Developing a positive relationship with your therapist is key. You must be comfortable and able to trust the therapist you are sharing with. It must safe for you to be honest and open. A safe environment without concern of being judged is a place for personal growth and healing.
During the first session we like to hear what is taking place in your life or within yourself that you would like to improve. Sometimes the first session is just getting it off your chest and helping us to understand your current situation better.
Generally, the second session we start to take a family history to better know you and start to identify patterns and a direction to start in.
Together we will develop what works best for you. We draw on a lot of training and experience, but your collaboration in the process is the driving force.
We take an integrative approach that unifies mind, body, spirit and socio-cultural factors utilizing the methods that serve the client best. At Counseling ABQ we emphasize Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, as these have proven to be effective in formal scientific studies and my professional experience.
Mindfulness means “moment-by-moment awareness.” A broader definition refers to mindfulness as paying attention to the present moment, without judgment and with a sense of acceptance for what it is.
In therapy, we teach specific mindfulness skills and support your practice of these techniques. Mindfulness techniques have been shown to be useful for a variety of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, stress, compulsive behaviors, impulsiveness, eating disorders, addictions, low self-esteem and chronic pain. Generally speaking, it can also enhance our ability to function inter-personally and professionally.
Mindfulness allows you to carve out a space between noticing what is happening around you and the choice that you make about how to proceed.Without that crucial space between observation and decision-making, actions and thoughts seem mindless and automatic. Giving yourself the gift of mindfulness allows you to take back the reins of the decision-making process and mindfully choose.
This approach helps clients cultivate an increased ability to “live in the present,” which I believe is a key component of psychological well-being. Living in the present – in the here and now – generates a sense of inner peace, regardless of external circumstances. It also allows you to make decisions and act, rather than react automatically using old, dysfunctional patterns and thinking that keep you from clearly seeing your current situation.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) emphasizes the role of thinking (cognition) in how we feel (emotions) and what we do (behavior). Cognitive restructuring is a traditional CBT technique that involves identifying automatic and repetitive thoughts that may be contributing to emotional distress or unwanted behaviors. Automatic thoughts or beliefs that contribute to emotional or behavioral imbalances tend to come from hurtful experiences early in life that leave a strong imprint or from messages reinforced over years of conditioning. They can also come from more recent painful experiences – such as experiencing or witnessing violence; getting diagnosed with a major illness; or losing a loved one.
Automatic thoughts occur in the form of self-talk, which is an inherent part of being human. As a matter of fact, scientists estimate that we have between 12,000 and 60,000 internal thoughts per day. Unfortunately, most of these are dwelling in the past, obsessing about mistakes, planning for the future, battling guilt, or drifting into fantasy or negativity. Becoming aware of this reoccurring self-talk is a powerful step in either letting go of your negative thoughts or changing them. Once you become more aware of your thoughts through mindfulness you can evaluate them for accuracy. You can replace these less rational, unfounded or non-supportive thoughts with more accurate and realistic appraisals. This process can be quite effective with increasing positive emotions and desirable behavior.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
Talk therapy is a great intervention for many types of issues. However, EMDR is another intervention we use when talk therapy does’t help clients to make fundamental changes. With the help of one of our trained EMDR therapists, disturbing or traumatic memories are reprocessed in our nervous systems, so people remember the events, but not longer are emotionally reactive when triggered. Originally used primarily to memories related to PTSD and trauma, there is clinical empirical evidence that EMDR also effective with those people who suffer with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, personality disorders, painful memories and poor body image.