Our therapists use different approaches in their therapy practice. They may use one or a variety of approaches that are evidence-based.
Would you like to think like those people that see the glass half-full, but know deep down that you really see the glass half-empty? Your thinking pattern might be causing you to focus on the negative and minimize the positive, which can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. If your therapist uses a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach, they will provide psychoeducation about unhelpful thinking patterns, inform you about the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and provide tools to restructure one’s thinking patterns towards more helpful thinking patterns that will then positively affect one’s emotions and behaviors.
An example of tools to learn from are:
CBT has been found helpful to treat a range of mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse problems, marital problems, and severe mental illness.
Do you often find yourself regretting things you say and do? When our emotions get the best of us, it’s common to become reactive instead of proactive. If the therapist has a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) approach, they will teach you various skills to proactively create the life you want to be living, such as mindfulness, interpersonal skills, and increasing tolerance for distress and negative emotions. This therapy can be helpful for individuals who have a difficult time managing their emotions and end up unintentionally in destructive behaviors. DBT was first developed to treat a borderline personality disorder. Since then, research has demonstrated that DBT can also be useful for treating depression, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and substance abuse.
If you were to take inventory of your thoughts, how often would you say your thoughts are negative or you anticipate the worst? Your thoughts might feel true and protective to avoid disappointment, however, they might be more limiting thoughts that keep you from your authentic goals. What do you think it would be like to be more curious and in the present moment, really enjoying what is right in front of you? You might have heard about mindfulness as a way to improve mental health. Neuroscience backs up the many benefits of mindfulness on one’s mental health in reducing depression and anxiety. Your therapist can teach and guide you in the practice of mindfulness, defined as focusing on purpose to one thing without judging yourself. It really is a practice that over time can become a new normal for your mind; being present instead of spiraling into various thoughts. This will allow your body to spend more time in the rest mode, which improves one’s mental health and also one’s physical health.
Have you noticed that although you understand locally you are safe, your body sensations are telling you something different? Or you might be able to list your accomplishments, but deep down inside you do not feel that you are good enough. Overall there seems to be a disconnection between your mind, your emotions, and your body. In these cases, past events might hijack your present-day perspective of yourself and your situation. If you have unprocessed stressful or traumatic past events where you did not feel safe or felt that you were not good enough, they can continue to inform how you view the situation and yourself. An Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist will work with you to help you understand your present-day triggers/symptoms and how they are connected to past unprocessed memories. This treatment helps the mind move from negative and limiting core beliefs to positive beliefs about yourself. It also helps to reprocess emotions and body sensations held in the body from past events.
It is unique in that starting in phase 4 of the treatment the therapist will assist you in reprocessing past memories with the use of bilateral stimulation to help the client stay present while reprocessing a past event. Bilateral stimulation can be done in different ways such as eye movements, hearing a tone, and/or tapping from left to right while thinking about a past memory. The present-day stimuli from the Bilateral stimulations keep your mind in the optimal place for reprocessing. What we like about EMDR is it really gets to the root cause of present-day triggers/symptoms and when a client is prepared enough, in a relatively stable situation, reprocessing the root causes can be very effective and time-efficient. Although EMDR can be a very time-efficient treatment if the stress and trauma occurred for a long period of time and at a young age, the preparation and reprocessing time can take longer.
Although EMDR is associated with treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the level of trauma/stress that a person experiences does not have to be so intense to qualify for PTSD in order for EMDR to be good treatment. Past stressful events include, but are not limited to:
EMDR therapy is an effective treatment option for people suffering from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and past trauma/PTSD.
An Internal Family System (IFS) approach works on reducing internal conflict that can keep you feeling stuck instead of moving forward towards your goals. Many of us have had the experience of feeling that a part of us wanted to do one thing, but another part of ourselves is concerned that what we want will lead to disappointment or might even feel threatening at a certain level. These different parts of ourselves can leave us at a standstill. IFS is a very in-depth process of addressing internal conflicts. It views the different parts or perspectives of ourselves as sub-personalities or parts. This therapy treatment uses the word family in the title to capture the focus of addressing these parts as a family working in a system. There are main categories of parts such as the protector parts of ourselves that focus on making sure that we are emotionally and physically safe and there are wounded parts of ourselves that have experienced pain and are currently suppressed to not feel the pain. One goal in IFS is to address the wounded parts of ourselves that have experienced pain and to express compassion towards that part in order to obtain healing from past experiences. This treatment is useful for a variety of concerns such as depression, anxiety, and trauma among others.