Dr. Bob Portnoy

Dr. Bob Portnoy is very pleased and honored to be joining Morningstar Counseling upon his return from having worked in Beijing, China for the past three years.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to give back to the community and state that he has been pleased to call home for the past almost 30 years.

Dr.Portnoy obtained his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1986, where he later returned as Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University Health Center and as a full professor in Counseling Psychology, for over 25 years.  He also did a Clinical Psychology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in the early 1980’s.  Bob is a Fellow of the American College Health Association and past Chairperson of American College Health Association (ACHA) Mental Health Section.

In addition to teaching at the graduate level in Beijing, Bob provided supervision and supervision training at MHS and, as the Chief Supervisor of MHS, he also provided supervision of all of the supervisors’ work with all of the graduate students at MHS. Throughout his time in China, he also continued seeing a few clients, in order to keep his therapy skills current and sharp, and because of a deep love for doing the work of psychotherapy.  

Dr. Portnoy’s clinical conceptualizations and interests are rooted in a psychodynamic perspective, with a particular focus on the relational aspects of insight-oriented therapy. but, as would likely become apparent if you and he have the opportunity to work together, he has dedicated  himself to being broadly trained, so that he can match the clinical intervention to the needs of each particular client.  As such, Bob works comfortably with people who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and who present with a wide array of concerns, including depression, anxiety, and relationship concerns, among many other problems in living.  He strongly believes that it is critical that he speaks to his clients in a way that contributes to the process of healing and change.  Further, his goal is to consistently put things in a way that is therapeutic, to confront difficult truths without damaging a client’s self-esteem or evoking unnecessary distress and resistance.  This “art of gentle inquiry” is an invitation to explore, rather than shamefully hide a painful past.  

Dr. Portnoy has had experience as a therapist for over 40 years and, during that time, he has worked in therapy with thousands of clients, many of whom have shared that they have deeply benefited from their work together.  Bob has a deep interest in exploring many different aspects of his clients’ struggles and desires for better self-understanding and positive change through psychotherapy.  To accomplish this, the relational approach to psychotherapy that he embraces draws upon a variety of tools, including occasionally working with dream material, all with the aim of increasing a client’s awareness of that which has previously been hidden or pushed away.

On a more personal note, Dr. Portnoy grew up on the East Coast, but has lived in many different places before settling with his family in Lincoln.  It was here that Bob and his wife raised their now grown son and daughter, and why he is proud to call Lincoln home.  He enjoys spending time with family and friends, but also values alone time, especially for reading, both in Psychology and on a wide variety of other topics.  In this way, he can learn more and more about the world beyond his immediate experience, something that he also encourages his clients to pursue.  By having new ways of experiencing relationships and the world, one can develop new understandings, which often leads to the kinds of changes that bring people to therapy in the first place.