Evidence-based, theoretical approaches which inform and guide my counselling/psychotherapy practice include, but are not limited to:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy that stems from traditional behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives.
With this understanding, clients begin to accept their issues and hardships, and commit to making necessary changes in their behavior, regardless of what is going on in their lives and how they feel about it.
ACT invites people to open up to unpleasant feelings, learn not to overreact to them and not avoid situations where they are invoked.
In ACT you will learn to listen to the way you talk to yourself specifically about traumatic events, problematic relationships, physical limitations and other issues. You can then decide if an issue requires immediate action and change or if it can, or must be, accepted for what it is while you learn to make behavioral changes that can affect the situation.
By taking steps to change their behavior while, at the same time, learning to accept their psychological experiences, client can eventually change their attitude and emotional state.
www.thehappinesstrap.com (Dr. Russ Harris)
Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). It is used to treat a wide range of mental health disorders (eg. depression, anxiety), physical symptoms, emotional and relationship challenges. It helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking patterns/beliefs so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in more effective ways. The basic concept of CBT is that focusing on changing the way you think (cognition) will change the way you act (behavior) and, ultimately, how you feel.
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotionally Focused Therapy is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. The therapist and clients explore interraction patterns in the couple relationship or in the parent-teen/young adult/grown adult relationship and take steps to create a more secure bond, develop more trust and move the relationship in a healthier, more positive direction. EFT has been proven effective for distressed couples and families who are dealing with anger, fear, loss of trust, intimacy issues or a sense of betrayal in their relationship. In addition to helping the distressed relationship, EFT can also help reduce individual symptoms of depression or trauma. In EFT, clients learn new ways to listen and stay attuned to another's emotions and discover more productive ways to respond to emotional situations.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them (without believing there's a 'right' or 'wrong' way to think or feel in a given moment). When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Research studies document the physical/mental health benefits of practising mindfulness: immune system enhancement, increased relaxation and positive emotions, decreased rumination and negative emotions, increased self-insight and objectivity, and improved brain function in regions linked to learning, working memory, focus, concentration, attention and emotion regulation (less emotional reactivity).
Psychodynamic (Insight-Oriented) Therapy
We all find ourselves behaving at times in ways we don't fully undertand. What we do not know or grasp about ourselves can cause us problems. The less we are aware of our unconscious 'inner workings' (deep-seated needs, assumptions, beliefs, feelings, desires, etc.), the more we stay stuck in unproductive patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that disable and limit us. In psychodynamic (insight-oriented) therapy, therapists help people explore and understand their emotions, early-life experiences and beliefs to gain insight into their present-day problems, and to evaluate thinking/behavior patterns they have developed over time. Recognizing recurring patterns helps people see the ways in which they avoid distress or develop defense mechanisms as a method of coping so they can take steps to change those patterns.