Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
“What we think, we become” -- Buddha
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely researched and used evidence-based psychotherapy that has been found to be effective with numerous issues, symptoms, and settings. CBT is more present-focused and helps equip the individual with specific coping strategies.
In CBT, the therapist helps the client to understand how their thought patterns and behaviors are shaping their feelings and impacting their life. CBT works to identify and investigate faulty and destructive beliefs about one’s self and the world, and learning how to reevaluate and counter these thought patterns. CBT also works towards recognizing unhealthy learned behaviors, and using techniques to take action in overcoming obstacles and creating change.
CBT is more structured and directive than traditional psychotherapy. CBT actively teaches specific exercises and coping skills as well as may incorporate homework for practicing the techniques between sessions.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
“Accept what you can’t change.
Change what you can’t accept.”
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of evidence-based psychotherapy that has been highly researched, originally developed from CBT to treat those with relational difficulties and self-destructive behaviors. Nowadays, DBT has become widely used for a variety of issues and concerns, to help individuals manage negative emotions, cope with stress, and decrease relationship conflict.
Formal DBT treatment would consist of both group therapy and individual therapy and a multidisciplinary treatment team. In the context of using DBT in our outpatient office setting, there is no group components or treatment team at our office; this is not a formal DBT treatment center. However, aspects of DBT coping skills are taught to individuals and incorporated into their regular individual psychotherapy. DBT teaches strategies on how to cope with stress, recognize and regulate emotions, improve interpersonal communication and relationships with others, and live in the present moment.
“Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.” -- Thích Nhất Hạnh
Mindfulness is the practice of being present. Mindfulness can be incorporated into counseling to help increase awareness, without judgement, and increase self-acceptance.
Mindfulness focuses on attending to the present environment, where we are, what we are doing, and how our body feels, without ascribing any judgement. It is training the mind to be fully engaged in the present moment, without judgment or distraction. Mindfulness teaches people to become more aware of their physical and emotional experiences while not focusing on any judgement or self-criticism about them, but just observing and accepting them as they are. Mindfulness practices can help with mood, attention, stress, and self-awareness.
“Play is the work of the child” -- Maria Montessori
Play Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is commonly used for counseling with children, as it allows children to be able to express their thoughts and feelings through creative and imaginative ways. Young children may not be able to verbalize why they are worried, or act out, or get upset. In the context of play, children can more naturally express their thoughts and feelings that is developmentally appropriate. Children often use play to engage and communicate with others, express themselves, and learn about the world around them.
In Play Therapy, the therapist works to observe and understand the child’s inner thoughts and feelings. Play Therapy is also used to help the child to identify and express their feelings and thoughts, how to communicate and relate with others, and learn social and problem-solving skills. Play Therapy can help children better understand and express their feelings and learn how to find and practice solutions.
“A negative mind will never give you a positive life”
Positive Psychology was developed as a response to traditional psychotherapy that only emphasized identifying and managing maladaptive symptoms and behaviors; instead, Positive Psychology focuses on how to pursue one’s best life. It is the practice of pursuing and cultivating happiness. The goal is to decrease the focus on one’s negative thoughts and experiences, but instead directing more attention on things like happiness, self-compassion, and hope.
Exercises are used to help individuals identify their own strengths and positive qualities and traits. Positive Psychology focuses on areas of 1. Positive emotions (e.g. happiness, joy), 2. Positive traits (e.g. gratitude, resilience), 3. Positive institutions (e.g., applying positive principles within larger contexts and organizations). This form of therapy works on minimizing attention on negative situations and helps the individual further develop hope and positively improve their life. Positive Psychology also helps encourage individuals to develop and achieve their goals, cultivate relationships with others, develop a sense of gratitude, and actively pursue a meaningful life.
Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” -- Edmund Hillary
SFBT is a goal-directed treatment that focuses on the client’s present and future directions. Compared to traditional psychotherapy, SFBT does not spend time exploring the past, but rather, focuses on identifying and developing a vision for one’s future. SFBT works on identifying specific goals and exploring possible solutions to make positive changes in one’s life. SFBT also helps empower the individual to identify areas of resiliency in their own life. The therapist can help the client to recognize the skills and resources the individual already has or what resources they can further cultivate in order to achieve their goals.
In SFBT, the client is considered the expert of their life and situation, the therapist helps encourage the individual to envision solving their problem and what change would look like in their life, if things were solved. Then the therapist and client work collaboratively to identify ways to solve their problems and steps toward achieving their goals.