Urban Zen Integrative Therapist
Uzit + Self-Care Expertise
Integrative Mind Body Support + Self-Care For Professionals + Caregivers
In 2009, I had the privilege of participating in the Urban Zen Foundation's Integrative Therapy Program. The UZIT program was a perfect fit for me because I enjoy expanding my knowledge as a clinician so that I can offer quality, comprehensive care to my clients. My year-long Urban Zen journey was an attempt to explore a variety of integrative treatment modalities that would provide adjunct support to my integrative psychotherapy practice in New York City. I graduated from the program with a 500-hour certification in integrative therapy and yoga therapy in addition to 200 hours of previously-earned yoga training. I use these skills in an integrated manner when working with clients managing pain and chronic illness as well as therapy clients who are healing from trauma, PTSD, anxiety symptoms, stress, addictions and eating disorders.
The program involves training in yoga therapy, nutrition, self-care, Reiki, contemplative care and essential oils (aromatherapy). All of these modalities together support the reduction of pain and anxiety. The objective and philosophy of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program is to train individuals to work in private practices, corporate environments, hospitals, outpatient care centers, support groups, hospice, nursing and medical schools in an effort to transform the healthcare system into a "healthier" healing system. The Urban Zen Foundation integrates Eastern healing techniques with Western medicine in a model that delivers compassionate and complementary, comprehensive healing care.
In 2011, I was invited to return to the program as a mentor to new students. I am delighted to serve as a resource for anyone interested in the Urban Zen Foundation Therapy Program (UZIT) philosophy and can provide referrals to integrative practitioners in New York City and beyond. Currently, the Urban Zen Foundation collaborates with yoga studios such as Yoga Works, UCLA, Beth Israel and other hospitals throughout the country, as well as teaching institutions such as Ohio State, Cleveland State and Kent State. While participating in Donna Karan's groundbreaking initiative, I had the honor of training with Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Richard Freeman, Richard Rosen, Geoffrey Roniger, Pamela Miles, Tracy Griffiths, Lena Falth, Koshin Paley Ellison, Robert Chodo Campbell and Roshi Joan Halifax. I completed clinical rotations at Beth Israel Medical Center and Hope Lodge.
To learn more about the practice of meditation visit this link.
Developed more than two decades ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., mindfulness training helps a person live in the present moment in an effort to better handle the ups and downs of life. By intentionally bringing a non-judgmental awareness to breathing, body sensations, moods, thoughts and feelings--including fear, anger, frustration, desire, and self-doubt-–a person is better equipped to deal with the challenges of life. This very special kind of attentiveness enables one to acquire new insights about life situations, and in turn, develop ways to consciously respond, rather than react to the conditions of life.
How does one practice Mindfulness? People simply observe what arises in the body and mind, perceiving each experience as an event in their own field of awareness. This fuller, moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness known as Mindfulness frees one to make clearer and more attuned decisions. Most people report an increased ability to relax, greater resilience, more energy and enthusiasm for life, increased self-confidence and an enhanced ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term, stressful situations. The practice of Mindfulness teaches practitioners a way of being more deeply present in the body with a range of thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is learning to work with what is, acceptance of reality, in a less reactive and judgmental manner.
Mindfulness is an elegant and simple approach to living a meaningful life. Western medicine is now recognizing Mindfulness as a powerful, evidence-based tool for dealing with trauma, PTSD symptoms, attachment deficits, chronic stress, pain, depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, overwhelming feelings and emotions and many other medical and psychological conditions.
Meditation is an activity that calms the mind and keeps it focused on the present moment. It's normal for the mind to be busy and active. Meditation is not about emptying the mind, but allowing whatever is present to just be. People think that they can't meditate, or are failing at meditation because their mind is noisy. The practice of meditation is actually quite simple. When thoughts keep us distracted during meditation, we notice and observe present thoughts, feelings, emotions and body sensations, then gently guide awareness back to our breathing. You can practice watching and observing the mind in the same way you would gaze at the sky and watch a cloud pass.
