Music and Metaphors

South Pasadena therapist is an “orchestrator” of personal growth

Thursday, October 2, 2014 | 2:13 am

Over the last 14 years in his work as a therapist, Dr. David Zableckis has come to believe in three important things—music, metaphors and mental health.

For example, as part of his therapeutic work, he uses what he calls “Metaphor Therapy.”

“It’s a way of using language and using metaphors to help us understand ourselves,” he told Pasadena Now in a recent interview.

“For example, someone dealing with illness might say, ‘I feel sick as a dog.’ I ask them to think about the imagery of that phrase. This can help them learn what is going on with them behind the obvious, to come up with some ideas about how to better care for themselves, and how to better understand their particular situation.”

“Let’s imagine that picture,” he continued. “We start by talking about the dog. That dog is sick. I ask about what happens next. The person might say that the dog’s owner comes and gives the dog some medication, and makes sure the dog is eating right, and getting good exercise and so forth.

“And then I ask them to bring that image back into their own experience and see how it fits into their own life. They might say, ‘I think I am the dog in this picture and I am also the dog’s owner. Maybe I need to take better care of myself.’ This person might have been told by doctor after doctor that they need to take better care of themselves, but coming up with this on their own could be just the thing to really ‘click.’”

Zableckis attended the California School of Professional Psychology, creating a doctoral project on Diabetes Self Management. As he explained, “I’m very interested in helping people with illnesses feel supported and to take care of themselves. People are often overwhelmed by being told by others what to do, but I like to help people come up with their own plan to take care of themselves. I find that really listening and giving positive support goes a long way in making this possible for people.”

Before becoming a fulltime psychologist, Zableckis worked as a music therapist, and throughout his school years, would move between the study of Music and the study of Psychology. His office is in the same building as the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena, which partly reflects his comfort working with people with a creative background. “Sometimes I refer to myself as ‘your therapist backstage,’” he said.

Dr. Zableckis has also done a lot of work at Pasadena hospitals, working in bereavement and grief therapy, and found that people going through grief and bereavement, often feel overwhelmed and confused by the process.

“Grief and bereavement are normal, but feel overwhelming and strange to the person going through them,” he explained. “All our thoughts and experiences don’t seem make sense. I help people really learn from what they are going through, and work through the process to dealing feelings and learn how to move forward with things as they are now.”

His other area of interest involves psychological assessment. Using various tests, Dr. Zableckis can create a battery to answer various questions for people. “Sometimes people want to know if they have attention deficit disorder, whether they are gifted, or whether they need to do something new in their lives,” said Zableckis, “and testing can really help answering these kinds of questions.” He has worked with both children and adults in this area.

In addition to his regular work Dr. Zableckis also serves as an administrator for the Center for Integrated Family and Health Services in Covina. He is the clinical director there, and supervises and trains new therapists and new psychologists.

But whether it’s rhythm or defining a mood or feeling on the path to mental wellness, Dr. Zableckis is clearly orchestrating something powerful in his patients to get them back in tune.

Dr. David Zableckis is at 1000 Fremont Ave. Suite 202, South Pasadena, (626) 799-9950 or visit




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