Not all therapies are the same. It is important that your therapy be tailored your needs as well as informed by research. Below is a summary of some of the evidence based interventions used in my practice.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT was founded when Aaron Beck, a psychoanalyst in training, sought to examine through research a long-held Freudian theory that depression was simply anger at others turned inward by examining and coding depressed patient's dreams. He was surprised to find that contrary to the suppressed hostility predicted, the dreams reflected themes of rejection and loss. He found further that when he helped patients examine their thinking patterns with specific methods, they improved remarkably quickly, particularly when compared to the at times decades long approaches taken by others. Since these initial discoveries, CBT has expanded to include a multitude of interventions focused on addressing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that maintain suffering. It has been well-studied and shown repeatedly to have remarkable and sustainable effects on a range of psychological disorders. Make no mistake, though: not all therapists who claim they practice CBT are familiar with the nuances of the techniques, nor is CBT a "shallow" or "surface" level treatment. While primarily concerned with current problems of daily living, a skilled CBT therapist will also address relevant issues of attachment and learning history, but with intention and focus to provide relief to suffering as quickly as possible.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT has emerged recently in the research literature as a compelling and effective intervention for a variety of issues. Grounded in the belief that no thought or feeling is in and of itself problematic, it looks rather at the ways human beings can both "fuse" with a thought ("I am a loser") and simultaneously seek to avoid painful thoughts or feelings ("I'll just keep distracting myself with this video game"), resulting in behaviors that are ultimately toxic and move us away from the kind of vital and fulfilling life we wish to live. Rather than attempting to reduce symptoms, the goal is to change the individual's relationship to the symptoms such that they no longer keep the person from engaging in workable behaviors that help them live a life based on their personal values. ACT is a highly experiential form of therapy with many exercises targeted at making sure the client can walk away with a sense of how to translate what has been learned in therapy into their lives.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT revolutionized the practice of cognitive behavioral therapy by bringing together a combination of acceptance and change strategies to help individuals with multiple, high-priority problem areas who previously were not responding to therapy. Acceptance strategies create a foundation of awareness, understanding, and tolerance of the present moment, while change strategies provide specific tools and skills to create a life worth living. There are over 20 published randomized controlled trials and dozens of quasi-experimental, uncontrolled studies supporting the effectiveness of DBT over other therapies for issues including self-injury, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
Clients should be aware that not all therapists who claim to practice DBT are trained in or are currently executing the full model. When comparing options for therapists, ask your therapist if they do Comprehensive DBT. Comprehensive DBT involves individual psychotherapy, weekly skills training classes, 24/7 telephone coaching, and the therapist's weekly participation on a professional DBT Consultation Team.
Most of us have heard the adage "there is not manual for parenting." While there is truth in this saying, it is also true that there are strategies proven to be effective in managing a range of emotional, behavioral and relational issues between parents and their children throughout the lifespan. In addition to supporting parents in crafting effective plans for helping younger children and adolescents, it is also true that parents of young adults encounter unique and difficult challenges attempting to navigate a relationship with their adult child. Through extensive experience working with a plethora of issues parents may face, I am equipped to provide grounded strategies for navigating every life-stage transition that parenting encompasses.