? WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, the forty- second President of the United States, is the greatest American enigma of our age—a dark horse who Captured the White House, fell from grace, and was resurrected as a controversial elder statesman. John D. Gartner’s In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the mystery at the heart of Clinton’s complex nature and tells the story from the fresh viewpoint of a psychologist questioning the well-crafted Clinton life story.
America has an extraordinarily high number of hypomanics—grandiose types who leap on every wacky idea that occurs to them, utterly convinced it will change the world. Americans may have a lot of crazy ideas, but some of them prove to be brilliant inventions.