I utilize an integrated approach to therapy grounded in the humanistic principles of empathy and positive regard. As my therapeutic relationship with each client develops, we collaborate on a treatment plan that is suitable to the client’s unique struggles and strengths. My “toolbox” of therapeutic methods includes the following:
CBT, DBT, and ACT. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, has proven to be one of the most effective modes of therapy for anxiety or mood-related disorders, especially where short-term treatment is appropriate. My approach includes several CBT-related techniques, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which helps clients identify and change maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, especially as they affect social relationships. I also favor the approach pioneered by Steven Hayes called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT helps clients recognize the harmful ways we often try to manage or suppress unpleasant emotions. By combining mindfulness skills with cognitive re-framing techniques, clients learn to change their thoughts and behaviors to better match their values and enhance their wellbeing.
Existential Therapy and Mindfulness Training. Existential therapy is about fully accepting our fears and embracing life as it is, not as we wish it were. Learning to let go of our obsessive regrets and our immobilizing worries enables us to live within the flow of moments. Existential therapy is particularly effective in treating anxiety, depression, and trauma-related conditions. Coupled with mindfulness techniques, such as those taught in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, existential therapy can provide invaluable tools for living authentically and gratefully in the here and now.
Psychodynamic Therapy. Yes, we exist in a continuous flow of present moments. Nevertheless, each moment represents an effect caused by each prior moment, stretching back generations. There is no question that our developmental experiences in childhood directly impact our mental and emotional lives as adults. There is also little question that our consciousness continually operates below our superficial awareness. Psychodynamic exploration helps us identify certain defenses, such as denial, repression, and rationalization, that we often use to suppress painful memories and feelings. A positive therapeutic relationship also can provide a corrective emotional experience that often helps to heal early attachment wounds.
Systems Therapy for Couples and Families. Despite our illusion of autonomy and independence, individuals are inseparable from their social relationships. Many self-destructive behaviors derive from the “role” we play within a couple or family. For instance, if the parents of a young child begin to struggle with anxiety or tension in their relationship, the child might develop symptoms of depression in an unconscious effort to distract the parents from their conflict. In that case, treating the child individually for depression will be less effective than helping the family recognize the impact their actions have on the entire group.
Group Therapy. We are inherently social creatures. Consequently, social support is key to recovery for most maladaptive conditions, especially eating disorders, substance and behavioral addictions, phobias, grief and loss, and trauma recovery. I am a member of the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) and I have facilitated hundreds of group therapy sessions for individuals and families struggling with eating disorders, substance addiction, and related conditions. We are stronger together.