Courtney’s Specialties

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Process where a therapist works with a client in viewing their thoughts, images, beliefs, and attitudes, and how they relate to the way the person behaves towards emotional problems. As quoted from Wikipedia: 

CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (eg thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. Originally, it was designed to treat depression, but its uses have been expanded to include treatment of a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety. CBT includes a number of cognitive or behavior psychotherapies that treat defined psychopathologies using evidence-based techniques and strategies. 

The CBT model is based on the combination of the basic principles from behavioral and cognitive psychology. It is different from historical approaches to psychotherapy, such as the psychoanalytic approach where the therapist looks for the unconscious meaning behind the behaviors and then formulates a diagnosis. Instead, CBT is a "problem-focused" and "action-oriented" form of therapy, meaning it is used to treat specific problems related to a diagnosed mental disorder. The therapist's role is to assist the client in finding and practicing effective strategies to address the identified goals and decreased symptoms of the disorder. CBT is based on the belief that thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders, and that symptoms and associated distress can be reduced by teaching new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.

Courtney completed a 2 year training program with Walden University (online).

Play Therapy

An approach that allows children who cannot talk or who find it difficult to talk about what is happening, to communicate with the therapist. Play therapy allows the child to play out, and/or draw, what they see is happening at home. Sometimes playing also allows the child to find it easier to open up by getting their mind on something else. Play therapy includes, but is not at minimum with: 

  • Sand

  • Art

  • Play

Courtney was introduced to and trained with Play Therapy during her internship with Walden and has focused on it since then.

Marriage/Family Therapy

 A theory based for treating more than one person at a time. The following is from Psychology Today: While traditional therapy focuses more on the individual, MFT examines how an individual’s behavior affects both the individual and their relationship as part of a couple or family. The theory behind MFT is that regardless of whether a problem appears to be within an individual or within a family, getting other family members involved in the therapeutic process will result in more effective solutions. MFT is goal-oriented and works toward an established end result. In recent years, MFT practitioners and groups have called for expanded approaches to traditional MFT training that incorporate more “real world” practices to integrate other therapies and become more inclusive of non-heterosexual couples and families.

Some of the best reasons to use MFT are:

  • couples therapy

  • eating disorder (teens)

  • substance abuse

  • death

and ways these issues have on effect on the family.

Courtney focused on Marriage and Family Therapy while receiving her Masters at Walden University.

Existential Therapy

Everyone finds themselves doing something they wish they could go back and not do. Existential therapy works with clients on finding ways to live with what has already happened, stop focusing on the past, and find positive ways to move forward. The following is from Psychology Today: 

This practice—due to its focus on existence and purpose—is sometimes perceived as pessimistic, but it’s meant to be a positive and flexible approach. At its best, according to 20th-century philosopher Paul Tillich, existential psychotherapy fairly and honestly confronts life’s "ultimate concerns," including loneliness, suffering, and meaninglessness. Specific concerns are rooted in each individual's experience, but contemporary existential psychotherapist Irvin Yalom says that the universal ones are death, isolation, freedom, and emptiness.

Existential therapy focuses on the anxiety that occurs when you confront these inherent conflicts, and the therapist’s role is to foster personal responsibility for making decisions. Yalom, for example, perceives the therapist as a "fellow traveler" through life, and he uses empathy and support to elicit insight and choices. And because people exist in the presence of others, the relational context of group therapy is an effective approach, he says. The core question addressed in this kind of therapy is "how do I exist in the face of uncertainty, conflict, or death?”

Courtney studied Existential Therapy and found it interesting. Has continued to follow it and work with it.

Additional Methods

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

As quoted from Wikipedia:

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an approach to psychotherapy that uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) methods in collaboration with mindfulness meditative practices and similar psychological strategies. It was originally created to be a relapse-prevention treatment for individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). Focus on MDD and cognitive processes distinguish MBCT from other mindfulness-based therapies. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), for example, is a more generalized program that also utilizes the practice of mindfulness. MBSR is a group-intervention program, like MBCT, uses mindfulness to help improve the life of individuals with chronic clinical ailments and high stress lives. 

CBT-inspired methods are used in MBCT, such as educating the participant about depression and the role that cognition plays within it. MBCT takes practices from CBT and applies aspects of mindfulness to the approach. One example would be "decentering", a focus on becoming aware of all incoming thoughts and feelings and accepting them, but not attaching or reacting to them. This process aims to aid an individual in regard to disengaging from self-criticism, rumination, and dysphoric moods that can arise when reacting to negative thinking patterns. 

Like CBT, MBCT functions on the etiological theory that when individuals who have historically had depression become distressed, they return to automatic cognitive processes that can trigger a depressive episode. The goal of MBCT is to interrupt these automatic processes and teach the participants to focus less on reacting to incoming stimuli, and instead accepting and observing them without judgment. Like MBSR, this mindfulness practice encourages the participant to notice when automatic processes are occurring and to alter their reaction to be more of a reflection. In regards to the development, MBCT emphasizes awareness of thoughts, which assists in allowing for individuals to recognize negative thought that lead to rumination. It is theorized that this aspect of MBCT is responsible for the observed clinical outcomes.