Meet Dr. Adam Miller

Dr. Adam Miller

What inspired you to pursue a career as a therapist?

I guess the most honest answer is that I was a sensitive young man early in life! Growing up in my generation, it seemed that boys were caught in the middle of being taught to be open to their emotions, while simultaneously being taught to disconnect from those emotions. As a result, I often felt lost and hopeless to find a path that made sense to me. 

As I got older, I slowly recognized that when I used that emotional openness to understand and empathize with others, I could connect with them. With that connection I could support, encourage, challenge, and generally help others in a way that felt very meaningful to me. Then, when I was in high school, my dad bought me a book, called The Complete Idiots Guide to Psychology, which still sits on my shelf today and introduced me to the idea that what was beginning to feel natural and meaningful could also be a career. In many respects, it is the path that has always made the most sense to me.

What is your favorite thing about being a therapist?

I personally love that I get to develop a unique kind of relationship with my clients.  It is a relationship in which I have the privilege of supporting others as they develop the motivation and confidence to explore their distress and pain. 

I view this process as inherently difficult and rewarding. It requires trust, openness and curiosity, and the courage to explore aspects of ourselves that we have been avoiding; often for very understandable reasons. Unfortunately, this avoidance often keeps us from taking the necessary steps to improve upon our circumstances and take control of what we can. We will still likely face the natural stresses of life, but when we accept and commit ourselves to facing our problems, we can often learn how to not only survive life, but we can learn to thrive. 

My favorite part of being a therapist is helping my clients navigate these very real challenges and supporting them as they transition from surviving to thriving in life. I enjoy helping my clients find personal meaning and satisfaction in their lives, to honor their authentic self. And at the end of the day, it just feels nice to be authentic and honest!

What are your specialties and what drew you to them?

As a psychotherapist, I enjoy addressing a wide variety of presenting concerns. I especially enjoy clinical work that emphasizes addressing concerns that are men and masculinity related. Although this work usually involves working with male identifying clients, I have found that clients who do not identify as male can still benefit from my perspective and focus on men’s issues. 

I love looking at men’s issues across the lifespan, ranging from clients in adolescence to older adulthood. Certainly, I would imagine my own personal experience and upbringing drew me to this specialty. However, I also believe that as I immersed myself professionally into the world of mental health, I started to recognize a need for a new way of approaching therapy with men. Within the context of men’s issues, I feel I bring a unique perspective and set of skills that can help men, young and old, to better understand themselves and others. 

I also think I can be helpful to their romantic partners, children, friends, and colleagues who perhaps struggle to understand their own experiences with men’s issues and would like to learn how they can better support themselves and the men in their life. In addition to this, I also enjoy working on issues related to career development, including work/life balance, and the integration of work and mental health.

How would you describe your therapeutic approach?

The foundation of my therapeutic approach is both integrative and evidence-based. I emphasize the relationship between client and therapist, and focus on the acceptance of and commitment to addressing personal challenges. I strive to create an environment of unconditional positive regard and support for my clients. 

With that in mind, the phrase I keep coming back to these days when describing my approach is, “empathic-accountability”. I work collaboratively with my clients to create a space where they feel safe and free of judgment, so they may begin exploring areas of their lives that have been too painful to process before. 

It is my experience that when we have relationships that help us safely look at ourselves without being made to feel judged, bad, or wrong, it becomes possible for us to take accountability to better ourselves, our relationships, and our sense of well-being.

What makes you unique as a therapist?

I think I bring a surprising amount of humor to my work with clients. It can be distressing to process our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs connected to some of the most difficult and complicated aspects of ourselves and our histories. At the same time, I think in the right context, where one feels safe, it can feel refreshing, relieving, and maybe even fun to explore some of these historically dark or complicated spaces. I think we are taught over time that understanding and addressing our problems is distressing and impossible. I also think we can learn to be more open, and access areas of our unconscious with curiosity… and lots of humor.

What is your favorite quote?

It has always been challenging for me to pick a favorite quote because I think it changes based on where I am at in life. Right now, I spend time reflecting on a quote by Nayyirah Waheed who says that, “It is being honest about my pain that makes me invincible”. It seems to me that when my clients (and myself) do the work in therapy to identify their pain, it is challenging, but it also seems to be freeing as well. As people begin to slowly own their pain and not run from it, they begin to develop the capacity to be around their pain and take intentional steps to better their well-being, health, relationships, and daily lives.

What is one thing that is important for anyone to know?

Sometimes, people blame themselves when they are experiencing stress. I believe it is important to understand that many of the sources of our distress are far more common to the overall human experience than some may realize in the moment. 

One explanation of distress that has always stood out to me explains that it occurs when we refuse to accept our current state. This could look like denying a physical space we occupy, rejecting our current emotional state, or otherwise refusing to acknowledge what we are currently experiencing. It makes sense that we do these things, because who wants to feel all of that distress!

People may internalize feelings of distress and anxiety as something being uniquely wrong within them, when really, distress is experienced by all of us and it is completely natural. Often, it is something completely out of our control. We must learn how to live with and accept this distress, in order to grow and bring about the positive change we desire in life. 

What is your take on a current social issue?

Well, as my area of specialization suggests, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the current state of men and masculinity. I believe this is a social issue that is not always discussed in the proper context.

I personally reject the notion that men are disinterested in therapy, personal growth, and developing strong and intimate relationships. I also see and recognize that over the previous several decades, men have been challenged by greater society to evolve, and for very necessary reasons. However, I think in the process of asking men to evolve, we have failed to offer men paths that honor their needs and help them grow to be the best version of themselves. I believe that psychotherapy is an opportunity to help men, and women, to find the path to be their authentic self. And that is what gets me excited for every session!

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or doing a brief phone consult with Dr. Miller please Contact our office.

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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