As our knowledge and skills have developed over the years, our practice of psychotherapy has become increasingly flexible. It does not fall neatly into one particular theory or approach. Rather, we integrate several theories that share core principles.
Our approach integrates:
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) emphasizes the central role of emotion in creating change. EFT evolved from client-centered therapy and gestalt therapy. In EFT, these approaches have been updated with advances in modern emotion theory and research on the emotional change process. Emotions are seen as adaptive and critical to knowing what we need; they can give one a sense of consistency and wholeness. However, they can become problematic due to past emotional injuries or because people often learn to ignore or dismiss them. The EFT therapist stays attuned to the client's internal experience as it evolves moment-by-moment, helps the client explore problematic emotional patterns, and promotes access to adaptive emotions and more authentic experience.
Research provides strong evidence for the efficacy of emotion-focused therapy (EFT). This approach was developed from studies on the process of change in therapy and has been shown to be effective in both individual and couple therapy. EFT has generated more research than any other treatment approach on the process of change and provides a research based model detailing the steps of the change process.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy focuses on the discovery and exploration of the powerful, unconscious emotions and relationship patterns that affect one's sense of self, actions, and ways of relating to others. It explores how these emotional and relationship patterns were formed in childhood and how they shape one's present life. Our approach has been particularly influenced by intersubjective systems theory, which examines how the context of relationships, past and present, affect our moment-by-moment creation of experience.
The effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy has also been documented in many research studies. It is effective for a wide range of problems. Research suggests that it sets in motion psychological processes that lead to ongoing change, even after therapy has ended. This article summarizes the research. This journal article briefly reviews the distinctive features of a psychodynamic approach followed by a detailed analysis of research on the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Attachment Theory & Affective Neuroscience
Attachment Theory states that the need for connection with others is biologically wired into human beings and lasts throughout the lifespan. Everyone needs to feel secure and supported, accepted and respected, and enjoyed and appreciated within important relationships. Attachment Theory provides a map for exploring the ways in which we form connections with each other, understanding how childhood experiences are related to current emotions and behaviors, and creating a model of intimate, stable relationships. We form these crucial connections through emotions. Contemporary neuroscience research is providing new information on the importance of emotion, the role of relationships in regulating and processing emotion, and the value of therapy approaches that focus on immediate emotional experience. It offers new insights on the most effective approaches to psychotherapy.
Mindfulness Informed Therapy
Mindfulness informed approaches emphasize the importance of engaging every moment of experience with awareness and acceptance, rather than being reactive or judgmental. It trains the mind by focusing on immediate experience, and returning to this focus when starting to become hijacked by maladaptive reactions, emotions, or thoughts. As mindfulness develops there is more emotional balance and an increased ability to experience emotions, relationships, and life more intensely without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down. As mental and emotional flexibility increases, it becomes easier to see new possibilities and act in ways that are more consistent with our most important needs and values.