We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter J Weinberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Peter J, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is about trust. It is a creative way to opening new chapters in life’s horizon. It is a process of rebirth, shedding light on new paths and directions. Risk is also about letting go. Certainly, risk does not guarantee a positive conclusion, what it does guarantee is learning. Without risk, our lives end up meaningless, where wonder is lost.

The initial reaction about the word risk tends to be exposure to danger. Even in business, the idea of a risk implies inherent danger, loss, and harm. Taking risks, though, does not mean that one is acting without forethought. Taking a risk can be a measured process of surveying the scene and skill assessment before acting. Personally, I am less willing to see that a risk is inherently dangerous i.e. pushing past the limits of safety. Taking a risk is so much more complicated in part because it is domain-specific. This is a fancy psychological way to say that taking a risk is subjective and often tied to specific areas. For example, one who would take financial risks will be risk-adverse in social situations. Our personalities play a big role in where and how we take risks. Personally, taking a risk professionally or personally comes with self-evaluation. Choosing a risk that is too easy creates boredom, choosing a risk that is far beyond my skills causes frustration and anxiety. I think that what I am doing is seeking the optimal risk experience that is just out of my range.

Taking risks has been a large part of my personal and professional growth. It is an interesting process for me. I am not one who will just blindly jump. Instead, there is a voice in my head that will say “now is time to jump into the unknown”. I believe that is what I like about a personal or professional risk, it is unknown, and I must think on my feet, use what I have learned in new and inventive ways. Sometimes I even discover that I knew something that I was not conscious of. Ultimately, risk is a way for me to open new doors, learn and hope that something good emerges.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Labels are a strange thing, I understand that they are necessary, yet I am bothered by them just the same. I would say that I am an entrepreneur, with a passion to create businesses that are profitable and do good for others. This is my focus, to show by example that one can create a for-profit business, be profitable while still paying living and better than living wages while focusing on helping people. There are three major entrepreneurial successes based on this philosophy. They are Litigare Litigation Consulting LLC, Direct Access Mental Health Care, LLC, and the third is Court Help Me. Court Help Me, which reestablishes power back into the hands of people navigating the legal system. This project is in the start-up phase so I cannot say much more about it right now.

Litigare Litigation Consulting, LLC is founded on the idea of leveling the playing field for those seeking justice in the legal system and has been in operation for 13 years. I have worked on over 250 million dollars in litigation for the plaintiff and defense. This has included personal injury, criminal defense and complex business litigation. Litigare specializes in the psychology behind the litigation. When litigation is looked at from a whole person perspective, a multitude of evidence-based research could be applied to very specific issues in a case. The skill is to identify that psychology and apply it in a more nuanced and purposeful manner. What I discovered as I refined this process was juries and judges alike were connecting to key aspects of the case resulting in increased verdicts and attention to key pieces of evidence. After some time of refinement and alterations I developed what I call Lītigāre’s Critical Diagnostic. This tool offers a unique legal-psychological perspective for litigation strategy. Litigare has a 92% success rate and we do not turn down cases. We have supported many plaintiffs and defendants who otherwise could not afford the power that comes with a litigation consultant.

Through Litigare, I have been able to continue my passion to increase the understanding of mental illness with a specific focus on increasing awareness of mental illness and its ramifications. As a psychologist I have a responsibility to continue to educate about mental health. My focus has been PTSD and how chronic pain causes depression and anxiety. In Colorado, if a person experiences harm that causes a mental health illness, the amount a person can receive is capped. This law does not represent a clear understanding of mental health and mental illness. In response, I used my critical diagnostic to develop a strategy for trial lawyers to present a mental health issue as a physical injury. The biological components of many mental health issues are well documented. We have been very successful in assisting many Coloradans who developed PTSD as a direct result of the negligence of another. From my experience, these were some of the strongest people I have ever met. It takes courage to face that trauma and even more courage and fortitude to manage those PTSD symptoms in a world that is not sensitive to mental illness. Now put on top of that the fact that someone else’s reckless choices caused this person’s PTSD. I don’t think enough people understand this and I take every opportunity, like I am right now, to advocate for more understanding about mental illness and PTSD.

Direct Access Mental Health Care is a Colorado company founded on the principle that mental health care is a human right, and nothing should restrict access to quality mental health care. When the intermediary who dictates cost, number of visits, and what type of services are covered is removed, then there is direct access to mental health care.

