Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This approach teaches one to identify their thoughts, moods, behaviors and physical reactions. A person learns to observe and question the accuracy of their thoughts and distortions of various thoughts. Awareness is essential for change. This approach invites one to change thinking patterns that are dysfunctional. Questioning also includes the “where” and the “how” certain thoughts originated. CBT application teaches a person to replace the dysfunctional patterns of thought with healthier patterns of thought. The change in thought patterns, therefore, alters moods, emotions and behaviors.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment for trauma. It can help change how one reacts to memories of trauma. Memories become less triggering or deactivated. While the person is recalling a traumatic event, they become desensitized by staying in the present while remembering the past traumatic event. The procedure requires bilateral movement during the recalling of an incident, not necessarily movement of the eyes as the title mentions. Tappers can be used in lieu of eye movement for bilateral stimulation. Please note that prior to trauma work, relaxation techniques are established, as are other tools that are taught to deactivate stressful triggers if needed.
No one needs to be an artist to participate in art therapy. If you can scribble or draw stick figures you can do it! Art is a form of communication that some people prefer to use for expression in order to help them find their words. While expressing through art, clients are able to stay focused on the dilemma at hand. It allows a client to focus and stay with the problem long enough to process it and then resolve it. I find this to be extremely helpful with child therapy in particular.
The Narrative approach is the approach I find to be most helpful to my clients. This approach is highly respectful in that it is known for its collaborativeness. There is collaborative assessment, goal setting and evaluations. Session conversations are oriented toward finding resources, strengths and development of more helpful thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns. When clients start choosing their preferred directions and start making behavioral changes around those choices, their narrative about themselves also changes.
Practices of deep breathing, muscle tightening - relaxing exercises, somatic awareness, and visualization practices are taught. These help regulate the body and mind which, in turn, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. I find these practices helpful especially when people are overwhelmed and confused. Through such practices clients find grounding and better clarity about what they might want to do with problems at hand. The brain’s prefrontal lobe is most engaged when in a calm state which accesses our optimal thinking. Clients have better body awareness when calm.
My treatment plans are based on the following theoretical systems or applications: