Dr. Salih M. Paker


About Me

I am a licensed clinical psychologist (Ph.D.), also with a medical background, working as a psychotherapist since 1989. In these 30 years, I have mostly worked around the issues of depression, anxiety, panic, stress, phobias, dissociation; trauma, violence, abuse (psychotraumatology); personality-related difficulties; relational difficulties; difficulties around identity, meaning, and self-esteem; and personal development and maturation. I work with adults (18 and up).

I have experience in individual psychotherapy, couples therapy, group therapy, short- and long-term psychotherapy, psychological counseling, clinical supervision, and psychological evaluation (especially for immigration/asylum applications).

In my psychotherapy practice, I predominantly work in a relational psychodynamic framework in which I could use a general integrative model depending on the needs of my clients. Relational orientation makes the client’s current and past relational patterns (including the relationship with themselves and the therapy relationship) the main focus of therapy. My integrative approach allows me to use this relational orientation in flexible ways by integrating elements from different orientations such as humanistic, CBT, and somatic therapies depending on the context.

Each therapy encounter is a unique journey. Different people could assign quite different meanings to very similar psychological problems/symptoms based on their unique histories and personalities. Thus, my relational psychodynamic approach does not simply aim to treat symptoms per se, but rather to engage the client as a whole person with all their complexities, to mutually develop a deeper understanding of not easily seen underlying dynamics which are the root causes of symptoms, and to develop new relational patterns which would promote less rigid and more creative, truthful, self-reflective, and fulfilling ways of engaging with the world. [For a more systematic list of therapeutic goals: http://www.muratpaker.com/en/2018/09/02/core-competencies-of-relational-psychoanalysis/]

My general approach to psychological difficulties and psychotherapy can be summarized as follows: Harmful psycho-social effects of relationships/systems that promote/allow {alienation, aloofness, disguise, disconnection, oppression, domination, obedience, inequality, injustice, violence, abuse, neglect, discrimination, extreme competitiveness, dependence, fear, anxiety, and depression} could be healed/minimized by new relationships/systems that promote {mutuality, cooperation, respect, attunement, empathy, equality, equivalence, freedom, autonomy, interdependence, creativity, playfulness, maturity, responsibility, trust, self-esteem, love, and compassion}. Psychotherapy could be such a healing relationship.

A few words about my background: I graduated from Istanbul University – School of Medicine in 1985 and worked as a physician for seven years while also completing my MA in clinical psychology at Bogazici University, Istanbul. I came to New York in 1992 to do my PhD in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research. I completed my PhD in 1999 and postdoc work in 2000. Until 2005, I worked as a psychotherapist and clinical director at Safe Horizon / New York, a large NGO which provides psycho-social support to trauma survivors. I relocated back to Istanbul in 2005 and founded the graduate program in clinical psychology at Istanbul Bilgi University. Until February 2019, I worked as a full-time faculty member at the Psychology Department of the same university, was the director of the graduate program in clinical psychology and the coordinator of the Psychological Counseling Unit of the University, taught clinical graduate courses, and provided clinical supervision. I also ran a private psychotherapy practice. I am the founding-general-editor of the book series Psychoanalysis/Psychology, of the Istanbul Bilgi University Press. In 2019, I relocated back to New York and started my private practice. My main interest areas are psychoanalysis, psychotraumatology, psychotherapy, and the intersections thereof with politics. I have published extensively on the psychology of torture survivors, psychotraumatlogy, trauma therapy, human rights, and psycho-politics. My published books include: Psiko-politik Yüzleşmeler [Psycho-political Confrontations] (2007, Birikim Press); Üniversitelerde Psikolojik Danışmanlık [Psychological Counseling at Universities] (Ed. with Filiz Yurtseven, 2015, İst. Bilgi University Press); Türkiye Debelenirken [Turkey Floundering] (2016, İst. Bilgi University Press).

I conduct therapy/counseling in English and Turkish.


  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma and abuse
  • Self esteem
  • Depression
Also experienced in:
LGBT , Family conflicts , Grief , Intimacy-related issues , Eating disorders , Sleeping disorders , Parenting issues , Anger management , Career difficulties , Bipolar disorder , Coping with life changes , Coaching , Compassion fatigue , Read more...

Clinical approaches:
Attachment-Based Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Somatic Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy

Years of Experience: 30

Services Offered

  • Messaging

  • Live Chat

  • Phone

  • Video





Psychologist #015505 (Expires: 2020-10-01)

Psychologist #NJDCATEMP-022492 (Expires: 2020-11-30)


Written by L.E. on Jul 16, 2020 after counseling with Salih M. for 3 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, parenting issues, self esteem, and coping with life changes

Every week I really look forward to my time with Dr. Paker. He has been helping me through very difficult family situations. Through this though he has led me back to myself where the real healing needs to happen. I am making true progress step by step with his help. If it wasn't for Dr. Paker I know I wouldn't be healing the way that I am. He has given me validation about traumas and toxic relationships that have happened so that I can move past them. With his encouragement I am realizing my self worth and making better choices for my emotional and physical health. Thank you Dr. Paker!!!

Written by Z.S. on Jun 18, 2020 after counseling with Salih M. for 4 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, self esteem, and career difficulties

He is a great psychologist who is very dependable and has really helped me.

Written by D.A. on Mar 18, 2020 after counseling with Salih M. for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, and sleeping disorders

In the short time that I have been seeing Dr Paker, I have a reserved trust in his ability to assist me with my issues.

Written by M.E. on Jan 13, 2020 after counseling with Salih M. for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, sleeping disorders, self esteem, career difficulties, coping with life changes, and compassion fatigue

A very therapeutic man actually. For me, an ear to hear my side of the story in life was good enough but he actually provided certain answers to my concerns

Written by M.A. on Jan 08, 2020 after counseling with Salih M. for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, eating disorders, and self esteem

Highly experienced, empathic, non-judgemental, supportive, actively engaged.

Written by A.L. on Dec 22, 2019 after counseling with Salih M. for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, eating disorders, parenting issues, anger management, and coping with life changes

Dr. Paker is very helpful and kind. I’ve received so much helpful advice. I feel so much better after just 2 sessions and I will still continue because I feel it’s going to benefit me greatly. I would 1000% recommend Dr. Paker! Thank you so much!