Types of Therapy Offered
Some of the tools Beth uses in her work include Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Contemplative/Buddhist Psychology, EMDR, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Existential Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a method of psychotherapy that blends features of cognitive with mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is a mental state characterized by concentrated awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, actions, or motivations. MBCT involves accepting thoughts and feelings without judgement rather than trying to push them out of consciousness, with a goal of correcting cognitive distortions. The aim of MBCT is the freedom from the tendency to get drawn into automatic reactions to thoughts, feelings, and events. MBCT can help clients break habit patterns that have be plaguing them for years. MBCT prioritizes learning how to pay attention or concentrate with purpose, in each moment and most importantly, without judgment. Through mindfulness, clients can recognize their truth in the moment. They can become aware of emotional and physical sensations that they previously could not feel. With this new awareness, clients can gain a better understanding of themselves and the patterns that can be shifted. Mindfulness therapy helps clients find more calm. It plays a useful therapeutic role for many mental and physical conditions, such as stress and chronic pain. MBCT can help in the management of anxiety and panic, depression, obsessive thinking, strong emotional reactivity such as rage and anger, and can help with overcoming addiction and relationship conflict.
Transpersonal Therapy focuses on the whole or “True” Self. Transpersonal psychotherapy draws it’s methodology from the spiritual traditions of the world, including Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, the Yogic traditions of India, and Western Contemplative traditions, and integrates them with Contemporary Psychology. This type of therapy focuses on the spiritual aspects of the human experience. Transpersonal Psychotherapy is concerned with a person’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of the spiritual, deeper, more meaningful side of an individual. Issues considered in Transpersonal Psychotherapy include spiritual development, peak experiences, mystical experiences, meditative and altered states of consciousness, and other metaphysical experiences. This type of therapy focuses on existence beyond the ego or personality self and into the Spiritual Self. Transpersonal Psychotherapy is an approach to the whole person. It is a holistic therapy, encompassing all levels of human experience. With this therapy can come a balanced developement of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, and creative aspects of a persons life. Transpersonal Psychotherapy primarily uses spiritual inquiry and a focus on the mind-body connection to create transformation. People may expereince a deeper or wider sense of who they are, or a sense of greater connectedness with others, nature, or a sense of Spirit with this type of therapy.
Contemplative psychology is the combining of traditional clinical psychotherapy with Buddhist philosophy and awareness practices. This type of therapy helps the client to be present with whatever arises in the moment as a tool to encourage healing and wellness. Being in the present moment can help to bring about authenticity, self-acceptance, and a deeper trust in the flow of life and the flow of oneself. Contemplative therapy has a foundation in the Buddhist idea of Basic Goodness and Compassion for Self and others. From the contemplative point of view, our basic nature is intrinsically healthy and good, but our understanding of this health has been hidden and obscured. Buddhist psychotherapy is a process of uncovering this goodness and helping the client be in a more aware and awake place. It looks at ways in which one creates suffering through unnecessary attachments and neurotic thought patterns. Although a client can be experiencing pain, depression, anxiety or other types of suffering, these contemplative tools can help remind one of the health and sanity underneath the symptoms. Through this reminder, the client can experience hope, change, and a new sense of peace. Though contemplation, the client can come to a better understanding of what is true and real. Contemplative Psychology can help the client create more space in their mind to have better coping skills during the difficult times. Mindfulness/Awareness sitting meditation can be taught to the client when using this type of therapy. However, even though this therapy is based on Buddhist teachings, it doesn’t require that the client be considered a Buddhist or have a meditation practice in order to get the benefits from this type of therapy.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing traumatic events and unresolved life experiences. It uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing memories. EMDR has excellent results in healing from exposure to a traumatic or distressing event, such as rape, physical or sexual abuse, various accidents, physically or mentally abusive relationships, traumatic medical procedures, or any other experience that caused trauma, rage, distress, or grief. Many reports have shown great success with EMDR for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR is based on a processing model that suggests symptoms arise when events are inadequately processed and unprocessed. The theory underlying EMDR treatment is that it works by helping the client process distressing memories more fully, which reduces the distress. When the memory of the event is re-lived and processed fully, the trauma will subside, resolve and heal. EMDR will help to integrate the previously stuck trauma into the nervous system so the client can then have relief from distressing symptoms. EMDR works by administering bilateral stimulation of the brain with bilateral sound and/or bilateral tactile stimulation coupled with cognition, visualized images and body sensation. EMDR also combines dual attention awareness to allow the individual to go between the traumatic material and the safety of the present moment. This prevents re-traumatizing from exposure to disturbing memories. EMDR is an integrative therapy that combines elements of cognitive behavioral, somatic therapies, and psychodynamic therapies to desensitize traumatic memories. EMDR decreases the vividness and/or negative emotions associated with disturbing memories and can produce a great sense of relief for the client.
