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Anxiety never changes an outcome nor does it give you more control over your future. Anxiety does not resolve the challenges that await you, rather it robs you of your inner peace in the present. In order to treat anxiety, I will help you to understand the relationship between your anxiety and your beliefs. By identifying, disputing, and replacing the specific beliefs responsible for causing your anxiety, with rational and effective new beliefs, we can transform your unhealthy anxiety into healthier alternative emotions, which will release you from your anxiety-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
When we speak about anxiety, we may also be referring to more specified types of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, such as (but not limited to) agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, health anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, as well as panic disorder, social anxiety, and specific phobias. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is particularly effective in managing the intensity, frequency, and duration of all anxiety disorders, because unlike other forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that solely focus on behavioral change or assessing the reality of our perceived threats, REBT actively and directly targets core beliefs and attitudes that are responsible for developing and sustaining anxiety. Therefore, instead of directing our initial attention towards identifying cognitive distortions and offering short-term reassurance, REBT encourages us to temporarily assume that your most distressing and feared event will indeed occur, and with your trained REBT-counselor by your side, helps you to imagine how you can and will cope with such profound adversity, if ever your worst-case scenario does or has come to pass.
Using compassionate, solution--focused, goal-oriented rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), as well as additional CBT-based techniques rooted in cognitive therapy (CT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and even stoic philosophy, I can show you how and why anxiety is an unhealthy and unhelpful emotion, and that you are capable of learning both to sit with it, channel it into something creative and constructive, and ultimately conquer it!
Life transitions are about learning to acknowledge adversities that are outside of your control, adjusting to new life stages, surrendering expectations and demands for how you think things must, should, ought, have, and need to be, and ultimately accepting reality. Acceptance does not equate to approval; rather, it is about adopting a healthy perspective regarding the new chapter of your life that you are entering, which will help both of us to set realistic therapeutic goals as we work together.
Life transitions encompass a wide array of situations, and the challenges that I most often work with are aging, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, divorce, grief, financial difficulties, illness, infertility, infidelity, job loss, LGBTQ-related concerns, marriage and relationship issues, postpartum and prenatal anxiety, and work-related stress. In spite of the world’s uncertainties, the one aspect of your life you can be certain of is that you possess the power to choose your attitude in the face of adversity.
When you cannot change your physical circumstances, REBT helps you to change yourself by adapting to your situation, learning to effectively use highly efficient coping skills, and ultimately transforming your perspective. This may be challenging and frustrating at first, but once change is truly achieved, it can result in a deep and profound shift of your philosophical worldview, leading to a much more rational, mindful, and psychologically enlightened life!
One of the most empowering decisions we can make is to unconditionally accept ourselves. Unconditional self-acceptance is more powerful than self-esteem, because self-esteem is conditional. We are taught to develop high self-esteem because we do something that, by most accounts, is globally rated as “good”; however, we can strive to practice unconditional self-acceptance at all times, especially when we have acted poorly or made a mistake. This concept does not advocate for condoning or ignoring bad behavior; rather, it cultivates an attitude of unconditional acceptance towards our entire self: a belief which acknowledges the reality that we are all fallible human beings who will often behave in imperfect ways, and in spite of this, we still possess profound personal value and worth.
Through practicing unconditional self-acceptance, we will alleviate a tremendous amount of our psychological and emotional distress and disturbance, as well as persistent unhelpful feelings of anxiety, depression, hurt, guilt, shame, embarrassment, jealousy, envy, and anger.
By understanding how to unconditionally accept ourselves, we also develop more empathy for others, as well as for the adversities that exist within our imperfect world, helping us to experience less judgement, more forgiveness, and a deeper comprehension of human stories and struggles that are both similar and dissimilar to our own.
Many people find themselves seeking direction in their lives in various ways from figuring out what you want to study in college, to considering a career change, and searching for a new job. Another way of looking for self-direction is examining dating and relationship patterns that you wish to change, deciding what your overarching goals are for the future, or searching for deeper meaning and purpose in a world that is filled with an abundance of adversities and uncertainties.
While there are no magic solutions for all of the inevitable challenges that will arise in our lifetime, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) can provide you with powerful ideas and strategies for helping you to change the way that you think about metaphysical concepts such as uncertainty, purpose, and self-direction. During our work together, we will address a number of emotionally distressing concerns, such as overcoming your past and unfortunate traumas, as well as self-induced emotional upset as a consequence of your cognitive patterns. We will examine areas of your life pertaining to need for approval, fear of failure, grief, self-blame, self-discipline, and accepting and coping with that which you cannot change.
Together, I will help you to develop a powerful philosophy for living that will empower you by learning (and truly believing) that you control your emotional destiny; therefore, you have the power to rewrite your personal history. It is never too late to CHOOSE your direction, and as your counselor, it will be a privilege to accompany you on your journey to emotional wellness!
Though REBT is not an approach that was specifically designed for couples, it can be an excellent therapeutic model for certain relational challenges when/if the couple is in a position to receive REBT philosophy well. When I work with a couple, I conduct our couples sessions similarly to my individual sessions, as I help each partner to personally identify, dispute, and transform their own irrational beliefs or dysfunctional attitudes that are negatively impacting their relationship. By essentially conducting two individual sessions within a couples counseling setting, I help each partner to exhibit compassion and support when observing their spouse working through a personal challenge, and I encourage both parties to focus on identifying their own individual issues, as opposed to their partner’s issues. I am cautious when taking on a new couple, because not all relationships are in a place where I believe REBT-based couples counseling is the best therapeutic modality for them. This is something I will discuss with any interested couple on our very first call, as well as throughout the duration of therapy, so that we can be confident in our continued therapeutic progress together.
REBT provides couples with solution-focused counseling that can quickly alleviate emotional and behavioral distress, rapidly improve communication, and ultimately produce long-term solutions. As I mentioned above, REBT couples counseling uniquely encourages both partners to work through their own cognitive, emotive, and behavioral challenges within their couples counseling sessions. This highlights personal vulnerabilities for both partners, and when done in the presence of a caring and knowledgeable REBT clinician, it can cultivate tremendous support, empathy, and trust that will create an understanding tone and uplifting energy for the remainder of counseling, as well as for their relationship future.
Within the first couples counseling session, I help my clients to understand that all of us are responsible for our own emotional and behavioral reactions within life, as well as within our relationships; consequently, it is helpful to avoid blaming our partner for the way that we feel and behave. Furthermore, I encourage each partner to recognize, resolve, and replace their own irrational beliefs about unmet desires and unrealistic expectations, because the most effective way to facilitate change in our partner is to firstly work towards changing our self. When each partner individually takes responsibility for their feelings, actions and reactions within their relational dynamic, as well as identifies their own unhelpful core attitudes, the couple will be in a much more effective position to improve communication, collectively problem solve, and ultimately achieve more satisfaction within the relationship.