My Approach to Helping
My approach to helping you is by being focused, empathic and nonjudgmental. You are not alone in your struggle, as life often throws us obstacles that we need to overcome. I am here to help you get through this difficult time in your life, whatever that may be. My specialty is cognitive behavioral therapy, in which I provide you the tools to help you change negative and destructive thoughts and behaviors into realistic and productive ones. This, in turn, will not only improve your mood but also your relationships with others. I also integrate supportive counseling so that you feel heard and understood, as well as communication skills to help you communicate effectively with others. Throughout my 20 years as a therapist, I have helped many people who have suffered from depression, phobias, anxiety, trauma, anger, and relationship issues. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing people grow in front of my eyes and become confident enough to finally be "on their own". Therefore, we will work together as a team and will go through this journey together, as you are learning skills and coping techniques to get you through life's challenges.
More Info About My Practice
I work in a suite with two psychiatrists and other therapists with different specialties. If during our phone consultation or during our therapy, you and I both feel you need a medication evaluation or a referral to someone who specializes in a type of treatment that I don't provide, I will be happy to make these referrals. With regard to having a psychiatrist in the same suite, it allows a better coordination of care, thus better treatment for you.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
When one suffers from depression and anxiety, the mind can go to places that can be scary and difficult to manage. Trying to control these thoughts and feelings can be exhausting and draining, especially if done on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are evidence-based psychotherapies that have shown to be effective in managing depression and anxiety. Many of these therapies stem from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is what I specialize in. What is different about that approach than "traditional" therapy, is that the clients learns how to change their thoughts and behaviors in order to change their mood. For example, with phobias, generally the first step is to educate the client on what is anxiety and avoidance (which maintains the anxiety). We then practice relaxation techniques, we develop a list of areas/situations that cause anxiety and then rate them by intensity, and then we challenge the harmful thoughts that are also maintaining the anxiety. Finally, we do exposure therapy, which is the crux and turning point of any anxiety disorder. This is when we have the client put themselves in the phobic situation in a VERY controlled and safe environment that is done in a gradual way (using the list made earlier). Although scary at first, the client becomes desensitized to the environment, which eventually diffuses the anxiety, thus the phobia. Exposure therapy is used, in different forms, with Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It is extremely effective but it requires training from the therapist, as well as an active participant. My clients who took the "risk", especially those who have struggled with some of these conditions for years, have been grateful for the therapy because they can finally live the life they have been wanting for months or years.
My Role as a Therapist
My role as a therapist is to provide you a safe and empathic environment so that you can become the person you want to be. Although I do specialize in CBT, as stated above, sometimes this approach is not the best for everyone. Some of my clients want me to be active and directive, and to help them with problem-solving or coping skills. Others want me to mostly listen and allow them to think out loud to figure things out themselves, while I ask questions to get them there. Others want a mixed approach, while others allow me to take them to places that they've been avoiding all their lives because now it is safe and nurturing to do so (e.g. past traumas). In other words, we work together: you drive the car and I help guide you. Together we come up with a treatment plan and together we revise it. If I feel that we are entering an area that is out of my area of expertise, we will discuss a referral to someone else. My goal it to help you in any way possible. I also strongly follow the Ethical Rules of Conduct, in which I will do my best to protect you. However, as much effort as I am putting into the process, I expect you to put as much effort. You must be an active participant. I cannot do this alone. Therefore, I believe that working together as a team, we will be able to reach your goals.