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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

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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.

CBT Works 

 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. 

 
 
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Mindfulness 

Many of us live our lives on autopilot, going through a series of robotic motions without a clue as to why we are doing them, or even remembering the steps along the way.  We focus more on “getting stuff done than really truly enjoying the moment and appreciating the journey along the way. This makes us unhappy and prone to hyper-reactivity.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
— Viktor E. Frankl

We all have the ability to be present, aware and calm, but this hard to do in our hectic and hyper-connected world. Mindfulness is an intentional practice that helps us to cultivate self-awareness so we can tolerate difficult feelings and handle challenging life situations. It involves staying in the present moment and observing our thoughts, feelings, and senses from the perspective of an “outside observer", without judgement or criticism.

Mindfulness practice goes hand-in-hand with the other treatment modalities we offer at A Good Place.  Mindfulness, like therapy, helps us learn how to understand our feelings and embrace them instead of denying them, avoiding them, or even shaming ourselves. When we can tolerate difficult feelings, we can understand more about ourselves and our capabilities.

We can understand how we are feeling without reading into the meaning or getting carried away with a reaction that we might regret. Instead, we must look at the messages those thoughts and feelings are sending. Our thoughts are only thoughts, our feelings are our feelings, but they don't define WHO we are, and they don't always accurately reflect the situation before us.

We are influenced by Buddhist teachings, and by teachers and pioneers who have evangelized traditional Buddhist practices by bringing them to the West. We use Jon Kabat-Zinn’s principles of mindful practice as a foundation to our practice, and also .

Emotional Intelligence

Drawing on research and work of Daniel Goleman, we summarize the five key elements of emotional intelligence as self awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.  

Using these principles combined with mindfulness training and practice, we can help you do the following in your work and personal life:

  • Manage stress
  • Set boundaries
  • Communicate assertively and effectively
  • Manage emotions
  • Find Focus
  • Set intentional goals for yourself and your relationships
  • Be resilient when obstacles in your way  
  • Improve health
  • Improve relationships
  • Develop leadership skills

We assess the barriers to your growth and potential, set specific goals, and provide guidance and support. Together we explore ideas and new perspectives, sharing different practices and techniques to consider on your own outside of the therapy office.

 
 
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The Gottman Method

Our work with couples is enhanced by use of The Gottman Method, a science-backed couples therapy method based on 40 years of research developed by John Gottman and brought into practice by his psychologist wife, Julie Gottman. The mission of The Gottman Method Couples therapy model is to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy and affection, remove barriers that create stagnation, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the relationship.  The Gottman method is proven effective for every type of couple, including those in same sex relationships.

Over time, negativity becomes a pattern that interferes with a couple’s closeness and connection, driving them further apart. We help couples strengthen their foundation so they can manage the perpetual conflicts that arise and which interfere with emotional connections.  Using the Gottman Method, couples learn healthier ways to cope with conflict.

You can expect to accomplish the following in therapy:

  • Create clear goals for treatment together based on a through assessment process that includes individual and joint sessions.
  • Practice new skills to manage conflict, resolve issues, build friendship, and develop trust.
  • Learn the research-supported findings of the components of healthy relationships.
  • Receive coaching and guidance as you practice communication and use the tools we provide.
  • Gain insight into deeper patterns that contribute to fundamental problems in your relationship

What types of issues are appropriate for treatment with The Gottman Method?

  • Emotional distance issues for couples on the verge of separation
  • Frequent conflicts and arguments
  • Specific problems such as money, infidelity, sexual difficulties and parenting
  • Even “happy couples” may benefit from learning ways to understand each other better and strengthen their bond.   

Kerrie Mohr has completed Levels I & II of training in this model and brought it to the practice to enhance the efficacy of the work of the couples’ therapists on the team as well.

The read more about how the theory and concepts of The Gottman Method can help you, we recommend subscribing to their Blog, The Marriage Minute.

 
 
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Prepare/Enrich 

Planning a life together is much more than choosing the right engagement ring and gown! Often, the more meaningful aspects of what it takes to have a healthy relationship go unexplored in the dating and engagement phases. At a Good Place, we aim to de-stigmatize the seeking of expert support and guidance as a couple, especially in the earlier phases of the relationship with negative patterns haven’t set in.  We are confident that with the right information, insights into each other and tools, you can navigate any future conflict with more grace!

We’ve developed a structured premarital coaching program using the research-supported Prepare-Enrich Couples assessment and method that is tailored to your individual needs and interests as a couple.  The research shows that the risk of divorce is reduced by 30% for  couples who have completed the inventory and received coaching. Information about each other is power!  When we identify some of the differences in areas like money, spirituality, culture, parenting styles, lifestyle, expectations, we can learn ways to have meaningful conversations around these topics, and speak about our needs as well as show empathy and understanding of our partner’s needs.  

With the use of PREPARE/ENRICH, your therapist will help you:

  • Resolve conflict by strengthening communication skills
  • Explore strengths and growth areas
  • Identify and manage major stressors
  • Develop a more balanced relationship
  • Explore family to origin issues
  • Discuss financial planning and budgeting
  • Establish personal, couple and family goals
  • Understand and appreciate personality differences
 
 
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Talk Therapy 

Our therapy style is proactive and focuses on goals that we will identify together. Unlike some types of talk therapy, we employ highly structured sessions to ensure we are serving the purposes you identified are most important to you. We set agendas, seek feedback, and consider ourselves a partner in the process. We are dynamic. We roll up our sleeves, don't simply listen and nod, and we will ask questions! We will work together to help you understand yourself and gain insight, but also to make measured changes in your life.

In addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, our therapists are trained in and informed by psychodynamic, relational, and interpersonal approaches. We follow and adapt current research in many areas, such as adult attachment styles. We place a very high value on continuing education at our practice. It always benefits our clients when out therapists are informed by the latest research on what does and doesn't work in the field of mental health.  

 
 
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Teletherapy

We offer therapy services online and over the phone to accommodate busy schedules and logistical barriers.
According to research, teletherapy sessions are just as effective as in-person sessions for addressing specific issues and conditions. Furthermore, some people may find it challenging to come to an office due to a medical crisis or an accessibility issue. Video therapy, using our HIPAA-compliant and secure platform, may be the best way for some people to receive the help and support they need.

Clients partaking in teletherapy services must also reside in a state where the therapist is licensed to practice. All of our therapists are licensed in New York State, and Kerrie, the practice founder and owner, is also licensed in California. Several of our therapists have specific expertise in working with people facing medical crises, a segement that can particularly benefit from our teletherapy services. Our Prepare-enrich premarital program for couples can also be provided across the country and globe, as the service is not bound by traditional licensing laws.   

 
 
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Play Therapy

Coming Soon.