“We take this journey together. We will work on what is right for you and/or your family or couple. Read more to familiarize with some of the cutting edge Trauma Informed, Evidence Based approaches that I specialized on. Or read more About Me.”
Individual Therapy: EMDR, IFS, ARC, DBT
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR ) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories (Shapiro, 1989a, 1989b). In the WHO (World Health Organization) practice guidelines, EMDR is one of the psychotherapies recommended for the treatment of PTSD across lifespan.
EMDR has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far. It never ceased to amaze me how “easily” and yet deeply we can observe an actual change even with one session. Working on painful memories can positively transform our negative perception of self for good.
Introduction to EMDR Therapy Video – “Courtesy of EMDR International Association”
IFS (Internal Family Systems)
The key idea of IFS Therapy is that the mind has got multiple layers. Current development in neuroscience confirm that the brain is made of many interconnected parts and regions that work together.
There are many levels of our experience happening at the same time and IFS calls a specific collection of thoughts, physical sensations, feelings e emotions a “part”. Parts carry out specific tasks in our life.
There are many different parts in each person, and IFS Therapy helps identify them and create a healing relationship with all the parts. There are two main types of parts:
Protectors – these parts have the job of keeping the person safe and functioning in daily life.
Exiles – parts that are usually child-like and that have been put aside during life because of traumatic events or adverse circumstances.
Example: Ann is in her late twenties. She has just moved in with her boyfriend and they are thinking of next steps in their relationship, which makes her anxious. Ann is working hard and would like a promotion at work, but does not know how to achieve this. Ann has not been sleeping well and finds herself eating much more than usual before going to sleep. Concerned about all this, she looks for an IFS Therapists.
The IFS Therapist will help Sarah identify what parts are at play inside of here, and here is what she might find out (IFS Therapists are trained to not impose or guess what parts are in a person’s system, but they are trained to guide the client in discovering them)
– One protective part wants Sarah to have a family just like her culture have told her to do.
– Another part of Sarah, though, keeps on reminding her of those times in the past when she had feeling for women. This part had been sidelined by Sarah through her entire life and only found some expression when she had had some alcohol. We can say that this is an exile.
– One part of Sarah would like a promotion because that will bring more money in preparation for a wedding or a family.
– Another part of Sarah would like to have more time to herself to dedicate to her hobbies.
IFS Therapy Goals
Once you have identified parts in your system, IFS Therapy uses techniques to improve how parts interact with each other and how they react to external triggers.
By following specific steps, it is possible to enter into a particular healing state. IFS Therapy call this the Self (with capital S), and one of the best description I have found so far is “the absence of parts”.
IFS Therapy has discovered that, when we access the state of Self, we spontaneously gain the ability of being compassionate, curious, brave, confident, creative, etc. Every time we connect to our parts (either protectors or exiles) from Self, these parts tend to leave their extreme roles and behaviour.
For example, if you have a part that is very critical of everything you do, you can change this extreme critical voice into a kinder and more functional voice that helps you carry out tasks well enough.
IFS believes that every part of our system exists for a good reason, and all the therapist does is to facilitate a spontaneous change in parts so that they stop having extreme behaviors and find other ways to fulfil their role.
Find out more on IFS here:
The IFS Institute (USA) – Link here
Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) is a core component framework that identifies key treatment targets within the following three core domains of attachment: Self-regulation/Competency, Trauma Experience, and Integration. I mostly use the ARC approach when working with youths, in order to access their vision of self and others, build rapports, integrating healthy copings skills, as well as, supporting emotional regulation.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. This approach focuses on teaching people how to be mindful, developing healthy ways to cope with stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships. DBT can help individuals who have difficulties with emotional regulation or exhibit self-destructive behaviors. DBT is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I use DBT in individual therapy, especially with youths who struggle with emotional regulation, lack of coping skills and struggle with peer relationships.
Couple Therapy: EFT
Emotionally Focused Therapy is a short-term and empirically validated method with 90 % of couples showing significant improvement that lasts over time. I embraced this approach not only because of its effectiveness in helping couples unravel the distressed negative cycle, but also for secondary benefits for the therapist. Working in the here and now lingering on emotions can be painful and difficult but it is absolutely rewarding ad transformative.
“We must recognize that we are more than ‘homo sapiens’. We are ‘homo vinculum’ -the one who bonds with others. And these bonds are what will save us. They always have.” Dr Sue Johnson
Family Therapy: Systemic approach
The Systemic approach views the “individual” not as an isolated, detached being but rather as an integral part of a wider and dynamic system. Problems or symptoms that can impair a person or family are resolved by changing dysfunctional interactional patterns within that system rather than the single individual.
We have learned to be the way we are. Working with this systemic approach with single individuals means to identify dysfunctional as well as healthy relational patterns in their family history.
Reconnection and reconciliation are the strategic words in this complex process. As Froma Walsh, family therapist pioneer once said:
“Reconciliation is not a hasty peace. Rather, is a process of mutual reengagement, requiring a readiness of the part of each person to take the other(s) seriously, to acknowledge violations to the relationship, and to experience the associate pain. Reconciliation is more than righting wrongs; it brings to a deeper place of trust and commitment.”