How Can We Help?
In individual therapy, you will work one-on-one with a therapist in a confidential, caring environment. People have a variety of reasons for pursuing individual therapy. Sometimes therapy is used to help someone process past events, manage anxiety and depression, navigate major life changes or events, or to discuss a difficult but important relationship. You may also seek out individual therapy in order to learn more about yourself and to grow as a person. In fact, gaining greater knowledge and awareness of ourselves is almost always a part of therapy!
Therapists work with clients one-on-one by supporting them as they explore their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It can be very helpful to discuss impactful past or current experiences with a therapist who can provide support, encouragement, insight, and challenge along the way. Individual therapists may each work from a different perspective and may use different techniques, but all strive to form therapeutic relationships with clients that will help them work toward their goals. Sometimes people choose to work with a therapist one-on-one weekly, but others choose to meet less frequently. Your therapist will help you decide how often you should meet. Sessions are generally between 45 and 60 minutes.
Psychological Assessment can be helpful for many people. Through assessment, people are able to learn about their strengths and struggles and develop a strong plan for moving forward. The goal of an assessment is to quickly gathering a large amount of information to determine the cause of a person’s struggle (diagnosis) and the best course of treatment. There are many types of assessments and the process is generally guided by the concerns of the client. As a client, you could expect your assessment to include a conversation with your psychologist as well as several objective tests to understand your concerns. Sometimes these objective tests are like brain puzzles that assess how quickly you work or how well you can reason through problems, while other times the tests include questions for you to complete about yourself. Many assessments include both types of tests.
At Willow Grove Therapy Group, we conduct assessments for a variety of concerns. The most common assessments we conduct include those for attention problems, learning difficulties, social and/or behavioral struggles, spinal cord stimulators, and general diagnostic clarification. Depending on your concern, the assessment may last anywhere between 1 hour and 6-7 hours (with a lunch break). Each evaluation also includes a thorough report with results of the assessment and recommendations for moving forward; this could include recommendations for academic accommodations, specific therapies in the community, or ideas that you can use to make your daily life easier.
Biofeedback is a mind-body treatment technique to help people become more aware of their body’s functioning and help them learn to regulate their physiological functioning in order to improve well-being, decrease stress, and cope with anxiety. Biofeedback has been supported by research as an effective treatment for anxiety, chronic pain, migraine headaches, adult tension headaches, Raynaud’s disease, and research shows likely effectiveness for insomnia, PTSD, and depressive disorders. In particular, hear rate variability biofeedback has been shown to help you strengthen your autonomic nervous system (ANS), creating better balance between the fight-or-flight response and the relaxation response. Biofeedback training can help you learn to engage the relaxation component of your nervous system, which can lead to better coping with stress, improved pain management, increased emotional regulation, and enhanced performance at work or school.
Biofeedback training is non-invasive and begins with a baseline measurement of multiple body systems including muscle tension, skin sweat, heart rate variability, breathing, and temperature. Sensors are placed on the skin and then the signal is displayed on a computer screen. How your body responds to stress, recovers from stress, and its ability to relax are all measured and used to develop an individualized training plan. The length of treatment varies from person to person, but with continued home practice it remains effective long after treatment has ended.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of upsetting life experiences. In the late 80's, psychologist Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., observed that particular eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thoughts in some clients. When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany it. The EMDR Technique does two very important things. First, it "unlocks" the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain to successfully process the experience.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. (EMDR Institute). It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. EMDR can be used effectively and safely with children and adults using a variety of bilateral stimulation to assist processing of anxiety issues, depression, phobias and trauma by identifying and targeting the negative cognition occurring and working to replace it with a more adaptive belief.
Most couples benefit from help with their marriage from time to time. There is no perfect marriage, and you don’t need to wait to be in a distressed relationship to be in couples therapy. In fact, most couples therapists would agree that many couples wait too long from when they first start noticing problems in their relationship until seeking help. Many people that value and desire strong, partnered relationships choose couples therapy as a way to enhance and enrich their relationship. A close, connected relationship with your partner, has the power to buffer against stress, anxiety, depression and positively impact one’s physical health and immunity.
Distress that occurs within a couple relationship is one of the most common and upsetting experiences. Every couple relationship experiences its share of conflict and difficulties. The causes of couple distress vary from couple to couple but most often present as difficulties in communication. Breakdowns in communication over time can evolve into negative repeating patterns of interacting, making way for increased conflict, increased disengagement, all of which can get in the way of fulfilling emotional connection. Frequent unresolved arguments, the loss of good feelings, and impacts on friendship, fun, and sex with one another are common signs of couple distress. For some, these troubles reach the point of significant disappointments, hurts, and doubts about staying together. Even relationships that are seemingly doing well can experience distress if a significant shattering event takes place, such as an extramarital affair. Additionally, couples can go through normal ups and downs over the course of time and especially stressful times for marriages are when couples first have children, when their children are adolescents and again, when they leave home. Other difficulties in couple relationships include substance abuse, loss of a child, children with special needs, lack of financial resources, infidelity, infertility, loss of employment, and untreated mental illness.
Encouragingly, there are effective treatments for couples desiring to improve their relationship. The early process often involves an in-depth assessment of the couple’s goals and current patterns of interacting, strengths and areas of improvement, a history of your relationship and family of origin influences, individual interviews, and assessment questionnaires. From there, couples therapy often involves, in part, partners working together to validate and accept each other, to gain insight and understanding of their relational patterns, to improve communication, to repair past hurts, and to learn to manage differences and conflict when they inevitably come up.
Sources: AAMFT; Sue Johnson, EFT; Gottman Method Couple Therapy