Practice & Approach

The majority of my practice focuses on traditional ‘talk therapy’.

I integrate the following therapies in my practice:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is drawn from Zen Buddhism / Mindfulness Techniques (teaches acceptance) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (teaches you change).

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy that was developed to help treat borderline personality disorders. Since its development, it has also been used to treat other kinds of mental health disorders such as substance dependence, depression, bipolar affective disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders. The term Dialectical means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change. In DBT the therapist accepts the client as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change in order to reach their goals.

DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels can increase far more quickly than the average person, can attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline levels – otherwise explained as affect disregulation. People who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder experience extremes in their emotions, see the world in black and white, and seem to be jumping from one crisis to another.  Few people understand such strong reactions and therefore don’t have any methods for coping with these sudden, intense surges of emotion. DBT is a method for teaching skills that will help regulate an individuals affect.

The four critical skills you will learn from DBT are:

  1. Distress Tolerance – How to cope with painful events
  2. Mindfulness – How to experience the present moment
  3. Emotion Regulation: Learn to recognize feelings
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Set limits and negotiate solutions.

In a nutshell, DBT teaches the skills to help clients learn to tolerate instead of running away from their emotions and to understand why life can be so hard.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is based on a cognitive model: the way we perceive situations influences how we feel emotionally.  It is not necessarily the situation that directly affects how people feel emotionally, but rather thoughts in that situation. When people are in distress, their perspective is often inaccurate and their thoughts may be unrealistic. CBT helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change. With CBT you will learn skills to help you identify distorted thinking, modify beliefs, relate to others in different ways, and change behaviors.

Our thoughts determine our feelings which in turn, determine our mood. Therefore chose your thoughts wisely. Unfortunately we don’t have control over all things, but we can control the way we think about the world. We are the creators of our own reality and perception can influence our reality. If we choose to perceive the world with a positive view, often even bad situations will seen less detrimental because of our hopeful outlook.

Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is a type of insight-oriented therapy,  where the primary focus is to reveal the unconscious content of a person’s psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to help a person gain self-awareness and understand the influence of the past on present behavior.  It’s aim is to alleviate symptoms and improve people’s lives.

Psychodynamic Therapy recognizes the power of the past on the emotions of today.

People feel and behave as they do for specific reasons. People are frequently unaware of why they feel or have in certain ways. Past event and experiences, often outside of awareness, determine how people feel about themselves and their world. Psychodynamic Therapy helps individuals to unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. Our unconscious holds on to painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. In order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface, many people will develop defenses, such as denial and projecting. According to Psychodynamic Therapy, these defences will often do more harm than good. This type of therapy aims to help individuals with a range of psychological disorders to make significant changes to how they make decisions and interact with others.

There tends to be a certain type of individual who responds particularly well to psychodynamic therapy. This individual is genuinely interested in exploring themselves, and seek self-knowledge in addition to symptom relief. They will have the capacity for self-reflection and a natural curiosity for their internal life and why they behave the way they do.

If you are thinking about therapy and would  like to learn more about how I can help, please feel free to telephone or email me to receive a free consultation.
daniela.dalben@gmail.com 416 902 6732