TREATMENT APPROACHES AND INTERVENTIONS
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT is one of the most commonly prescribed forms of treatment today. It is an effective approach for addressing many psychological disorders and mental health issues. CBT is considered an evidenced based model as thousands of scientific research studies have established the effectiveness of CBT in treating anxiety disorders, mood disorders and many other mental health issues. CBT therapy focuses on the present and is organized around problem-solving. It addresses the relationships between thoughts, behaviours and emotions through interventions that assist patients in identifying maladaptive thoughts that are negatively influencing their attitude, motivation, success, emotional regulation and behaviours. Patients learn specific skills including identifying patterns of distorted thinking, modifying unhealthy and inaccurate beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing ineffective or destructive behaviours.
The CBT model requires patients to actively participate in their treatment planning and its implementation. Patients learn to shift their ingrained patterns of thinking, feeling and acting by making small, consistent changes in how they think and behave on a daily basis. When treatment ends, patients are able to transfer and apply the skills and tools learned in therapy to their day-to-day lives. Most services provided at the Forest Hill Centre incorporate at least some CBT into the treatment process even if it is not determined to be the best fit for the client as a primary approach. The techniques and subsequent skill development fostered through CBT are beneficial to most patients.
PSYCHODYNAMIC AND PSYCHOANALYTIC THERAPY APPROACHES
In working with patients for over 20 years Dr. Bot has found that most individuals seeking treatment want and/or require a deeper, more complex and comprehensive understanding of their mental health issues, relationship challenges and work struggles.
Psychodynamic therapies are the most longstanding of current therapeutic approaches supporting a highly developed, comprehensive and researched theory and practice of human development and interaction. These approaches are more intensive and insight oriented allowing clients to develop broader and more substantial understandings of why and how they have constructed their lives and relationships. People are often unaware of how profoundly their unconscious experiences and internalized patterns of relating are interfering with their sense of self and their ability to manage their emotions and experiences with self and others. These therapies are often long term and lead to more profound and permanent shifts in patients' capacities to self-regulate, foster meaningful connections and live their lives with less fear and more authenticity.
Mindfulness Meditation is a Western, research-based form of meditation derived from an ancient Buddhist practice known as Vipassana or Insight Meditation. It is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to our inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience, and compassion.The University of California Center for Mindfulness describes Mindfulness as:
“non-judgmental, open-hearted, friendly, and inviting of whatever arises in awareness. It is cultivated by paying attention on purpose, deeply, and without judgment to whatever arises in the present moment, either inside or outside of us. By intentionally practicing mindfulness, deliberately paying more careful moment-to-moment attention, individuals can live more fully and less on ‘automatic pilot,’ thus, being more present for their own lives.”
Mindfulness meditation is often incorporated into our treatment approaches to assist patients who struggle with stress, anger, pain, addictions, and other relational or mental health issues. Patients who incorporate mindfulness meditation into their daily lives describe an increased sense of self control, enhanced self-esteem, clearer thinking and judgment as well as a greater sense of calm and confidence in their ability to cope with the challenges of life and relationships. Mindfulness meditation can also improve quality of sleep, reduce stress, enhance concentration and foster a better sense of overall well-being. This technique is also beneficial to successful management of health issues and can lead to better treatment outcomes psychologically and physically.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
BEHAVIOURAL DESENSITIZATION AND EXPOSURE THERAPY
Patients often suffer from fears and phobias. For various reasons certain situations, experiences or things create significant anxiety and can often lead to a person organizing their life around avoidance of feared experience or object. This can become quite limiting of a person's life and interfere with a sense of freedom and enjoyment. Behavioural Desensitization is a highly effective technique that combines visualization, relaxation techniques and graduated exposure to assist a person in facing fears in a controlled, safe and systematic way.
The process is extremely slow allowing the person to build their confidence and sense of calm in the presence of the fear ultimately overcoming or significantly reducing the anxiety associated with that fear. This treatment can be done on its own or in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches to encourage a broader and more meaningful understanding of the individual's fears and anxieties. Helen Keller once wrote "The best way out is always through". This very successful treatment technique supports this idea. Every time we face a little piece of what we are afraid of, we demonstrate to ourselves that we can cope, that we are safe and in turn we feel a bit stronger and better about who we are. We also offer couple counseling and other resources for families to support an improved home and work life.
According to the EMDR Institute, Inc. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.
It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Patients often benefit from some education around the issues they are struggling with as well as specific skills and techniques for how to address them. Part of therapy usually incorporates some education whether it be around a diagnosis, life skills, problem solving or scripting difficult conversations. Practical and useful information can expand a client’s personal resources to cope more effectively with the challenges they face.
We emphasize the value of psychoeducation at this clinic and sometimes recommend readings or on-line seminars through Workright Ltd. to supplement the therapy. We encourage our patients to adopt an attitude of curiosity and interest in both understanding their issues better, having more tools and insights to address them and to recognize that self-improvement is an ongoing pursuit that is a worthwhile investment to support a life well lived.