TREATMENT METHODS

Integrative Psychotherapy

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Below, you will find descriptions of the specific therapeutic techniques that I employ. It is important to note, however, that I tailor each treatment for the individual patient after conducting a careful assessment to determine the most pressing concerns and how I can be most helpful. In addition to addressing more long-term issues as those described below, I also utilize cognitive and behavioral techniques to confront problems that come up in the moment. This allows us to work on improving symptoms and quality of life immediately, while also maintaining more ambitious goals for the future. While I mostly see my patients in my office, when indicated, I also Skype and conduct phone sessions. Research shows that some disorders are best treated with psychotherapy and medication. That is why I work closely together with a Psychopharmacologist when indicated.

 
 
 
 

Psychoanalysis

What is psychoanalysis? When people ask what psychoanalysis is, they usually want to know about treatment. As a therapy, psychoanalysis is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behavior. These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, or the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts will sometimes not be enough to provide adequate relief.

Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behavior, traces them back to their historical origins, shows how they have changed and developed over time, and helps the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life.

Analysis is an intimate partnership, in the course of which the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties not simply intellectually, but emotionally — by re-experiencing them with the analyst. Typically, the patient comes two to four times a week, lies on a couch or sits on the chair and attempts to say everything that comes to mind. Patient and analyst join in efforts not only to modify crippling life patterns and remove incapacitating symptoms, but also to expand the freedom to work creatively and to love. The goal is that eventually, the patient’s life — his or her behavior, relationships, sense of self — changes in deep and abiding ways. (Partly taken from the American Psychoanalitic Association information booklet).

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy emphasizes the impact of early childhood experiences and development on the patient’s personality and current life difficulties. It also emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship between patient and psychotherapist in working through the patient’s issues. The psychotherapist helps the patient gain insight and self-understanding, thus enhancing conscious and unconscious awareness to elucidate recurrent behavior in attempt to change it.

Looking at dreams, free associations, and past and current relationships with significant people in the patient’s life, the psychotherapist tries to understand the patient’s behavior in an attempt to relieve symptoms and allow for positive life changes. The psychotherapist also may make use of interpretation and analysis of the relationship between the patient and the psychotherapist (transference/counter-transference) to understand underlying issues. 

Psychooncology

While technical advances in cancer treatment, such as surgeries, chemotherapies, targeted gene therapies and radiation treatments often result in a patient’s recovery or prolonged survival, they are also accompanied by a long process of symptoms and/or chronic disease. Cancer treatments performed by highly specialized professionals, each sharing in the patient’s care, can heighten the fear and bewilderment experienced by the patients and their families, who are already dealing with the challenges of diagnosis, side effects of treatments, and the numerous losses and discomforts that come with cancer and its treatments.

Today, there is growing recognition of the emotional impact of cancer and its treatment on a patient’s quality of life and perhaps also on the outcome of the disease.  Psychooncology is devoted to helping those struggling with cancer as well as cancer survivors, overcome the challenges associated with all aspects of life.

A psychooncologist works together with a client to identify the role of unconscious fears, wishes, and fantasies; the importance of recognizing and evaluating feelings of depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and other psychosocial influences in the development of health and illness; and the significance of psychodynamic concepts of defense and adaptation. In tandem with traditional medicine, psychooncology facilitates a full Mind – Body approach to cancer.  

Art Therapy

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The primary goal of art therapy is to understand the internal world of our patients. We strive to make it accessible for exploration and then search for meanings that will ameliorate physical and psychological pain and foster growth.

If we are to communicate effectively with our patients, it is essential to discover a common language. Long before the development of language, the infant experiences his/her self and his/her world in images and sensory events. Even after the development of language, when the ability to communicate verbally is established, many of our internal states are very private and often beyond the world of words. Thus the true essence of these states becomes less accessible through verbal communication, but can more effectively be expressed through the arts, both visual arts and writing.

A picture or a piece of writing exists in the area between the internal and external world, in the transitional space, and becomes a transitional as well as a transformational object, a bridge between the inner and the outer world of the patient. Both worlds contribute to the creation of the picture. It is the picture that helps the person to keep inner and outer reality separated yet interrelated and connects the physical world with the emotional world, the body with the mind. Examining the picture or writing, the client and art therapist can explore together the client’s inner world and use the knowledge for change and psychological transformation.

HOWARD BASS, 2008, UCLA-SM -CHEMO, PEN AND MARKER ON PAPER

Who can benefit from Art Therapy:

  • Adults who would like to explore their inner world and gain insight into their personal relationships, work situation, and family dynamics in an attempt to improve them.
  • Adults, teenagers and children who are struggling with anxieties, depression.
  • Adults, teenagers, and children with chronic pain.
  • Adults, teenagers and children with cancer and cancer survivors. Art Therapy such as the visual arts, writing, poetry or musical expression, is a critical method for identifying and gaining insights into the major concerns of all cancer patients.  Expression through the arts provides the young and adult cancer patient and survivor with a renewed sense of control, creative empowerment and satisfaction in the fight with cancer. Artistic expression is an important treatment tool in dealing with losses and mourning related to the chronic, potentially life-threatening disease and its treatments. The healing power of art can help identify psychological problems, as well as trauma that comes with difficult cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgeries and other life changing events. Creative expression promises to relieve symptoms and tap into fears, thoughts and behaviors