The Taconic Counseling Group

Michael A. Westerman, Ph.D.


Michael A. Westerman, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, graduated from Harvard College and received his doctorate from the University of Southern California. His area of expertise is interpersonal relationships and he brings that to bear in his clinical work, which includes psychotherapy with adults, marital therapy, treatment of children and their families, helping people cope with the psychological consequences of chronic physical illness, and helping adolescents make the transition from high school to college. Dr. Westerman completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and clinical child psychology at the University of Denver. He is an Associate Professor in New York University's Psychology Department and a member of the Consulting Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Beth Israel Medical Center. He served as the Director of Clinical Training of NYU’s doctoral clinical psychology program. Dr. Westerman conducts research on psychotherapy and interpersonal behavior and has published over 40 articles in these areas and others. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of the journal Psychotherapy Research and he previously served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and the Journal of Research in Personality. Dr. Westerman is a member of the American Psychological Association, the New York State Psychological Association, the Hudson Valley Psychological Association, the Society for Psychotherapy Research, the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration, and the Society for Interpersonal Theory and Research.

Dr. Westerman practices in Fishkill.

Current Interests

My current clinical and research interests focus on an important and intriguing question about relationships (including dating relationships, marital relationships, and other family relationships): Why do some people relate to others in dysfunctional ways, even though this leads to disappointments and distress? I believe that a key part of the answer to this question has to do with defensive interpersonal behavior and the complicated ways in which it affects what happens in relationships. Defensive behavior contributes to vicious cycles in which people avoid clear-cut examples of the outcomes they most fear, but it also makes it more likely that subtle versions of the very events people are trying to avoid will occur. I am exploring these processes in an ongoing program of research, and I have found these ideas to be extremely useful in my clinical work with adults, children, and couples.


Click here to see Dr. Westerman's video "Some Things We Know about Psychotherapy."

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