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About Services/What to Expect

Our first session is scheduled as a Diagnostic Evaluation, lasting approximately one-hour. I work collaboratively at that appointment with my client to determine  initial treatment goals and needs, as well as the frequency and direction of therapy. Additional therapy requirements (ie court-ordered substance treatment guidelines) may play a role in this process. Individual therapy sessions usually last close to one hour (50 minutes).


I also offer a free 15-30 minute consultation. 

Typically, the first 4-6 weeks of treatment we might meet more frequently. Once discernible progress is made, we usually move to maintenance, with less frequent sessions. My goal is always to work myself out of a job and minimize the length and cost of treatment as much as possible. Throughout the process of treatment coordination with other professionals may also be utilized to support a client's success. 

There are various screens that may also be used throughout the course of treatment to track progress and symptom reduction. When working with adolescent clients, I always include the family system in the treatment process.


Regarding my approaches to treatment...

Strength Based - The focus is on a person's existing strengths to support their progress to meeting their goals.

Psychodynamic - This at it's core is a theory of psychotherapy and human behavior that supports the concept that the subconscious is always at play, often without our knowledge, which in turn drives behavior. Much of the therapy process is focused on uncovering those motivations and bringing them to a person's awareness. Generational influences of thought, emotion and behavior are also a key focus of treatment. Other aspects of this approach includes the concept of corrective experiences that can reprogram prior responses to adverse/traumatic events.

Motivational Interviewing - It's basic definition is an approach where a therapist collaboratively works with a client in a person-centered way to resolve ambivalence towards a desired change, while increasing a person's internal motivation to engage in the steps needed to make that change (ie substance recovery).

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) - My approach to CBT is rooted in the belief that the way we think influences how we feel, which then in turn effects how we behave. Often we spend time in session exploring thought patterns and ways to manage or change these (ie triggers to use a substance, negative self thoughts that feed depression symptoms).

Systems, or "Family Systems" approaches - People do not live and operate in vacuums. We grew up with some level of connection to family and others, thus impacting each other. Often these relationship dynamics must be worked on in therapy for success, especially when in treatment for addiction.

I believe the client is the expert on themselves.

I believe small change leads to large change. I often work in small steps to achieve large treatment goals (ie harm reduction).

I believe in the Stages of Change theory, whereby people go through identified stages in any behavioral change, from not thinking anything is a problem or needs to change (pre-contemplation), through contemplation->preparation->action->maintenance of any behavior change. Worth noting, relapse to any behavior, including substance use, most often happens in "maintenance". The best example of this process is New Years diet/exercise resolutions. 

I utilize evidenced based approaches like the above, as well as the integration of neuroscience, especially as it pertains to addiction. We often spend time in addiction counseling looking at the reward pathways and neuroscience behind chemical dependency.

I believe in the power of positive psychology and gratitude/appreciation to help fight depression and anxiety. It is rare across my caseload that we at some point would not be discussing how to think more positively to fight life's stress, or how to use appreciation/gratitude (the neuroscience behind "the glass is half full").

Solution Focus - There are times where I may utilize this approach. This is centered on a briefer model, whereby we assume success of our goals and work backwards from that point. The key being the client is the expert and has the solution to their problem internally. The therapist then works to pull it out of them,  not drag them to it.


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