WHAT ARE ACT, CBT, DBT, EFT, EMDR, MINDFULNESS-BASED, PSYCHODYNAMIC, SYSTEMIC THERAPY?

  • At our Centre, we believe it is important for your clinician to be able to be flexible in offering a variety of scientific, evidence-based treatments---to address the cognitive, emotional, behavioural and relational aspects of your concerns---and to offer you different possibilities for change---particularly because we know that no one treatment fits all!

There are over 400 psychotherapies out there! What psychological treatment will work best for me?

With so many different brands of therapy, it’s difficult for you, the consumer of psychotherapy services, to figure out which treatment might best be suited for you and your needs. Some treatments have been subject to rigorous scientific investigations in clinical trial studies and have been found to produce significant clinical changes in study participants. It’s safe to say though that none of these treatment approaches work for every child, adolescent, adult, couple or family for any particular problem. At CFIR, our psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are trained and skilled in providing different types of psychological treatments for this very reason.

Different treatments focus on different aspects of your concerns, including behaviours, cognitions, emotions, perceptions, and relationships. Below is a list of some of the scientific, evidence-based psychological treatments available at our Centre along with the focus of the treatment approach:

Acceptance and Commitment, Compassion & Mindfulness-based therapies (ACT, MBSR)

are forms of psychotherapy that support an individual to learn how to observe, be less reactive, accept and be non-judgmental of internal thoughts or emotional reactions. ACT supports you to act on the basis of core values as opposed to being entangled in the thoughts and emotional reactions that are at the root of your concerns. Developing a more compassionate outlook towards your self is also important for remediation of various mental health concerns. Treatment focuses on developing the capacity to observe, adopt a non-judgemental stance toward thoughts and feelings, and diminish reactivity, while anchoring the self in core values to promote clarity in thinking and action.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)

is a form of psychotherapy that addresses psychological issues by focusing primarily on the cognitive and behavioural dimensions of your emotional and behavioural concerns (i.e., the way that your thoughts, beliefs or thinking influences your emotional and behavioural responses). CBT also focuses on problem solving, finding solutions, improving coping, helping clients to challenge distorted cognitions (e.g., thoughts, beliefs) and change problematic behaviours. Your emotional or behavioural responses are also changed through exposure to specific situations, cues, narratives or places that trigger distress and maladaptive responses. Homework is often assigned.

Dialectical-behaviour therapy (DBT)

is a form of psychotherapy that addresses emotional distress and many other issues by focusing on improving distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal skills, and by supporting individuals to enhance mindfulness practice. The treatment was originally designed for suicidal patients or those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Emotion(ally)-focused therapy (EFT)

is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems by supporting clients to access and express their complex feelings and emotions. Treatment primarily focuses on the emotional dimension of your and your loved ones’ concerns. Emotional responses are targeted and viewed as the primary mechanism of change. Unprocessed secondary or maladaptive emotional responses overlay more adaptive emotional responses. Accessing and expressing more adaptive primary emotions allows us to recognize our goals, concerns and attachment needs, and promotes adaptive self-growth and more secure relationships.

Existential-humanistic therapy

is a form of psychotherapy that includes other therapies, such as, client-centered, existential and gestalt therapies. These therapies support an individual to explore deeper personal meanings, gain greater self-awareness and facilitate self-growth by helping clients to remove blocks to access disowned feelings and own and realize their inner potentials. Anxiety and depression result from disowned feelings and unrealized potentials. Treatment primarily focuses on accessing inner emotional experience and potentials and removing blocks to expression and possibilities.

Eye Movement Desensitization

and Reprocessing is a form of treatment that was originally developed in the context of treating patients to deal with and process distressing memories of past traumatic experiences. It is currently used to treat a wider range of psychological issues. Treatment uses bilateral stimulation (visual or auditory) with a primary focus on the integration of distressing aspects of past, and present experiences and increasing adaptation and resilience by building inner resources to address these experiences.

Motivational interviewing

is form of counseling that helps individuals achieve changes by increasing their motivation to change difficult behaviours. Treatment targets ambivalences about changing, and becoming increasingly aware of the problems, consequences and risks of these behaviours. Motivation is increased to create a better future consistent with an individual’s values and principles.

Psychodynamic, attachment-based, mentalization therapies

focus on how past and current relationship experiences have influenced a person’s present patterns (i.e., thoughts, thinking about self and other, emotional reactions toward self and others, and behaviours) and relationships. Psychoanalytic-oriented approaches have a rich, historical tradition beginning with Freud and Jung to present-day psychodynamic approaches that have been validated scientifically. The goals of psychodynamic-mentalization and attachment-based therapies are to increase an individual’s self-awareness about these patterns to promote change in the present-day. Concerns flow from internal conflicts, dynamics and patterns that create difficulties for our self and block us from creating meaningful lives and relationships. Defenses and self-protective strategies that block access to earlier emotionally overwhelming experiences are diminished over time to promote more adaptive functioning, self-growth and change. Treatment focuses on cognition, emotion, and interpersonal dimensions of your difficulties. Your interpersonal relationships—both with your therapist and others--are explored to understand and change how one experiences one self and relates to others in interpersonal relationships. These approaches tend to focus on the self and relational issues underlying your symptoms and distress, as opposed to targeting symptoms directly.

Systemic therapy

is a form of psychotherapy that understands problems evolving in interactions and interaction patterns with other individuals and systems. Treatment focuses on the impact of your couple partner, children, family, work and socio-cultural system on your self and on your relationship with others.

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Our registered psychologists are proudly affiliated as clinical supervisors with the following universities:

  • UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

  • UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

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