I’m Michael Murphy, and I’d like to let you know about some of my personal and professional influences.
I am a native of Washington, D.C., and grew up in McLean, Virginia – enjoying all the delights of the East Coast! As the eldest of five kids, I witnessed and experienced a lot of change in my family — wonderful as well as painful changes. I learned to be very observant and to listen carefully to what was being said – as well as to what was not being said. Soon after I left home, I learned that my wonderful dad had the disease of alcoholism. I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t fit the stereotype. He began to attend AA meetings, and I started to read about alcoholism and about Adult Children of Alcoholics. Much became clear about how we kids had adapted, how we had learned to live with the problem – how alcoholism truly is a family disease. Addiction has a long reach! It impacts anyone involved with the affected person.
Before I became a psychotherapist, I had a career in theatre – producing and directing plays in the D.C. area. (Some of them were about addiction). I soon began training in psychodrama – a rich form of group therapy using role play. For me, psychodrama was the bridge between a career in theatre and my career in therapy. (Real-life dramas became more compelling!) My first job in the clinical field was in Leesburg, Virginia, at an in-patient treatment center for alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health. I felt I was in the career I had been heading toward all my life, so I decided to return to school to get the education and the credentials I needed to progress in this field. I earned my Masters of Social Work Degree at Catholic University.
Soon after graduation, Nashville’s Baptist Hospital (now St.Thomas Midtown Hospital) offered me a counseling position at their in-patient alcohol and drug treatment program – first as a counselor, later as coordinator of their family program. I became licensed in the state of Tennessee and began to develop a private practice, which has continued for 20 years. I now have international certification as a group psychotherapist, and I facilitate groups in my office.
I have always been curious and interested in relationships – my own as well as other people and their relationships. My interest and curiosity guide me today in my clinical work as a psychotherapist. I enjoy ongoing learning and have had professional training in many areas, most recently Family and Systemic Constellations, Gottman Technique and Brainspotting. My greatest learning, however, has come from my clients.