Put simply, meditation is an activity of receptivity, of allowing thoughts, feelings and emotions to come and go. It is openness. As you practice, you will notice that meditation quiets the mind and helps you gain clarity and calm. You will develop greater compassion for yourself and others. Symptoms such as urges, cravings, addictions, anxiety, depression, impatience, poor concentration and attention, negative self-concepts, agitation, anger, poor motivation and accelerated aging may be greatly reduced. Meditation also helps you access your creativity--you will also work, play and sleep better. You will know yourself better. You may develop greater tolerance for others.
I personally love rituals and creating an altar or dedicated area of the home or office to sit, but this is not a necessary component for your meditation practice to be helpful. Another mistake is to avoid meditation because you can't devote the time that you think is necessary to do it "properly." We now know that sitting for five minutes is effective and restorative, and can give you the pause that you need to return to your daily life with clarity and balance. The benefits of a regular meditation practice generalize to all aspects of your life, on and off the cushion.
It is important to find a meditation style that works for you, and there are many. Some find movement and walking meditation more beneficial than sitting. Others prefer working with a professional or finding a community to support their practice. Some of my clients report the benefits of using some of the guided meditation apps on the market developed for Android or Apple to help them sleep or to use as breaks during their busy day. There are also many types of meditation styles to research such as these for example: TM, Mantra, Mindfulness, QiGong, Zazen, Breath Awareness, Body Scan, Kundalini and Loving Kindness. Find what resonates for you!
Rigorous scientific research can measure the effects of meditation on a range of health variables. Please enjoy this article from the New York Times on How to Meditate and this article from Forbes describes the impact of meditation on the brain.
Stress Management + Reduction
Stress is present for all of us, especially when we live and work in busy cities and attempt to manage the demands of work-life balance. Chronic, unrelenting stress can affect one's physical and mental health. Stress regularly shows up in the body as pain and other symptoms in addition to accelerated aging. Stress can lead to insomnia and memory problems, increase one's risk of heart disease, have an impact on diabetes and arthritis, contribute to the development of eczema and autoimmune disorders, and even lead to reduced resistance and immune system depression.
Changing habits and negative thoughts can be a challenge for most of us, but with stress management support, it is possible to eliminate the old and adopt healthier, health-sustaining habits. Those who have a difficult time coping with stress on their own often turn to unhealthy ways of coping such as food, substances and behavioral addictions. Typically, clients who come for stress management are experiencing difficulty relaxing, feeling on edge and may experience sleep problems. These clients are typically busy and ambitious people who work hard and could benefit from approaches to help them find balance and comfort in their bodies and lives. Many clients often benefit from sampling a variety of techniques such as EMDR, guided meditation and mindfulness to find the techniques that provide the desired support.
Together, we will look at the many areas of your life to find the sources of your problems and find solutions. Areas of focus may include work, family and other areas. Techniques to help you relax, de-stress optimize your environment and learn to "breathe" in a way that serves your body are important aspects of integrative therapy sessions.
With stress and relaxation coaching you will learn to:
- Identify the areas in your life that are causing stress
- Develop coping strategies to reduce and manage stress in your life
- Better understand your own body's response to stress
- Establish healthy work and personal boundaries
- Maintain an exercise regimen
- Manage disease, pain or chronic conditions
- Utilize techniques to manage stress such as meditation and breathing techniques
What are the benefits of working with a Stress Management Expert?
- Enhanced clarity of thought and focus
- Improved immune function
- Reduction in unhealthy physical responses to stress such as increased cortisol and adrenaline
- Improved emotion regulation
- Increased energy and vitality and emotional well-being
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Weight loss
- Control over unhelpful responses to stress
- Increased motivation
- Healthy work and life balance
How does stress impact your life?
