With so many therapists out there these days, our most important priority is providing the safety, encouragement, and confidence you need to reach out to us. Toward that end, this part of our website will explain our mission, identity, and treatment approach.
We’ll begin by saying that we’re not ‘just a therapist’; we’re also clients and firmly believe in the value of furthering our knowledge and therapeutic experience personally as well as professionally. As the saying in the counseling field goes, “All great therapists have great therapists.”
We don’t just provide great service to our clients. We strive to make an impact on society at large through ongoing personal and professional development and the use of therapy approaches that transform both our clients and the people with whom they interact in their daily lives.
We believe we play an integral part in the ever-changing human narrative, and by striving to live our own unique purpose we believe we are creating the change that we wish to see in the world.
That said, we’ll use the rest of this section to discuss our approach to therapeutic work briefly and why we’re confident you’re making the right decision before you reach out to us.
For clients well versed in therapeutic approaches, these acronyms will look rather familiar. If not, let us explain.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
After its initial theoretical base was established in the 1960s, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) became one of the gold standards of mental health and is now a common treatment for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues.
The main focus of a CBT-oriented therapist will be your automatic thoughts, intermediate beliefs, and core beliefs. In CBT-oriented therapy, we identify negative core beliefs (e.g., I’m a failure, I’m worthless, etc.) outside your conscious awareness that may be affecting the way you feel, act, and interpret events in your life.
We’ll teach you how to identify when those core beliefs have been activated. We’ll help you challenge your negative beliefs and revise them to be more positive and realistic. It’s a great treatment approach and one we incorporate into almost any therapy you seek at Integral Therapy and Counseling.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is the first-line treatment for “personality disorders.” It has become more and more popular since its introduction to the field of mental health in the 1970s.
DBT, with its four laser-focused, skill-training modules, takes a more holistic approach to treatment because it incorporates the body into treatment. DBT has become a “go-to” treatment because of this pragmatism for various mood disorders, self-harming behavior, and substance abuse.
Because of the immense contribution that DBT literature and DBT skill-training has made to the field of mental and emotional wellness, you can bet that DBT skill training will be a part of your therapeutic experience at Integral. And, therefore, you’ll see gains in your ability to be more mindful, more interpersonally effective, and more equipped to manage a crisis. You will also experience increases in your ability to regulate your feelings.
On this last point of regulation – or, rather, emotional dysregulation – which commonly brings people into therapy, we can enter into the major difference between us and other practitioners.
We recognize the emergence of a new field of study called interpersonal neurobiology, which studies the impact of the social environment on the human nervous system and the practical emotional and behavioral outcomes of how stress shapes our responses to life events.
One of the major contributions to the field of Mental Health and Trauma studies has been the development of Polyvagal Theory which details a theoretical approach to studying the body’s response to a threat in the environment.
Instead of trying to summarize the Polyvagal Theory, we’ll leave it to Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts and innovators in the field of trauma studies:
“The Polyvagal Theory provided us with a more sophisticated understanding of the biology of safety and danger, one based on the subtle interplay between the visceral experiences of our own bodies and the voices and faces of the people around us.”
The Polyvagal theory serves as the foundational theory for our approach to working with clients. We understand that your body often reacts to stress before your mind has a chance to make sense of your experience – and that different feelings in your body give rise to the thoughts and feelings targeted by both CBT and DBT interventions.
Polyvagal theory can explain why you have mood swings, get stuck in depression, anxiety, or fear – or why you may experience rage and numbness.
Polyvagal Theory helps you transform how you define your problems from being problems with you – which lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and fear – to being an exploration and discovery of how your specific body responds to stress.
When you work with us, we’ll provide you with the education and practical skill set to deal with whatever life has in store for you. We’ve seen the difference between providing traditional therapies like CBT and DBT. We know that the combination of education and tools with these therapeutic models will help you learn and understand the nuances of how your nervous system responds to stress.
These tools and education are life-changing. We want you to feel the optimism, courage, health, growth, and restoration that we all innately have access to!
Call (732) 825-7729 today!