My goal is for people to feel better as quickly as possible, so I am dedicated to evidence-based practices, using strategies and techniques that have been shown in the research literature to be effective for the presenting complaint.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on the idea that people’s lives are directly affected by their thought patterns, and in turn, their behavior.
Irrational fears can lead to anxiety. For example, believing something terrible is going to happen when the chances of something bad happening are actually very low if any at all.
Negativistic thoughts can lead to depression or substance abuse. For example, thinking “I can’t do this” or “It will always be this way” can prevent one from taking steps toward making changes.
Negative beliefs about oneself or the world following a traumatic event can lead to despair. For example, “I’m damaged” or “I should have done something” can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness. Thoughts like, “No one can be trusted” and “the world is an unsafe place” can lead to feelings of distress and hopelessness.
The skills learned in CBT helps create new thought pathways in the brain, which allows for new ways of thinking, behaving, and being in the world. By reframing your thinking, or redirecting your thoughts, you can experience less suffering and in turn, change behavior, and enjoy life more. Changing negative thinking patterns and replacing them with healthier, more positive thoughts can lead to less stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy which uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to assist clients in processing distressing memories and beliefs that are often associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
During EMDR with me, we will first identify the negative core beliefs that are affecting you, such as “I am alone,” “I’m broken,” “I am overwhelmed,” and “I’m unlovable.” Then we will do a series of exercises. Sometimes, this involves letting your mind wander as if in a daydream. Other times, I will guide you through a corrective experience that will foster your healing. These exercises are done while you hold a small tapper in each hand that vibrates in alternating hands. It’s hard to imagine, but this leads to significant improvement for many people in just a few sessions.
EMDR helps create new thought pathways in the brain, which allows for new ways of thinking, behaving, and being in the world. Negative core believes (like “I am damaged”) are weakened and new adaptive beliefs (like “I am whole and complete just as I am”) are strengthened. People who receive EMDR often experience less suffering and in turn, change behavior, and enjoy life more. Changing negative thinking patterns and replacing them with healthier, more positive thoughts can lead to less stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Mindfulness-informed Therapy
By using a variety of tools for helping people be in the present moment, mindfulness-informed therapy has been found to help those struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, ADHD, substance abuse and relationship problems.
Integrating traditional therapy with the practical mental training exercises of meditation, it is greatly influenced by the emerging research related to the powerful impact of mindfulness on the brain. During mindfulness-informed therapy with me, I teach a variety of skills for being in the moment, including mindfulness meditations, getting into “Wise Mind,” stopping yourself from going in “the red zone,” avoiding action urges, learning to self-soothe, tolerating distress, communication skills, assertiveness skills, finding joy, practicing gratitude, and improving the moment.
Over time, mindfulness therapy can help you:
- Feel better
- Have fewer symptoms
- Gain greater concentration and memory
- Improve your overall wellbeing and immune system
- Feel less stress, less physical pain and more energy
- Find more joy
Practicing mindfulness skills releases serotonin and helps create new thought pathways in the brain, which allows for new ways of thinking, behaving, and being in the world.
Nearly all choices in life include ambivalence due to there being both pros and cons. A part of you wants to change and a part of you wants to stay the same. Motivational enhancement uses specific techniques to help people move though the stages of change from denial to problem recognition to commitment to change to taking action and then maintaining changes that have been made.
Motivational enhancement was developed as a set of techniques (i.e., motivational interviewing) that were used to reduce alcohol use – by helping break though denial about the drinking to taking action to reduce or stop drinking. In the 30 years since its inception, motivational enhancement has evolved for making other changes to improve one’s health and well-being.
There is no limit as to what behavior changes are made possible by enhancing one’s motivation – from recognizing that there is a problem to making changes and then staying on track because (a) the consequences of staying the same are too high, (b) there are small steps you can take – start where you are, and (c) you can do it – in fact, you are doing it.
The process begins by establishing a working relationship based on trust and mutual respect. The process is collaborative and cooperative – the therapist does not judge or pressure the person, but rather provides information. What that person does with that information is entirely up to him or her. Motivational enhancement is an ongoing process of making changes. Attention is repeatedly returned to one’s motivations for change, and feelings of hope and confidence.
Motivational enhancement helps create new thought pathways in the brain, which allows for new ways of thinking, behaving, and being in the world. It can be used to increase the likelihood of making changes to any behavior. The sky’s the limit!