For most of the time psychotherapy has existed (about 120 years), therapists weren’t terribly concerned with proof that the services they were offering were effective. They functioned on the basis of largely unsubstantiated theories and personal hunches.
Unfortunately, the techniques they used often didn’t work, leading to an erosion in public trust in psychology. Sometime in the 1980’s however, the field began to recognize the importance of holding itself to a higher standard, and the evidence–based therapy movement was born. Since then, thousands of clinical research studies have shown that therapy works. In general, the research shows that about 75% of people who enter therapy are better off for having done so. But not all therapies are equally effective for all problems–one size definitely does not fit all.
The research shows that about 75% of people who enter therapy are better off for having done so.
As a therapist who values and practices evidence-based approaches, I’m familiar with techniques that have been demonstrated to work. Largely drawing from Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy (CBT), I will offer you tools that have been proven to be efficacious in helping people facing problems like the ones in your life. Because everyone is different, I’ll also work with you to determine what techniques fit your personal needs, values, culture, and goals. Approaches that I utilize may include:
- Stress–Managent Techniques
- Relaxation Training
- Guided imagery
- Cognitive Therapy
- Exposure Therapy and Systematic Desensitization
- Problem–Solving Therapy
- Schema Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Time–Limited Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Informed by Positive Psychology
The field of “Positive Psychology” was born in the early 1990s when psychologists began to realize that our field had been a bit short-sighted. Traditional psychology had been almost exclusively concerned with how to take “sick” people and make them “normal” again (I’ve used quotation marks here, because I don’t support the use of either of these terms). This approach unnecessarily pathologizes people’s life challenges and ignores the fact that very few people have the goal of being “normal”. Instead, most of us want to be happy, access sources of inner strength, feel hopeful, and have a sense of life purpose and meaning. One of my passions is to help people feel hopeful and in control of their lives, experience growth, and embrace life.
Most of us want to be happy, access sources of inner strength, feel hopeful, and have a sense of life purpose and meaning.
As a psychology professor and writer, I’ve invested almost 20 years studying topics like hope, well–being, and life meaning. I’ve conducted countless research studies, published over 50 articles and chapters in scholarly volumes, and written three books, including Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success (HarperCollins Publishers, 2014).
None of this means that my approach to therapy is all “rainbows and kittens.” To be clear, life can be hard. If you’re reading these words, it’s probably because you’re facing difficulty in your own life right now. I won’t pretend there’s a magical solution, as much as I would like there to be. My first priority will always be to help you to find practical solutions and discover better ways to cope in the short term. But, the positive psychologist in me asks, why stop there?
I think of therapy as a true collaboration between two experts. My job is to be the expert in the change process. With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, training in evidence-based practices, and over a decade training other therapists, I’ll bring all the knowledge and expertise that I can muster to our collaboration. Your job is to be the expert on you, your problems, and your life. I can only offer a menu of options—things that have helped others in the past. But ultimately you must choose which option is right for you and put in the effort to make that option work.
You have my promise that I will listen deeply, think creatively, and treat you with kindness and respect. But I also will challenge you to work hard to put into action solutions to the problems you face. I will be the best collaborator that I can be—and together, we will find a way forward.
It takes courage to come to therapy. As children, many of us were taught to keep our problems to ourselves or in our family. Revealing our difficulties to another person can be hard. Frankly, I’m in awe of the courage that it can take. I approach each person I see in therapy compassionately, without judgement, and in a spirit of unconditional positive regard. This entails deep listening and openness to each individual’s unique experience.