“We do not have to be slaves to our own minds. We can make changes at any time,” says Dan Guerra, Psy.D., a leading expert in behavioral change and stress management. Dr. Guerra’s innovative treatments help people emerge better versions of themselves so they’re more fulfilled in their personal relationships, successful in their careers, and they enjoy an overall improvement in the quality of their lives.
Dr. Guerra’s unique approach draws on traditional psychotherapy, Eastern philosophy, mind-body approaches, and the dramatic arts to tailor treatments to his clients. His tireless pursuit of healing and freeing people from negative behavioral patterns has led him down many different avenues. Dr. Guerra is a psychologist, psychotherapist, mindfulness meditation teacher, educator, executive coach, playback theatre actor, author, and public speaker. “What unites this list is a commitment and desire to address emotional suffering, and to address the personal and professional effectiveness of individuals and groups,” he says.
He has studied Western and Eastern approaches to wellness with equal fervor, bridging the great thought divide between classical analysis and more contemplative practices through a refreshingly pragmatic “whatever works, for whom, when, and under what circumstances” treatment approach. “I believe in solutions to problems so I prefer to keep all options open and see how different schools of thought work together,” he says. “I also believe that people have significant inner resources and strengths that guide them toward healing and growth.”
One fundamental of Dr. Guerra’s work is the mind-body connection. He sees many physical ailments as having a strong relationship to the ways people think. “A lot of people who live with a chronic pain or other medical condition tend to hold on to a lot of stress in the body and mind. This can contribute to depression and anxiety. Let’s say there is a back injury and their career is compromised, but working is a strong part of their identity. So now they may be frustrated and angry, perhaps fighting with their spouse or loved ones, and taking a lot of pain medication. They seek medical treatment and need surgery and maybe the surgeon needs to remove a vertebrae, or fuse their spine, and they’re still not back to work and they’re tense and anxious and depressed. It’s a chicken and egg problem — the medical problem may be upheld by anxiety and anxiety may exacerbate the medical problem. They may go back to their physician and have multiple surgeries because that may be all they know is available to them to deal with the problem.”
Dr. Guerra maintains a successful private practice and an active calendar as an executive coach. His breakthrough work in the corporate sector helps companies see the value in developing their employees across the matrix of organizations. He has coached over 500 managers of top companies across the globe in leadership skills that include gaining personal awareness, influencing, and learning better self-management to be more effective leaders. “The connection between executive coaching and clinical work is that aspect of human nature that reaches for positive change and greater effectiveness,” he explains.
Dr. Guerra brings nearly twenty years of experience and distinguished academic accreditation to his work. Dr. Guerra received a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in behavioral and neuroscience research from Franklin & Marshall College. He completed his masters and doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has completed a certificate program with the Executive Coach Academy in New York City, is certified in the WholeBrain Creativity NBI™ (Neethling Brain Instrument Assessments), and is qualified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator© (MBTI©), the Bar-on Emotional Quotient-Inventory (EQ-i©), and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). Daniel is a member of the ORGDYNE Coach Consultants Consortium. He was on staff as a rehabilitation psychologist at NYU Medical Center: The Rusk Institute from 2000-2003, a faculty member at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine from 2004-2011 and a consulting psychologist for Beth Israel Medical Center from 2004-2011. In 2001, he co-authored a manual that guides mental health clinicians on how to address the needs of first responders to disasters based on the events surrounding 9-11.
His progressive spirit has led him to some pioneering work. For 15 years he has taught mindful meditation courses which apply the basic tenets of classical and Hatha yoga to health and well being. He is also a member of Village Playback Theatre, a form of theatre that since the 1970s has used improvisation to reenact the personal stories of those often underserved and underrepresented including the mentally ill, prison populations, and those who have experienced social injustice. “We invite people from the audience to tell their story and then we perform it for them in real time through improvisation, acting, and music. These performances can range from someone shouting out that they had a bad day at work [everyday life experiences], or someone reciting a 20-minute story with all of its dynamism, complexities, and often, emotional pain. It’s a cathartic experience for these audience participants which often leaves them feeling validated and understood,” Dr. Guerra explains.
Currently, Dr. Guerra, along with a colleague, is writing a book, an accessible guide on good self care practices and stress management. ” All of us experience stress daily on some level and often ignore the basic fundamentals of good self care. What does it mean to manage stress well and care for oneself adequately? I want anyone who picks this book up to find something that resonates with them that they can easily integrate into their daily life,” Dr. Guerra explains. The practical tools in this book (in its final stages of edits, scheduled to be released in 2013) are the culmination of years of research, informed experiences, and decades of direct contact with individuals and groups to create a psychology of health and well being. The unifying goal in all of my professional work is to help others lead a richer, more satisfying life.”