Cognitive Therapy is an empirically supported treatment based on the cognitive model, which states that thoughts, feelings, and behavior are all connected, and that patients can move toward overcoming difficulties and meeting their goals by identifying and changing unhelpful or inaccurate thinking, problematic behavior, and distressing emotional responses. We work collaboratively with our patients to develop skills for testing and modifying beliefs, identifying unhelpful and distorted thinking patterns, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors. Our patients learn they do not have to believe everything they think, and how to “drop the rope” with regard to unhelpful thoughts about themselves, others, and the world around them. We teach our patients to shed all-or-nothing thinking, and to not simply “think positive,” but, rather, develop more realistic, helpful, and flexible adaptations to cognitive patterns applied in the real world. Particularly when combined with Behavior Therapy, it creates a robust, effective treatment choice for a number of presenting concerns.
Behavior Therapy is an empirically supported treatment based on the understanding of how behaviors (actions and skills) are affected by the environment (external influences), and how learning takes place. Through scientifically proven principles of learning theory and conditioning, our patients acquire skills to change unhealthy and undesired behaviors, leading to meaningful and positive change in their lives. Our clinicians work together with patients to analyze and evaluate their behavior and learning history, identify external factors maintaining or exacerbating symptoms, and determine individualized applied interventions such as behavior modification, skills training, environmental support, and contingency management. Behavior change is difficult and we teach patients how to set their environment up for success, resulting in behavioral health.
Our clinicians utilize the rich research base of Behavior Therapy and apply its principles in a number of different ways, including Exposure and Response Prevention / Exposure Therapy, Behavioral Activation, the ComB Model, Partner / Parent Training for Anxiety, and Parent Management Training (PMT).
Behavioral Activation (BA) is an evidence-based treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and other mood concerns. Research has indicated BA as an effective treatment choice for patients across the lifespan, even for those who have not had success with other approaches. BA seeks to help patients understand the contextual variables impacting mood and functioning, and identify actions they can take to promote their behavioral health. Patients gradually decrease their avoidance and isolation and increase engagement in activities that are proven to improve mood. BA uses these activities to jumpstart momentum toward re-engaging with life by offering patients increased access to positive reinforcement across many areas. Through these practices, patients are able to recognize the link between their activities and mood, understand their own behavioral patterns, and learn to choose more adaptive strategies in the face of mood disruption.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced as one word) is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety, depression, and related disorders. ACT focuses on a patient’s attempts to minimize and avoid negative experiences that lead to rigid and inflexible patterns of behavior. Our patients learn to radically accept thoughts, tolerate uncomfortable feelings, and choose behaviors of action even in the face of anxiety-provoking situations or unpleasant emotional experiences. ACT fosters distress tolerance, allowing patients to ride the wave of undesired emotional experiences and commit to the action necessary to live a values-driven life. As our patients learn and practice strategies, ACT allows them to recognize negative emotions as uncomfortable but not dangerous and, paired with exposure practices, gives them the useful tools they need to find meaning and value in their lives.
The Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB) is the treatment of choice for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB) such as hair-pulling and skin-picking. It is a cutting-edge, comprehensive approach that combines the previously established Habit Reversal Training (HRT) with a more complete, and thus highly effective, treatment. The ComB model assesses the function of the BFRB (i.e., factors that keep the behavior around), identifies the specific types of hair-pulling / skin-picking that are occurring (e.g., focused / unfocused), and provides a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each individual's unique BFRB profile (i.e., pulling / picking patterns). Interventions may include increasing awareness, regulating emotion, adjusting physical habits, and changing environmental factors to decrease the likelihood of engaging in or maintaining the behavior. It takes more than a fidget toy!