I recently helped a friend find a therapist, and as I read therapists’ bios on Psychology Today, I came across buzzwords, like “psychodynamic” and “humanistic” and “gestalt.” I imagined approaching this process as someone who doesn’t work in mental health, and realized why it was so difficult for my friend to choose someone.  In an effort to demystify this process, I’ve provided brief descriptions of my methodologies.

What is person-centered therapy?

“Unconditional positive regard” is an important component of my therapeutic style, and a vital element of person-centered therapy.  It simply means that I accept my clients unconditionally, and view them positively. While everyone has their own set of opinions and personal beliefs about people and the world, my training allows me to accept my clients as they are, where they are.  And this is essential to a positive experience in therapy.  

What is mindfulness?

The unconditional acceptance that I show my clients is one of the ways that I teach them about mindfulness.  Mindfulness is about cultivating an attitude of acceptance, a way of being open to ourselves — our thoughts and emotions — without judgement.  When we let go of judgment and embrace acceptance, we get a lot better at tolerating pain and discomfort. The mindfulness techniques I use encourage patients to pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and to navigate them by using imagination, guided meditation, and deep breathing. 

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

In a nutshell, CBT’s goal is to bring certain things into awareness, while helping you develop concrete ways to cope with difficult feelings and change unhealthy behaviors.  The idea of “self-talk” is central to CBT, and describes the running stream of words and thoughts we all have in our heads. In a simpler sense, it’s how we talk to ourselves in our mind.  In people struggling with depression and anxiety, It’s fairly common for the self-talk to be negative, and include messages like “I’m a failure,” or “I’m ugly,” or “I’m unlovable”. CBT starts by making you aware of the self-talk, and then teaches you how to challenge it.