Find your balance; have room to move (it's all about options).
B. McDonald Therapy is focused on teaching clients how to make sense of - and the skills to behaviorally manage - emotional sensitivity and dysregulation; how to challenge and manage obsessions, compulsions and anxieties; and how to evaluate their environments effectively. It's about options, balance, and more flexible thinking and behavior.
Regardless of which specific therapy (or combination thereof) is right for you, you must know that in order to get anything out of therapy, you have to do a lot of work on your own, outside of our sessions together. So if you're just looking for supportive therapy, then I’m not the girl for you - and you'll get frustrated.
In a session with me, you’ll hear, “Go home and try this. See if this will help,” and you’ll learn and build skills much like you’d construct the foundation of your “forever home.” So you’ll SEE the progress, and FEEL the progress, and that’s motivating! But you must know upfront that therapy is a process that takes time, collaboration, commitment and engagement (though you’ll often leave my office and find relief the same day).
“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
- Brené Brown
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT, developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP, at the University of Washington, is a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT has been found especially effective for those with suicidal and other multiply occurring ineffective behaviors. Research has shown DBT to be effective in reducing suicidal behavior, psychiatric hospitalization, treatment dropout, substance abuse, anger, and interpersonal difficulties. For the Standard DBT program, the client is asked to commit 9-12 months to learn the necessary skills.
Exposure & Prevention Therapy
(EXRP or ERP)
ERP (aka EXRP) is a treatment protocol that has been researched to be the gold standard in treating OCD. At B. McDonald Therapy, I teach my clients to become their own exposure therapists. When we do exposures together, we focus on doing what makes them really anxious; and we focus on not engaging in the rituals or compulsions that are geared toward "getting rid of" the fear, discomfort or uncertainty. Instead clients learn to think, "I can get through this, even with this fear, doubt and mistrust present." So there's a lot of education around anxiety, and we train the client's brain not to be tricked by false alarms triggered by uncertain events. All exposure therapy is collaborative and thoughtfully planned by myself and the client. (You will not be suprised by an exposure).
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
The main goal of ACT is to gain psychological flexibility in order to have a valued life, even in the presence of obstacles. It wasn't developed or used to treat any specific disorder, and has proven successful at addressing a variety of mental conditions, including anxiety and depression. Through awareness exercises (both in- and out- of-session), clients learn to become more aware of their inner and outer experiencing, which leads to having more choices in life. Clients learn to develop a new acceptance and openness for the fullness of life, and it's wide spectrum of experience - including the pain that inevitably accompanies certain aspects of living. This shift in mindset moves clients away from attempts to control; and toward an openness to act in ways consistent with their values. Currently, I'm in supervision with Benjamin Schoendorff from Montreal, who co-developed the ACT Matrix.
Comprehensive Behavioral Treatment
ComB is a behavioral intervention for Trichtotillomania and other compulsive, body-focused, repetitive behaviors. BFRBs are often caused by emotional variables; are often damaging to one's appearance; and even cause outright injury. BFRBs are different from OCD, and as such, respond to different treatment. ComB targets the specific BFRB and action itself, and makes sense of thoughts and feelings that may contribute to the problem. The treatment process involves breaking some powerful, deeply entrenched habits. ComB requires close collaboration and dedication from the client, who selects from multiple potentially useful strategies designed to interrupt the established patterns and build alternative patterns. The client self-implements the proposed technique(s); and monitors and reports on the impact.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that treats issues clients struggle with through identifying and adjusting ineffective behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Instead of a more passive tradition of psychotherapy and analysis - which seeks to uncover and deeply dive into the root causes of conflict - CBT is proactive and solutions-oriented. It encourages clients to challenge distorted cognitions, and to change destructive patterns of behavior. Clients learn to identify and contest irrational, unrealistic or unhelpful thoughts; and they develop long term problem-solving skills. Through talk therapy, clients discover strategies that they, themselves learn to incorporate in their daily lives on a consistent basis.