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Philadelphia Therapist Embraces Spirituality in Counseling

CFR is thrilled to have L. Stewart Barbera Jr., a Philadelphia therapist, as a valued member of our team. Read more about Stewart’s therapeutic approaches, goals, and training.


Infographic for blog about Philadelphia therapist L Stewart Barbera Jr., titled 'Community Partnerships Initiative' by the Council for Relationships. It lists seven key aspects of the initiative: 1. Trauma healing and wellbeing improvement, symbolized by a heart with a bandage. 2. Fostering healthy relationships, represented by two hands shaking. 3. Eliminating barriers to mental health care, depicted by a target with an arrow at the center. 4. Cost-free services, indicated by a downward trending graph with a dollar sign. 5. Diverse therapy options, symbolized by a menu icon. 6. Wide range of therapeutic focuses, represented by a magnifying glass over a document. 7. Community partner support, shown with two figures moving a block together. The website 'www.councilforrelationships.org/CPI' is provided at the bottom.

Click here for further information about CPI.

Being a Therapist in the Philadelphia Area is a Tremendous Privilege

I have used my social work and psychology background to work with kids, teens, and adults for over 30 years. Currently, I run a counseling practice and teach psychology and social work to undergraduates as an adjunct instructor.

As my work changed, I became more interested in spirituality and its effect on our emotions and overall health. I earned an advanced certificate in spiritual direction.

I appreciate the diversity of tasks in my work. Every day is different and filled with new opportunities to grow, learn, and serve. As a therapist in Philadelphia, I am grateful to help clients live fulfilling and busy lives.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be a part of the CFR community. For a long time, when people asked for a Philadelphia therapist recommendation, I always mentioned CFR. I have heard about CFR’s great reputation for counseling and training since I started my career.

Several years ago, I attended a workshop led by Dr. Nancy Isserman. The workshop focused on understanding military culture and providing mental health care for military personnel and their families. Inspired by the workshop, I applied for a part-time therapist job at CFR. Dr. Isserman showed dedication, knowledge, professionalism, and genuine support to everyone at the workshop.

I joined CRF because their mission matches my values. I want to provide good care and help people learn throughout their lives. This includes counseling for military personnel, their families, and marginalized groups. CRF offers mental health services like the Community Partnership Initiative and Operation Home & Healing.

At CFR, we value caring, dedication, and excellence. I consider it a special privilege to be part of the CFR community.


Welcoming Spirituality and CBT to the Therapy Room

Every clinician has their gifts and talents. I use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in counseling, which values the role of relationships in our lives.

My holistic counseling approach, blending CBT, relationship building, lifestyle guidance, and optional spirituality integration, caters to clients’ diverse needs.

You should genuinely feel accepted, understood, and hopeful. Developing a strong working relationship with you is key to helping you achieve your goals.

The first meeting is for us to discuss why you want therapy and for me to understand your unique needs. We will engage in discussions about your aspirations for improvement. Like every session, the first session is an active and collaborative process.

My goal after the initial session is for you to feel accepted. I also hope we can agree on the therapy goals and discuss how to achieve them.

After our initial session, I will better understand your concerns. We will have identified specific actions for you to take in the upcoming week.


Therapy works.

Therapy is a collaborative process based on research that assists you in achieving your goals. It can help you reduce anxiety and depression, improve relationships, and better handle various demands and stress. Therapy empowers you to lead more fulfilling, joyful, peaceful, and satisfying lives.

Therapy helps you understand yourself, build strengths, and learn new skills to handle future challenges and opportunities.

I establish a strong bond, valuing and aiding you towards your goals. We’ll define therapy objectives, understand problem-causing factors, and create a daily action plan for achieving these goals.

This combination of strong rapport and agreement on the goals and steps of therapy helps clients achieve their goals. For instance, I try to help clients discover and develop their strengths and explore how we can leverage them in therapy. We learn new skills and gain new insights by reading books like Mind over Mood.

Learn to challenge negative thoughts to understand your situation better and improve problem-solving skills for better results. I’ll help you live healthier, reach goals, and have better relationships. I might work with your doctor to improve sleep and exercise.


Advice for Someone Hesitant about Starting Therapy

Many feel ambivalent about starting therapy. If you’re thinking about therapy but unsure if you’re ready, here are some things to think about:

  • Therapy helps with anxiety, depression, sleep problems, PTSD, and improving relationships, according to research.
  • Facing life’s challenges alone isn’t mandatory. Personalized therapy offers a unique, supportive professional relationship that can enlighten and promote personal growth.
  • Consider the advantages and drawbacks. Taking notes on the potential pros and cons of starting therapy might be useful. Reflecting on both lists is important.

If you are unsure about starting therapy, consider contacting a potential therapist and requesting a brief phone consultation. Speak with them about what you are interested in addressing, how they approach therapy and any questions you might have.


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L. Stewart Barbera Jr. (pictured here) is a CFR Staff Therapist

Philadelphia therapists, like Stewart, are accepting new clients. Want to book an appointment?

Philadelphia therapist L. Stewart Barbera Jr., PsyD, MSW, accepts new clients online and in person. Contact Stewart if you have questions about mental health issues or want to request an appointment. 

See our Therapist & Psychologist Directory to find a therapist or psychiatrist near you.


More from CFR

Explore more from our expert therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Check out the CFR Expert Voices blog for great mental health advice and insight.

Using Spirituality to Improve Mental Health

Marriage and Family Therapist in Philadelphia Aspires to Empower

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