Direct Access grew out of the pandemic and thinking about the level of national trauma we are experiencing in a time when it appears that everything is unraveling. In times like these, we need each other. In my experience, it is rare for people not to find common ground. So, I thought, what could I do about this. I am a psychologist, yet I do not want to go back to being a treating professional. I belong to a health care cooperative where we all join to support each other in our health care needs. My primary doctor also operates on this system. I then thought, I have not heard of this process for mental health. It all jelled. Direct Access will be an anchor point where people can come, regardless of ability to pay to access mental health care. Every person that pays full price for mental health care helps someone else get care who cannot afford the price of quality mental health care.

As the mental health component of Direct Access continued to grow, I decided to expand the accessibility of other industries that are out of reach to many. The first is personal coaching. The pandemic has driven many to make a lot of changes. As I researched other websites that offer coaching that claim affordability require a lot of personal data before one can even find out how much it will cost. Personally, it is a bad economic choice to not lend support, I see the guiding hand of capitalism as a tool designed to lift everyone up. There should not be a prerequisite of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to feel that hand of support. Those that can pay my normal rate, do and everyone who does helps pay for the next great business idea, the next career advancement, and supports other improvements in our society. It is my firm belief that one can turn an honest profit while also doing something that helps as many people as possible. When we come together, we are strong together.
I got to where I am professionally by following this principle, be open to everything and expect nothing. This grew out of many assumptions and desires I had planned for Litigare. As I watched each of these assumptions and desires fail to emerge, I experienced a lot of frustration and anxiety. I was taught that business was about bending others to my will and that is how I started. I then quickly realized that this was the wrong way. I instead decided that I would no longer have any expectations. When I did this, things started to change. Loosing expectations was very freeing and allowed my creative side to emerge. I remember at one lunch, I told a prospective client that I would work her case upfront with no fee and when we won she could decide how much I was worth.

I find that starting a business brings up a lot of personal crap and in a funny way, each business I have started has helped me to look at some negative piece of myself. It is not a fun process, yet it is my way of exercising the personal stuff that blocks me from success. I firmly believe that my success has come from this process of shedding the elements of my personality that limit me, that hold me back, that say be safe. This does not mean that I am advocating being reckless. It is more about seeing risk as part of life’s process and that when taking a risk like starting a business, many gifts emerge. It might not always be a rosy experience, yet I am more thankful for the gift than the wrapping.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a boy in San Francisco, my mother was a student of Anthropology. There were times when she was part of an archeological dig exploring the Native American tribes of the area. There was one time where a burial was uncovered. It was one of the most amazing things I had seen, and it fostered a lifelong passion for science and bones. Needless to say, I would put the Museum of Nature and Science on the top of my list. While there I would make sure we stop by the dinosaur area because there are often volunteers working on recently discovered fossils. Along with watching there are times where you can talk to a person working on bones that are millions of years old. Science is awesome. I would also make sure we make it Morrison to walk the dinosaur ridge trail to see the footprints. It is amazing to think that millions of years ago, Colorado was part of a dinosaur migration path.

Another required stop would be a Rockies Game. There is nothing better than an afternoon game in the Colorado sunshine enjoying a great game of baseball.

While not a big drinker, another stop on this trip would be the Denver Distillery, founded and ran by Ron Tarver. They make a series of wonderful spirits, offer good food and excellent company and atmosphere. It is a must go to. If my guest was also interested in learning about the distillation process, then off to Law’s Distillery. They have a fantastic tasting room, informative and fun staff and an excellent tour. On some of the tours, they will give the group a sample of the first barrel, Barrel #1. It is a great way to spend part of the day.

Being a person who travels from Denver to San Francisco by train, Union Station is another stop. The atmosphere is great, it is fun to watch everyone play in the fountains, and the food around the area is great.

It is not good to go a day without laughter so I would also hit the Comedy Works in Larimer Square. The shows are fantastic and being Larimer Square, it is easy to grab a post laughing fit late-night bite.

The final stop on my tour would be a play at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are always stronger together. I say this because we are never really alone in our successes. Litigare, my litigation consulting firm, was successful because one single trial lawyer, Tom Metier in Fort Collins, Colorado gave me a leg up. Direct Access Mental Health Care is a community project, my lovely wife Lisa, and many in our community like Indya J. Clark have joined in with us. Each of them offering their skill set and expertise. Without that community support and involvement, Direct Access would have never gotten off the ground. We truly are stronger together and Direct Access is a clear example.

I would also like to thank posthumously Ed Barlock. He was a friend, guide and mentor who helped me keep a keen eye on the joys and humor of life. Life is way too short to not have fun. He was his own man and he nurtured that within me. Thank you, Eddy.

Website: www.peterjweinberg.com / www.damhc.com / www.trialconsult.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterjweinberg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DirectAccessMentalHealth/

Image Credits
Logo Owned by Direct Access Mental Health Care

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