HOW I WORK
My primary training has been as a short-term, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of THINKING in how we feel and what we do. The term Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is actually a general term for a number of different therapies that focus on thoughts (cognitions) as a means of changing our lives. These therapies can include Rational Emotive Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, ALL of which have been a part of my training and experience.
CBT is based on the idea that it is our thoughts that cause our feelings and result in our behaviors, not external things like events, people and situations. The advantage to working with thoughts is that we can change our thoughts, but not always people or events. This type of therapy is generally shorter and faster-acting and requires a sound therapeutic relationship to be effective. It is my belief that clients often change because they learn to think differently and act on that learning. This type of therapy is very collaborative, meaning that both therapist and client have a role in the outcome, the therapist to teach, listen and encourage, and the client to express, learn and implement.
CBT often encourages homework such as reading, writing such as journaling, and sometimes even drawing. All of these homework exercises are done with the client’s full agreement and intention.
EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR)
EMDR is a therapeutic technique in which I was first trained in 2000. It is a remarkable technique that has been shown to be fast and effective (works in about 75% of the cases) to help heal the symptoms of trauma (such as PTSD), phobias and other emotional conditions. It uses bilateral stimulation (back and forth eye movements) to activate both sides of the brain to release trapped emotional experiences in the neurological system. This frees the blockage and allows the individual to reconnect with themself. It allows an individual to process painful memories and to move past them rapidly, eliminating the stress that often surround them.
When an individual experiences a disturbing event, the event is stored in the brain with all of the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany it. If for some reason, such as the person was very young, or the event is such a shock, the brain is sometimes unable to process it normally. The negative thoughts and feelings can become “trapped” in the nervous system. Sometimes the brain will suppress these negative memories but they can continue to surface to effect the individual, sometimes after many years. EMDR appears to “unlock” the negative thoughts and feelings, and then allow the individual to successfully process them.
I gently help the client work through those memories to extinguish their effect. I have found the technique to be effective in dealing with childhood as well as adult trauma such as abuse, losses through death or serious injury, and accidents. It is also effective in treating many types of anxiety and fear, particularly phobias.
GRIEF AND BEREAVEMENT
I have worked for many years in helping individuals realize their losses, and to grieve them as a means of getting past them. Many of us have lost close friends or family members and know and understand the intensity of those experiences. However, grief can come from a number of other losses such as moving, divorce or children moving away. The simple definition for grief is that when we become attached to something, and lose it, grief is a natural result. I help individuals learn coping skills and processes that will help them deal with those losses.
ADDICTIONS (CHEMICAL OR PROCESS ADDICTIONS)
I have spent many years in all aspects of the addictions field. A simple definition of addiction is the continuation of a behavior despite negative consequences, but this doesn’t come close to identifying the full scope of the problem. For many people, the single defining characteristic of addictions is loss – loss of freedom, loss of family, loss of job, loss of future, loss of hope. Addictions can remove a little bit or all of the things that we hold most vital for our functioning.
For chemical addictions, I require that a person be clean and sober for at least 6 months and actively in recovery. This might be 12 Step programs, outpatient programs, or support groups but they have to be engaged in some form of the recovery process. I use an addictions model with the counseling process and address the additional issues, such as depression, anxiety, relationships, etc. within the context of addiction. In many cases, both most be addressed for full recovery to be effective.
EMOTION FREEDOM TECHNIQUE (EFT)
EFT is a psychological acupressure technique that I use to optimize emotional health. It helps to remove negative emotions, reduce some pain, and implement positive thinking. It is based on the same energy meridians that are used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, a simple tapping with the fingertips can be used to impute energy onto specific meridians while you are thinking about the negative problem. That problem can be a traumatic experience, anxiety, depression, or any mood-related difficulty.