There are hundreds, if not thousands, of therapeutic techniques, philosophies, and approaches. If we wanted to be fancy, we could call these "treatment modalities." I believe that it's important for my clients to understand the modalities that I use in my practice. You'll find a brief description of these approaches here.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT was developed in the mid 20th century and is considered an evidence based practice. This means that when researchers conduct experiments, CBT has been demonstrated to work quite well. The CBT model says that most problems folks encounter are caused by either unhelpful thoughts, unhelpful behavior, or both. I use CBT to help you identify where your thoughts or behaviors are getting in the way of your goals, and offer tools to help you change the patterns that are holding you back.
Feminist Therapy recognizes that our choices are influenced by our circumstances- and that many people are living within systems that are profoundly unfair. I use Feminist Therapy to help you look at the ways that your life has been influenced by the social, cultural, and political worlds you live in. We identify opportunities for self-empowerment and recognize the positive benefits that proactively working for social change can have on your mental health.
Somatic Experiencing is a newer form of therapy developed by trauma researcher Peter Levine. His work is focused on the ways we process emotions within our body, and theorizes that being aware of these bodily sensations can help us work through and heal from difficult experiences. I use Somatic Experiencing to help you become more mindful of the ways in which your physical body can inform your understanding of yourself and your reactions.
Trauma Informed Care
Trauma Informed Care is not a treatment method, but rather a treatment style. As a Trauma Informed therapist, I recognize the impact (physical, mental, and emotional) that traumatic experiences have on people and I work to create an environment and a therapy experience that is sensitive to these needs. Trauma Informed Care follows six guiding principles:
Inner Child Work
Inner Child Work is an approach to healing from the painful messages and experiences we carry with us from childhood. It uses art therapy, guided meditations, and other techniques to reconnect with our younger self and offer the support, love, and "parenting" we wish we had received as children. It's a very powerful technique that can feel kinda silly. That's okay- I encourage my clients to lean into the awkward and focus on the parts that work for you.
Relational Life Therapy
RLT is a couples therapy model developed by Terry Real. RLT recognizes that while neutrality and non-judgement are vitally important in individual therapy, they can actually inflict damage when working with couples. RLT Therapists are not neutral- we engage in what Real calls "taking sides for balance." RLT therapists are also directive: offering specific suggestions, tools, and education on what may happen when one partner chooses not to do the work. I do not meet with folks separately from their partners. I do this because within the RLT model, I am a fellow traveler on this journey with you, and the work we do, we do together.
The Gottman Method is one of the most famous forms of couples therapy. There are some significant differences between the Gottman approach and RLT, but I have found that different couples with different needs and issues require different approaches. Therapy is not- and should never be- a one size fits all experience. That's why I also utilize Gottman strategies to help you improve communication, build empathy and compassion for your partner, to recognize your unique Love Maps, and to restore connections that have begun to fade away.
So How Do We Choose?
In some ways, you don't- that's what you have me for! I am here to help guide you through a therapeutic experience that is unique to you, your relationship, and your needs. Odds are good that you will experience elements of both RLD and the Gottman Method during our time together. That said? RLT works especially well for couples who are experiencing a deep division, or a total breech of trust. RLT is especially useful for folks recovering from infidelity or who are renegotiating their relationship dynamic. The Gottman Method, on the other hand, can be incredibly beneficial to those who feel like they are drifting away from their partner, who recognize a lack of intimacy, or who struggle to communicate effectively.