I have advanced training in multiples types of therapy including Cogitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).
Generally, I use a combination of these techniques in assisting clients in achieving their goals. However, my main therapeutic orientation is EMDR and when I use other techniques they are generally to prepare a client to engage in EMDR therapy.
There are clients who do not respond well to EMDR or do not wish to engage in that type of processing and other techniques are use in these cases.
EMDR was created in 1987 by Francine Shapiro. Since its creation it has been one of the most researched and empiracally validated therapies available. It has been shown to create long lasting changes for clients experiencing PTSD, anxiety, depression, and numerous other mental health conditions.
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to assist clients in reprocessing negative events, feelings, images and beliefs. This process is similar to the process that occurs during sleep. Most people have had the experience of going to sleep upset and then waking up in the morning feeling fine. It is believed that this is due to the rapid eye movements that occur while sleeping.
EMDR recreates this natural healing process allowing for long term changes in emotions.
CBT is based on the idea that thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behaviors.
CBT works to helps clients understand and gain insight into this pattern so that they can interrupt it an create a different outcome. CBT looks at the client’s core belief system and teaches strategies to challenge and change this system.
This type of therapy is the foundation for many of the other therapeutic strategies used.
DBT is a skills based therapy and I often use it as a precursor for EMDR. DBT teaches emotional regualtion skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, distress tolerance skills and mindfulness skills. DBT is effective at teaching clients to manage and decrease the prevalence of intense emotion.
Often these skills are necessary before EMDR is started because EMDR often triggers intense emotion so clients need to be able to safely mange that emotions before proceeding.
DBT is used by many therapists as a stand alone therapy but I prefer to couple it with EMDR. To me, DBT is like pain killers. It helps deal with and manage the pain so that surgery can be undertaken without overwhelming the system.
Internal Family Systems is based on the idea that each of us in contain multiple parts that sometimes don’t interact with each other well. For example sometimes what is important to my mom part is not as important to my business owner part.
IFS wants to identify these parts and help them to gain a greater understanding of each other. It also works to ensure that all parts are able to express needs and wants but the final decision is made by the “self” who is concerned with what is best for the entire system not an individual part.
Emotional Focused Therapy is the leading couples therapy. Its goal is to teach couples to communicate their emotions to their partner and to respond to emotions in a way that encourages and builds understanding and attachment.
EFT believes that neither person is responsible for difficulties in a relationship but rather that couples have fallen into a negative pattern of relating with one another. EFT helps couples to identify and interrupt this pattern allowing for a healthier relationship.