LGBTQ-friendly psychologist helping adolescents and adults heal from traumatic grief, using EMDR, clinical hypnosis, Solution-Focused Therapy and CBT.
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Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD
(CA Lic. #PSY 19046)
CBT and Solution-Focused Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people identify how their thinking influences how they feel and act. Certain ways of thinking are distorted and inaccurate. They are called cognitive distortions. These can lead to low self-esteem, guilt, and self-defeating behaviors. With CBT, we identify and change negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors, so that you can be more realistic and have a different, new perspective. CBT is structured, focus, directive, and it also involves homework sometimes, such as tracking and noticing your thoughts.
Solution oriented therapy is future oriented and goal oriented. We focus on your strengths, your resources, and your coping abilities. The emphasis is on how you are or have been healthy, and how to regain that sense of health and well-being.
In combination, I use the problem-solving aspect of CBT, identifying faulty thinking, with finding exceptions to those times when your thinking was distorted or inaccurate. I’ll give you an example. If you tend to have all or nothing thinking, especially around work or school, you can first identify the automatic negative thought. Then we can explore times when you resisted the urge to think this way. What was different at those times; how did you overcome that ingrained habit?
I find that both of these ways of doing talk therapy are very effective, and I like to combine them so that you get the most from your therapy. It’s easy to think of yourself as broken or damaged when you feel traumatized, anxious, depressed, or perpetually angry. With the combination of CBT and solution focused, we can discover how you are resilient and stronger than you think, as well as what patterns hold you back from having a wonderful life.
I also use elements of other types of therapy that blend mindfulness, and body awareness. Solution-Focused therapy concentrates on how you have successfully handled similar situations in the past, and always asks the question, "when is the problem not happening or when is it less upsetting?" This can be more empowering for people who forget how resourceful they are.
I try to individualize the treatment for what each client's needs. With children, I also do play therapy and art therapy which allows them to express their distress nonverbally. I have found these expressive approaches effective for adults as well, especially for people who are more feeling- than thinking-based.