An Integrative Approach to Therapy

Psychotherapy can be a rewarding, challenging, and, at times, uncomfortable process. Successful therapy usually means learning how to relate to our lives in ways that cultivate growth and health, while becoming aware of and reducing habitual patterns that cause suffering. This is a collaborative process. Together we will focus on feelings, thought processes, and physical sensations, in order to support positive relationships, emotional health, and increased awareness and empowerment. I will provide support, feedback, treatment ideas, diagnostic information, suggestions for reading/education, referrals as needed, and a space for you to explore all of the above. Please remember that psychotherapy is a process based on communication and a deepening level of trust.

My approach to treatment pulls from a combination of humanistic, existential, cognitive, and mind-body integration perspectives. The specific treatment methods I use and the duration of psychotherapy will depend on your history, current circumstances, the issues we explore, and our mutually-established goals for therapy. I believe counseling is a collaborative effort, which is successful with an individual’s energy, courage, and commitment to look deep within. In our first meeting we can discuss your goals for therapy, and explore the therapeutic path you are interested in.

I provide ongoing therapy for individuals who are interested in deepening their understanding of themselves, as well as their relationships, goals, and patterns. I offer guidance and support with relational issues, anxiety, depression, personal transitions, suppressed creativity and vitality, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious values, and body image and eating issues. I offer traditional talk therapy, as well as an additional option to work with mental health concerns by incorporating mindfulness practices, guided meditation, and integral life planning. I work collaboratively with other alternative approach professionals to provide continuity of care across all of life’s domains. These methods can complement talk therapy and allow for a fuller exploration of the root of symptoms. Regardless of the treatment methods used, the focus will be on empowering you to make the changes you wish to make in your life. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about my experience, training, methods used, collaborative partnerships, or duration of treatment.

At some point during our work together, you might want to take what you are working on in therapy sessions and apply it in your everyday life. This can be especially challenging given the nature of our society and culture. Can you make a commitment to yourself, and treat yourself as important or even more important than anyone else, your career, your responsibilities, and your family? At some point I may ask you to read books, complete workbooks, watch videos, listen to podcasts, journal about your experiences, and practice skills in the real world. In other words, practical application of the skills you will learn in therapy. I will try not to call this “homework assignments.” Can you make the time to work on yourself?

Therapy and counseling represent a multifaceted landscape, with a diverse array of therapeutic approaches that all contribute to an understanding of human cognition, behavior, and emotional health. A comprehensive perspective that integrates these approaches is crucial for effective therapeutic intervention. An integrative approach does not consider therapeutic styles as mutually exclusive but recognizes the commonalities and overlapping elements that enrich and strengthen the therapeutic process.

Internal Family Systems Therapy and Parts Work share common ground as they both focus on the multiplicity of the mind. These models view the self as comprised of different parts, each with its function. When these parts are in harmony, individuals experience mental well-being, but disharmony can lead to psychological distress. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) all share an emphasis on the present moment and on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interact. These therapies use different strategies such as mindfulness exercises and cognitive restructuring to help individuals manage their emotions and thoughts more effectively. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), much like DBT and CBT, harnesses mindfulness and cognitive techniques but introduces a novel element – the concept of psychological flexibility. It encourages acceptance of difficult experiences and commitment to actions aligned with personal values.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) aim to inspire change by helping individuals explore and resolve ambivalence. These approaches, akin to the Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model, recognize that change is a process and not an event, and they emphasize the individual’s role in navigating this process. Narrative Therapy and Feminist Therapy share a socio-cultural perspective, recognizing the influence of societal norms and power structures on mental health. Both therapies emphasize empowerment and the rewriting of disempowering personal narratives. The Polyvagal Theory for Safety and Connection informs therapeutic approaches like Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. These therapies consider the physiological aspects of mental health, focusing on the body’s nervous system and the role it plays in trauma and recovery.

Twelve Step Facilitation Counseling represents a structured approach to recovery, often used in addiction treatment. It integrates aspects of communal support, personal acknowledgment, and acceptance of the need for change. Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP), while not a therapy per se, are personalized recovery systems designed to manage wellness and navigate crisis. They embody elements of several therapeutic styles, particularly those that emphasize personal empowerment and proactive behavior.

Despite the seeming diversity, these therapeutic styles share common elements:

  1. The Mind-Body Connection: Whether it’s the focus on physiological responses in Polyvagal Theory and somatic therapies, or the emphasis on mindfulness in DBT, CBT, MBSR, and MBCT, the mind-body link is a common thread that underscores the holistic nature of mental health.
  2. The Value of Narrative: Narrative Therapy explicitly, and other therapies implicitly, recognize that the stories we tell ourselves significantly impact our mental health. The reauthoring of these narratives can be a powerful therapeutic tool.
  3. The Power of the Present: Many therapeutic styles emphasize the importance of mindfulness and staying in the present moment as a means to manage distress and cultivate healthier thought patterns.
  4. The Role of the Self in Change: Whether it’s the parts work in Internal Family Systems Therapy, the stages of change in MET, MI, and the Transtheoretical Model, or the self-direction in WRAP, the recognition of the self as an active agent in the therapeutic process is central.
  5. Acceptance and Commitment: Therapies such as ACT, DBT, and Twelve Step Facilitation Counseling underscore the importance of accepting present circumstances and committing to change.
  6. Empowerment: Feminist Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and WRAP all stress the importance of empowerment and agency in the therapeutic process.