Szifra Birke
December 03, 2016
Szifra Birke

What Szifra Birke Can Offer You

Szifra’s approach to therapy respects who you are. She has expertise in traditional therapeutic approaches as well as more active, goal-oriented methods. Not only does she have years of experience in tailoring therapy to clients’ needs, she takes real satisfaction in finding a model that works well for you. This thoughtful flexibility is a hallmark of her practice. Clients call her “very helpful” and “easy to relax with.”

Szifra has substantial experience with:

Adult Children of Alcoholics

Adults who grew up in families with alcoholism.

Together We Heal Book

You may have lived with a great deal of inconsistency, unpredictability and tension if you grew up in a family with alcoholism or drug dependency. You may have gotten blamed for your alcoholic parent’s drinking or told never to tell anyone about what went on in your home. Many children grow up "knowing" they can never do anything right, that everyone else has the about how life works or that they are somehow defective.

Szifra can assist you gain perspective on how your parent's alcoholism or drug dependence has affected your relationships, your work life, your self-esteem and your sense of being defective. You will learn to increase your ability to be comfortable with yourself, your children or friends, your coworkers. You can actually learn to trust yourself and other people more.

Szifra is a pioneer in this field, having started a group for adult children of alcoholics before the therapeutic community saw the need. She co-wrote a book, Together We Heal, for individuals from alcoholic and high stress families. A new version of the book was released in the fall of 2004.

People in long-term recovery from any kind of addiction

You may have freed yourself from addiction but find you are still not happy or comfortable with yourself, or in your relationships or work. Or you may have picked up another compulsion. Szifra can help on issues on a deeper level than is possible in a 12-step program.

Adults who grew up in high-stress families (typically called “dysfunctional”)

If you grew up in a high-stress family, you may suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or problems with relationships. Szifra can help you identify the problems and develop tools you can use to improve the quality of your life and your relationships.

Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (with or without hyperactivity)

You may find your life is hindered by difficulties in keeping your attention focused or your life organized. Szifra has been working with adults with ADD for almost 20 years. Many of her clients have full spectrum ADD, pieces of the disorder, or are disorganized, distractible, etc., even if they don’t have ADD or ADHD per se. There is a significant incidence of ADD in her family, giving her a strong experiential background in dealing with this disorder.

People dealing with aging relatives, especially with parents who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

If you have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you know how challenging it is to deal with the changes in your relationship. You may act and feel like an adult in other relationships, but it can be difficult to be the adult with your own parents. Szifra will help you develop and maintain the new adult role you now need to assume. There is a special language we have to learn to speak with an aging parent, especially when that parent has dementia. Szifra’s clients have found that learning this language makes things much easier, more satisfying and improves the quality of their mother or father’s life. People also learn to stay emotionally quiet in the face of old family patterns.


Szifra’s straightforward manner and approach helps men, who are uncomfortable with traditional therapy, relax and accomplish their goals. If you feel that because you’re a man, you shouldn’t have to ask for help, you may be surprised at how right it feels, and yes, even enjoyable, to finally have a place to talk about what you’re thinking and feeling. Therapy is really just a setting, free of judgments or repercussions, where you can work things out with someone who is experienced, knowledgeable and working for your best interests.

Police Officers

Szifra has worked extensively in individual and family therapy with officers from the Massachusetts State Police and local municipalities. She has also consulted with police departments in particularly challenging circumstances. If you’re a police officer, you may find yourself dealing with unique issues as a result of the job, the self-reliance you’ve been taught, and the culture within the police force that discourages asking for help. Szifra has been there with other officers and her straightforward approach will make it easier to find a way through the issues.

Families with Wealth or Concerns about Money

Those with substantial financial resources know that wealth doesn’t solve problems and in fact creates numerous challenges for individuals, parents and families. Szifra has helped many people, who are faced with the decisions and difficulties associated with both earned and sudden wealth, develop strategies to address the needs of their children, partners, extended families and social priorities. It can be a relief to have someone who truly understands the issues help you focus and plan. Szifra has the experience to help.

Please email Szifra or call 978-446-9600 to set up an appointment or to talk about whether her approach is right for you.