Stress can affect every area of life--physically and emotionally. In fact, stress plays a role in virtually every disease and condition, from the common cold to life-threatening diseases. Stress weakens the immune system. Unhealthy levels of stress contribute to the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Chronic hyperventilation
- Tense muscles
- Impaired digestion
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Back pain
- Anxiety, fear, irritability, frustration, hyperactivity
- Decreased self esteem
- Relationship problems
Other interesting and helpful techniques that I regularly integrate into wellness coaching sessions
Body scans offer help for bringing deep awareness to the many processes of the mind and body. While in a state of relaxation, allow the mind to focus awareness on, and just notice parts of the body. Many people like to begin with the feet and work their way up the body, noticing any sensations such as: holding, tightness, agitation, softness, relaxation, pain, lack of pain, etc. Either before or after a body scan, practitioners often do a breath awareness exercise where the focus of attention is simply noticing breathing and any sensations or thoughts as you do this gentle exercise. Body scans can be helpful for individuals with chronic pain by focusing on parts of the body that are pain-free.
Guided Imagery is a therapeutic technique that is used by some clinicians during psychotherapy sessions to promote relaxation and healing. Imagery (thoughts or mental representations with sensory qualities) can help people achieve a variety of health goals, such as alleviating anxiety or depression, overcoming phobias, trauma recovery, reducing habits (overeating, smoking), healing from physical illness, and physical symptom reduction (i.e., high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, G.I. problems, chronic pain). Guided imagery is a two-part process. The first component involves reaching a state of deep relaxation through breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. During the relaxation phase, the person closes their eyes and focuses on the quiet, relaxed, "in and out" nature of breathing. Or, they might focus on releasing the feelings of tension from their muscles, beginning with the toes and working up to the top of the head, as one might do in progressive relaxation or body scans. Once relaxation is achieved, the second component of the exercise is the imagery, or visualization. Guided imagery is perfect for patients or clients who feel uncomfortable receiving help in a traditional therapist/patient session where "talk therapy" is the focus, or in addition to other therapeutic techniques.
Clinicians and therapists integrate guided imagery into a variety of other modalities such as EMDR. When woven into an integrative psychotherapy approach, guided imagery helps clients connect with their internal cognitive, affective, and somatic resources. Guided imagery can be used for the following:
- To relax and calm the nervous system
- Learn and rehearse new skills
- Learn to effectively problem solve through visualizing possible outcomes of different alternatives
- Increase creativity and imagination
- Enhanced performance and sports training
- Healthcare and rehabilitative medicine
Medical practitioners such as nurses often use guided imagery with their patients to support patient healing and increase patient comfort. This is particularly true with Cancer patients, but also with patients who have other medical concerns such as anxiety before surgery. Studies have shown that individuals who participate in guided imagery experience an increase in activated T-cells which leads to improved immune responses. Guided Imagery is one of many tools that an individual may use as part of a regular self-care practice.
The usefulness of guided imagery techniques have been shown to be effective in helping individuals learn or modify behaviors such as:
- Learning to relax
- Changing or controlling negative emotions in response to a particular situation
- Preparation for future changes (divorce, moving, job changes)
- Habit control and eliminating or reducing undesirable behaviors (smoking, obesity)
- Increased pain management
- Coping with difficult situations (relatives, family events, a difficult boss)
- Learning new and desirable behaviors (assertiveness training)
- Increasing motivation (work, homework)
- Learning to manage stressful or anxiety-producing situations (public speaking/presentations) by mentally rehearsing the needed behavior(s)
Guided imagery techniques have been found to be effective with a variety of concerns such as:
- Phobias (including agoraphobia, panic disorders, social phobia, and specific phobias)
- Generalized anxiety disorders (GAD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Sexual concerns
- Habit disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Behavior disorders in children and adolescents
- Medical conditions
- Acute and chronic pain (and other physical disorders)
Guided imagery has also contributed to the achievement of skills and overcoming anxiety in normal life situations that include learning or improving skills, performance enhancement, test taking, and public speaking. Visualization and imagery, along with hypnotherapy, EMDR and behavioral techniques, have been applied to the fields of business, industry, child rearing, education, behavioral medicine, and sports. In my Manhattan psychotherapy practice, I integrate guided imagery into psychotherapy and EMDR sessions with patients as needed.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Individual Therapy, Group Therapy, Relationship Counseling, Consulation, Supervision, EMDR + Adjunctive EMDR Therapy + Online Counseling Sessions
As an integrative psychotherapist, I'm delighted to offer a unique approach to emotional health and healing. My goal is to blend contemporary psychological practices, intuitive guidance and the wisdom of the ancient healing arts. The heart and soul of my approach is to help clients develop insight, self-awareness, self-acceptance, authenticity, self integration, respect for one's body, embodiment, healthy boundaries and self-care practices.
