Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Introduction - Who is Dr. D'Arienzo?
Week 1 / September 13, 2021
If Gordon Ramsay & Dr. Phil had a Baby
Dr. D’Arienzo (transcription): So, who am I? Really? The best way to explain who I am, imagine if Gordon Ramsay and Dr. Phil had a baby, I would be their baby child. It would be me – Dr. D’Arienzo.
I’m a clinical, forensic and business psychologist. What that means is I treat people clinically for psychological disorders, I work in the forensic realm as an expert witness or a court appointed evaluator and I help business people by doing employment type psychological testing or helping them with performance. A branch of the business is also sports psychology or performance type psychology.
Why did I become a psychologist? I mean, what a great time to be a psychologist. We’ve got the pandemic and all this mental health awareness where people are really interested in mental health. Finally, we’re accepting that there’s a mind body connection.
As a Psychologist, we’ve always known that there’s that MINDBODY connection but now everyone’s seeing it’s the same system! When you have physical problems, you have mental health problems. When you have mental health problems, you have physical problems.
It’s finally not embarrassing anymore to go to a psychologist and it’s really great! I mean, people – anybody, everybody – can knock on the door, come in and seek help. There’s no stigma like there used to be.
So, this is kind of interesting. Most psychologists and others with professional degrees often go straight through with school. I had a little bumpy road. I gotta tell you that I ruined my parents’ American dream.
I went off to College at Furman University for my undergraduate degree. I ended up in rehab, a halfway house and became a recovering alcoholic instead of an active one. I then became a construction worker for two years – working for a masonry engineering company and also a commercial painting company. And then I tell you what, I was like, I’m going back to school because this is exhausting.
Even though I knew that I could make a living that way, I still had this love for Psychology – especially now that I had really patched my life together and I still had all the memories of going to a psychologist many times as a kid. I went to the University of North Florida, got a job at a treatment center and finished my undergraduate degree. I then continued to work in the treatment field for a couple of years.
I was then accepted at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale in their doctorate of clinical psychology program – where I got my Masters and Doctorate degrees. After that, I was commissioned as a Naval Officer and joined the Navy as a Navy Psychologist for five years and traveled the world.
I had so many wonderful experiences while I was in the Navy. As I was often the only psychologist in the command, they would want me to do everything. The amazing thing is, what did I do? I kind of extrapolated that in private practice to doing everything, too.
In 2008, we opened up our first office. We remained in that office for maybe two years. I then bought a building and set up my first real office there. I started hiring people and expanded the business. This year, we opened up a second location. Both locations are in Jacksonville, Florida. The focus of the practice is doing clinical work or treating patient and doing forensic work or working with attorneys and Judges in the court system. We also work with lots of different companies doing evaluations and coaching.
What makes D’Arienzo Psychology different? What makes coming to me and working with me different? It’s like coming to a bravery factory. We teach you how to face your fears and be your best. I’m going to teach you how to be bold. We find the truth and we tell the truth.
Since I’ve been in private practice, one of my passions is working with couples and repairing relationships. As a Psychologist, I’m truly a relationship expert. Not only do I understand communication and interpersonal skills, I also understand psychopathology. If someone is suffering from a certain mental health challenge, I give them a diagnosis and provide the correct treatment so they can come back together in a more healthy place.
The great thing about working with couples is the fact that there are definitely generational ripple effects. If I can save a couple – especially if they have children – then I’m making an amazing impact on that entire family.
Speaking of couples, I just finished a manuscript for my first book. Now I don’t know what the main title is going to be because initially it was going to be “How Not to Fuck Up Your Life.” I don’t know if a lot of publishers are going to like that and I don’t want to alienate any readers – even though “How Not to Fuck Up your Life” is what it’s really about because who you choose will determine the rest of your life.
Relationships fail because of two reasons – incompatibility or at least one partner is really dysfunctional in the relationship. I’m hoping with this book, we’re going to help resolve those issues for lots of people.
It’s really exciting stuff and I’m just really thrilled that my life has taken lots of turn. What I know is that I was always focused on self-improvement. It’s building myself physically, mentally, spiritually and socially – just being a good human being and trying to be the best person that I can be.
I got to tell you, my family – Oh, my God we have lots of love! My wife’s name is Erica and she is the sister of my best friend growing up. It’s amazing but he (Shawn) – of course – didn’t want me to have anything to do with her when I was younger because of my dysfunctional behavior. But after patching my life together, he said “try it as long as you treat her well.” We now are the proud parents of four kids – two boys and two girls. I love my family and we spend lots of time together. I try to spend as much free time as I can.
That’s who I am and how I got here. The reason that I say that I am Dr. Phil and Gordon Ramsay’s baby is because most psychologists that you go to will just sit, listen to you and reflect what you say and you will often leave after spending many hours with them not having direction. I got to tell you, people that come to me, they want answers. I am empathetic. I do listen. I do reflect what you say, but I’m gonna give you a direction. If you’re in a bad relationship, I’m gonna tell you to stop. I’m gonna tell you to get out of it. If you’re exhibiting some dysfunctional behavior that is damaging to your family or damaging to your professional career, I’m gonna tell you to stop. Not only am I gonna tell you to stop, but I’m gonna tell you what to replace it with and what to do differently so you can then have everything that you truly want and deserve.