The science of psychotherapy is based on the ever-growing body of research on evidence-based treatments and strategies for mental health and positive well-being. My knowledge of current research always informs my work with my clients. I have training and experience in a variety of different therapeutic approaches including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness, and positive psychology. This diverse background allows me to integrate various therapeutic strategies based on what my client needs.
The art of psychotherapy involves being flexible and creative enough to use a practical “do what works” strategy rather than a cookie cutter “one size fits all” approach. The relationship between the therapist and the client is more important than any specific technique. Studies show that the therapeutic relationship is the strongest predictor of a successful treatment outcome. My warm, friendly, and interactive style allows my clients to feel comfortable and understood. This positive connection is crucial in making therapeutic change.
My integrated approach is most influenced by the following:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Decades of research has found that if you can change the way you think about a situation, you can change the way you feel about it. Thus, the CBT therapist works with the client to challenge maladaptive thinking patterns in order to reduce negative emotions and behaviors. CBT also emphasizes specific behavioral changes that clients can make to reduce symptoms and improve a healthy sense of well-being.
Psychodynamic therapy is a more traditional, insight-oriented form of treatment. The emphasis is on understanding the origin of your emotional distress and gaining awareness of how your internal (often unconscious) conflicts play out in your life. In psychodynamic therapy, one’s past, especially early family relationships, are explored in order to understand how these dynamics influence the client’s current life and relationships. The therapist helps the client to process difficult feelings by allowing them to express them in a supportive environment, by putting words to feelings, and by providing interpretations of the causes of negative emotions.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation in which one learns to focus attention on one thing, fully present in the moment. In the last few decades, research on mindfulness has exploded. There is scientific evidence that mindfulness can help with everything from lowering stress and depression levels to improving grades to sleeping better. There are simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life that will help you to let go of the “clutter” in your mind and achieve a calmer way of life.
Positive psychology is one of the newest branches of psychology to emerge, and the research in this area examines how people can live happy, fulfilling, prosperous lives. Studies suggest that sometimes even small changes can yield significant results. For example, expressing gratitude on a regular basis leads to better physical health, a more optimistic attitude, progress toward your goals, and overall well-being. In the field of positive psychology the goal is not simply to decrease the “bad stuff” but to “grow the good.” Emphasis is placed on identifying and expanding your strengths to build mastery, resilience, and a sense of purpose.