Michael Pavlak Ph.D
About ME
For Couples

Northcoast Mental Health Associates
3690 Orange Place, Suite 430
Beachwood, OH 44122



Therapy and My Practice

Personal Views

I bring over twenty-five years of experience in providing outpatient individual, marital, and family therapy to my work. My background also includes fifteen years as a consultant to an inpatient psychiatric unit and drug and alcohol treatment unit, university teaching, training and supervising marriage and family therapy students, college counseling, and conducting premarital and marriage enrichment groups.

I take an active, solution-focused approach to therapy. Our initial meeting will include an evaluation of your history and concerns to establish mutually agreed upon treatment goals. My approach to therapy is based on an integration of interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral methods, and a systems approach. This integrative framework allows me to draw on a number of treatment modalities to help you to discover, to build, and to support strengths and opportunities for change.

Clients can expect me to listen with care and empathy as well as comment on or question statements, emotions, and behaviors in a respectful and competent but also an honest manner. I frequently give homework to be done between sessions; this might be an article or website to read, actions to be taken, writing to do, or activities to try.

While I work with individuals and couples who are facing a variety of life challenges, I specialize in the following areas:


The path of self-discovery does not have to be unpleasant. In fact the more we understand our strengths, weaknesses and how we affect others, the closer we come to living a happier life with a deeper meaning.


Anxiety disorders are very common and include symptoms such as physical tension, rapid heart beat, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping, difficulty relaxing, excessive worry, and/or feelings of self-doubt.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety
  • Specific Phobia (e.g. flying, bridges, heights, etc.)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Mood disorders, such as depression, can be characterized by some of the following symptoms: feeling sad, loss of interest in daily activities, fatigue, social withdrawal, sleeping too much or sleeping too little, difficulty concentrating, eating too much or eating too little, and sometimes frequent thoughts of death or dying.

Bipolar disorders include: experiencing the depressive symptoms stated above as well as experiencing an elevated or euphoric mood, such as a manic episode or a hypomanic episode.


Stress can often be the result of exposure to difficult life events (e.g. relationships ending, loss of a job, serious accidents). These events make some feel that getting back to “normal” is “impossible.”


Relationship problems can occur at any time – prior to the marriage, during the first year of marriage, or even if the couple has been married for twenty years. Couples counseling can address the following areas, to name a few:

  • improving communication
  • learning problem resolution skills
  • increasing intimacy
  • successfully addressing often argued about topics such as money, parenting, work, etc.
  • recovery from affairs and infidelity
  • life transitions: moving in together, addition of children, retirement
  • building trust and commitment


Anger, denial, loss of self worth, loss of purpose, and difficulty with emotional separation can be common during the process of, or after, a divorce. Individual therapy to work through this transition period can be beneficial.