Early on in my career I learned something that profoundly changed the way that I see clients and how I approach psychological treatment. It is called the Transtheoretical Model, but most people refer to it as the Stages of Change. The model views change as a process that consists of five stages, rather than an all-or-nothing occurrence. It enables me to determine your readiness to change, and to meet you where you are with the appropriate types of supports and interventions. My view of change as a process allows me to work very effectively with clients who feel stuck, and who have made previous unsuccessful attempts to change. When psychotherapy is unsuccessful, it is often because a practitioner attempts to use interventions that are inappropriate to a client’s readiness to change. This is particularly true when very action-oriented interventions are attempted with clients who simply are not ready. The result is that the psychotherapist feels ineffective and the client is inadvertently reinforced into believing that she or he cannot change. When psychotherapy is skillfully applied in a way that supports and facilitates the process of change, you are more likely to move forward and experience the sense of success that emerges from seeing yourself make progress.
My intimate understanding of the process of change allows me to use several therapeutic approaches and a multitude of well researched techniques in a way that will maximize their effectiveness for you. I am a scientist as well as a practitioner, and I approach my work with clients in a very organized and analytical manner while maintaining the relationship that is so integral to psychotherapy.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Desensitization with Response Prevention
- Existential Psychology
- Exposure Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Positive Psychology
- Reality Therapy & Choice Theory
- Solution-Focused Therapy
About Counseling & Psychotherapy
Counseling and psychotherapy often overlap in practice, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Being trained as a Counseling Psychologist, I am qualified to provide both. My counseling services focus on successfully navigating through common life stressors and developmental challenges. Some examples include life transitions, relationship issues, academic/career concerns, making difficult decisions, and coping with setbacks. These are challenges that most people relate with, and can expect to encounter at some point in their lives. However, they can sometimes cause enough stress to temporarily impair you from functioning at your usual level, or can decrease your quality of life. I will provide you with nonjudgmental support, honest and direct feedback, and professional guidance to assist you with making your own choices based on your values and needs. I will emphasize building strengths and maximizing your adaptive abilities so you gain the skills to manage future challenges on your own.
The psychotherapy services I provide initially focus on increasing self-awareness and gaining insight into problematic patterns of thinking and behavior. People who benefit from psychotherapy are often in emotional distress, are having difficulty relating with others, and/or are experiencing impairment in functioning. I will use well established therapeutic approaches and empirically validated techniques to help you understand your problems and improve your ability to manage them. While stabilization and symptom management are necessary, I do not consider them to be sufficient. When afforded the opportunity, I will work longer term with you to improve your quality of life and address the needs that are often disregarded in traditional medical model treatment. I will guide you through the process of change with the objective of moving toward your desired outcomes (rather than merely avoiding a relapse of unwanted symptoms and behaviors).
Note that I have seven years of experience treating clients with psychotherapy who also use medication for their mental health treatment. Many of my clients sought psychotherapy after finding that medication alone did not provide them with the benefit that they desired. I support you in using the treatment methods that you need in order to achieve your goals, including medication. Research has shown that “a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety.” I am willing to coordinate care with psychiatrists and primary care providers for those of you who would like such collaboration, and who provide your written permission.
I am also supportive of clients who do not wish to take psychotropic medication. Research has also shown that “the effects produced by psychotherapy, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry” (American Psychological Association, 2012).