Psychotherapy For Adolescents + Adults
Individual adolescent and adult therapy is provided in my Manhattan office, and depending on client concerns, online using Skype or a HIPPA compliant platform. An initial consultation is the best way to determine if your particular needs and goals can be addressed using short-term or long-term psychotherapy. I have advanced post-graduate training in a variety of helpful techniques such as: EMDR Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Focusing, Gottman, Emotionally Focused Therapy or
EFT and Mindfulness. After an initial assessment, I will give you my opinion, and together, we can discuss your needs and create a treatment plan. We will also consider the duration of treatment and the approach or combination that will serve your goals. I have expertise in anxiety and mood disorders, addictions, compulsions, eating disorders, relationship problems, sexuality, identity concerns, self-defeating patterns and self-sabbotage, lack of purpose, goal setting, spirituality, family of origin issues, trauma/PTSD, attachment issues, self-esteem, transitions, loss, wellness coaching and an integrative therapy approach that addresses chronic pain and medical challenges.
Coaching, Strategizing + Mentoring
Coaching is not therapy. Coaching clients are goal-oriented individuals who seek results in their lives. Hiring a coach who is skilled to uncover obstacles, as well as guide and support your "best self," is a powerful resource. Having support and guidance as you practice new behaviors can be incredibly helpful. Some individuals seek an expert "strategist" to guide efforts towards growth and change. Coaching unearths the stubborn and often hidden, negative self-concepts that keep people anchored in their present reality. Identifying these unhelpful concepts helps clients move forward. Often, a positive and renewed sense of energy will emerge as soon as one begins the coaching process. Partnering with a life coach can be supportive, encouraging and empowering, and can help clients navigate change, restoring or creating balance and fulfillment. Whether it’s taking control of one's health, losing weight, career issues, focusing on goal-attainment, repairing a relationship, getting "unstuck" or transitioning to a new chapter in life, coaching can provide the needed inspiration and support one desires. Working with a licensed trained psychotherapist can yield exceptional results. Therapists have the necessary skills and tools that can be used when longstanding and resistant patterns interfere with progress. I regularly offer EMDR for blocks and peak-performance enhancement, mindfulness, meditation techniques, solution-focused strategies or cognitive and behavior techniques to my clients, combined with coaching strategies to help "stuck" clients move forward.
Relationship Counseling + Couples Therapy
I've successfully worked with many couples who desire a healthier and more satisfying relationship. I work with many high-functioning couples who would like to enhance their relationship and reestablish intimacy and connection. I also work with individuals at various stages of relationships including: newly-formed relationships, couples seeking pre-marital counseling and guidance, new parents seeking support, those considering separation or divorce and the newly single and ready to date. I draw from attachment-based theory, helping couples understand their own attachment style as well as that of their partner. Clients can learn to communicate their needs and "hear" the needs of their partner, as well as develop a shared vision or goals, learn acceptance and compassion for self and the other, heal from infidelity and develop new skills. Clients also are guided to identify and de-escalate triggers, address sex and intimacy concerns and understand how the past and family of origin issues may be impacting the relationship in the present. I use my training from The Gottman Institute, as well as Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT and Non-Violent Communication or NVC to support my work with couples.
