Philosophy and Treatment
I believe you need to meet patients where they are and provide tailored integrated treatment to each individual. I do not believe in one-size fits all or a cookbook approach to mental health or behavioral change. There is a push (primarily from insurance companies) to treat mental health in a medical model. But human behavioral change does not follow a linear course the way healing from a broken leg or a surgery does. Any of us who have struggled with our own behavioral change or a friend or a family member recognize that we each do it a bit differently – based on so many factors: our family culture, childhood experiences, our specific coping strategies, our support system, and our meaning of the experience or event.
I believe that most of us just want our lives to work– to have a loving relationship, satisfying career, and optimal health. But when life throws us a curve ball: a terrible relationship with a narcissist, a divorce, illness or some other disappointment, I find that some of us handle this curve ball or adversity better than others. I have found that individuals who go through life with rigid expectations of themselves or about their life cannot adapt to the inevitable change life puts in their path and fare much worse than those individuals who accept the uncertainly of life’s journey and adapt to its changes. What I love about psychotherapy is that it teaches the skills necessary to adapt to life’s inevitable changes. It does this by showing you how to be in control of your response to life. Your response is made of your thoughts and feelings – your beliefs -and because they are your thoughts and feelings, you can learn skills to control them. And once you have this skill, you will be able to respond to life’s changes in a more rational and effective manner.
I think it is imperative to provide a safe environment for psychotherapy through a warm, open communication style. I believe psychotherapy is a collaborative undertaking between patient and therapist; that listening, understanding and respecting each patient’s unique story is necessary for optimal treatment.
Schema theory was developed and researched by prominent psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Young; it states that when a child’s basic needs – nurturance, empathy, love, security, and safety – are met, it creates a stable environment for the child, which supports the development of self-esteem, individuation, responsibility, self-expression, and self-control. This child believes he or she is loveable and deserves to be loved. He or she child experiences self-acceptance, is unafraid to express opinions, and feels free to explore and become whatever the child chooses. On the other hand, a child whose most basic needs go unmet may develop self-destructive patterns of behaving and interpreting life’s events and situation (life traps). He or she may come to believe they are unlovable, flawed or defective (core beliefs). This child will pick partners who fit with his or her core beliefs about themselves.