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Mental health therapists (also known as counselors, clinicians, psychotherapists) come to helping people from various backgrounds: marriage/family therapy, clinical social work (my field of study), professional counseling, psychology and a few others. Their training is usually focused on an in-depth understanding of the human psyche as well as the social and environmental stressors that impact our well-being.
There are many theories and therapeutic methods available for use in psychotherapy. Therapists use those methods they believe to be most effective, based on their training and experience.
You may have heard terms like EMDR, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapy or acceptance commitment therapy (ACT). These therapies are used in collaboration with you to help you experience your traumatic history, anxiety, depression or fears in a different way, thus allowing you to break out of old patterns of thinking and behaving.
Therapy can help you bring awareness to your thoughts and feelings, so that you become more conscious of how to keep yourself behaving and thinking in positive ways, rather than remaining stuck in negative patterns and habits.
The most important component to successful therapy is your relationship with your therapist. If you like your therapist and feel safe and understood, your chances of feeling better are much greater.
Part of therapy will be the work you do outside the therapist’s office. Your level of commitment to therapy and your willingness to view problems and situations in new ways and perhaps try some new strategies will also contribute to your success in therapy.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is a therapeutic technique that involves talking about a traumatic event while experiencing visual, touch or sound signals that move back and forth. The therapist gradually facilitates your awareness towards thoughts and sensations that are positive and empowered as you follow the sound, sight or touch.
EMDR is recommended as an effective treatment for trauma in the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association. The Department of Veteran Affairs and the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommend EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma-related distress.
EMDR can also be effective in treating panic attacks, addictions, and situational anxiety around experiences like public speaking, heights, flying, dental work, etc.
I am certified in EMDR therapy and provide EMDR when appropriate in the safety and comfort of my office. Not every client or every problem should be addressed using EMDR. Ask me if you would like more information about this treatment approach.