EMDR Therapy + Brainspotting
As an EMDRIA-approved, level I + II trained EMDR therapist, I have enjoyed great success with clients using EMDR therapy for a variety of chronic, longstanding difficulties as well as recent traumatic incidents. EMDR psychotherapy can be a stand-alone treatment or integrated into ongoing talk therapy sessions to speed the healing process. As a New York City-based EMDR specialist, I provide trauma resolution for PTSD symptoms, and healing for attachment deficits, developmental traumas, medical trauma and chronic physical and emotional abuse. Additionally, EMDR is an effective therapy for anxiety, obsessions, phobias, compulsions, panic attacks, depression, self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions and more. For individuals with anxiety, emotion regulation problems and in addiction recovery, elements of EMDR therapy can help clients develop and strengthen self-soothing inner resources. A combination of EMDR and coaching is an effective treatment combination for sports and peak performance enhancement and creative and performance blocks. Brainspotting, another technique developed by David Grand, PhD, combined with EMDR psychotherapy is a technique I use to address attachment issues, unresolved trauma, pre-verbal trauma and performance problems.
Consultations + Referrals
I provide consultation sessions that are time-limited and problem or goal-focused. Some individuals and families consult with a mental health professional for educational purposes, a clinical assessment or diagnosis, a second opinion, help with a personal or life challenge, support for a difficult transition or crisis and to obtain resources to other collateral support such as psychiatrists or treatment facilities such as rehabs for addictions and eating disorders. Clinical consultations allow a client, parent or family member to explore concerns, probem-solve with a professional and make decisions or changes in their lives that move them forward when they feel unsupported or "stuck." I am delighted to share my trusted resources to complementary, alternative and conventional medical referrals in New York City and beyond. Consultations are not psychotherapy and can be done long distance using an online service such as Skype, Google, FaceTime or via telephone sessions.
Integrative Therapy-Coaching, Mindfulness, Stress Reduction + Self-Care Practices
My interest in mind-body techniques and complementary medicine has allowed me to journey to some amazing places including workshops and training opportunities. Using my training with the Urban Zen Foundation and my yoga therapy training (RYT 200 + 500 hours), I help clients address anxiety insomnia, stress, trauma and chronic illness using a combination of guided imagery, breathing techniques, body scans, meditation and mindfulness. I've studied aromatherapy and Reiki and still enjoy both, including self-Reiki and Reiki with clients, friends and family. Using the brilliance of neuroplasticity, western psychological theory, and the power of cutting-edge nutrition, yoga therapy, chakra work and other somatic psychotherapies, I truly enjoy helping clients who are open to these techniques heal on many levels. Together we can decide what would work best for your particular needs. Some examples of integrative therapy include: mindfulness training, lifestyle recommendations (nutrition, meditation, exercise, yoga and sleep), boundary work, creative play, journaling, somatic therapy and more.
Supervision + Private Practice Development
I enjoy helping new practitioners such as social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed mental health counselors and psychologists develop and build their private practices. I am happy to provide clinical supervision for cases, and I especially enjoy helping interested therapists blend mind-body medicine and complementary techniques into their existing psychotherapy practices.
Psychotherapy, Coaching + Consultation Services
- Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety and compulsive disorders
- Eating disorders, emotional eating and body image issues
- Borderline Personality Disorder BPD
- Adolescents problems (behavioral, emotional, family, academic challenges)
- Marriage, couples, relationship problems
- Celebrity, gifted and talented individuals
- Grief, loss, bereavement, life transitions
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
- Addictions, drug addiction, process addictions, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, alcoholism
- Sexual addiction
- Adult survivors of abuse
- Adult children of alcoholics (ACOA)
- Dissociation, complex PTSD, emotion regulation difficulties
- Childhood, developmental trauma, traumatic events, accidents, medical trauma
- Self-harm, Self-sabatage, self-defeating behaviors
- Self-esteem issues, negative self-concept
- Performance blocks using EMDR therapy
- Surviving and managing relationships with borderline or narcissistic individuals or partners
- Men’s issues, career concerns, sexual difficulties, work/life balance
- Women’s issues, career concerns, transitions, parenting, caretaking, hormone imbalance
- Environmental stressors, crisis management
- Phase of life issues, aging
- Sexual and relationship issues for individuals and couples
- LGBT concerns, alternative lifestyles
