Over the past several years since opening our doors, it has become increasingly apparent that Orlando is looking for more Cognitive Behavioral Therapists. In an effort to meet the demand of the Orlando community, we have begun growing our team with additional therapists who share our passion for providing evidence-based therapy, CBT, and mindfulness training. As we grow, we hope to build a therapy collective where our clients can expect to gain a thorough understanding of the patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are holding them back as well as learning concrete tools for change. If you call to schedule a consultation or appointment with us, we will do our best to match you with the therapist we believe would be the best fit for you.
We believe in the power of helping clients to make sense of why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling, why they have the impulses they have, and why they get stuck in the downward spiral of thoughts they’ve had for so long. The first step toward any effective change is always self-compassion. If you approach change from a perspective of trying to “fix” yourself, rather than learning to care for yourself, you’ll just wind up in more pain than you started with – I promise. As such, we begin with helping clients to make sense of why they struggle with the things they struggle with and build a foundation of self-compassion before we move into developing tools for change.
Our clients all have one thing in common – they want help dealing with some kind of emotional pain. As therapists, we offer our clients tools to help manage pain differently so that clients can work through their feelings instead of fighting with them. It’s not enough, however, to just give you tools. We have to teach you how and when to use the tools. In order to teach you this, our first step is to look at the difference between two very different types of pain that bring people into therapy.
The first is natural pain that we are biologically wired to experience, as human beings, in response to certain situations or circumstances. Examples of this type of pain may include feeling angry in response to being mistreated, feeling sad in response to losses, feeling hurt in response to aggressive criticism, or feeling some anxiety in high pressure situations. As an element of Emotion Focused CBT, we can help you to understand why these types of pain happen, how they’re useful, and how to cope with them in a healthy way through action and expression.
All too often, traditional CBT can sometimes feel like it minimizes natural pain – tries to tell you to “just think your way out of it“. But you can’t, so then your inner critic chimes in with a message of “See? You can’t even do therapy right! This is the therapy that everyone says works the best, but for you it’s hopeless – go figure!” If you’ve ever tried what you thought was CBT, only to have a therapist try to help you change your thoughts, so that you wouldn’t be in pain (in response to a naturally painful experience), then you know what I’m talking about. That can often make you feel like you’re just trying to talk yourself out of feeling the way that you’re feeling, which isn’t helpful with this type of pain. It can also make you feel like you’re getting caught in a loop of constantly fighting yourself, trying to not think how you automatically think. That’s exhausting. This is why we incorporate elements of Emotion Focused Therapy and Mindfulness to help our clients learn to validate their emotions that come from natural pain first – not dismiss it.
The second type of pain (that CBT is most useful for) is the pain that results from past painful experiences, replaying themselves in the form of your day to day thoughts or beliefs, physical sensations, and impulses. Past painful experiences are like a hot stove, we only have to touch it once to learn. Touch it a hundred times? That lesson is burned in your brain. This happens because of our survival instincts (you wouldn’t really like it if you actually had to touch a hot stove a hundred times in order to learn that it hurts, right?) Unfortunately, most of our past painful experiences involve our relationships with others, the messages we’ve received from those around us, and the explanations we’ve come up with for why things have played out the way they have in our lives. Maybe your “hot stove” was a parent who always pointed out how things could have been improve instead of remarking on how well you did, perhaps it was the lack of empathy you got when you tried to express emotions growing up, or maybe it was the messages you soaked in about how you should never rely on anyone but yourself. Whatever your “hot stove” was, it taught you things – lessons that play a HUGE role in the symptoms of anxiety and depression that you experience today. The pain from past painful experience can come in many forms, each unique, many are global. Here are a few examples of this type of pain:
This is where the real benefit of CBT shines through. With a trained cognitive behavioral therapist, we can teach you the tools to sort through how the pain of past experiences is playing out in the present for you – in the form of your anxiety and depression. With the tools of CBT and mindfulness, we can teach you how to: