Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Our primary method of treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based method which addresses the inter-connectedness of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT aims to help change irrational or unhelpful thought patterns and counterproductive behavioral habits. These habits reinforce emotional distress and make us feel "stuck." Thought patterns don't develop overnight. They are shaped through a lifetime of messages about ourselves that we internalize from an early age, as well as through our life experiences. Thought patterns are reinforced consistently through our interpretations of messages and events and how we act on them. But though patterns can also be reinterpreted, and viewed through a prism that is more beneficial to our mental health, with awareness and practice.
CBT is not a cookie cutter approach at our practice. You are a whole person, not a sum of your symptoms. We will work together to help you develop insights into your life and problems, explore core beliefs that behavioral and relational patterns stem from, and help you connect the dots and make the changes you want to make. We do this through exploring perspectives, beliefs, and thought patterns, and very importantly, through direct behavioral change. You are unique, and the relationship and treatment is always tailored to meet your individual needs.
The Vicious Cycle
The situation doesn’t affect how we feel emotionally— it is our thoughts about the situation that affects how we feel. In distress, our perspective can be inaccurate and our thoughts unrealistic. The CBT approach helps us examine these thoughts, put them in perspective, restructure thinking, and apply skills and strategies to adapt and cope.
The theory behind this concept is found in Ancient Eastern and Western Philosophy.
Dr. Aaron Beck put these ancient philosophies into practice, in addition to drawing on other prominent philosophies from contemporary cognitive and behavioral theorists, to treat mental health problems, and then, proved its effectiveness over hundreds of clinical trials.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Several therapists at A Good Place have advanced training, consultation, and supervision in ERP methods. We stay on top of the latest developments in research and in the field. ERP is a particularly effective type of CBT that works well with OCD, phobias, panic attacks and health and social anxiety. The aim of ERP is to 1) help you confront the thoughts, and situations you avoid due to the distressing feelings you have when thinking these thoughts or in in these situations, then 2) help you realize that you have what it takes within you to tolerate the anxiety or distress that comes from facing these fears. Treatment will involve coming up with a plan together on how to do this in a way that is compassionate and with you in the driver's seat.
It's proven effective across a wide spectrum of conditions, including depression, anxiety, OCD, Panic Disorder, eating disorders, an array of emotional and behavioral problems and as adjunctive treatment in medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, cardiac events, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypertension and other chronic pain disorders. Through the process, clients learn self-awareness and internalize the changes that guide them in their ability to manage feelings, regulate emotions and cope better. It is a fun and dynamic collaboration, especially when change is internalized and you feel better.
All of this aside, the relationship comes first. We come from a place of compassion, acceptance and empathy and "meet you where you are at" in your readiness for change.
Goals of Treatment
Our method and approach is proactive and change-oriented. We will examine your thinking, feelings, and behaviors to:
- Identify and challenge the problematic, negative thought circles that keep you stuck
- Manage your emotions and cope with distress
- Assist you in developing more useful and realistic thoughts, self-perceptions, and behaviors that help you accomplish your goals
- Increase awareness of the fundamental beliefs and patterns that reinforce the negative cycle
- Learn skills that help you get your needs met
This involves work in and out of session as the understanding and realization comes through practice and repetition. The goal is to internalize these strategies to become your own therapist.
What you Can Expect from Treatment
Ongoing sessions: We will meet weekly (more or less frequent as determined) and for a time-frame determined together. Our approach is proactive and results focused, with the goal of giving you tools to be empowered. As such, your work outside of sessions each week as practice helps you internalize the skills and ideas introduced. You can expect that we center on your goals and focus on developing skills and habits that promote success and wellness. We will reflect on what is working and not working, each session.
There is no time limit on when or how long the healing process takes. You may be going through a big change or crisis and need a helping hand getting over the hump, or you may struggle with depression or anxiety your whole life and find it useful to consistently self-reflect, grow and learn with the help of a therapist. Depending on your unique situation, I'll meet you where you are at. You should feel understood, and valued as a person first, and the problem you bring to therapy, second.