My Approach

What is CBT?

My Approach

I think there are several key things about me that help people feel comfortable and confident in our ability to do effective work together. The first is a sense of safety and being understood. I have found that whatever feelings, thoughts, behaviors, or relational patterns you are experiencing, however confusing or objectionable they may seem to you, begin to make a good deal of sense once we take the time together to understand them more. At the same time, while they may make perfect sense, there may be aspects about them that are interfering with your life. In other words, there is often a more optimal way of operating to reach the goals that are important to you.

In coaching you in this process of understanding and optimization, I draw upon my expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) related to anxiety, mood, sleep, and relational functioning, and then carefully tailor your treatment plan to your unique needs and preferences. I work with clients collaboratively, in which I will actively seek your input about how you feel therapy is going and incorporate that information into how we use your session time. Moreover, I believe my commitment to staying connected to research-based, state-of-the-art treatment approaches helps to give those with whom I work a deep sense of confidence and trust in the work we do together.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

CBT is an approach to treatment that helps clients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. In many cases, research has shown CBT to be as effective or more effective than drug therapy or other approaches to psychotherapy. It is a collaborative, goal-oriented, and generally time-limited treatment approach.

What do you mean by cognitive? All human beings tend to think through certain lenses, filtering out a good deal of information and attending to only a fraction of their experience. This tendency to think subjectively becomes particularly heightened in times of emotional distress, and can often create or maintain problems like anxiety, depression, and relational conflict. For example, we may blame ourselves for negative outcomes, and yet not take any credit for any positive outcomes. Using CBT, I can help you evaluate what you are telling yourself and how these thoughts may be helping or hindering you. We begin by helping you increase awareness of your thoughts, and then we work together on how to relate to them differently so that they work for you and not against you.

What do you mean by behavioral? Behaviorally, CBT helps people reduce unwanted behaviors and increase more adaptive behaviors and choices. Often we will start out “tracking” behaviors, like worry, anger outbursts, or other patterns. Tracking provides both of us with important data to increase understanding of the problem, identify triggers, monitor progress, and implement healthier and more satisfying options for you. In addition, we will often discuss activities for you to complete during the week that are in line with your goals of therapy.  There are 168 hours in a week and I typically only get to you for one of those hours. For lasting change and for therapy to work as efficiently and effectively as possible, I often will encourage you to extend our work outside of the therapy office as well.
Please feel free to read more about the approach I use in my different specialty areas. For an overview of how I apply CBT specifically to the treatment of anxiety, please go to my Anxiety Treatment Overview.

If you have any questions about CBT or other types of treatment I offer at my San Francisco offices, please feel free to contact me.