Simply put, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an approach to dealing with human problems that emphasizes changing your thoughts and behaviors to change how you feel.
My approach to effective cognitive-behavioral therapy is grounded in respect for my clients’ individual differences and choices. I work with each client to reach his or her own goals to maximize happiness and a sense of well-being. It is important that clients feel comfortable with me and in my space, and that they are encouraged to ask questions and give feedback. I believe that therapy is most effective when the therapist has extensive psychological training and strong interpersonal skills, genuinely cares about clients' needs and struggles, and cultivates a collaborative process.
My clients learn strategies and build toolkits that will help them change automatic responses to stressors and find relief from symptoms of anxiety, depression and other disorders.
Key elements of the cognitive-behavioral therapy I offer:
- Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP): A process by which clients learn to progressively expose themselves to uncomfortable aspects of life—such as social situations, unpleasant thoughts or germs—without avoiding, escaping or neutralizing them.
- Mindfulness: A method of learning to live in the present moment, which is adapted from Zen Buddhism and has been widely utilized in psychotherapy over the past four decades.
- Cognitive restructuring: A process of challenging existing self-destructive beliefs and automatic thoughts and replacing them with new, constructive ways of looking at life and the world.
- Behavior change: A method of creating more effective habits and patterns of interacting with the world.
- Psychoeducation: An emphasis on teaching clients about what research has uncovered regarding the issues they are struggling with and explaining how therapy may incorporate that information. Books, articles, movies and other resources are often shared or recommended.
I make referrals to psychiatrists and primary care physicians for medication evaluations when appropriate, and I work closely to coordinate care with these and any other health care providers involved in the care of my clients.