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TREATMENTS

WE SPECIALIZE IN TREATMENT EVALUTION

The Clinic provides individualized psychological assessment and treatment. This means that your program of treatment will be designed especially for you. You will collaborate with your therapist to design a treatment program that meets your unique needs.

OUR MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAM

All treatment begins with an assessment. We ask about your symptoms, experiences and personal history so that we can determine what kind of problems you may be having and how your life is being disrupted. After the assessment, you will begin therapy and forge a therapeutic alliance with someone you can be open and honest with. Your therapy will be a collaboration between you and your therapist.

OUR SPECIALTY IS COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)

CBT can help you to change how you think (“cognitive”) and what you do (“behaviour)”. These changes can help you feel better. Unlike other talk therapy treatments, CBT focuses on your “here and now” problems instead of focusing on the “root causes” of your distress or symptoms, which may have originated in the distant past. CBT uses a skills-oriented approach to problem solving that will help you find ways to improve your state of mind now, and help you to develop techniques so you can avoid problems in the future.

CBT is a way of talking about:

  • How you think about yourself, the world and other people
  • How what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

Using CBT and interpersonally-oriented psychotherapies, we are able to treat a variety of psychological problems experienced by individuals, couples, and families, including:

After a course of treatment that may last between six weeks and six months, you will have learned the skills to “do it yourself” and work out your own ways of tackling a problem.

How CBT Works…

CBT can help you to make sense of your problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you.

For instance, if you have an argument with someone, you may go home feeling depressed and you may brood about what that person thinks of you. The argument has now created a “vicious circle” – a new situation that has probably made you feel even worse. You may even start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about yourself. This happens because, when we are distressed, we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways.

Your thoughts, emotions and behaviour can affect each other: How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally, and it can also alter what you do about it. The same situation can lead to very different results, depending on how you think about the situation. How you think will affect how you feel and what you do.

CBT can help you to break vicious circles of altered thinking, feelings and behaviour. When you see the parts of the sequence clearly, you can change them – and in doing so, change the way you feel. CBT is a skills-oriented approach where the aim is to give you the skills you need to “do it yourself” and work out your own ways of tackling these problems in the future.

The Role of Your Therapist

In the first session or two, you will work with your therapist to determine how this sort of treatment can help you and to ensure you feel comfortable with your therapist and treatment plan. A strong therapeutic alliance is key to a successful outcome.

In order to gain a comprehensive understanding, your therapist will ask you questions about your past and background, as well as about your current situation. Although CBT concentrates on the here and now, at times you may need to talk about the past to understand how it is affecting you now. You will work collaboratively with the therapist to decide what you want to deal with in the short, medium and long term. You and your therapist will usually start by agreeing on what to discuss at the beginning of each session.

The Work

With your therapist, you break each problem down into its separate parts. To aid in this process, your therapist may ask you to keep a diary. This will help you to identify your individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions.

Together you will look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviour to work out:

  • If they are unrealistic or unhelpful.
  • How they affect each other, and you.

The therapist will then help you to work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. It’s easy to talk about doing something, and much harder to actually do it. So, after you have identified what you can change, your therapist will recommend that you perform certain “homework” exercises between sessions so that you can practice these changes in your everyday life.

Depending on the situation, you might start to:

  • Question a self-critical or upsetting thought and replace it with a positive (and more realistic) one that you have developed in CBT.
  • Recognize that you are about to do something that will make you feel worse and, instead, do something more helpful.

Homework completion between sessions is a powerful predictor of therapy success.

At each meeting you and your therapist will discuss how you’ve been since the previous session. Your therapist will provide suggestions if any of the tasks seem too hard or don’t seem to be helping. Your therapist will never ask you to do things you don’t want to do. You decide the pace of your treatment and what you will and won’t try. The strength of CBT is that you can continue to practice and develop your skills even after the sessions have finished. This makes it less likely that your symptoms or problems will return.

Medication

CBT is as effective as antidepressants for many forms of depression. It may be slightly more effective than medication in treating anxiety.

For both anxiety and depression, CBT alone is better than medication alone at preventing relapse following discontinuation.

For severe depression, CBT should be used with antidepressant medication. When you are very low, you may find it hard to change the way you think until antidepressants have started to make you feel better. Tranquillizers should not be used as a long-term treatment for anxiety. CBT is a better option.

Pros

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for conditions in which anxiety or depression is the main problem.

CBT is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression, and for the entire spectrum of anxiety disorders.

CBT is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression.

Cons

If you are feeling low and are having difficulty concentrating, it can be hard, especially at first, to get the hang of CBT – or, indeed, any psychotherapy. If you have trouble getting the hang of CBT, you may feel disappointed or overwhelmed. Your therapist will pace your sessions so you can cope with the work you are trying to do.

It can sometimes be difficult to talk about feelings of depression, anxiety, shame or anger. CBT isn’t for everyone. If it isn’t working, another type of talking treatment may work better for you.

Length of Treatment

A course of treatment typically lasts between six weeks and six months, depending on the type of problem you are experiencing and whether CBT is working for you.

You will meet with your therapist once per week for 50 minutes. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may require bi-weekly or tri-weekly sessions at first, which will eventually taper off.

What if my symptoms come back?

There is always a risk that the anxiety or depression will return. If it does, your CBT skills should make it easier for you to manage your symptoms. So, it is important to keep practicing your CBT skills, even after you are feeling better. Some research suggests that CBT may be better than antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications at preventing depression and anxiety from coming back. If necessary, you can always return to your therapist for some booster or “refresher” sessions.