- Cognitive Behavioral Treatment focuses on how we see things, what we expect, how we interpret the behavior and motivations of others, why things happen the way they do, how we understand our own strengths and limits and how we motivate ourselves. Gaining greater awareness of these dynamics and changing how we see and think about these things can help us make better choices, chose better motivational strategies and make a major difference in how we feel about others and about ourselves.
- Psychodynamic Self-Psychology focuses on gaining greater self-awareness and self-understanding through reflection and shared interpretation, based on the core principal that strengthening our sense of our own identity and promoting own growth and development is a deep primary human motivation.
- Family System Theory focuses on understanding how we are affected by intergenerational family patterns. Gaining awareness of these historical and on-going patterns may then lead to changing those patterns directly, or greater control over re-enacting them in new relationships.
Couples therapy can address problems ranging from an immediate crisis to changing long-term unrewarding patterns of communication and behavior. Couples therapy may lead to more effective communication, mutual understanding and acceptance, greater ability to negotiate and compromise, productive confrontation instead of destructive conflict, quicker recoveries from melt-downs, more rewarding intimacy and a couple where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Family therapy is based on the idea that problems in a family get solved quicker, and solutions hold up better over time when everyone in the family contributes to understanding what’s going on, and everyone in the family is part of the solution. Family therapy may lead to more effective problem-solving and not getting stuck on the same problem or fight over and over, greater family cooperation, greater appreciation and mutual respect and more rewarding ways for dealing with change.
Assessment and Consultation
A psychological assessment involves reaching a deeper understanding of a psychological problem or issue, and getting recommendations or a plan based on that understanding. Psychological testing and multi-disciplinary evaluations may be part of the assessment, depending on the individual situation. Consultations are single-visit appointments designed to gain a psychological perspective on an issue of concern.
Professional Supervision and Consultation
Professional supervision may be sought by any mental health professional to discuss a particular clinical challenge, or to pursue a sustained program of professional growth and development, including supervision towards meeting licensure requirements.
Methods of Treatment
If you understand more of your internal motivations and the external forces that are affecting you, such as all the sources of stress that add up on you; you can make better decisions and choices.
- Origins. What’s from your family—past and present? What’s from your previous relationships? What’s from your situation?
- What keeps them going? Unconscious motivation? Unrecognized reinforcers in your environment? Fear of change?
- What it would take to change? Are you clear about what would be in your best interest? What internal change would help? Do you need to make a change in your situation? Where will resistance to change come from, what can you do about it?
Sometimes if we see things differently, unrecognized opportunity or hidden solutions reveal themselves.
A new way of thinking about something can change how we feel about it. Sometimes we overestimate the probability of bad outcomes and cause ourselves needless anxiety. Sometimes self-blame paralyzes us, and the problem is really in our situation. Sometimes the way we try to movitate ourselves is self-defeating. New ways of thinking can lead to new behavior and greater confidence.
If we behave differently, others often change their behavior accordingly. Sometimes we are unknowingly reinforcing someone else’s behavior. We can disrupt patterns that aren’t working for us with new response. And sometimes feelings follow actions, so we change our inner experience by changing our outward behavior.
We all face stress. How we cope with stress affects our mental and physical health. Having a clear goal, breaking down the steps to reach it into manageable tasks, getting the right support from the right person, and having a sustainable motivational strategy are proven coping strategies. Avoidance can work in the short run, but may also increase general anxiety and lower our self esteem.
There are proven ways to communicate more effectively. “I…” statements work better than “You…” statements. For self-motivation, “I want to...” and “I will, because it will make me feel___” statements are more motivating than “I should… statements. Personal metaphors are also proven motivators. Creating a meaningful metaphor, or personal symbol, for a problem and its solution can keep us motivated to stick with changes we want to make.
Sometimes a controlled personal experiment can be very revealing. Sometimes a therapeutic task, or therapy homework can bring new perspective and understanding. As therapy progresses, this can be a valuable change strategy.
An uninterpreted dream is like an unopened letter is ancient wisdom andnow supported by a large body of new scientific research. Empirical sleep-lab research has demonstrated dreams are meaningful, and important to psychological wellbeing. Everyone dreams (with a few medical exceptions) and almost everyone can remember their dreams. Interpreting dreams means understanding an individual’s personal symbolic meaning system, it’s not one-size-fits all. So it takes getting to know a person before dreams can be worked with—dream symbols aren’t always universal. And dreams are, as Freud so aptly noted, the royal road into the unconscious.
Sometimes inner conflicts arise from a lack of clarity over which personal value should apply to a given situation. And sometimes we don’t actually spend our time or make choices consistent with what we most value. Reflecting on values, values clarification, and analyzing whether or values are being expressed in our decisions and commitments can lead to more rewarding choices.
When we believe we can’t cope without turning to something, or we won’t be able to tolerate how we’ll feel if we don’t do or use it; we’ve crossed the line from pleasure to compulsion. When our compulsions start costing us, or threaten to cost us, life losses—a job, a relationship, a license—we’ve crossed the line into addiction. Another way to tell is whether we are keeping our behavior a secret. When we show a pattern of trying to rescuing others from their choices, compulsions and addictions; we have crossed the line from support to co-dependency. Therapy and recovery programs can work synergistically—people often get more from each when they do both.
Sometimes patterns we are re-enacting have their roots in historical relationships in our families. Sometimes our relationships with our parents are affected by who we remind them of. Mapping the history of relationship patterns and identifications in our families can be very illuminating and give us greater control of automatic reactions and behavior.
Are your strengths and talents well-matched to your current career, or career plans? Career interest tests can give you new ideas. Reflecting on your values, your personality and your life goals can lead to more fulfilling career decisions. A comprehensive plan can lay out the steps to exploring, choosing and fulfilling thoughtful career choices.