Individual Therapy (Adolescent or Adult)
Our initial goal of therapy begins with building trust so that we can communicate in a safe setting and form a healing partnership. Through this partnership, we create an environment where it is acceptable to challenge, to experience difficult emotions and to attempt new, healthier and more adaptive ways of living. My approach to working with adults and adolescents may consist of exploring their thoughts, feelings, and their relationships with loved ones in the past and present. I incorporate techniques from several different kinds of therapy. At appropriate times, I may use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to analyze and restructure negative thought patterns into more realistic and productive ways of thinking and to formulate a plan for changing behavior.
Family members interact and influence each other in profound and dynamic ways. Families frequently function best when there exist appropriate hierarchies and boundaries. For example, spouses or partners participate as a team in their marriage and, if they are parents, in child rearing. Both the degree of supervision and independence of children may vary according to their personalities, developmental stage, and environment. For families to be a safe haven of love and respect, they must adapt to change while maintaining their cohesiveness. When difficulties arise between family members, family therapy can be effective in re-establishing roles, boundaries and healthy communication.
Before embarking on the most effective treatment, we must understand the patient or family and their story. To accomplish this, I start with a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, during which we cover a broad array of topics. This is because many factors interact to affect feelings, mood, thinking, and behavior. Such factors include genetics, personality, life experiences, family/peer relationships, and current circumstances. During the session, you will be asked about various aspects of your life: your passions, interests, hobbies; how you function at home, with family and friends, at school or work; as well as your sleep and eating habits. For children and adolescents, the evaluation takes longer and can span across additional sessions. If needed, laboratory tests, psychological or educational testing will be ordered.
At the end of an evaluation, I will present to you a detailed assessment of your concerns. This evaluation combines biological, psychological and social aspects with the developmental needs, history and strengths of the child, adult and/or family. When a treatable issue is identified, recommendations are provided and a specific treatment plan is developed. Time is made available for any questions or concerns the patient or family may have. My goal is to be a partner and support patients and families. If a patient is already working with a trusted therapist, I highly value collaborating with that therapist in order to coordinate care in a beneficial manner.
The decision of whether or not to prescribe psychiatric medication is a very significant one. There are many misconceptions about psychiatric medications, especially for those both indicated and prescribed to children. I will do my best to address any questions or concerns that you may have.
I am conservative and deliberate in my approach to medication with any patient. In some cases, medication therapy may be completely unnecessary; in others, medication therapy may be the critical factor that determines success.
Medication may decrease harmful behaviors and thoughts, and may even be necessary to regain mental and physical well being. Some medications work within days to reduce anxiety and hyperactivity. Other medications, especially those for mood disorders like depression, can take many weeks or months to become fully effective.
Once a medication is started, adjustments will be made accordingly. Close contact in between sessions with quick "touch base" phone calls and spacing follow-up sessions every 2 weeks are typically required after initiating a medication. The frequency of these visits and contact will decrease based on the outcome of treatment.