Individual Therapy

Will Swift has offered individual psychotherapy in New York City since 1978.  As one of the founders of modern cognitive therapy, he is committed to helping you identify and change the stories you tell yourself so you can become more of the person you want to be. Please contact Dr. Swift at 212.517.6942 or to schedule an therapy session, or if you have questions.

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what is cognitive therapy?

Cognitive therapy is an active treatment in which the therapist teaches you specific techniques for change. The basic premise is that the way you interpret the events of your life has considerable impact on your feelings and behavior. Cognitive therapy can help you to identify and change the distorted interpretations which lead to painful feelings and self-defeating behaviors.

The goal of cognitive therapy is not just insight, but changing feelings and behavior. An important advantage of cognitive therapy is that you learn self-help techniques which you can use long after therapy is over.



Dr. Swift also uses Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy - the latest advance in cognitive therapy which he helped the founder, Dr. Jeffrey Young, to develop. This new form of therapy focuses on helping people break deeply ingrained negative patterns, known as "schemas" or "lifetraps," which prevent them from accomplishing their personal goals and meeting their deepest needs for intimacy and career success.

In this new therapy the best aspects of cognitive-behavioral, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic approaches are combined into one integrated treatment. Schema-Focused Therapy has shown remarkable results in helping people to make major life changes and become significantly happier even when other forms of therapy have been unsuccessful.

Schema-Focused Therapy consists of three stages. In the initial assessment phase schemas and behavior patterns are identified. In the next phase (the experiential phase) people get in touch with these schemas and learn how to spot them when they are operating in their day-to-day life. The final stage focuses on helping people make significant changes in their behavior so that they can replace negative thoughts and actions with healthy new thoughts and behaviors.

If you would like to learn more about this new therapy, you can buy a paperback copy of the popular book, Reinventing Your Life, by Dr. Jeffrey Young and Dr. Janet Klosko, or a copy of their book Schema Therapy: A Practitioner's Guide at most bookstores or at


  • Emotional Deprivation: The belief and expectation that your primary needs will never be met. The sense that no one will nurture, care for, guide, protect or empathize with you.
  • Abandonment: The belief and expectation that others will leave, that others are unreliable, that relationships are fragile, that loss is inevitable, and that you will ultimately wind up alone.
  • Mistrust/Abuse: The belief that others are abusive, manipulative, selfish, or looking to hurt or use you. Others are not to be trusted.
  • Defectiveness: The belief that you are flawed, damaged or unlovable, and you will thereby be rejected.
  • Social Isolation: The pervasive sense of aloneness, coupled with a feeling of alienation.
  • Vulnerability: The sense that the world is a dangerous place, that disaster can happen at any time, and that you will be overwhelmed by the challenges that lie ahead.
  • Dependence/Incompetence: The belief that you are unable to effectively make your own decisions, that your judgment is questionable, and that you need to rely on others to help get you through day-to-day responsibilities
  • Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self: The sense that you do not have an identity or “individuated self” that is separate from one or more significant others.
  • Failure: The expectation that you will fail, or belief that you cannot perform well enough.
  • Subjugation: The belief that you must submit to the control of others, or else punishment or rejection will be forthcoming.
  • Self-Sacrifice: The belief that you should voluntarily give up of your own needs for the sake of others, usually to a point which is excessive.
  • Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking: The sense that approval, attention and recognition are far more important than genuine self-_expression and being true to oneself.
  • Emotional Inhibition: The belief that you must control your self-expression or others will reject or criticize you.
  • Negativity/Pessimism: The pervasive belief that the negative aspects of life outweigh the positive, along with negative expectations for the future.
  • Unrelenting Standards: The belief that you need to be the best, always striving for perfection or to avoid mistakes.
  • Punitiveness: The belief that people should be harshly punished for their mistakes or shortcomings.
  • Entitlement/Grandiosity: The sense that you are special or more important than others, and that you do not have to follow the rules like other people even though it may have a negative effect on others. Also can manifest in an exaggerated focus on superiority for the purpose of having power or control.
  • Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline: The sense that you cannot accomplish your goals, especially if the process contains boring, repetitive, or frustrating aspects. Also, that you cannot resist acting upon impulses that lead to detrimental results.


As part of his individual therapy work, Dr. Swift also offers body-centered therapy sessions for clients who want to learn how to access their feelings more effectively, relax more fully and become more mindful in their daily lives. Dr. Swift's body-centered therapy services include yoga, meditation, breath work, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), a technique described in more detail below.


EMDR is a powerful new body-centered therapy for helping people recover from big and small traumas. The client focuses on an image of an upsetting event and Dr. Swift moves his fingers back and forth so that the client's eyes move from side to side. This rapid eye movement stimulates moving through old thoughts and feelings toward a comfortable resolution of past traumas, current conflicts and unhealthy patterns. Using EMDR techniques, Dr. Swift has helped clients work through complex traumatic events, including sexual abuse, fears, intimacy problems and self esteem issues.


To schedule a consultation with Will Swift or for more information please call (212) 517-6942 or email