About Curtis

Curtis Graf, Ph.D. has specialized for more than thirty years in Carl Rogers's person-centered approach as a licensed professional in New York, New Mexico, and Vermont. From 1978 until Rogers's death in 1987, Curtis worked with Dr. Rogers staffing nine residential workshops, launching the first person-centered training program, and co-founding the Center for Interpersonal Growth. Dr. Rogers also served on the committee for Curtis's doctoral dissertation from SUNY, Stony Brook, which compared the self theory of Carl Rogers and Heinz Kohut. In recent years, Curtis has integrated Rogers's humanistic psychology and Dzogchen Buddhism. Relocating to Brattleboro in 2004 fulfilled a long-term dream of Curtis's to live in Vermont and still be near his family including four grandchildren living on Long Island, New York.

Providing Individual Psychotherapy and Counseling, Blending Humanistic and Buddhist Psychologies:

Imagine being in the care of an experienced mental health practitioner who genuinely relates to you and strives to understand and accept you just as you are. In his unconditional presence, you will not be judged and pushed, but nurtured and trusted to confront at your own pace the obstacles that prevent you from realizing your innate healing capacities, natural well-being, and full potential. WELCOME to a way of being with Curtis Graf!

Curtis has been committed to the application of the person-centered approach for 40 years. As a meditating psychotherapist and practicing Tai Chi he has integrated the psychologies of Rogers's approach and Buddhism as complementary ways of being. Curtis works with individuals of all ages, couples, families, and groups to provide:

Psychotherapy: For people needing to cope with specific and persistent issues such as depression, anxiety, emotional addiction, relationship issues, and stress.

Counseling: For those wanting to improve their motivation, self-confidence, and achieve personal and professional goals.

Living With Life-Threatening Illness: For people diagnosed with an illness such as cancer who need to reassess life's meaning and direction and cope with difficult feelings such as shock, denial, worry, anxiety, blame, depression, and so on.

Conscious Aging: For those in mid- and late-life who want to face with greater awareness, acceptance, and grace the necessary losses and limitations that aging brings.

People from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexuality are welcome. If insurance reimbursement is not an option for you, sliding scale fees can be negotiated to accommodate those with limited resources.

What clients have said about their experience with Curtis Graf:

"You got me through divorce, graduate school, and launching a career. Miracles Do Happen!"
-Rita, Long Island, NY

"My work with you was crucial in helping me to no longer see myself as a victim and successfully complete my doctorate. I thank you."
-Jocelyn, Albuquerque, NM

"My wife had to drag me to see you. But with your caring listening I realized that I needed to meet with you in order to meet my self."
-Douglas, Albuquerque, NM

"Life continues to get better and better. Thank you so much for helping that to happen"
-Robert, Brattleboro, VT

"Unlike my previous therapists, you actually talked to me and sincerely cared about me. Because of my work with you, I have made many changes in my life. I am eternally grateful."
-Jane, Santa Fe, NM

Providing Person-Centered Continuing Education

Dr. Graf has made continuing education for mental health practitioners a major focus of his professional life. In 1980, with Carl Rogers's involvement, Curtis, Peggy Natiello and Ruth Sanford launched the first continuing education program for mental health professionals utilizing Rogers's approach.

Carl Rogers (far left) pictured with Ruth Sanford, Curtis Graf, and Peggy Natiello in 1980 on Long Island, NY where they staffed the first continuing education training in the person-centered approach.

The New York training program thrived for seven years until Rogers's death in 1987, after which Curtis and Peggy Natiello staffed continuing education trainings in Arizona and New Mexico until 2002, when Curtis began offering continuing education trainings in Vermont. From decades of providing continuing education to hundreds of mental health practitioners, Curtis is convinced that person-centered group training is the ideal format for practicing psychotherapists and counselors to enhance their ability to offer present-centered, nonjudgmental mindfulness, and the healing power of natural presence.

The first training group is pictured here in Port Jefferson, NY in 1981 with Curtis, his colleagues, and Carl Rogers (front row center) among the group of 21 mental health practitioners.

Providing Person-Centered Programs for Seniors

Curtis first learned about care-giving loved ones when he became a caregiver for his aging parents. Caring for his parents led Curtis to his professional work with older adults in New Mexico where he directed the Peer Counseling Program for Seniors for nine years. This work was fully funded by Albuquerque's Area Agency on Aging and the McCune Charitable Foundation of Santa Fe.

From 2003 to 2016, Curtis chose to work with older adults who were caregivers for family, most often aging and disabled spouses. Curtis launched the successful Albuquerque program, Caregiver Retreats, funded by the Area Agency On Aging, City of Albuquerque. The one-day retreats were always free of charge to caregivers 65 years of age or older.

Caregivers Also Have Needs: When loved ones develop chronic physical illness or dementia, their escalated needs easily overwhelm family caregivers, who gradually put aside their own needs to be available for the "36-hour day." When stressful situations are prolonged for years, it is understandable that caregivers burnout from exhaustion, frustration, isolation, and despair.

Everyone tells caregivers to take care of themselves, but to actually put their own needs first, even for an hour or a day, is a very real challenge. Not only does it require finding the time, it also means facing the guilt that stops a lot of caregivers, "How can I be so selfish?" Fortunately for all concerned, some do overcome the challenge.

People rarely anticipate becoming a caregiver for their parent, spouse, or any other loved one, and are typically ill-prepared for the challenge. Love, duty, and concern motivate caregivers, but the best intentions don't eliminate the potential for stress and emotional conflicts.

Talking to Someone who Understands Does Help: Some caregivers have family or friends they can talk to, but more often than not either the people closest to them can't listen because of their own conflicting feelings. Some caregivers refuse to talk about their struggles because they fear being a burden. Our one-day group retreats provided a rare opportunity for caregivers to be free of care-taking responsibilities and to have the luxury of time to talk with other caregivers in a safe and supportive group setting.

Here is what some caregivers wrote right after their retreat group ended:

"The group was very beneficial. Surprisingly, I no longer feel so alone as a caregiver!"

"I felt free to speak in the group about how my sisters and brother make taking care of Dad such a burden."

"I never realized how guilt stopped me from considering my self since my husband’s stroke."

"I did not realize how badly I needed to be in a group like this one until I came here today."

"The group helped me let out some sadness and tears that have been building. Such a relief!"

"No one in the group said I was a bad person to sometimes feel angry with my mother - sometimes they feel it too!"

"The whole experience has been wonderful, healing, and thought provoking. Thank you!"