Individual therapy is a shared process that occurs between a client and therapist. The focus of therapy centers around a client’s presenting concern and emerging struggles that evolve organically with the therapeutic process. Common reasons individuals initiate therapy include desires to acquire additional strategies for handling/managing current mental health symptoms, initiate a behavioral change, build support while navigating life transitions, process grief and loss, mend past traumas, understand Self more fully, and gain skills while dealing with relationship challenges.
In your initial session with one of our clinicians, you’ll be asked about your reason for seeking therapy and what you want to gain from the therapy process. During the intake or assessment period, your clinician will ask questions about your history. The length of individual therapy sessions range from 45 to 60 minutes. You and your therapist will discuss and determine the frequency of your sessions and there will be an ongoing discussion/negotiation regarding your goals for therapy.
There are various commonalities among our therapists. Each of us believes an individual has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change. Our therapy rooms are cultivated as safe spaces, welcoming Environments for you to openly share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We are empathetic listeners and accept you as you are. We challenge ourselves to be with you without judgment. More specifically, we understand that therapy is a relational process. Gaining your trust and building rapport are essential elements to creating a therapeutic alliance. Our clinicians also bring their unique trainings, experiences, and intervention preferences to the therapy process. Some of the therapy approaches and intervention styles utilized by our clinicians include: humanistic, interpersonal, Gestalt, solution-focused, emotion-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, radically open-dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance-based treatment, and trauma-focused therapies.
We encourage you to read Our Team page to learn more about each clinician’s approach to working with clients and areas of special interest.
Child and Family Therapy
In addition to individual therapy with adults, we also offer individual therapy for children and adolescents, as well as family therapy. Similar to adults, children and teens can experience mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, and relationship difficulties. Adolescents are in a particularly difficult developmental stage, which may put them at risk for low self-esteem, identity confusion, emotional dysregulation, and interpersonal conflict.
Parents may be interested in services to help them better manage their child’s problematic behaviors such as defiance, aggression, hyperactivity, and temper tantrums. These problematic behaviors can have a negative impact on the entire family system. Therapy with younger children involves the clinician working closely with the parent or caregiver to build a strong positive relationship with their child and learn effective strategies for improving their child’s emotion regulation and behavioral control. Our clinicians help parents learn how to be therapists to their own children by learning skills based on play therapy such as the PRIDE skills.
We are pleased to have Jessica Houston, Ph.D. join our practice and grow our services for children, adolescents, and families. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), which is a treatment for children ages 2 to 7 years. PCIT is an empirically supported treatment for children with oppositional or disruptive behaviors. Goals of treatment include improving the quality of the quality of the caregiver-child relationship, decreasing problem behaviors, increasing positive parenting skills, increasing child self-esteem, and decreasing parenting stress. Family therapy is another option for families who may be experiencing conflict, impaired relationships, emotion dysregulation, or difficulty handling a specific family stressor. Family therapy focuses on changing problematic family dynamics that may be contributing to distress in the family system, while developing more positive and effective ways of communicating and interacting as a family.
We often find great meaning in our relationships. The connections we form with others give us energy, insight, and a sense of belonging – to name a few benefits – and serve as a resource when other facets of life prove overwhelming. When these intimate connections become the source of stress, they can have a strong impact on our sense of self, coping resources, and how we navigate the world. Couples find that attending therapy together can help them better understand and address issues of conflict, heal old wounds, and gain insight into their interactions patterns and how to build intimacy, trust, communication and problem-solving abilities, and compassion together.
Couple therapy can be a safe space to explore developing relationships, when partners experience major transitions together (e.g., marriage, parenthood, empty nest), and when partners need to decide on their relationship structure and future. Therapy can be a place where couple join deeper in their bond as well as choose to separate kindly. Couples seek services at any time in their relationship, from when they want to build a healthy foundation and prevent difficulties to when they are in a state of crisis.
Affirmations Psychological Services can help couples in any point in this trajectory. We celebrate human diversity and differences, and see couples who are dating, married, or considering separation/divorce; who identify as monogamous or polyamorous; who identify within the LGBTQ community; and who are diverse in terms of religious/spiritual as well as political and overall cultural backgrounds and orientations. It is a major step for partners to choose to meet with a clinician, and we honor the courage and vulnerability it takes to start to address your relationship needs.
