The most important part of my treatment approach is the development of trust and open communication between myself and a client. I know that it can be scary or intimidating to share certain thoughts or feelings, so I work to create a space that feels safe, comfortable and non-judgmental. Similarly, part of the initial assessment includes an examination of whether I am the best therapist for each client and their issues. Every psychologist has their own personality style, treatment approach, and theoretical orientation, and not every psychologist is a good match for every client. If I am not a good fit for a particular client or if a client's treatment needs fall outside of my areas of expertise, I will work to help identify other therapists who might be a better choice.
I also work from an integrative treatment model, which means that I incorporate many different theories and interventions into my work. As a result, I am able to vary my specific approach to match each client and his/her goals for treatment. Since I was trained as a scientist-practitioner, I focus on approaches that have the most research and evidence to support their effectiveness. Within that framework, there are two primary orientations that guide my work:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy- This combination of approaches has been thoroughly researched and found to be effective in treating a wide range of problems. The cognitive aspect refers to the impact that our thoughts can have on our emotions, often without us even being aware of it. We all have a certain screen through which we view the world, and our thoughts play an important role in what that screen looks like. The behavioral aspect focuses on understanding why we engage in certain behaviors or habits. Part of this includes examining triggers and motivations for a particular behavior, so that we can better identify a way to change it.
Psychodynamic therapy- This approach focuses on how our early experiences and relationships shape our view of the world, and the underlying feelings or thoughts that are affecting our relationships or emotional states. There is a wealth of research showing that psychodynamic approaches are effective, particularly in treating interpersonal problems, unhealthy relationship patterns, problematic personality traits.