I use what is called an eclectic approach to therapy.  This means that I have studied a few different types of therapy and draw from each of them in my practice.

Specifically, I draw from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy  (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Existential Therapy (ET).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT focuses mostly on change.  It looks at how our thoughts and behaviors influence one another and how changing one or the other or both results in changing our experiences or outcomes.  Many people believe that if we change our feelings, we will change our behaviors.  However, most of the time new behaviors create new feelings.

Existential Therapy

ET looks at answering questions like “what is the meaning of life?”  This is a very helpful discussion because it looks at how we assign meaning and what we assign meaning to.  This can be helpful in defining values as well as how we want to approach certain situations in our lives.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

I integrate a few things from DBT starting with the main philosophy which focuses on finding a balance of validation and change.  This is called a dialectic which is two opposing ideas that are both true.  Looking at the different dialectics in our lives can help reduce our feelings and experience of chaos.

Some of the other main tenants of DBT that I draw from are radical acceptance, mindfulness, skills training, and the dialectical philosophy.  It is my personal belief that if we are going to utilize emotional processing involved in CBT, we need to be equipped with the necessary coping and distress tolerance skills.

DBT also places a high premium on self-awareness.  This has always been something I have valued because if we cannot understand ourselves and why we are the way we are, we can never experience healthy changes.  A great deal of my therapy simply focuses on better understanding ourselves so that we can experience greater self-compassion and help inform us of what changes we want to make in our lives (if any).

Part of DBT skills training involves roleplaying.  A lot of my clients have told me that they really like roleplaying with me in one on one settings.  I find it fun trying to mimic them as best I can so you can get as close to realistic practice as possible using some of these new skills.  Many people roll their eyes at roleplaying, but practicing new skills in a low stress environment is really helpful as it helps your brain learn the skill/pattern more effectively.

How They Tend to Flow Together

I will usually start using a DBT approach and impart skills up front in therapy to make sure that my clients are able to cope with any processing they need.  Then I draw from CBT to start looking at different thought patterns, behaviors, and beliefs clients have about themselves.  This is where I enjoy the DBT dialectic of validation and change.

Even though we’ll move onto CBT to begin to focus on change, I believe validation is incredibly important during the entire process.  We are the way we are for reason such as survival.  We don’t need to heap shame upon ourselves simply because of the way we are.

I will also draw on ET throughout the therapeutic process as we are constantly assigning meaning to the different experiences we have in our lives.  Clarifying and understanding why we do things the way we do can be immensely helpful in knowing if we want to keep assigning meaning in the same way or we want to take a new approach.


Give me a call if you have any questions and I hope this explanation of my eclectic style was helpful to you!