TREATMENT APPROACHES

CBT - COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy proposes that your thoughts, emotions and behaviors are all related to each other, and that by changing one of these components, you can produce change in the others. This therapy is present oriented, goal directed and active, and can be time limited.  It often includes psychoeducation and practical exercises. CBT can help you change how you feel about situations by changing your thoughts about them, or by changing how you behave. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. CBT is the most widely researched therapy available, with the largest evidence base for a variety of psychological conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Cherry Blossoms
Foggy Pier

ERP - EXPOSURE AND RESPONSE PREVENTION

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) refers to a subtype of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has been particularly helpful in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The Exposure in ERP refers to exposing yourself to the objects and situations that make you anxious and/or trigger your obsessions (thoughts, images or urges). The Response Prevention part of ERP, refers to making a choice not to do a compulsive behavior once the anxiety or obsessions have been “triggered.” Exposures are first done in session under the guidance of a therapist and as planned homework, though you will eventually learn to do ERP exercises on your own to help manage your symptoms.

ACT - ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY

The focus of ACT is to learn to change your relationship with your experience of life, with the goal of  developing a flexible mind. Instead of trying to get rid of difficult emotions, ACT teaches you to get to know your feelings, and learn not to react based on them or choose situations that further amplify them.  ACT uses metaphors and experiential exercises to teach you to be more flexible and less reactive to your feelings, thoughts, memories, and bodily sensations that cause you emotional distress.  An ACT approach can be useful for anxiety and depression, as well as a complement to ERP in OCD treatment.

Berry Branches
Ducks Over the Lake

MINDFULNESS BASED APPROACHES

The central goal of mindfulness-based approaches is to develop the skill of being present with internal experience (body sensations, thoughts, and mood) and with our environment (interactions with others, actions in the world) and the interrelationship between these two aspects. Mindfulness practices enable us to recognize and overcome the many ways in which we tend to get caught in trying to avoid our experience.  Mindfulness is often misinterpreted as a relaxation exercise, or as an attempt to “not think of anything”, when in fact, it is an exercise of focusing awareness in the present moment, intentionally and without judgement, and facing whatever we find. It is a powerful skill that can be learned, and a helpful component to other therapies, as well as a very helpful tool to manage anxiety, attention and mood issues.

EFT - EMOTION FOCUSED THERAPY

Emotion Focused Therapy is an empirically-supported humanistic treatment that views emotions as centrally important in human functioning and achieving change. EFT involves a therapeutic style that combines both following and guiding the client’s experiential process, emphasizing the importance of both relationship and intervention skills. It views emotion and thoughts as interrelated.  In order for change to happen, a client needs to work through a sequence of emotions, from secondary through maladaptive to adaptive emotions, and must also explore that experience, reflect on it and make sense of it. This is a more experiential approach, that involves going through emotions to achieve change. 
EFT can be useful in treating, low-self esteem, depression, anxiety and relationship difficulties.

Beach at Sunset
 

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©2018 by Ana Ribas, Ph.D..