Psychotherapy is both an art-form and a science.
We have an ever-growing body of research on evidence-based treatments and strategies for well-being. My knowledge of current research always informs my work with clients. I have training/experience in a variety of different therapeutic approaches: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT), Narrative Therapy , Mindfulness, and Positive Psychology practices. This diverse background allows me to integrate various therapeutic strategies based on the needs of the client. The art of psychotherapy involves being flexible and creative enough to use a practical “what would work best here” rather than a “one size fits all” approach.
More important than any specific technique or philosophy is the relationship between therapist and client. In fact, studies show that the therapeutic alliance is the strongest predictor in therapeutic outcome. My warm, approachable, and interactive style enables my clients to feel comfortable and understood. This sense of personal connection is crucial for therapeutic change.
My integrated approach is most influenced by the following:
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT):
In Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), we understand that two things that seem contradictory can both be true. For example, just as we need to accept ourselves as we are, we might also need to change. Through DBT, awareness is raised around the polarities of ‘black and white thinking”, finding ways to entertain and integrate contradictory thoughts. DBT incorporates healthy doses of Mindfulness skills, or being fully present in the moment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
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. In CBT the therapist works with the client to challenge maladaptive thinking patterns in order to reduce negative emotions and behaviors. CBT also emphasizes specific behavioural changes that clients can make to reduce symptoms and improve well-being.
Meditation / Mindfulness:
Meditation is an ancient tradition of calming the mind and body to experience a greater sense of inner peace. 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 meditation/mindfulness has exploded. There is scientific evidence that meditation/mindfulness can help with everything from lowering stress/depression levels to improving grades to sleeping better. Never fear, you do not need to become a Buddhist or Yogi to derive the benefits of mindfulness. 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 being.
The field of psychology has traditionally focused on treating psychiatric illness. 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, optimism, progress toward goals, and well-being. In the field of positive psychology the goal is not simply to decrease the “bad stuff,” but to “grow the good.” A special emphasis is placed on identifying and expanding the client’s strengths to build mastery, resilience, and a sense of meaning into their lives.