A VARIETY OF THERAPEUTIC APPROACHES

I've enjoyed working in a variety of settings, from schools and courts to community organizations and my private practice; I've had occasion to learn and practice multiple therapeutic approaches, and work with a diverse population of clients, seeking services for a wide range of presenting issues. I draw from this breadth of experience, to tailor approaches and strategies for each individual client. There are so many wonderful and effective treatment approaches and methods, and I LOVE to learn as much as I can about the approaches from which I draw and beyond. It's so exciting to learn of fresh and novel strategies to treat particular symptoms or conditions, and witness my clients as they feel better; I witness their resilience and strength. It's a privilege.


As research continues to come out, as our field continues to grow, as people understand more and more the importance of mental health for peace and functioning, I will continue to do what I can to reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles and treatment, and I will gratefully continue to practice and add to my repertoire.


There is no doubt that different approaches can be used together, and that benefits from different approaches may be more than additive, as some may have a synergistic relationship for faster relief and goal achievement. I welcome parts of various therapies as they are useful for the client and the therapeutic process, they're clinically effective, and there is is a clear purpose. That said, it's likely no surprise that I generally maintain an eclectic style and multimodal orientation towards therapy. 

Although I've listed and provided information for several, mainstream therapeutic approaches, It's important to realize that they all have been shown to be effective, they all borrow from each other and have many similar qualities, and among them, in different combinations, have common strategies and perspectives, and focus on similar goals. For example, Mindfulness-based therapies may include Acceptance and Commitment therapy, and ACT may draw from the ideas in Behavior therapies and Compassion-focused therapies, which also has a role in psychodynamic approaches.


I strive to maintain transparency, and to facilitate an open, honest, non-judgmental space where I may find you and meet you where you're at, where you are free to begin to move slowly, at your own pace. The space is for exploring, not self-criticism, punishment or harshness. It's where we utilize tools and strategies to get you feeling better, and it's where you practice them, complain about them, consider them, implement them or throw them away. Please, never hesitate to ask for clarification or to discuss the purpose of what we're doing. Feedback is freely given and always welcome, and I encourage you to let me know how you're feeling about your (amount of) progress towards your goals and therapy in general. If you ever feel stuck or unsettled, let me know so that we can address it!


Please note: Some strategies may work better with fidelity to a specific process, in which case, we'll tend to follow the evidence.

EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

ACT Acceptance and Commitment Theory

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has developed as a behavioral intervention to help people learn strategies to live life more in the present, more focused on important values and goals, and less focused on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences. ACT teaches people how to engage with and overcome painful thoughts and feelings through acceptance and mindfulness techniques, to develop self-compassion and flexibility, and to build life-enhancing patterns of behavior. ACT is not about overcoming pain or fighting emotions; it's about embracing life and feeling everything it has to offer. It offers a way out of suffering by choosing to live a life based on what matters most. 

CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs. Considered a "solutions-oriented" form of talk therapy, CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behavior. Feeling distressed, in some cases, may distort one’s perception of reality. CBT aims to identify harmful thoughts, assess whether they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.

DBT Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual's ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.


MINDFULNESS BASED THERAPIES

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness based Therapy is an umbrella term to include therapies for which mindfulness is a core practice, principal and mechanism for change. Some therapies above would be considered mindfulness based, including ACT, DBT. There is a therapeutic approach called Mindfulness based CBT.

TALK THERAPY

TALK THERAPY, PSYCHODYNAMIC THERAPY

"Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in the client's present behavior. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are client self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behavior. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships and manifest themselves in the need and desire to abuse substances..."

 

Meredith Alger, LCSW

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