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Common Questions

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy involves a variety of techniques and methods used for those who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. Psychotherapy is commonly called "therapy". I use many different methods but strongly rely on the following types of psychotherapies: Mindfulness, Solution-Focused, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Family Systems Theory. I also use ideas and strategies from John Gottman, PhD. and Gary Chapman, Ph.D. when working with couples. The methods I use give clients concrete ideas that can be used while in therapy and for the rest of their lives. I have chosen approaches that assist clents to develop confidence in their own abilities to cope through difficult situaitons and make positive changes in their lives.

How do I know if therapy is right for me?

 A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, life transitions, grief, and stress management. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction towards a solution.

Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, seeking out therapy is an admirable and courageous act. You have realized that changes need to be made in your life. At this moment, while you may not feel like it, you have started on the path making improvements in your life by recognition your concerns or feelings of being stuck, depressed, anxious, etc. This is a moment in which you have some motivation to make changes in your life. Therapy can help give you the perspective you need in which to channel your motivation effectively. It is possible without seeking therapy that your problems may stay the same or even become more difficult to handle. Speaking with another professional is sometimes the best way to problem solve.

Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Sucess in therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. A confidentiality disclosure statement is provided to you ath the time of treatment. This is called "Informed Consent". Sometimes you may want me to share your session information with outside providers (such as a psychiatrist or physician, or insurance company. I believe that coordination of care is essential to fully meet the needs of the client.

However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except in the following circumstances:

  • Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults or elders must be reported to authorities, including Child Protective Services and law enforcement, based on information provide by the client and collateral sources.

 

*If the therapist has a reason to suspect that the client is in serious danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm someone else this must also be reported to law enforcement and other appropriate authorities or sources.

Description of evidence-based therapy techniques:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) – helps improve mood, anxiety, and behavior by examining distorted thinking patterns. CBT therapists teach that thoughts cause feeling and mood states which have a great potential to influence behavior. Clients learn how to identify non-productive or harmful thought patterns.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – A treatment approach that is often used to treat chronic mood states (e.g. anxiety, depression) and seriously harmful behavior (e.g. chronic suicidal feelings/thoughts). It has been found effective in both adolescents and adults as well as others struggling with daily life challenges. The philosophy of DBT helps strengthen an individual's ability to increase skillful behavior and maintain a client's motivation for change. DBT helps people learn how to deal with conflict and intense negative emotions. Mindfulness techniques are also used as part of this approach.Specific skills are taught to the client in a practical manner. Benefits include a better ability to deal with mood changes, increased conflict resolution skills, and a better ability to access resources in an effective manner when needed.

Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy – Mindfulness is a certain way of viewing your experience, or way or relating to life. It is not surrendering to the problem but rather helps the individual to be more aware of their present experience in order to make better informed choices. An emphasis is placed on the moment-to-moment experience and accepting the experience non-judgmentally. Mindfulness techniques are taught both informal (attending to daily experiences such as getting dressed and eating) and formally (body scan, sitting meditation, and walking meditation). As a result, the individual is more in touch with their personal experience, inner resources, and how to begin the healing process.  Neuroscience research has found that mindfulness supports activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the area having to do with a sense of well-being and “approach” (vs. avoidance).

Click here for a step-by-step 15 minute meditation practice!

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) – SFBT is a goal oriented approach focusing on solutions rather than on problems. Small successes are brought in to awareness and the client begins to feel more competent in their ability to make positive changes in their life. Clients typically see positive change in their identified problems early in the process.

Family Systems Psychotherapy – The interconnectedness of family members and the larger system of which they belong is stressed in this approach. An emphasis is placed on encouraging family members on “doing something different” to change current family structure, interactions, and patterns that are ineffective for the family.


One or more of the above therapy techniques may be used in treating the individual, couple, or family.

 

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