- Work, creativity and career issues
- Life purpose, existential, spiritual concerns
- Individual, couples, marital, family, group therapy
- Weekend intensive workshops for couples
- Coordination of services with school, medical practitioners, legal counsel, etc
- Consultation and evaluation for potential in-patient residential treatment
- Parent and new parent education, coaching
- Addiction evaluations, assessments, referrals to medical and allied professionals in New York City and beyond
- Executive coaching
- Peak performance coaching
- Clinical supervision, private practice building business, consulting
- Presentations, workshops
- Mindfulness, meditation instruction, stress management
- Recovery support for individuals including their families
- Self-care, well-being, burnout support and coaching
- Psychodynamic, relational, interpersonal psychotherapy
- Mindfulness, meditation support
- EMDR therapy
- Focusing techniques
- Crisis counseling
- Short-term, goal-oriented therapy
- DBT skills
- Marriage and relationships
- Clinical supervision
- Online via telephone, Skype, FaceTime or a HIPPA compliant service
Helpful information About An Integrative Psychotherapy Practice
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an evidence-based and active therapy that has a long history and tradition used in both short and long-term treatment. Psychodynamic sessions include the process of increasing self-awareness, encouraging self-expression, understanding conflicts, developing insight into the behaviors of self and other, unearthing unconscious content that can interfere with functioning and understanding patterns and dynamics that may have origins in the past but are played out in the "here and now." This form of therapy uses the relationship between patient and therapist to heal. The interpersonal relationship tends to be the focus of sessions as an active example of other relationships in the patient's life, so that patterns and distress can be "worked through" and not repeated outside of treatment.
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on examining and changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. CBT tends to be a short-term approach that is highly-effective for many with empirically-tested techniques supporting an increase in skills and a change in behaviors. CBT is an effective solution for a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression and addictions/substance abuse.
DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT was originally developed for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. With time, DBT skills and techniques have been found to be helpful for individuals who struggle in many areas of life including substance abuse, addictions. DBT treatment combines ideas of awareness, acceptance and change from mindfulness with a range of psychological theories. Because DBT skills are practical and can be generalized into many areas of life, DBT can be successfully integrated into treatment plans and used in a variety of treatment settings. DBT uses mindfulness and other skills to help increase emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness with the goal of helping patient's cope, de-escalate, and self-regulate.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages which is to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to action that will improve the quality of life. The goal of ACT is to help people create a full and meaningful life even and especially when the stress and pain of life is a challenge. ACT teaches the psychological skills to manage painful feelings and thoughts in an effort to reduce the impact of suffering. Another aim is to help individuals clarify what is important and meaningful, using that awareness to guide, motivate and inspire them to make important changes that will lead to a better life. ACT supports cognitive flexibility in addition to encouraging individuals to observe and allow difficult thoughts feelings, emotions and experiences to simply occur. ACT also helps patients identify concrete short and long-term goals.
Mindfulness is the practice of moment-to-moment awareness of feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations as well as an awareness of the environment and one's surroundings. Mindfulness, as a philosophy, has more recently become a widely-used and helpful practice in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy. Additionally, mindfulness is an empirically-validated practice with data that supports its efficacy and application in a range of clinical and non-clinical settings. A mindfulness practice includes the observation of feelings, emotions and sensations, a non-judgmental presence and the awareness of the present moment.
EMDR is an evidence-based treatment that targets many symptoms and conditions including trauma, negative memories, phobias, fears, anxiety, addictions, compulsions and performance difficulties. Originally used to treat Veterans, EMDR therapy is now one of the most efficient and effective trauma/symptom treatment methods that allows clients to fully heal from their psychological wounds. EMDR can successfully be integrated into psychotherapy sessions. Many clients find EMDR to be more effective than other forms of therapy including CBT and traditional “talk therapy.”
