Evaluation and treatment of Mood Disorders- depression, bipolar II depression, anxiety, obsessive catastrophic worry, panic attacks, stress reactions, social anxiety, relationship distress, self-defeating behavior, and other stress-life adjustment difficulties (ages 18+)*
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During your initial visit with me, I will explore with you the circumstances, problems, symptoms or goals that prompted you to pursue treatment or to be referred by your doctor for evaluation and treatment. I will review information you provide prior to your visit - including your completion of an intake questionnaire - and ask you about any social and medical history, which may pertain to your problems or goals. I may ask you to complete one or two standardized personality tests or psychological coping inventories. Following your initial visit, you and I may agree to proceed with psychotherapy.
During your psychotherapy visits, you can expect a therapeutic relationship, i.e. a process which feels safe, where you can count on not only empathy but full acceptance and affirmation even while you work to eliminate 'unacceptable' problems. Your treatment will be both emotion-focused (process-experiential) and cognitive-behavioral. I utilize CBT protocals and draw heavily from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and other reality and action-oriented treatment models (interpersonal skills and communication training, problem-solving and goal-setting, and stress management training, the latter including breath control and mindfulness meditation).
My treatment approach is balanced between non-directive listening (facilitating emotional processing, as well as providing validation and insight) and action-oriented skills training and application. My experience is that successful treatment outcomes require a commitment to both insight and action and that one without the other is ultimately ineffective.
You can expect strategies and techniques to vary according to your specific problems, goals, or treatment needs. But each psychotherapy visit will entail or be geared toward the following fundamentals:
1. A therapeutic partnership between you and me; one in which you feel validated (respected and affirmed) and safe to explore any experiences, thoughts, feelings, or behaviors which may pertain to your problems or goals.
2. An understanding of problem circumstances or coping difficulties that seem to contribute to the problems, as well as an ongoing discussion and understanding of insights, observations, goals, and decisions that may decrease or eliminate those problems.
3. New perspectives on parts of your life that seem confusing, feel out of control, or cause conflict within yourself or with others; letting go of the notions (life scripts, assumptions, or biases) about yourself or life, which perpetuate confusion, conflict, or loss of control.
4. Skill acquisition in stress management (e.g. breath control), interpersonal communication, emotional regulation, and self-awareness that can be applied to your problems and goals.
The Therapeutic Relationship in Emotion-Focused Therapy
Dennis Greenberger PhD & Christine Padesky Phd'S Mind over Mood is an option when need or preference calls for a higher level of structure during psychotherapy. This is a hands-on workbook with extensive worksheets and exercises and mood and behavior inventories and progress logs, all designed to teach and encourage the everyday application of CBT. It can help you to take action with what you learn about your thoughts, moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, as you proceed through psychotherapy. And it will leave you with a written record of those insights and a readily available reference, keeping you mindful of the coping the skills and strategies and options or choices you've established as most effective for you.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Made Simple, Russel Harris (Excerpts)
Be Present, Watch Your Thinking, Accept What's Not Working for You, Know What Matters, and Do What It Takes to Change (ACT Treatment Model)
ACCORDING TO ACT, WE END UP STUCK FEELING UNHAPPY OR STRESSED-OVERWHELMED TRYING TO COPE WITH LIFE OR SOLVE PERSONAL PROBLEMS, GENERALLY BECAUSE OF OUR HABIT OF 1) DWELLING ON THE PAST AND THE FUTURE, 2) OVER-ATTACHING TO SELF-CONCEPT (fusing or entangling ourselves with images or roles or stories about who we are or were or should be or believing and identifying with whatever ends up crossing our minds), 3) DENYING OR AVOIDING NEGATIVE EMOTION AND THE SELF-DEFEATING AND RELATIONSHIP-JEOPARDIZING OR SOCIALLY DISRUPTIVE THINGS WE DO (e.g. anesthetizing ourselves with drugs or alcohol or otherwise blocking instead of processing; dysfunctionally cutting-off emotionally from the problems or misdirection we need to correct, and 4) DOING WHAT'S NOT WORKING FOR US, OVER AND OVER AGAIN (keeping ourselves out of touch with what we need and want or lacking the motivation and/or skills to take the actions necessary to do the things that will make us most happy, i.e. to 'live our values').
PSYCHOTHERAPY GUIDED BY ACT PRINCIPALS AND ITS CORE COPING SKILLS, ENCOURAGES YOU TO:
1) A-CCEPT YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AND BEHAVIORS, HOWEVER THEY PRESENT RIGHT NOW.
2) C-OMMIT, CHOOSE HOW YOU WANT THINGS TO CHANGE OR HOW YOU WANT TO BEHAVE. 3) T-AKE ACTION , DO WHAT IT TAKES TO LIVE YOUR VALUES.
ACT's Six Core Skills for Effective Life Stress-Coping and Problem-Solving and Behavior Change (The Hexaflex) - From Low to High, How Knowledgeable and Effective Are you with Each of these Skills?