Treatment is conducted with an eclectic approach, utilizing Internal Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Adlerian Psychodynamic Theory. Therapeutic process begins with a relaxed yet thorough discussion designed to explore all matters important to the client. Throughout the therapeutic journey, goals are created and monitored as the center of therapy. Various approaches and techniques may be utilized throughout the therapy process. Some of these approaches are defined for a better understanding below.
Defining Therapeutic Approaches
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a systems therapy designed to recognize the valuable "parts" that exist within each of us. Each "part" has qualities that provide functioning for the individual, but life experiences can often "reorganize the system" in unhealthy ways. The therapy works with each "part" of the system to understand its needs and experiences. The "parts" can be considered sub-personalities that exist surrounding the self. Depending on the experiences of each protective part of the being, the part can function in centered/productive manners or extreme roles to protect the self. The Internal Family System therapy is a therapeutic tool to create and/or enhance the connection between the "parts".
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) creates an awareness of negative interpretations and behavioral patterns which reinforce distorted thinking. Thoughts and perceptions are believed to cause behaviors, therefore, the goal is to create an alternative way of thinking and in turn creating new behavior patterns. This is solution-oriented thinking to negative cognitions.
Dialetical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual's ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy that stems from traditional behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives. With this understanding, clients begin to accept their issues and hardships and commit to making necessary changes in their behavior, regardless of what is going on in their lives, and how they feel about it.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of psychotherapy intended to help those with obsessive thoughts refrain from responding with compulsions or rituals. ERP, which gradually exposes clients to stimuli that induce their maladaptive responses, belongs to the category of treatment known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Mindfulness-Based Interventions create a state in which one becomes more aware of their physical, mental, and emotional condition in the present moment - without becoming overly judgmental of the experience.
Adlerian Psychodynamic Theory emphasizes individuals' strong need to belong and feel significant, and encourages therapists to understand people from a social context. The approach focuses on the development of the personality through birth order, style of life, and parenting leading to an understanding of interconnectedness. Adlerian psychology, often referred to as individual psychology, emphasizes that disfunction typically comes from feelings of inferiority.
Family Systems is the perspective that individuals need to be understood within their family unit to understand their emotional perspective. The theory explains the strong influence each family member has on each of the other family members' emotional unit.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
The Founder of IFS, Richard Schwartz, explains the theory and practice of the therapy and how every person can simplify their lives.
The Internal Family Systems Model Outline
(Click on the above link)
Internal Family Systems Meditation
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Therapy model explained in a simplistic manner to breakdown the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that occur due to personal interpretations of events.