Cognative-Behavorial Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that helps transform dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and cognition through a goal-oriented, focused approach. In this type of therapy, the objective is typically to identify and monitor thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that are related and may be causing debilitating negative emotions. The client will work to identify which thoughts and beliefs are negative, dysfunctional, inaccurate, or simply unhelpful. This is done in an effort to replace or transcend them with more positive, realistic, and useful ones. CBT found a ground in focusing on the “here and now” for symptom removal. There are various therapeutic techniques with CBT according to the particular kind of problem or issue. The client is encouraged to keep a diary of significant events and associated feelings, may have homework assignments to work on between sessions, and be taught techniques that create greater awareness of thoughts and behaviors — such as questioning and testing cognition, looking at how assumptions are made, looking at evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities that may have been avoided; as well as trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation, mindfulness, thought-stopping techniques, and distraction tools are often used. CBT can be useful for various problems including depression, anxiety, panic, personality disorders, substance abuse, and relationship conflict.
Existential Psychotherapy is partly based on the existential belief that human beings often feel alone in the world or that their life is meaningless. This feeling of aloneness leads to feelings of despair, which can be overcome by creating one’s own values and meanings. Existential psychotherapy suggests that in making our own choices we assume full responsibility for the results in our lives. This therapy helps to take the blame off of others and helps one feel like less of a victim. Though Existential therapy, the client can become empowered and learn to create a desired life and a sense of happiness. This type of therapy helps clients along a path from discovering why they feel overburdened by anxieties of aloneness and meaninglessness, to finding new and better ways to manage these anxieties, to making new and healthy choices, finally to emerging from therapy as a free and sound human being. Existential therapy guides the client to take responsibility and willingness for situations in life. It helps the client to see that there are great possibilities and choices that can be made that were previously unseen. The client may reflect upon life’s questions that were answered in the past, but attention ultimately shifts to searching for a new and increased awareness in the present and enabling a new freedom and responsibility to act. The client can then create life as a new adventure that is a transformative and hopeful experience. This type of therapy can help with depression, feelings of being stuck and lost, life transitions, anxiety, grief, loneliness, insecurity, identity confusion, and sense-of-self issues. Through analysis, reflection, verbal processing, and reframing, there can be a more authentic and honest understanding of the Self. Though this work, healing, transformation, and a sense of meaning can arise.
Gestalt Therapy is an existential and experiential therapy that focuses on the individual’s experience in the present moment. The tools of the Gestalt Therapy is the therapist-client relationship, the here and now, and an exploration of cognition and belief systems. This type of thearpy looks at how a person responds to relationships in the present moment of the therapy session. Gestalt therapy has distinguished itself by moving to action in the therapy session and away from just talk therapy. It is considered an experiential approach. The emphasis is on what is being done, thought and felt at the moment rather than on what was, might be, could be, or should be. Gestalt therapy is a method of awareness. It looks at what the client perceives, feels, and does during the therapy. Gestalt therapy addresses the person as a functional, whole, and basically healthy person who is striving towards higher levels of potentiality, wellness, and actualization. This type of therapy assists the client in discovering and restoring his or her own natural ability to self-regulate, create feelings of contentment, and have successful and fulfilling contact with others. Gestalt therapy helps to reclaim disowned aspects of oneself. There is a sense of personal responsibility that can come out of the Gestalt process. When clients are engaged in an experience of understanding the inter working of the Self, they can see a resolution to the conflict. With the experiential tools of Gestalt Therapy, one can learn to cope creatively with the events of one’s life and to pursue the goals that seem good and desirable. A primary tool of Gestalt therapy is awareness and mindfulness. Through awareness of and experimentation with bodily sensations, emotional responses, desires, and cognitive assumptions, the range of choices about how a person chooses to live their life can become more clear. The ability to engage with others and oneself will be enhanced. In Gestalt therapy, the individual is encouraged to become aware of his or her own feelings and behaviors, and their effect upon his environment in the here and now. By focusing on self-awareness as part of present reality, new insights can be made about thoughts and behaviors and the client can engage in self-healing.
Psychodynamic Therapy is a form of Depth Psychology, which has an intention to reveal the unconscious content of a client’s thoughts, feelings, and life choices as a tool to relieve distress and dysfunction. This type of therapy relies on the interpersonal relationship that forms in the therapy sessions. Through verbal processing of past experiences, history, family patterns, ideas, thoughts, emotions, and present day life, the client can come to understand in more depth, what is truly, authentically surfacing. Psychodynamic Therapy helps to shed light on a disruptive and unhealthy functioning that is occurring. Often patterns underlying these functions are unconscious. This type of therapy helps to bring these patterns to greater consciousness. The presumed unhealthy pattern may have developed early in life and eventually causes disturbance in day-to-day present life. These thoughts, behaviors, and lifestyles may have been brought about from a reaction to distress earlier in life or a defense reaction for emotional survival that is not useful or constructive in the present. Working in this way can help to transform a way of being into something serving, healing, and satisfying. This type of therapy intervenes to heal the discomfort associated with the poorly formed function, then helps the client acknowledge the existence of the pattern, while working with the client to develop strategies for change. Clients can gain tremendous amount of insight and understanding of their past and of their present lives. Often with just this awareness, relief and hope can surface. Defense patterns can be broken and new ways of being, communicating, and facing issues can be formed. Psychodynamic therapy is very useful for conflicts in relationships, habitual reactions to stressful and difficult situations, depression, anxiety, addiction, or a feeling of being lost, and having a lack of meaning in one’s life.