Approaches

My approach to psychotherapy is integrative and combines elements of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and client-centered theories and techniques.  My personal style is active, engaged, empathic, and non-judgmental. We will work together to identify your goals for treatment and select a therapeutic approach that fits closely with your needs and personal preferences.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy or Insight-Oriented Psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach based on several premises: Unconscious conflicts and motives influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Early developmental experiences and interactions significantly influence who we are as adults and how we relate to others in our lives. Early relationship patterns are later repeated in various relationships that we develop over time.

Psychodynamic therapy involves a collaborative exploration of your past and current experiences in order to increase self-awareness and insight into your emotions, thoughts, and relationship patterns. The therapeutic relationship that develops between you and your therapist and the thoughts and feelings that arise in that relationship also provide important sources of information about your current struggles and become an additional avenue for exploration in helping you to resolve your difficulties.

Research has shown that psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress-related problems.

Benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy:
• Sessions can be time-limited or open-ended based on your needs.
• Develop increased self-awareness and insight into unconscious conflicts and motives and how past experiences are influencing your current experiences.
• Examine and resolve unconscious conflicts around intimacy, achievement, and success.
• Reduce self-defeating patterns of behaviors, gain greater control over the choices available to you, and develop greater satisfaction with your current relationships.

For additional information on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy see:
• Psych Central Description of Psychodynamic Therapy 
• APA Description of Psychodynamic Therapy

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that incorporates both cognitive and behavioral strategies and techniques. CBT is based on the premise that it is our perceptions of events that influence the way we feel and behave; not necessarily the actual events themselves. Cognitive interventions include the identification and modification of maladaptive core beliefs and thought patterns (Cognitive Restructuring). Behavioral interventions include relaxation training, social skills training, assertiveness skills training, problem solving, and gradually facing your fears. To date, hundreds of clinical research studies have found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and substance use problems.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
• Time-limited, Present-Focused, and Solution Oriented
• Learn to identify maladaptive thought patterns and replace them with more realistic ones.
• Learn to reduce painful emotions and respond more effectively to life’s challenges.
• Increase your well-being in relationships, education, and work life.

For additional information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy see:
 The Beck Institute
• The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral treatment originally designed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder and is now being widely used for other kinds of problems such as depression, anxiety, and anger management. DBT is particularly helpful for individuals who have difficulties regulating their emotional experiences and who may engage in self-destructive behaviors as a way to cope with painful realities. DBT is also helpful for those who feel confused about who they are and struggle with building meaningful relationships. DBT incorporates both Eastern and Western approaches in four interrelated treatment modules: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. DBT is an effective evidence-based approach.

Treatment sessions are structured and clients are taught several sets of coping skills to reduce their emotional vulnerabilities:

• Mindfulness skills include learning how to observe and describe your experiences in a non-judgmental way. These skills incorporate traditional Buddhist meditative practices.
• Distress Tolerance skills include learning how to accept and cope with painful emotions without making them worse.
• Emotional regulation skills include learning how to observe, identify, and reduce painful emotions.
• Interpersonal Effectiveness skills include learning how to get your needs and wants met in interpersonal relationships and learning how to deal more successfully with interpersonal challenges.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy:
• Time-limited, Present-Focused, and Solution Oriented.
• Learn how to tolerate and reduce emotional intensity without engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
• Gain control over impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.
• Improve the quality of your life and your relationships.

For additional information on Dialectical Behavior Therapy see:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
NAMI Description of DBT

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a short-term treatment approach that focuses on strengthening your commitment to change problematic substance use through helping you to resolve your ambivalence about stopping or reducing your substance use. Ambivalence (both wanting to change and not wanting to change) is considered a normal and common part of the change process. Yet, people often get stuck in their ambivalence and find it hard to make the changes they desire.

MI can help you work through your ambivalence by helping you to:

  • Identify your own reasons for quitting or cutting back on your alcohol or drug use.
  • Develop a plan of action to help you achieve your own personalized goals.
  • Mobilize your internal strengths and resources to help you take the steps necessary to change.

Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) is a short-term cognitive behavioral treatment based on social learning theory of addictions, which proposes that addictive behaviors are learned behaviors influenced by biological and psychological factors. Relapse is considered a normal part of the change process and thus can be anticipated and dealt with by using positive coping, self-management, and lifestyle strategies.

RPT involves coping skills training and includes treatment modules on:

  • Identifying and coping with situations (emotional states, people, places, and events) that put you at high-risk for relapse.
  • Learning how to cope with cravings and urges to drink/use.
  • Learning how to identify certain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that set you up for problematic drinking/use.
  • Learning how to make lifestyle changes that support your goals around drinking or using.

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Lesia M. Ruglass, Ph.D.Approaches