Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Maxwell Birdnow, and you can call me Max or Dr. B. I’m a psychologist in Missouri who joined this field to pursue my passion for helping clients live valued, meaningful, and workable lives in a world full of uncertainty and chaos. My goal is to help clients find internal and external ways of dealing with their distress while simultaneously growing their understanding and use of their own strengths.
I have particular interests in working with the LGBTQIA+ community; artists, musicians, and other creative folks; veterans; people experiencing anxiety and depression; and people with Borderline Personality Disorder and Cluster C Personality Disorders. My therapeutic style primarily integrates ACT, feminist therapy, positive psychology, and self-compassion. I also strive to incorporate evidence-based therapy modalities for specific disorders (for example, incorporating CBT for ADHD).
Prior to coming to therapy, my clients often find themselves caught up in an internal cycle characterized by negative thoughts about themselves, others, the world, and the future. They often come to therapy with a desire to better understand themselves and their distress, frequently asking, “Why are my usual ways of coping with things no longer working?” I want to help clients “expand their repertoire,” i.e., find new ways of dealing with distress that are workable for them and utilize their strengths. This can include developing mindfulness skills, social risk-taking, environmental stimulus management, or any other evidence-based intervention that may work for a particular client.
Importantly, I strongly believe there are circumstances when the burden of change should not be on the client. For example, clients should not have to learn to cope with the emotions related to race- or gender-based prejudice, yet this burden often falls exclusively on them. While I believe that coping with such distress is important, clients should also feel comfortable to openly acknowledge the effect oppressive power structures on their mental health and feel empowered to challenge these structures in ways that are safe and workable for them.
As a therapist, I specialize in building meaningful therapeutic relationships with clients and meeting them “where they’re at” while still challenging them to take charge. In other words, we are fellow travelers walking down the road of healing together. I have the knowledge, skills, and training to do this work, and clients are the world’s foremost experts on themselves; by exchanging our expertise, we can create mutual learning and understanding to figure out the most helpful way to tackle a specific issue.
Clients typically come to therapy very demoralized and “down on themselves”; seeking help is inherently thought of as a vulnerable position. I want to help clients work through the intense harshness with which they treat themselves and which often goes unspoken. I want to show them that seeking help shows strength and resilience and that together we can build on the strengths they already have.
Let’s take a deep breath because that was a lot of information. I hope that in reading this bio you see something that gets you energized about therapy and ready to take that next step. If that’s the case, we may be a great fit. I look forward to hearing from you!