What are common reasons couples consider coming to therapy together?
While this list is not exhaustive, it is a sampling of the more frequently identified topics and goals in couple therapy:
Communication concerns, including high conflict, difficulty making decisions and problem-solving together, and negative interaction cycles that leave parters feeling anxious, frustrated and angry, dismissed, sad, and/or betrayed.
Establishing healthy relationship expectations and needs/wants. Defining and reconciling shared goals for the future.
Intimacy, including a desire to enrich emotional and sexual intimacy. This includes a sense of trust and safety in being vulnerable with one’s partner.
Negotiate healthy boundaries both within and outside of the relationship. This may include power struggles between partners, establishing boundaries with family members, other partners if there is an open relationship, and other contact/connections that may take partners away from each other in unhealthy ways.
Healing from affairs and other attachment injuries in the relationship.
Developing better work-life balance. This may include addressing larger questions about career, household responsibilities, finances, coparenting and children, extended family interactions and personal hobbies, and time for personal reflection and quality time as a couple.
Substance use and/or addiction that impacts negatively the relationship.
Building emotional insight and intelligence.
Coping with grief that is experienced by one or both partners, either currently or historically in ways that impact the current relationship.
It is important that couples agree that their clinician is a good fit for them and their relationship needs. Our clinicians use integrative, evidence- and strength-based therapeutic approaches when working with our couples. Our clinicians generally integrate humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, solution-focused, and emotion-focused therapeutic orientations in their work with couples. Special attention is also given to Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy. Please see our bios to learn about each clinician’s specific approach when working with couples.
Group therapy provides the opportunity to share experiences, thoughts, and feelings while in the presence of others who are being vulnerable to similar interpersonal and/or intrapersonal struggles. Oftentimes, groups facilitate the process of growth by helping participants feel validated and heard. In a group, participants learn from each other, especially related to the various and similar ways others cope with stress, navigate relationships, and process intrapsychic conflict. By going through the process of group therapy, participants gain perspective in a safe environment and are challenged in a healthy, therapeutic space.
There are different types of groups:
1. Psychoeducational groups focus on specific knowledge and/or skills related to a specific diagnosis, life circumstance, of environmental condition. Participants learn skills, mental health terminology, and relevant scientific research. The group leader serves as a teacher in this type of group, and the participants share and learn with each other.
2. Process groups focus on shared experiences. Participants share freely and openly with each other about their subjective experiences. Typically, process groups are verbal in nature. As such, the group members are actively involved in creating topic areas and guiding the direction of the group process. The group leader functions primarily as a facilitator to the deeper dynamics emerging within the group process.
3. Experiential groups focus on spontaneous learning. Group members share an experience together during and within the group setting. The experiences are designed for members to step outside of their comfort zones, embracing vulnerability and healthy risk-taking. Various experiential group activities center upon accomplishing a task together, playing a game together, supporting a growth area for a specific group member, and/or solving a problem together.
4. Expressive Arts groups focus on bonding through art, including painting, singing, playing instruments, drawing, writing, creating, building, etc. The aim is to express emotions through the artwork. Typically, the artistic expressions facilitate participants’ access to thoughts and feelings they may struggle to express in their daily lives.
5. Support groups provide a safe place for group members who are sharing a similar life circumstance. These groups may focus on grief, aging, medical condition, parenting, etc. Most importantly, support groups help participants feel less alone and/or lonely about the specific life circumstance they’re facing. As such, the group process provides an opportunity to support each other in the ways we are handling the life circumstance. Furthermore, the group members offer and receive feedback related to different and diverse ways to cope with the burden of the life circumstance and the optimism of overcoming the challenges inherent to their shared experiences.
Currently, Dwight leads two Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) process/experiential groups. There is one opening in one of his groups. Affirmations is looking to expand our group offerings. Please speak with your clinician if you’re looking for a specific group opportunity and we may be able to start a group!