BT & CBT Therapy
BT and/or CBT have been accepted by the American Psychological Association as approved interventions for treating chronic pain, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, eating disorders, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleep disorders.
While BT works mainly with changing one's behaviors and emotions by using principles of reward and something called reciprocal inhibition (the inability to feel two different, opposing feelings at the same time, such as fear and relaxation), CBT includes work with one's thoughts as well as feelings and behaviors.
CBT is thus based on the ABC model of behavior such that the consequences (C) that follow certain events (A) can always be modified by one's beliefs (B). This principle is used in CBT to help people make measurable changes in their behavior.
MI - Motivational Interviewing
Although MI grew out of the field of alcohol and addictions treatment a growing number of studies have shown its effectiveness in helping with a broad variety of health and psychological issues.
MI is a particularly valuable approach for helping people to get unstuck when there is a lot of ambivalence about change. Ambivalent feelings are a normal and natural part of coping with change, especially in the early stages of contemplating a change, and, therefore, are quite frequent in the early stages of psychotherapy.
When I engage in MI with you I will pay special attention to your feelings about change and work to evoke your own reasons for changing in one direction or another. I may use various MI methods to help you consider the consequences of your decisions and help you to recognize the importance of specific changes you are considering as well as your confidence in your ability to make such changes. Then, depending upon the importance of a specific change to you, we may take steps to strengthen your skills in order to build your confidence to make that change.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT arises from cutting-edge research on how the mind operates, but can be difficult to explain quickly. One major difference between the ACT approach and CBT, for example, is that while CBT typically focuses on changing the content of your negative thoughts, ACT works to change your relationship to, and, therefore, the effect that such thoughts may have upon your feelings and experience.
ACT is thus not as much about getting anxiety or depression to go away as it is about getting you untangled from the negative thoughts, feelings, and reactions you have and getting you moving in a more fulfilling, satisfying direction in your life. ACT uses a number of experiential exercises to help you disengage from the "squirrel cage" of your mind, such as mindfulness practices, metaphors, and other methods so that it is not a passive "talking therapy," but hopefully a more active, engaged experience.
ACT is a therapy in which you learn new experiential skills to improve the quality of your life. ACT has been found to be effective in treating a broad range of problems, but the reduction in symptoms seems to be a byproduct rather than the target of this approach. The aim of ACT is to reconnect you with your deepest-held values and then help you to live your life in fulfillment of those values, greatly enhancing your well-being without attempting to remove every discomfort that exists in life. ACT therefore emphasizes the differences between "clean pain," pain that comes to all beings who live a full life, and "dirty pain," the kind of pain that results from obsessive attempts to avoid all pain and discomfort.
The research that ACT is based on reveals that learning acceptance and mindfulness in the presence of "clean pain" can prevent you from becoming entangled in problematic efforts to avoid negative experiences, thereby freeing you up to lead a more rich and meaningful life. Many people suffering from depression or anxiety, for example, seem to have in common a tendency to avoid the negative internal experiences or triggers of such experiences to such a degree that their lives become very narrow and unfulfilling. And because of the way our brains are wired to function, the more we try to avoid such negative experiences like anxiety, sadness, or self-doubt, the worse these feelings become. Through the exercises offered by ACT and the supportive relationship with your therapist you can learn to let go of these avoidant tendencies, become less fused with unhelpful thoughts, and live a more mindful life that expresses the values most meaningful to you.