In broad terms, a clinical psychologist collaborates with you actively in therapy to improve your understanding of your mental health, identify the challenges you face, explore the origins of these difficulties, determine the factors perpetuating them, and equip you with strategies to manage or overcome them.
Confidentiality is given paramount importance in the context of therapy. A psychologist is legally unable to reveal anything to anyone of what a client says or does in session, unless:
- The client gives permission to do so;
- The psychologist has reason to believe that the client is likely to cause harm to themselves or someone else; or
- A court subpoenas a client’s file.
Therapy with a clinical psychologist is more than supportive listening, and incorporates proven strategies tailored to specific symptoms and issues.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
At Denton Clinical Psychology, we have extensive training in CBT, a targeted type of therapy that teaches you how to develop more helpful ways of thinking and acting. CBT focuses on identifying and then modifying thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to your difficulties.
Typically, this therapy lasts for a short term (between 5 and 15 sessions) because it equips you with the skills to manage your difficulties on an ongoing basis, rather than requiring reliance on a therapist. Also, it is very practical and “hands-on,” teaching you what you need to know in the here and now to alleviate your symptoms and feel better.
Research identifies CBT as an effective psychological treatment for a wide variety of problems, including stress, depression, and anxiety. It is useful for many people, but not for everyone. Clinical psychologists know how to match the appropriate therapy to individual needs.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
With years of research supporting its effectiveness, ACT (pronounced as the word, “act”) focuses on equipping you with skills to accept (or make room for) upsetting feelings, thoughts, and situations that can’t be changed. It also shows you how to decisively live a rich and meaningful life according to your values. Mindfulness, a key skill taught in ACT, plays a pivotal role.
Dr. Jeffrey Young developed Schema Therapy to heal deep-seated, self-defeating schemas (i.e., core beliefs) and shift individuals away from maladaptive (unhelpful) coping styles. The goal of the therapy is for individuals to meet their emotional needs in everyday life.
Schema Therapy evolved from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and while there are some similarities, its focus differs. One might describe Schema Therapy as addressing issues on a “deeper” level than CBT, delving into emotional experiences and childhood issues more profoundly, with a strong emphasis on the client-therapist relationship.
People who suffer from severe emotional ups and downs, problems in relationships, and/or long-standing psychological difficulties, including those with personality disorders or a history of abuse, can benefit the most from Schema Therapy. The therapy’s duration may be longer than in other types of therapy, such as CBT.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapy method designed to help people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that result from disturbing life experiences. It is designed to resolve unprocessed (or ‘stuck’) traumatic memories in the brain, facilitating emotional recovery.
Please watch this video for an introduction to EMDR, courtesy of EMDR International Association.
EMDR therapy demonstrates how the mind can heal from psychological trauma similar to how the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the object is removed, healing resumes. A similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system has a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. But if the system is blocked, the memory gets ‘locked’ in the nervous system so that the emotional wound festers and causes suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
The eye movements in EMDR work to remove the block and unlock the brain’s natural healing processes. This alleviates the painful emotions associated with the distressing event.
EMDR can be effective for a number of problems, including:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Depression and bipolar disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Difficult life events that may not be ‘traumatic’, yet still have negative impacts
Please contact us for more information if you think any of these approaches may be of help to you.