A community of Licensed WEllness Professionals.
What is individual therapy?
Individual therapy is a chance for you to work one-on-one with a licensed professional to delve into and address current struggles in your life, and to learn strategies for coping with these struggles in a healthy way. You typically will meet with your individual therapist once per week for 50 minutes. In order to best meet your needs and goals, your therapist will utilize one or more treatment modalities, in which they have received training. Examples of treatment modalities utilized by our Wellness Associates include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), and Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These treatment modalities are further explained below.
How can I go about choosing an individual therapist?
Finding an individual therapist can feel like a daunting task. We encourage you to try to find a therapist who meets your unique needs in a way that works for you and with whom you feel safe. Achieving this will likely mean having a consultation with a therapist by phone or in person, to see if it seems like this therapist could be a good fit for you. Here are some tips for reaching out to a therapist for a consultation:
Before You Call
Write down your questions
Be prepared to share why you (or your teen) need therapy now
Make a list of what’s important to you (schedule, classes, therapist’s gender, etc.)
During Your Call
Explain what’s happening to make you feel the need for therapy
State your needs and wants
After The Call
Did I feel heard?
Did I feel safe?
Were my questions answered?
Do I feel comfortable going forward?
If you answer "yes" to these questions, you are probably ready to schedule your first appointment with your therapist. If you answer "no" to some or all of these questions, it might be time to have a consultation with another individual therapist. Try not to get discouraged -- sometimes finding the therapist who is the best fit for you can take a few tries! If you are interested in learning more about the individual therapists at Gateway Wellness Associates, click here.
Can you tell me more about these treatment modalities that you mentioned?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT, an evidence based treatment, was first developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington (Read her powerful personal story here). Today, Behavior Tech and The Linehan Institute conduct research, develop protocols and best practices and train practitioners of DBT. DBT provides a specific set of skills designed to help participants become more mindful, improve ability to handle stress and difficult emotions, and create or maintain healthy relationships.
DBT consists of four components: individual DBT therapy, DBT skills group, coaching calls wit your individual therapist to reinforce skills use outside of sessions, and a consultation team for your individual and group therapists to receive support and training around their DBT practice. The objectives of these components are to learn and apply skills until they become increasingly automatic in all (or most) areas of your life (e.g., home, school, work, social situations, friendships and intimate relationships).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT also is a scientifically tested, evidenced-based therapy. Dr. Aaron Beck at the University of Pennsylvania first developed CBT. Today, The Beck Instituteresearches, develops new protocols and best practices and trains practitioners.
The premise of CBT is that how we think influences how we feel emotionally. For example, one person hearing the diagnosis of diabetes might think, “This is a sign that I need to get healthy – start eating right and exercising – to live longer and be a good example for my children.” This leads to feeling empowered and determined. Another person may think “I can’t handle this. I am going to die soon,” and feel desperate, overwhelmed and depressed. So it is not a situation that directly affects how people feel emotionally, but their thoughts in that situation. When people are in distress, their perspective is often distorted and their thoughts may be unrealistic. Cognitive behavior therapy helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic those thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. Simultaneously, the focus is on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.
CBT identifies and addresses automatic thoughts (e.g., I can’t do anything right), assumptions about how the world works (e.g., no one is trustworthy), core beliefs (e.g., I am worthless) and distorted patterns of thinking (e.g., all or nothing). For a concise description of CBT, go here. For an extensive description of CBT, go here.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
PE is a scientifically based and highly effective treatment for chronic PTSD and related depression, anxiety, and anger, developed by Edna Foa, PhD, Director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania. It is based on cognitive-behavioral principals, and is a flexible therapy that can be modified to fit the needs of individual clients.
PE is designed to help clients process traumatic events and reduce trauma-induced psychological disturbances. PE helps you experience your emotions and move through them more quickly, rather getting stuck in them and having them control your behavior and thoughts.
PE is scientifically validated with more than 20 years of research supporting its use. Numerous well-controlled studies have shown that PE significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD, depression, anger, and anxiety in trauma survivors. PE also is beneficial for those suffering from co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse when combined with substance abuse treatment.
In addition to reducing symptoms of PTSD, PE instills confidence and a sense of mastery, improves various aspects of daily functioning, increases client's ability to cope with courage rather than fearfulness when facing stress, and improves their ability to discriminate safe and unsafe situations.
Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is another evidence-based treatment. Go here for more information about EMDR.