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Psychotherapy & Counseling
At Susan Weltner-Brunton, Ph.D. & Associates, we offer a range of psychotherapy and counseling services. The terms psychotherapy (often called “therapy”, for short) and counseling are often used interchangeably. Both are types of collaborative helping relationships. The term “psychotherapy” usually refers to a longer-lasting treatment relationship that includes a focus on the process of change while the term “counseling” usually refers to a more supportive, directive, and shorter-lasting relationship. To be clear, we do both! While we are trained in a wide range of approaches and techniques, we believe certain common factors are essential for success in any therapeutic relationship. They include an accepting, non-judgmental tone, a good working relationship between client and therapist, and employing personal strengths to overcoming adversity. Some people are interested in what specific approaches we have been trained. Here is a primer of the approaches we employ most:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy:
This approach focuses on helping the client to understand the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Goals might include promoting more positive “self-talk”, improving mood, coping with stress or anxiety, or reducing unwanted behaviors.
One or both parents will meet with the therapist to discuss problems related to child-rearing. This approach often includes education about child development, guidance in trying different parenting techniques, and efforts to promote better parental communication and collaboration.
This approach helps clients capitalize on their personal strengths, increase optimism, resilience, and purpose-driven life.
Mindfulness and Stress Reduction:
Mindfulness and other stress-reduction techniques can be incorporated into most forms of psychotherapy or counseling. Mindfulness involves learning how to pay attention to the here and now without getting distracted by self-criticism. Training in breathing and muscle relaxation techniques may be included.
Family Systems Therapy:
In this approach, the whole family or part of the family will be seen together with the therapist. Through active questioning and observation of interactions in the therapy room, the therapist seeks to understand interaction patterns that might be contributing to problems. Through “homework”, recommendations, and sharing of observations, the therapist seeks to help the family break patterns of behavior they wish to change and to discover a range of possible solutions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy:
The goals of this approach include accepting difficult experiences and emotions rather than struggling against them, identifying values, and moving toward living a meaningful life.
There is a myriad of ways to incorporate play into therapy. We often use play as a means of relating to children within all of the approaches described here. Play can be used to put children at ease while talking, to model, to express feelings, or to communicate ideas that may not be easy to express consciously or directly. If you have questions about the purpose of play in your child’s therapy, please ask your therapist.
In this approach, the therapist helps the client understand unconscious motivations for behavior and the “purpose” or meaning of unhelpful behavior patterns. The therapist may help the client understand how past traumatic events or past relationship patterns relate to the problems which brought him/her to therapy. The therapist often helps the client notice patterns by observing what happens in the therapy room.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy:
This is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that addresses the specific needs of people working to overcome the effects of post-traumatic stress or other difficulties arising from abuse, grief, loss, or other traumatic events.