Psychotherapy for Depression
Clinical depression is a complicated condition that can be treated with interpersonal psychotherapy, medication and a collaborative approach to identify the biological and psychosocial factors that may have contributed to a patient's depressive symptoms. Depression can be mild and show up with seasonal changes and it can be debilitating and interfere with activities of daily living, life skills, relationships, employment, hope and may also include the desire to end one’s life. Depression treatment is generally supportive in nature, and may require help with daily structure and coping skills and often requires working with other mental health professionals. Interpersonal psychotherapy, CBT and EMDR therapy can be effective treatments for depressed patients as can antidepressant use, light therapy, vitamin D and supplements.
Psychotherapy for Anxiety
Anxiety symptoms bring many into therapy for the first time. Not all clients experience anxiety in the same way. For some, anxiety is a distress that presents in a specific situation such as performance, public speaking or test-taking. For others, anxiety may be experienced as chronic and ranging from mild to debilitating, including uncomfortable physical symptoms. Anxiety sufferers are best helped by understanding emotional conflicts, environmental and genetic factors with treatment that may include talk therapy, CBT, stress reduction techniques, Somatic Experiencing (SE) and EMDR Therapy to target early trauma, memories and present-day distress.
Trauma Treatment and PTSD
Early trauma and chronic developmental traumas that have impacted a patient's development and attachment relationships are the most difficult to heal. Psychotherapy can help validate the patient's experience, work through any feelings of shame and confusion that may have been internalized, process the traumatic experience or event and help them understand how their current life is impacted by traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy can help individuals identify triggers in daily experiences that create symptoms and contribute to familiar self-defeating patterns and dynamics. While talk therapy can be a good place to begin for some trauma patients, EMDR is the treatment of choice to provide symptomatic relief and truly heal from trauma.
Loss and Bereavement
Losing something or someone is difficult and complicated for many reasons. Loss can include a loved-one, pet, health, job, lifestyle, home, identity, status, and more. Loss, especially when significant to the individual, requires mourning and grieving that loss, experiencing the associated feelings, and eventually, moving forward. Psychotherapy can give the individual a safe place to grieve and feel the sadness. The healing process is different for everyone as is the length of time required to heal.
What happens in therapy?
A number of benefits are available when you engage in the therapy process. Therapy helps people gain relief from unpleasant feelings and thoughts, create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships, and gain more pleasure and control in their lives. Psychotherapy helps clients get to the root of their difficulties and learn ways to become more self-aware, cope with difficult emotions, improve mood, gain control, feel connected to others, develop the skills to handle future problems, and live more fulfilling and satisfying lives. Therapists can provide support, practical problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as: troubling patterns and behaviors. a crisis, managing difficult people, internal conflicts, neurosis, life transitions, anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness self-esteem, relationship problems, unresolved childhood issues, trauma/abuse, grief, stress management, body image issues, eating disorders, feeling lost or stuck, sexuality or identity concerns, addictive behaviors and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors or psychotherapists can be a tremendous asset to career concerns, managing personal growth, professional relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, parenting challenges, developing healthier habits, connecting to the body, understanding thoughts, feelings and emotions, balancing the stress of daily life and goal-setting. High-achieving, successful individuals often experience emptiness, unhappiness, disappointment, loneliness, stress, anxiety and interpersonal problems which may lead to less than desirable coping solutions such as addictions, alcohol and drug abuse, eating problems and sleep deficits. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help their clients discover helpful solutions. Many lasting benefits can be obtained from personal, couples or group therapy. You can learn more about therapy from the American Psychological Association or APA Learn more here
Therapy and counseling can help clients with the following issues:
- Reframe current life circumstances and gain a different perspective
- Learn to manage difficult work and personal transitions and changes such as marriage, new baby, mid-life problems and aging
- Gain the support needed to get through difficult times such as loss and change
- Learn to feel and live a more authentic life, accept feelings of being “different”
- Develop healthy self-esteem and resolve persistent negative self-states
- Develop healthier coping skills, habits and boundaries
- Have healthier personal and work relationships
- Develop awareness of any repetitive patterns that interfere with success and happiness by understanding how past dynamics interfere with the present
- Manage difficult people personally and professionally
- Develop a path of purpose and life fulfillment
- Heal from past trauma and abuse and process traumatic memories and dissociation
- Increase insight and self-awareness and identify innate strengths
- Improve communication, learn conflict resolution, develop better listening and self-assertion skills
- Address depression, sadness, feelings of despair and isolation
- Learn helpful coping skills for stress, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks
- Relieve stress and insomnia and learn relaxation response
- Manage destructive patterns that include drinking, eating, drugs, addictions and self-harm
- Understand negative and habitual patterns of thinking and behaving
- Resolve writing, creative and other performance blocks
- Mourn losses such as separation, divorce, miscarriage, infertility or the death of a loved-one
- Develop effective parenting skills
- Address problems related to chronic pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, medical procedures and diagnoses
- Heal from sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters
- Resolve sexual and identity concerns
- Manage feelings of overwhelm, feel more embodied and develop an awareness connection between mind and body, feel more
What can I expect?
