I primarily use a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach to treatment. CBT is the gold-standard treatment for many of the most common psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and coping with emotionally difficult events. CBT involves learning to think in more nuanced and adaptive ways in order to combat negative thinking patterns. My practice is also informed by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), developmental psychology and attachment theory. I consider you the expert about your life and I tailor your therapy to what is working best for you.
I’ve consistently witnessed that people's thoughts are typically distorted. People’s minds tend to lie to them. I try to help clients see when they judge themselves unfairly, engage in black-and-white thinking, catastrophize difficult situations, and inaccurately assess risk and impending rejection.
These kinds of thoughts can lead to a variety of feelings and behaviors, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems, sleep issues, self-harm, and disordered eating. In treatment, we bring non-judgmental awareness to thoughts, notice the cognitive errors you commonly fall into and address the resulting behaviors.
We also address the feelings together. People generally want to be content but tend to have difficulty tolerating other emotional states. Anxiety and stress can feel unbearable. Depression feels like a heavy blanket that you have to fight off. The resistance of normal, human fluctuation in mood often makes things worse. I often hear clients express that their emotions are weak or not acceptable. So they may distract themselves by doing all sorts of things -- maintaining a frenetic pace at work, using alcohol to numb emotional pain, or exercising excessively.
We practice presence, using the breath and body as the focus of attention. As thoughts arise (they always do), you can lose interest in the story you’re telling yourself and choose not to follow the thoughts. Any sensations in the body (for instance, tightness in the chest and shallow breathing associated with anxiety) are “invited in.” What we resist tends to persist, so instead we allow. We discover together that your emotional states are tolerable and temporary, which ultimately can provide much relief.