Wayne Gersh, Ph.D.

A Message From Dr. Gersh, Clinical Director of WCBT

What makes me different from other mental health professionals?

Mental health treatment is entirely different from other forms of medical care.  There is a need for rapport and trust that may not be important for other specialties. I have been told countless times over thirty years that this quality really comes across to my patients.  To be able to focus on everything that is being stated, as well as understanding a patients facial and body posture helps me quickly identify areas of important interest.  Often I discover a critical issue when a patient changes their tone or utters a single word. This can speak volumes about their problem. They don't even realize they are actually revealing themselves with these automatic thoughts, and how they are expressing them.  Introducing this revelation when it occurs. has helped my patients recognize their problems more quickly.

People come to see me at first because they recognize (or have had someone tell them) that they need professional assistance with their concerns.  This reason works for just one or two sessions, and then they continue to come because they recognize that they are really being heard (possibly for the first time in their lives). It becomes clear very quickly that I can help them.  They feel a strong rapport and are both welcomed and respected regardless of what they have to say.  I often remind patients that they are never being judged and that they should feel completely at ease with whatever they need to discuss without censoring their words. It soon becomes clear that I listen to every word patients say, therefore I can help them  after they mention just one statement or word that brings greater clarity to their issues.

Why I Became A Psychologist

I often tell people the story of having recently discovered my old autograph book from primary school when graduating from the sixth grade.  In it I wrote that I wanted to become a doctor when I grew up.  I was always fascinated by science, and saw Dr. Albert Schweitzer (who delivered medical treatment) in Africa. as a role model.  In college reality struck as I found most science courses, such as botany, zoology, organic chemistry boring and basically consisting of rote memorization (far from my forte).  In my sophomore year, I started with introductory psychology not knowing much about it, but when I hit the section on abnormal behavior and treatment I was hooked!  Even though it wasn't required, I read the textbook in its entirety for the final examination.  After the exam, one of my fellow students told me that the professor was looking for me. When I fianlly saw him, he wanted to know if I wanted to become a psychologist since I had recorded the highest grade on his final examination that he had ever seen! The rest is history, as they say.  I started a research and a clinical career from that moment forward.  I guess youI could say that helping others has always been in my DNA!  To this day, I still get tremendous satisfaction and a major endorphin flow after seeing and helping my patients.


Dr. Gersh is a psychologist and the clinical director of the Westchester Center for Behavior Therapy in White Plains, New York. For over three decades he has been in private practice treating a population that has ranged in age from adolescent to geriatric. He has given workshops and lectures to both professional and lay audiences. He is a consultant on the crisis caring team for the Westchester chapter of the American Cancer Society in New York. This team is devoted to helping cancer patients and their families who are experiencing psychological distress from their illness. He has been affiliated with White Plains Hospital Medical Center Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry, both in Westchester County.

Dr. Gersh has co-authored with Drs. William Golden and David Robbins, the self-help book entitled, Mind Over Malignancy - Living With Cancer,, 1997. In addition, he has collaborated with the same authors on a treatment manual entitled, Psychological Treatment of Cancer Patients: A Cognitive-behavioral Approach, 1992. He has given workshops and lectures on many topics including stress management, habit cessation and living with serious illness.

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