Our approach to therapy is much more than just talk. It focuses on making your life better in the most effective, efficient way possible. It is based on the most current research, it makes sense to our clients, and it is always designed to fit each person’s personal strengths, needs, and resources. Read more below, and for information about sessions and fees, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page. For information about about your specific needs, go to the menu bar above.
Don’t think that you are going to see a “shrink.” You will not lay down on a couch. We will not overly focus on your childhood or try to interpret your dreams. We will not just sit and stare at you. And we will not keep asking you “how does that make you feel?”
Therapy begins with a thorough assessment of the problems that you are experiencing so that we can determine which treatment approach is most likely to work. We want to be able to help you better understand what is going on and what we need to do in order to make it better. We will then work together to form a structured treatment plan that is based on the most current scientific findings. We will carry that plan out in subsequent sessions, and you will be asked to practice certain skills at home between sessions. Techniques include, among other things, education, practicing behaviors, problem solving, gradual exposure to fears at a pace that you are comfortable with, and learning to more accurately interpret others’ intentions.
We are not experts in medication, and we are not licensed to administer it. There is also overwhelming evidence that CBT is a significantly better option for the treatment of anxiety and OCD, and is equal to (and significantly) more long-lasting than medication for depression.
You always have control
You should never be left in the dark. What happens in therapy should always make sense to you, and you should always be informed so that you can make your own decisions about treatment, and you should be given control of it. You should be informed of your condition, what causes and maintains it, how to fix it, and why. If anything does not make sense to you, it should be clarified.
Increasing the good while reducing the bad
While almost all of our clients come to us because they are facing a problem in their lives such as stress, anxiety or relationship problems, it is important to remember that reducing problems is only part of what must be done. One of the first things that we do when working with clients is to help them identify areas in their lives that can be enriched through fun, connection with others, or self-fulfilment. And then we help them find ways to pursue these goals.
We use only the best approaches
Only the most proven, most current, and most appropriate approaches should be used. Specific approaches should be used for specific problems, and they should be administered by a psychologist or a counselor who understands and knows how to administer them properly. Clients should be given choice and power to make their own decisions about therapy. Therapy should never take longer than it needs to, and it should fit the specific needs and strengths of the client. And if treatment isn’t working after an appropriate amount of time, it should be altered to give the client a better chance of getting better faster. You can read more about our approach at the following links: Anxiety, Stress, Marriage and Couples, Low Sexual Desire
Our work focuses on the whole person
It is not enough to focus only on one’s thoughts and feelings. If we try to understand problems in overly simplistic ways, they are often more difficult to solve. Problems with our emotions, our thinking patterns and our relationships cannot be properly solved without a holistic understanding of the biological, the psychological, and the social aspects of the person.
- Biology: Biological issues such as hormone imbalances, medication side-effects, smoking, fatigue from problems sleeping, and diseases such as diabetes can have a dramatic effect on emotional well-being, intellectual functioning and memory, and relationships with other people. We typically refer our clients to a physician for a medical evaluation in order to ensure that a given problem is not at least partially medical in nature and so that we have a full understanding of medical problems that the person might be suffering from.
- Psychology: An ability to think flexibly about routine daily problems, to see safety in a safe situation, and to see the good even in people you don’t like can make you physically healthier, while making your relationships with family and friends stronger and more rewarding. But it c an also go the other way. Mental processes such as worry, a tendency to jump to conclusions or to blow things out of proportion, or overly negative views of one’s self or others can have dramatic effects on physical well-being and on relationships with others.
- Social Relationships: Extensive scientific studies have demonstrated that positive and rewarding relationships can have a positive (and sometimes curative) effect on both psychological and medical problems. On the other hand, relationship problems can drastically increase both physical and mental stress and lead to physical and mental disorders, which in return can have a negative effect on relationships, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. Thus, social relationships are almost always a significant focus of our practice, assuming that is what a given client wants.
- Lifestyle change: We also help our clients to find better ways of living a healthier lifestyle, which can have a dramatic effect on the mental well-being of any person, including reducing the severity of depression and panic attacks, as well as overall stress levels. But because lifestyle change is hard, our skills are often necessary to help our clients find easier and more effective ways of motivating themselves toward positive change.
Your childhood might be an important topic of conversation
Past iterations of this webpage have led some of our clients to state “I know you don’t want to talk about my childhood, but…” This is not the case. Sometimes a person’s childhood and adolescence is the central cause of their current plight, or it has at least set off a chain reaction that led them to where they are. If this is the case, we as providers need to know. In some cases, talking about childhood an adolescence can lead to solutions. But there are other cases where some therapists are so obsessed with the importance of childhood that they will try to force their clients to believe that it is the root of the problem when it is not.
For example, if you were raised by basically good parents, in a basically stable environment, and you ended up pinned under a truck in Afghanistan after an IED killed some of your friends, we are not going to assume that you have PTSD because your father worked too much and didn’t play catch with you. And we are not going to try to dig up or create a “repressed memory” just to prove our point that it must have come from childhood.
So if you think that childhood is an issue, tell us. We need to know. We can did into it as much as we need to. If you don’t think your childhood is an issue, briefly tell us anyway. Just in case. Either way, in the end, we will mostly talk about what you can do in the here-and-now to make your life better.
If you’re not already sick of reading about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or if you have OCD, and you just can’t stop, click here to read more about CBT.