Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drs. Chris Cortman and Harold Shinitzky: Knowing Your Own Mind

Dr. Shinitzky (L) and Dr. Cortman (R)

If you’ve ever felt that something was preventing you from living life to the fullest, two Florida psychologists have a prescription that might be just what the doctor ordered. Doctors Chris Cortman and Harold Shinitzky have combined more than 80,000 hours of clinical experience into Your Mind: An Owner’s Manual for a Better Life, a book that will help readers understand how the mind works by examining “ten simple truths that will set you free.”
The idea was the brainchild of Dr. Cortman, a Sarasota psychologist specializing in the treatment of emotional trauma, relationship problems, depression and anxiety. After twenty years of clinical practice, Cortman identified ten common issues shared by most of his patients and ten interventions to effectively deal with them. He decided to incorporate this information into a book.  A short time later, he attended a meeting of the Florida Psychological Association where the speaker was Dr. Shinitzky, a former faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Cortman was so impressed by the presentation that he decided to introduce himself. The two men quickly discovered that they shared common experiences, philosophies - even the same quirky sense of humor - so they decided to collaborate on the book. To Cortman’s original ideas, Shinitzky added his own evidence-based research and clinical anecdotes. Over the next several years, the men became what Shinitzky describes as “two psychologists with one brain.”  
Their mutual respect and admiration enabled Cortman and Shinitzky to avoid the pitfalls that plague other co-authors. According to Cortman, “Working with such a bright, intelligent guy, I worried about being able to disagree without hurt feelings. But Harold made it easy.” Shinitzky  agrees. “The partnership of two doctors without ego issues was so much fun. Writing together was a delight, never an intrusion.” It has also resulted in an immensely readable, common-sense look at the problems that prevent people from enjoying healthy relationships and fulfilling lives.  Shinitzky hopes the book will help readers “go from passive to active participants in their own healing and growth.” Cortman believes that the book presents “simple, yet life-changing concepts” that will enlighten readers and give them insights into their behavior.
Since the release of Your Mind: An Owner’s Manual for a Better Life, the good doctors have lost no time embarking on new projects. In addition to their full-time psychological practices, they have converted the information from their book into a youth prevention curriculum that Shinitzky presented to the National Dropout Prevention Conference. The two hope to form a non-profit organization promoting what they call their “Social Black Belt Youth Curriculum.” Shinitzky has also launched an internet patient resource website, “Able Village,” to connect disabled patients to providers they need for comprehensive care. He is the consulting sports psychologist for “Athlete Connections,” a program that helps student athletes transition to life after sports, and has recently been tapped to be consulting psychologist for the Animal Planet show, “Fatal Attractions.”  
For his part, Cortman has been presenting on a multitude of topics to many professional associations and organizations. He recently participated on a panel with Jane Pauley as part of Sarasota’s Community Mental Health program. He also writes a monthly column, “The Couch,” for Venice Magazine. In addition, the charismatic duo have their own half-hour weekly radio show, “Your Mind Matters,” produced by the Health and Wellness Channel, and are planning for the launch of a nightly television show on HWC this spring.  They have recently received an offer to publish their second book, The Age of Anxiety: Protecting Yourself From The 21st Century Epidemic of Stress, Fear and Worry.
Despite their enormous professional demands, Cortman and Shinitzky recognize the importance of having fun. Cortman enjoys spending time with his wife and three children (including new baby son Dylan.) Shinitzky, who was recently named “Outstanding Psychologist” for his contributions to the Florida Psychological Association, likes to travel, play tennis, and visit with family. But whatever the future may hold for Doctors Cortman and Shinitzky, readers everywhere will benefit from being able to improve their lives by finally having an owner’s manual for their minds.
For more information, you can visit the authors’ websites: drshinitzky.com (Dr. Shinitzky) and srqshrink.com (Dr. Cortman).  

Next: Julie Compton - The Story Behind the Story