Our care begins with establishing a holistic understanding of each person. We strive to work together with a person to provide the optimal approach. Our methods are anchored in medical science, blended with various mind-body treatment modalities to help each patient find balance that achieves their treatment goals.
We recognize that this process is most effective when there is a fit between the therapist and the one seeking healing. Therefore, initially we work to establish that our practice is a good fit for a person or family prior to beginning services. We recognize that achieving good health is a process that requires collaboration, cooperation and a commitment. As a team, we work together and provide support along the way.
We strive to help a person view their innate ability to make choices which serve the life they wish to live. Our commitment is to be a trusted guide throughout the journey toward healing.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy has its roots in our human history. We are the only species that has evolved with the ability to talk. We can think and we can talk. We can express ourselves. We have lived in communities since the dawn of time and we have interacted with others. We have given council and received it. We have expressed emotions through our words. We have paid heavily for our ability to think and talk.
Source: Scientific American
We often are able to realize the helpful conversation with our trusted friend or the invaluable guidance of a mentor. All of this help was given in the form of the spoken word. Psychotherapy is just that. A healing modality in which people feel better by talking. Oftentimes we go through events in life that we cannot discuss with our friends or family. That is the time to look for a professional. Professional Psychotherapists are trained in how to gauge a conflict that a person is facing and provide a healing space in which the person can explore various solutions to their problems.
Problems helped by a professional psychotherapist can include difficulties in coping with daily life; the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss, like the death of a loved one; hopelessness, problems with self esteem, problems with guilt, phobias and fear based attitudes. There are several different types of psychotherapy and some types may work better with certain problems or issues. Psychotherapy may be used in combination with medication or other therapies.
What are Therapy Sessions Like?
Therapy may be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group setting, and can help both children and adults. Sessions are typically held once a week for about 30 to 50 minutes. Both the patient and therapist need to be actively involved in psychotherapy. The trust and relationship between a person and his/her therapist is essential to working together effectively and achieving the optimum benefit from psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy can be short-term (a few sessions), dealing with immediate issues, or long-term (months or years), dealing with longstanding, complex issues or when deep transformational work is required. The goals of treatment and arrangements for how often and how long to meet are planned jointly by the patient and therapist.
Confidentiality is a basic requirement of psychotherapy. It is one of those vital ingredients that creates a healing space. We take confidentiality seriously. Information is never shared without a person’s consent with two rare exceptions–if a person’s physical safety or potential for self-harm is at risk; or in the case of legal injunction.
How to You Combine Psychological with the Biological and Spiritual in Treatment?
Psychotherapy can be used to help us come to terms with our thoughts and emotions. At the same time it provides us an opportunity to improve our lifestyle. Our philosophy is that if we are thinking correctly, we are going to find ourselves worthy of self care and our lifestyle will become one of self compassion. Being able to love ourselves becomes the seed of all our spirituality.
Psychotherapy can be combined synergistically with biological measures as well like acupuncture, herbs, functional medicines or psychopharmacological interventions.
Does Psychotherapy Work?
According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that most people who receive psychotherapy experience symptom relief and are better able to function in their lives. About 75 percent of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit from it.
Psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotions and behaviors and to be linked with positive changes in the brain and body. The benefits also include fewer sick days, less disability, fewer medical problems, and increased satisfaction with life.
Psychotherapy literally changes the structure and the functioning of the brain. Now with the use of brain imaging techniques researchers have been able to see changes in the brain after a person has undergone psychotherapy. Numerous studies have identified brain changes in people with mental illness (including depression, panic disorder, PTSD and other conditions) as a result of undergoing psychotherapy. In most cases the brain changes resulting from psychotherapy were similar to changes resulting from medication.
Source: Karlsson, H. How Psychotherapy changes the Brain. Psychiatric Times. 2011.
To help get the most out of psychotherapy, the best way to approach the therapy is as a collaborative effort. Be open and honest, and follow your agreed upon plan for treatment.
What are the Different Types of Psychotherapy?
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use several types of therapy. The choice of therapy type depends on the patient’s particular problem and circumstances and his/her preference. Therapists may combine elements from different approaches to best meet the needs of the person receiving treatment. Some basic schools of psychotherapy that we use in our clinic are:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps people distinguish between the real world and the world that we assume to be real. We see the world through our thoughts and perspective. Reality is often very different. The lack of harmony between the two can be the root cause of problems. CBT can identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are harmful or ineffective, replacing them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors. It can help a person focus on current problems and how to solve them.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a short-term form of treatment. It helps people understand underlying interpersonal issues that are troublesome, like unresolved grief, changes in social or work roles, conflicts with significant others, and problems relating to others. It can help people learn healthy ways to express emotions and ways to improve communication and how they relate to others.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a specific type of CBT that helps regulate emotions. It is often used to treat people who have intense emotions. These emotions can take a life of their own and start making decisions for a person. DBT gives the power back to the individual. It teaches new skills to help people change unhealthy or disruptive behavior. It can involve both individual or group therapy.
Psychodynamic Therapy is based on the idea that behavior and mental well-being are influenced by childhood experiences and inappropriate repetitive thoughts or feelings that are unconscious. A person works with the therapist to improve self-awareness and to change old patterns so he/she can more fully take charge of his/her life.
Supportive Therapy uses guidance and encouragement to help patients develop their own resources. It helps build self-esteem, reduce anxiety, strengthen coping mechanisms, and improve social and community functioning. Supportive psychotherapy helps patients deal with issues related to their mental health conditions which in turn affect the rest of their lives.
Trauma Based Therapies are targeted to specifically address the trauma a person’s mind and body go through. Addressing trauma in the mind is usually not successful unless the trauma in a person’s body is addressed. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing are all types of psychotherapy that can be helpful to address impact of traumatic events.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is a form of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy. It can be used not only for addressing specific conflict that a person is trying to work past but also help with spiritual growth.
Family Therapy is a powerful modality that is underappreciated in our culture. A family is the basis to a resilient person and it is the basis of a resilient community. Many problems can be addressed in family therapy including situations when a person who is going through the problem refuses to open up to anyone because of shame. It is also the treatment modality that is very effective in problems in children.
Couples Counseling is also an effective way to improve relationship between two people. There are multiple other schools of psychotherapy for both couples counseling and family counseling.
We also use existential psychotherapy, internal family systems, compassion and mindfulness based psychotherapy, brief dynamic psychotherapy and spiritual development.
Hypnotherapy, also referred to as guided hypnosis, is a form of psychotherapy that uses relaxation, extreme concentration, and intense attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or mindfulness. In other words, it places the individual into a “trance” or altered state of awareness. It can be effective for psychological distress, phobias, and unhealthy, destructive, or dangerous habits (i.e. smoking and/or drinking).