James Fitzgerald Therapy, PLLC

James Fitzgerald, MS, NCC, LCMHC

Strengthening Your Conscious Self © 2022


A Guided Meditation

An Inspirational Quote

“Health is a daily practice, not a 30 day diet.”

Daily Reflection Question Journal Prompt

“What new experience of myself am I having?”

Daily Self Care Suggestion

Listen to a song you haven’t heard since your adolescence. Watch a movie or TV show you haven’t seen since your childhood.

Daily Blog Post

Unmasking the Mind: Understanding Cognitive Biases and Their Influence on Our Decision-Making

Cognitive biases: they’re the unseen forces that shape our perception of reality, guide our decision-making, and, sometimes, lead us astray. The term ‘cognitive bias’ may seem intimidating, but in essence, it refers to the systematic errors in our thinking that impact our judgments and decisions. These psychological phenomena are powerful, pervasive, and, quite often, problematic. Understanding and identifying cognitive biases can revolutionize how we make decisions and perceive the world around us.

**What are Cognitive Biases?**

Cognitive biases are mental shortcuts or ‘heuristics’ that our brains employ to speed up decision-making. These biases can be triggered by various factors, including information overload, emotional and moral motivations, social influences, or time pressures. While these shortcuts are necessary and often useful, they can also significantly distort our understanding of reality, limit our objectivity, and lead to irrational decisions.

**The Impact of Cognitive Biases on Our Decision-Making**

Cognitive biases shape our thinking in many ways and can subtly manipulate our decision-making process. For instance, the ‘confirmation bias’ leads us to favor information that confirms our existing beliefs while dismissing evidence that contradicts them. This bias can cause us to make hasty and ill-informed decisions because we only consider a subset of relevant information. The ‘availability heuristic,’ another common bias, leads us to base our decisions on information that is easily retrievable or recent in our memory. This can distort our perspective of the likelihood of an event and lead to decisions that are disproportionately influenced by immediate or vivid instances.

**How to Counteract Cognitive Biases**

Awareness is the first step towards counteracting cognitive biases. By understanding these biases, we can become more conscious of our mental processes and question our initial judgments and decisions. Diversifying our perspectives can also be incredibly beneficial. Seeking out alternative viewpoints, arguments, and information can help counteract the confirmation bias and promote a more balanced view of the situation. Moreover, adopting a critical and questioning attitude can help mitigate the effects of cognitive biases. This involves challenging our assumptions, scrutinizing the basis of our beliefs, and being open to changing our minds based on new evidence.

**Conclusion: The Journey to Clearer Thinking**

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate cognitive biases, being aware of them offers us a powerful tool to improve our thinking and decision-making. Recognizing these inherent mental shortcuts can enhance our understanding of ourselves and others, improve our relationships, and lead to better, more informed decisions. Cognitive biases are not our enemies. They are an integral part of our human cognition, which evolved over thousands of years to help us navigate a complex and uncertain world. But, with awareness and effort, we can ensure they serve us, not mislead us, as we strive towards clearer, more effective thinking.



James Fitzgerald Therapy, PLLC

James Fitzgerald, MS, NCC, AAP, Psychotherapist

Strengthening Your Conscious Self © 2022

Counselor’s Journal

Website Updates Coming Soon

Hello, I will continue working on the following pages:

  • Individual Therapy Plan
  • Couple’s Therapy Plan
  • Family Therapy Plan
  • Internal Family Systems
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Polyvagal Theory

Continuing Education & Professional Development

Hello, I will be studying:

  • Advanced Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor’s Examination
  • Couple’s Therapy Continuing Education Certificates
  • Family Therapy Continuing Education Certificates
  • Internal Family Systems Continuing Education Certificates
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy Continuing Education Certificates
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy Continuing Education Certificates
  • Polyvagal Theory Continuing Education Certificates

Changes Happening in 2023

Hello, my private practice will be changing:

Once my supervision hours are complete, I will become a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, sometime in May 2023. I will be submitting my application to become a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor, dependant on completing supervised hours and passing the exam.

I am transitioning practice management software from MyClientPlus to Therapy Notes LLC. For a time, clients will have access to both client portals. I will also be submitting applications to be paneled with the existing insurance companies I already bill through.

I will continue making improvements to my website and to my Quenza client engagement app account. More activities, more assessments, more surveys, more tools, more videos, more audio files, until I have a complete library of counseling resources.