If you're considering therapy now, then you're experiencing challenges in your own life or with others. Psychotherapy is not like sharing problems with a trusted friend. It involves looking closely at yourself, your situation and the people around you. This can feel difficult and scary, but therapy with a trained therapist can help people find solutions to problems, relieve distressing symptoms such as anxiety and depression, support good mental and physical health, promote integrity and honesty and help individuals develop intimacy in relationships. Reaching your full potential, understanding yourself and others and removing barriers to happiness and fulfillment are but a few goals of successful, effective therapy. Even though you may have good friends and family members to talk to, a psychotherapist or psychologist with professional training is able to see things from a different lens and even challenge and support you in ways that the people in your life cannot.
How do I know what to look for in a therapist?
When you choose a therapist, you should feel understood and not judged for the concerns that led you to seek counseling. You should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with your potential therapist as the process requires an investment of time and emotional energy. Your therapist should have good interpersonal skills as well as empathy and compassion. You should choose a therapist who has training in the areas that you are seeking help with. Some therapists have received specialized training in areas such as trauma, addictions or eating disorders. If your problems are serious enough to impact the quality of your life and your ability to function, you may need to find a specialist or someone who specializes in your particular problem. Many therapists have received general psychotherapy training and consider themselves generalists and are able to treat a range of difficulties. Some psychotherapists have received specialized training in addition to graduate school. This article in Psychology Today explains the process as well as list important qualities to look for in a therapist.
How long will I need to be in therapy?
Your personal needs and goals are always a priority, and will shape the time you spend in sessions. Many individuals desire focused, structured and time-limited sessions with a clear plan targeting specific problems or goals that can be met within a relatively short period of time, while other difficulties require a more intensive focus and may take longer to resolve. This is especially true when people have been struggling for a long time and patterns and habits are rigid and entrenched. Some will do best with once or twice weekly sessions that are consistent—this process allows clients to examine patterns and dynamics that may interfere with healthy functioning.
What kind of therapy should I be looking for?
Increasing insight into problems and self-awareness is one goal of therapy, but unfortunately, that alone does not always lead to the desired change. For this reason, and with certain clients, it may be necessary to implement behavioral changes and track progress between sessions. Some clients need targeted, specific types of therapies that resolve symptoms related to trauma. The duration of treatment is highly variable and depends on many factors, including: the nature of the problem, client motivation and having realistic goals for change. Depending on client needs, one may benefit from a number of different therapeutic strategies and techniques. In your initial consultation, you should work with your therapist to figure out the best approach for you. Therapists may use or combine the following approaches: psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal, humanistic, gestalt, Emotion-Focused Therapy [EFT] and relational as well as evidence-based therapies such as EMDR therapy, Somatic Experiencing (SE), Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT to name a few.
Are my sessions confidential?
It is important to know that everything you say during psychotherapy sessions will be kept confidential. The only exceptions are when there is a danger that you may harm yourself or someone else, or in active cases of abuse. Mental health professionals are obligated by law to disclose that information to the appropriate authorities. These situations are rare. Most people find it a great relief to have a safe place where they are able to share what's on their mind with a non-judgmental, supportive and trained professional.