I have been practicing primarily cognitive behavioral therapy in New York City for 20 years. Like most practitioners, I have conducted my work in the office. As the years progressed, I became quite good at building the therapeutic alliance with children, adolescents, and their parents. I would utilize good well-grounded evidenced-based approaches and used outcome measures within the office, relying primarily on self-report. Patients liked me, they reported feeling better and, initially, that implied success to me.
I began to realize that patients were able to learn the skills I was teaching them but did not always generalize these skills to other spaces and places within their life. Even with consistent homework and reviewing what they had learned in past sessions, I never got the sense that they were incorporating these new skills outside of the office frequently.
So, I began to go outside the “four walls of the office” and experimented conducting my sessions outside. Not uncommonly for a CBT psychologist, I would conduct exposure therapy at a Starbucks, Target or any other location where the client exhibited anxiety. But I also began to do therapy outside to help other skills, not just anxiety related, to generalize. I would meet clients at their home to examine their executive dysfunction, help those with mood related issues “surf through” their depression, model how to make friends for those with social anxiety or spectrum disorders and conduct parent management training in the home, where the parenting actually occurs.
I began to realize that “in vivo” treatment for most problems provides a better way to get the skills to generalize. I was able to observe, in action, my clients using the skills I had taught. For me, in office therapy can become stale and it was a challenge to measure change that mattered most (i.e., To what degree do they use the interventions taught?).
Many clients report improvement and I can observe the change as it occurs. In my practice, we are doing this “in vivo” work more often. This is not revolutionary but more of an outgrowth of my cognitive behavioral roots. Most importantly, we can obtain a more valid indication as to whether our interventions are effective.
There is no arguing that happiness is something we all strive to achieve. Benefits of being happy include healthier living, living longer, and a better sense of well-being. At Therapy West, we aim to improve the lives of your child and your family. We want to provide the tools for your child to be their best self.
Scientists have set out to find what drives happiness and how to improve happiness in children. Although happiness levels vary by individual and is partially genetically driven, studies have found that we do have some control over our happiness.
Therapy West staff members strive to give your child the means to build happiness within themselves. This aim extends not only to your child, but to your entire family as well. We believe that your family's happiness is an integral part of your child's well-being.
Check out some tips below for developing a happier and sunnier outlook on life.
Being a parent in New York City is challenging, fast, chaotic, and downright exhausting. After organizing your child's schedule, cooking meals for your family, and trying to get work done without combusting, it can be hard to remember to breathe. Of course, without breathing it would be impossible to survive; yet sometimes it feels as though we are going about our days breathless.
With the rising enthusiasm of wellness in the media and the abundance of trends regarding health, it can be difficult to weed out what methods are vital to incorporate into daily living. A heavily researched method known as deep breathing, or controlled breathing, is a form of breathing that essentially helps the mind remain in a state of calm or tranquility. Breathing has also been linked to improving mood, increasing energy, and boosting your immune system. Recently, the New York Times ran an article about breathing-related research being conducted on mice. By isolating a particular breathing neuron in the mice’s brain, the researchers discovered a correlation between the mice’s breathing and stress. When the breathing neuron was isolated, the mice’s breathing remained neutral and controlled during normally anxiety-prone situations. This study, in addition to other recent research, supports a simple and easy routine to embed into your crazy, child-rearing, and hectic days. Breathing is not only free (unlike most things in NYC!) but also easy. Taking just four deep breaths and counting to five while you exhale calms your entire nervous system.
Breathe in. One, two, three. Breathe out. One, two, three, four, five. Breathe in. One, two, three. Breathe out. One, two, three, four, five. Feel better?
Modelling this for your children will teach them the importance of managing stress in a healthy way.