I will be creating as much of my own content as I can, that is realistically achievable. I will be embracing and using platforms that run on advanced algorithmic artificial intelligence software, with lifelike avatars in the presentations. (OpenAI and Synthesia).


Please check out the following YouTube creator and influencer Dr. Andrew Huberman (The Huberman Lab)

Please consider reading the book “Dopamine Nation” by Dr. Anna Lemke

Please consider reading the following Psychology Today blog article: What Happens in Therapy?

Please consider reading the following Good Therapy blog article: Coping Skills

Please visit my resource pages for more book suggestions, videos, and audio recordings. 

Disclaimer: I pay for a directory listing on Psychology Today and Good Therapy, and don’t receive compensation or consideration for sharing links to their websites. I make no claims or statements regarding the accuracy, reliability, or validity of other professional’s views and content.

Please check back in on the website and apps often



This will be the first entry of many in the months and years to come. The general public, potential clients, new clients, existing clients, and previous clients can check in to my site for updates on my progress.


James Fitzgerald Therapy PLLC (Website Construction)

I made updates on several pages. The resources page has a new look and feel. The suggested book page now includes links to purchase books on Amazon. I am now an Amazon affiliate partner.


Strengthening Your Conscious Self

I made updates on several pages. The introduction to the modules page has a new look and feel. The physical domain table of contents page has a new look and feel.


Licensing Progress

In addition to passing the National Counselors Examination (NCE), I have also now passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Examination (NCMHCE). NBCC and PEARSON administered and proctored the tests. I will now be studying to take the ICRC LADC test sometime next year. My supervised clinical service hours for the CMHC license will be completed sometime in April of 2023. My supervised clinical service hours for the ADC license will be completed sometime in February of 2024.


The Goal: achieve the following credentials for my title, “James Fitzgerald, MS, LCMHC, LADC, NCC”


This week’s theme:

“Unless you learn how to love yourself, you will subconsciously sabotage every relationship you attempt.” “You have no control over what other people believe, their assumptions, how they perceive the world, or their feelings, thoughts, emotions, and actions.” So set those boundaries confidently, and make those requests assertively.


“Self” directed exploration and “shadow” work.


Internal Family Systems Therapy
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions such as anger and shame, and parts that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts. The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core Self, a concept that describes the confident, compassionate, whole person that is at the core of every individual. IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self.

When It’s Used
IFS therapy is used to treat individuals, couples, and families. It is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective for treating a variety of conditions and their symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, phobias, panic, and physical health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improving general functioning and well-being.

What to Expect
IFS is talk therapy in which you work with a therapist to identify and understand the specific sub-personalities or families that make up your internal mental system. Once you identify these parts, the therapist will help you acknowledge your feelings about these suppressed emotions, learn how to release these feelings so you are freer to address the actual problem, and ultimately find more positive ways to manage conflicts on your own. The therapist may suggest certain tools to help you do this, such as relaxation exercises, visualization, keeping a journal, and creating a chart that illustrates the relationship between Self and the different parts of you.

How It Works
IFS was developed in the 1990s by family therapist Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., who developed the concept of an undamaged core Self that is the essence of who you are, and identified three different types of sub-personalities or families that reside within each person, in addition to the Self. These include wounded and suppressed parts called exiles, protective parts called managers, that keep the exiled parts suppressed, and other protective parts called firefighters, that distract the Self from the pain of exiled parts when they are released. For example, an exiled part may be the trauma and anger of earlier abuse, emotions that are suppressed by the manager, while the firefighter may be an alcohol addiction or behavior such as overeating that distracts the client from facing and re-experiencing those uncomfortable emotions. These parts can be healed, transformed, and better managed by the Self by achieving the three goals of IFS:

1) Free the parts from their extreme roles

2) Restore trust in the Self

3) Coordinate and harmonize the Self and the parts, so they can work together as a team with the Self in charge.

What to Look for in an IFS Therapist
Look for a licensed psychotherapist, social worker, counselor or other mental health professional with advanced training in IFS therapy. The Internal Family Systems Center for Self-Leadership conducts training programs. Look for a therapist with IFS training. In addition to licensing and educational credentials, it is important to find a therapist with whom you are comfortable working.

The Center for Self Leadership. Evolution of the Internal Family Systems Model by Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.    

Shadick NA, Sowell NF, Frits ML, et al. A randomized controlled trial of an internal family systems-based psychotherapeutic intervention on outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis: a proof-of-concept study. Journal of Rheumatology. August 2013.

Foundation for Self Leadership: IFS, an Evidence-Based Practice