I utilize Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a research-based method for treating specific symptoms of anxiety, depression and other life issues, unless my clients are seeking a different therapeutic approach. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, we may choose from one or more of the following techniques:
- Cognitive Restructuring – Challenging thinking patterns which feed anxiety and/or depression and replacing them with realistic thoughts about your situation
- Alternative Perspectives –Learning new ways of thinking about and conceptualizing your difficulties
- Self-Refection – Increasing your awareness with regard to your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours about your situation: In order to change, we first need to identify the targets for change
- Behavioural Techniques – Learning specific actions you can take to manage your anxiety and/or your mood. A common scenario would be learning techniques that you can apply in the moment to help reduce or eliminate panic attacks. Therapy also includes follow through with regard to your progress, and making adjustments to the therapeutic plan as needed.
- Graduated Exposure – rating the situations that make you anxious, from lowest to highest. And then starting by facing the ones that make you least anxious while at the same time learning relaxation strategies (see below)
- Relaxation Strategies to regulate your anxiety and manage your mood
- Lifestyle Considerations – regulating your general stress level: choosing healthy outlets which relieve anxiety and boost your mood, such as exercise, sleep, emotional support, prioritizing decisions and commitments. For those that want to minimize the effects of alcohol, caffeine, smoking and other drug use, we look at these factors too.
- Homework – testing the situations that make you anxious or trigger mood changes “in the field” outside of the office; taking notes, measuring results, etc. I often approach homework as an “experiment” to help you to determine whether the interventions are working for you.
An important aspect of the therapy is continuing with it between sessions. Not only do you get more value for your “therapeutic dollar,” you test what strategies are working and which ones are less successful, allowing us to streamline the therapeutic approach to meet your needs.