Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of therapy that addresses how thoughts affect behaviours and emotions. The purpose of CBT is to help clients gain an understanding of their common thought patterns and to become more conscious of the effect that these thoughts have on their emotions and behaviour. CBT often involves “homework” where clients are asked to take note of certain reactions or write down their thinking patterns. CBT is often used to treat depression and anxiety but it is an important therapeutic approach that can be helpful for all clients.
EMDR can be used to help clients with many types of problems such as panic attacks, anxiety, poor body image, negative self-beliefs, phobias, performance anxiety (e.g. public speaking), relationship problems, obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors and decision making. In addition, it especially helpful for clients who have suffered childhood sexual and physical abuse, spousal abuse, and other types of violence. Overall EMDR can be effective for many types of problems and most clients report positive effects after only a few sessions. EMDR is an acronym for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is an internationally recognized treatment method that is used by thousands of therapists around the world. It was discovered by a psychologist named Francine Shapiro in 1987. EMDR uses elements of many therapeutic approaches in combination with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic stimulation to stimulate the brain’s information processing system. The intention of EMDR is to help people process traumatic events and to decrease emotional distress. EMDR is based on the theory that when a person is upset by a particular event, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. A particular moment becomes “frozen” and remembering an incident/trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed (EMDRIA, 2000). These memories can have a lasting negative effect on the way a person sees the world and relates to other people. It can also change how people see themselves in relation to the world. For example an abused child may grow up thinking “I’m not good enough”. EMDR helps to resume normal information processing of these “frozen” moments and the negative beliefs that are attached to them. After an EMDR session the images, sounds and feelings no longer are relived when the event is brought to mind. What happened is still remembered, but it is less upsetting (EMDRIA, 2000). Also, because the memory has become integrated, the negative beliefs associated with the event can become more rational and realistic. Therefore the adult that felt “I’m not good enough” may begin to see that the abuse was not their fault and instead may begin to believe “I am good enough”.
Brainspotting is an evolution of EMDR and is a technique that uses eye movements to release unprocessed trauma. It is based on the theory that many mental and physical issues are related to stored traumatic memories and experiences. With the use of resources development and processing the client is able to connect with stored information and process it. This allows for integration of experiences and emotions on a very deep physiological level. It is based on the work of David Grand.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based treatment that is effective in treating individual’s diagnosed with PTSD or struggling with stress symptoms associated with traumatic events including but not limited to work-related trauma as may be experienced by first responders, child abuse, rape, and major life-threatening accidents. It is a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy that focuses on client goals as well as their thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and physiological responses to reduce trauma symptoms and improve psychological well-being. CPT uses a combination of assessments, psychoeducation, worksheets, and homework to help clients challenge and alter unhelpful beliefs and thoughts related to their traumatic event and modify their behaviour, while promoting a new and healthier understanding of their lived experience.
It is highly recommended that clients commit to 12 weekly therapy sessions to get the most benefit out of the therapeutic process.
Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy
Mindfulness based therapy is a form of treatment that helps you learn acceptance of feelings, being present in the moment and quieting your mind. It can help you be focused so you can appreciate and enjoy experiences. Mental control is often achieved and one can feel more able to regulate their feelings, thoughts and experiences. Research indicates it is particularly effective for individuals with depression and anxiety conditions.
Modern interpersonal psychotherapy is a brief attachment focused psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals resolve interpersonal problems and symptom recovery. It is an empirically supported treatment that was originally developed for depression, and is often commonly used for eating disorders, relationship problems and mood regulation. Through the relationship between the therapist and client, a client learns about themself, their attachment patterns past and present, and learns new ways to have healthy relationships.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that utilizes a cognitive-behavioural approach in helping people learn new skills and strategies so they can build better lives. DBT focuses on helping clients change the behaviour patterns that they are struggling with through weekly sessions. The sessions aim to teach core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation skills.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based behavioural therapy where clients learn to accept their inner thoughts and feelings instead of suppressing them, allowing them to face their problems head on while also employing methods to solve them.
ACT uses six core processes to help clients develop psychological flexibility:
- Acceptance: Embracing all of your experiences, including unwanted ones.
- Cognitive Defusion: Noticing your thoughts and thinking processes without trying to alter them.
- Being Present: Allowing yourself to be fully aware of your experiences as they happen at this very moment in time.
- Self as Context: Getting in touch with your deep sense of self.
- Values: Recognizing what matters most to you and what you truly want your life to be about.
- Committed Action: Doing things that bring value to your life.