Integrative Therapy Approach
I am a therapist who talks during session, often providing feedback and perspective, while encouraging the client to develop their own hypotheses and insights. My belief is the client is the expert and I serve as a guide in developing a deeper understanding of themselves. During the first few sessions, both short term and long term goals will be discussed to ensure focus and progress. Together we will also decide if we are a good "fit," as this is an imperative part of the overall process. My goal is to make therapy sessions feel approachable and comfortable, while providing a safe space to discuss thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
My therapeutic style is integrative in nature, combining a holistic approach with evidence-based treatments (EBT) that are tailored to the presenting concern, personal history, and individual strengths. What is an evidence-based treatment? Well, EBT’s refer to treatment that is backed by scientific evidence. That is, studies have been conducted and extensive research has been documented on a particular treatment, and it has proven to be successful.
As it relates to a holistic approach, the goal is to balance all the different aspects of the person, so the entire person is addressed in treatment and not just one aspect of them. The client’s emotional aspects, attitudes and beliefs (mental), physical manifestations of struggles (body), and spiritual aspects (deeper rooted meanings about one’s existence and future) would all be addressed in the treatment process. When appropriate, we may discuss integrating a mind-body therapy to incorporate the physical body in treatment.
Below you will find descriptions and additional information regarding the different theoretical orientations I often utilize in therapy.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based practice. It is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior (Beck Institute). When using CBT, I often will incorporate resources or handouts in session, while assigning "homework" to complete in-between sessions. Homework is utilized so clients are able to apply the skills learned during session to the outside world. Research shows clients who complete homework assignments have significantly better outcomes than clients who do not (Kazantzis, 2000).
Psychodynamic therapy is also known as insight-oriented therapy. This style of therapy focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person's present behavior. Goals of psychodynamic therapy include building a client's self awareness, while helping them understand how unresolved conflicts from the past may be influencing them in the present. Techniques include exploration of experiences and past memories, processing or externalizing thoughts/feelings, defining meaning, focusing on relationship patterns, and learning about how our attachment to caregivers often shape behaviors in present day. I often tell clients this style of therapy looks to "peel back the onion layers."
somatic therapy & Mind-body therapy
Somatic therapy is a form of body-centered therapy that looks at the connection of mind and body and uses both therapy and physical therapies for holistic healing. The theory behind somatic therapy is that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are all related and connected to each other. As a result, the stress of past emotional and traumatic events affects the central nervous system and can cause changes in the body and even in body language, often resulting in altered facial expressions and posture as well as physical pain. Through developing awareness of the mind-body connection and using specific interventions, somatic therapy helps you to release the tension, anger, frustration and other emotions that remain in your body from these past negative experiences. The goal is to help free you from the stress and pain that is preventing you from fully engaging in your life (Psychology Today, 2019).
Mind-Body Therapy is a therapeutic approach that looks at a person as an integrated whole, including: the mind, body, and spirit. In contrast to traditional psychotherapy or "talk therapy," which focuses on life history and the analysis of thought. A Mind-Body therapist appreciates not only these aspects, but also is interested in the relationship between a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual experiences. What does a Mind-Body Therapy look like during a session? Mind-Body therapy may include the integration traditional talk therapy and walking, yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, or somatic exercises like body awareness. This approach is also often called Holistic or Integrative.