You might be coming to therapy for relief from depression, anxiety, grief or other stress. To get to know yourself better or change patterns that aren’t working for you. Or because you aspire to grow and be a better version of yourself. We can help.
Psychotherapy can alleviate many issues. And sometimes other treatments can also be effective. They might include medication, guidance in making healthy lifestyle changes or acupuncture. Studies show that combining psychotherapy with medication or acupuncture can help many conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
We work with people from many cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, and with people of all abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.
Areas of Focus
We have expertise in depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, disordered eating, low self-worth, body image issues, relationship difficulties, shame, borderline personality disorder, grief, life transitions, trauma, PTSD, chronic medical conditions, and LGBTQ issues, among others.
Cognitive Behavorial Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that helps patients become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so they can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.
It is a more structured approach to therapy that focuses on a patient’s perceptions and narratives. It emphasizes the way people think about events and how this affects their feelings and behaviors. By identifying how the patient interprets life events, the therapist and patient can work together to reframe the patient’s thoughts to positively influence how they feel and respond.
A large part of CBT involves helping patients “unlearn” their problematic thinking and set goals to practice outside of therapy sessions. The aim of CBT is to help patients develop successful coping strategies to feel better and act in more positive ways.
CBT can be a very helpful approach ― either alone or in combination with other therapies ― for treating mental health disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders and anxiety. CBT can provide effective strategies and tools to help anyone learn how to better-manage stressful life situations.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based treatment for working with traumatic memories and body-based reactions that occur as a result of abuse, assault, or other frightening situations. The theory behind CPT is that difficulties in recovery come about as a result of getting “stuck” in certain thinking patterns since the time of the traumatic events.
In preparing for CPT, your therapist will describe how CPT works, and will help you understand the complex interaction between your central nervous system and your mind. These sensations and thoughts influence your feelings and beliefs about personal safety, trust, and self-esteem. Your therapist will ask clarifying questions to carefully support and guide you through this process.
Patients have the option of describing details of the traumatic event memories if they choose to, but it is not a requirement in the treatment process. Research shows that recovery rates are encouraging and similar with either method. All people, regardless of their backgrounds, construct meaning from their life history and experiences. For those who have survived trauma, CPT can greatly reduce the flashbacks, memories, and upsetting emotions and thoughts that result from the trauma.
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotion Focused Therapy is supported by extensive research and is effective in benefiting distressed couples, including those where one or both partners suffer from depression, addiction, PTSD, and chronic illness, among other presenting problems. EFT has proven to be a powerful method for couples who are either currently or previously dealing with infidelity or other traumatic incidents. The primary goal of the model is to broaden and adapt the emotional responses of the couple and create new patterns of interacting in the relationship. EFT also provides a language for healthy attachment bonds between partners, identifies key moments and patterns that define the couple’s romantic relationship, and reduces conflict while creating a more secure emotional connection. Instead of placing blame on the individuals involved, EFT focuses on the problematic patterns between them.
Throughout the process, couples learn how to convey deep, underlying emotions from a place of vulnerability as well as develop skills to ask for their respective needs to be met. The therapist assists partners in beginning to view undesirable behaviors (i.e., shutting down or angry outbursts) in the relationship as “protests of disconnection.” Couples learn to be emotionally available, empathic and attuned with each other, strengthening the attachment bond between them. Finally, as new sequences of bonding interactions occur and replace old, negative patterns, these new patterns then become self-reinforcing and create permanent change between the couple. As a result, the relationship becomes a safe and a healing environment for both partners.
Eye-Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
Eye-Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for working with distressing and traumatic memories. The theory behind EMDR is that the brain cannot process memories related to overwhelming events, and so it stores them in an unprocessed form.
When these memories are reactivated, the emotions, thoughts and physical sensations that were present when the original traumatic event occurred are experienced all over again.
In preparing for EMDR, your therapist will educate you about how EMDR works and will help you identify the distressing memories, the images attached to those memories, your negative thoughts about those moments and the emotions and physical sensations associated with the memories. Your therapist will then carefully guide you through all of these aspects of your trauma, while guiding you in left-to-right eye movements. You will be asked to just notice anything that comes up in the memories, physical sensations and emotions as well as notice if there are any changes. This process will continue until the memories are less distressing.
The side-to-side eye movements used in EMDR are called bilateral stimulation (BLS) and it has been found to enhance memory processing. One theory indicates this helps because the eye movements are similar to what happens in REM sleep. You may notice that something that is bothering you before you go to bed can be less bothersome when you wake up.
Many patients prefer EMDR to other evidence-based treatments for trauma because they do not have to go into detail about the memories of traumatic events. Also, other types of treatment require extensive time outside of the therapy session for “homework.” There is no homework involved in EMDR, and compared to other treatment models, the success rates are higher and the dropout rates are lower.
For some mental health issues, studies show that the most effective treatment is a combination of therapy, medication or acupuncture.
Medication is not for everyone. However, if you find that after some time in therapy you’re still struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, mood swings or insomnia, you might consider being evaluated for medication. Antidepressant, anti-anxiety and mood-stabilizing medications are the ones most commonly prescribed. If you’re a candidate for medication, you’ll meet regularly with the prescriber to determine if adjustments to your treatment plan need to be made.
In addition to medication management, our psychiatric nurse practitioner Donna Templeton can provide acupuncture if it fits with your treatment plan. Acupuncture has been used to treat mental health struggles for thousands of years. Based on Chinese medicine, it recognizes that we sometimes have emotional and mental states that cause suffering. Acupuncture has long been used to treat mental health issues. In the present day, it has been shown to be effective in the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. It is also helpful in treating victims of trauma and those with PTSD. Aspire’s licensed acupuncturist, Donna Templeton, can provide acupuncture to those who feel like it would benefit them.
Relational Psychodynamic Therapy
In Relational Psychodynamic Therapy, interactions between the therapist and patient serve as a map for understanding internal and interpersonal experiences that keep the patient feeling stuck. In a safe supportive therapeutic relationship, patients can better explore new ways of thinking, gain more inner strength to carry on their daily life, and practice more effective ways of relating to others. Additionally, the therapist assists the patient in accessing personal qualities that have been under developed or inhibited by maladaptive beliefs about themselves, others, and the world.
The goal in this approach is for patients to discover how their unconscious mind is creating problems for them and how those problems can be altered toward creating opportunities for change, healing, and growth. Our unconscious mind is comprised of automatic processes and includes what we have learned about ourselves, relationships, and life. It monitors what we pay attention to and what we keep out of our conscious awareness, including thoughts, feelings, and desires, for fear that they might cause problems in our relationships with others and ourselves. The problem is that these thoughts, feelings, and desires continue to exist and influence the way we feel, think, and act, regardless if they are in our immediate awareness or not.
Through Relational Psychodynamic Therapy, patients may form a more harmonious relationship between their conscious and unconscious mind so that they can begin to see possibility and find meaning in their internal and interpersonal experiences. In other words, patients can better understand how their minds, bodies, and interpersonal lives can work together to relieve and heal their emotional pain and make lasting changes in their life.