Ray Rivers LCPC
Of course I'm glad tell you about all of my extensive clinical training and experience -
The real reason I can help you is because of all the deep breakthroughs I've made within myself.
I have lived this work from the inside out....
Relationships, for example: my wife and I have been together for over 20 years.
I love our amazing marriage: so loving, supportive, and intimate - stress free and full of delight!
But getting there was a profound journey of overcoming all the obstacles that I see every day in the couples I serve - and I will share with you all of the straight talk and wisdom (along with the real-life applications) that I wish that anyone had ever had the vision and clarity and insight to give us along the way!
Professionally, I have seen private clients and led groups since 2009. I have worked extensively at The Neuroscience Team, Families Plus, the Frederick Mental Health Association, True North Wellness Centers, and, for seven years, at Catoctin Counseling Centers. I am a certified Open Focus treatment provider, supervised by Dr. Les Fehmi at the Princeton Neurofeedback Center. Groups I have led include Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, Substance Abuse, Anxiety and Depression, Anger Management, and Sex Offender - I have also done extended work with victims of sexual abuse. At the Neuroscience Team I provided Neurofeedback treatment using state-of-the-art Brainmaster equipment in addition to my couples and individual therapy. As True North's partial-hospitalization therapist I served those dealing with the most severe trauma and mental health issues. Working national and local suicide and crisis lines I took over 4,000 documented calls at FMHA.
As a spiritual healer, I was ordained as a Sufi Master Teacher in the Shadhuliyya Sufi Order in 2003.
Prior to mental health, I was a reporter, like many young English-major literature-addicts, moving around the country and taking different jobs (Oregon Business Magazine, PBS's Current)...eventually pumping out five to nine stories a week; all beats: news, arts, business, politics - for the Montgomery County Sentinel, right outside of D.C.
Those connections led naturally to frequent appearances on Montgomery County cable tv news shows, as both host and guest. Then I was a professional actor...two national tv commercials...one poster ad campaign. Then I landed at the public relations firm Tobin Communications, where I was a project director for seven years....and then I was a therapist.
Left out of this summary are many, many jobs and misadventures that don't sound as cool...
You know...I hear it all the time:
"I wish I could be so calm and relaxed like you - so totally peaceful."
And this always causes me to reflect upon the spiritual distance I have traveled...
Because here is the truth: prior to the day my life changed, words like "calm" or "relaxed" would never - ever! - have been applied in my direction.
Actually, everybody who grew up in Columbia, MD in the 70's and 80's remembers Crazy Ray Rivers - brainy, but so hyper, and so wild...(ok, maybe not everyone...)
But plenty of old lovers remember that dude (me) who seemed at first to be funny and smart and different - but who turned out to be anxious and insecure...
And I remember the brutally toxic, dark, and chaotic childhood...well, to be more accurate, I have blocked out most of it out, but the memories are all in there, and sometimes they surface...(when it's appropriate, I share...I'm pretty transparent.)
A childhood which of course led to plenty more "toxic, dark and chaotic"...woven through the teen years...and then much too far into adulthood...so many wild lives, so many different cities...I don't need to go into all the details here, you get enough of the picture for now...
Finally, I faced the truth that was lurking beneath the erratic kaleidescope of my peripatetic life..I had issues!
There were so many broken and undeveloped dimensions within me - and I needed to make them right.
I began intensely pursuing transpersonal work. It was the late 90's.
I explored esoteric modalities in a variety of groups and settings, with others who were serious about personal and spiritual development. These ranged from the ontological (Kabbalah, Sufism, and many others) to the spiritual-physical (tantric, yogic, and Asian energetic traditions) to the more western approaches (psychodrama, gestalt, bio- and neuro-feedback). I continue to integrate each of these powerful modalities into my client work today.
Until one afternoon in Santa Rosa...at a Sufi retreat...I started to cry...and basically kept crying, for almost a week, as the past washed out of me...and when I stopped - I was new...I wasn't wild and crazy anymore...
In fact, I was deeply, profoundly calm...
But not just calm...I was filled with a palpable warm, rich, and radiant love...
And as I let this state fill my being, and my consciousness expand, there was no doubt - at some core, mysterious level, a healing had taken place.
Oh, there was still lots of work to do, for sure...a huge mountain to climb. It was full of struggle, missteps, and endless openings into self-awareness that were hard to confront, and challenging to walk through...but I persevered...and when I (constantly, dramatically) fell short, I did not allow myself to lose heart for too long. I cultivated fortitude, and a commitment to personal excellence...
And eventually, when I knew I had something to offer - a commitment to serving others.
I became a Shadhulliyya Sufi Teacher in 2003, and was ordained a Master Teacher by the head of Jerusalem's Higher Sufi Council in 2012. To learn more about what that means, click here.
All of which ultimately brought me here, writing this little bio page...a spirit on a journey, just like the beloved women and men I serve....
My current therapeutic focus is helping individuals and couples discover lives of joy and true freedom from the pain caused by dysfunctional habits of thought and behavior.
I have served business executives and artists, policemen and nurses...
And I have guided a great many through challenge and pain, to experience for themselves the profound depths of their own still mind, and the rich, untroubled, loving heart which beats within each of us...
I am proud to serve my community as a teacher and a healer. My love, care, and kindness is sincere. The passion and straight talk I bring to each session is founded on my own hard-won journey. My wisdom and insight are grounded in first-hand knowledge that if you are willing to take on the personal work, it is possible to create the life you deeply want.
I continue to seek out new insights and approaches which can lead my clients to a life in which they thrive.
To learn more about the Relationship Rescue services I offer click here.
To learn more about the One-On-One sessions I offer click here.
To contact me click here.
Hey, you should check out my blog! It's right here at rayriversbeyondtherapyblog.com