Sometimes people experience emotional problems (e.g., anxiety, depression), behavioral problems (e.g., overeating, excessive alcohol use), or relationship problems (e.g., excessive arguing) that interfere with their daily functioning. These difficulties result from the interaction of biological, learning, behavioral, and environmental factors. These factors influence patterns of thinking and behaving. Negative life events can contribute to the development of self-defeating patterns of thinking and behaving, which some people can have difficulty changing.
My work is guided by the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, a pragmatic, research-based approach to dealing with the difficulties that life frequently presents. Within the role of teaching, I assist people to identify self-defeating patterns of thinking and behaving and replace them with more realistic patterns. Within the role of coach, I emphasize the importance of practicing the realistic patterns of thinking and behaving consistently, so people can take control of their emotions and act in more responsible and healthy ways.
The first session is designed to find out a person's reasons for seeking my assistance. I ask specific questions about the problems related to their discomfort and about when and where these problems occur. During this session, the person discusses the values important to them and the goals they want to achieve.
The remaining sessions are devoted to my assisting the person in gaining an understanding of and developing solutions to their current problems and/or changing the emotions and behaviors they want to change. I assign activities to be completed between sessions, which might include reading material, listening to prerecorded tapes and CD's, keeping a journal, and/or practicing some of the skills learned in the sessions.
In working with children exhibiting behavioral problems, I enlist the cooperation of parents to develop alternative parenting approaches that might lead to improvement in their children's behavior.
In working with couples, I enlist the cooperation of each partner to develop alternative ways of interacting with each other that might lead to improvement in their relationship.