Our Approach

Evidence-Based

We provide treatments that have been tested and found to be effective. Included are a subset of the treatments we offer.

Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD / Exposure for Fear Disorders
Exposure-based approaches are the gold-standard for treatment of most Anxiety-related problems. Confronting fears and obsessions, while approaching them in new ways that increase confidence, has been shown to be highly effective for a range of anxiety disorders, including fears of specific situations (including flying, needles, driving), OCD, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety. Exposure approaches form the foundation of treatments for Anxiety at ECAS.

Prolonged Exposure (PE) / Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD
 Prolonged exposure uses exposure techniques described above with a specific focus on traumatic memories. By approaching feared memories with skills and confidence, they lose their power and survivors can begin to develop new ways of confronting them. CPT, on the other hand, helps trauma survivors develop new ways of evaluating the thoughts and beliefs that may develop as a result of trauma, and begin to relate and interact with themselves and the world in new ways.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT emphasizes learning acceptance and mindfulness practices to use in response to difficult emotional experiences, and behavioral strategies to help people move toward making meaning in their lives. Research shows that this technique is effective for a wide range of problems, including anxiety, depression, obsessive and compulsive related disorders, substance use, and posttraumatic stress disorders. 


A key facet of our work with clients is to fully understand the cultural, social, and spiritual issues that shape the whole person. Cultural understanding is essential to prevent stereotyping clients and to better understand the client as an individual formed by all of their experiences. In addition, many mental health professionals are not aware of the effects of discrimination on mental health because of a societal tendency to deny or rationalize the presence of bias. This can cause minorities who seek help to feel misunderstood or invalidated by their therapist. Thus, all our therapists are committed to multicultural competence in their work with clients.

Culturally Informed


We take your specific needs into consideration to determine a treatment plan, not the requirements of insurance plans. Thus, we may at times suggest treatment options that are not covered by your insurance plan. For example, it may be recommended to do an exposure exercise with your therapist or an Exposure Coach at your home or in the community, which is often not covered by insurance, but would accelerate your treatment.

Individualized


We think therapy should be goal-oriented and lead to measurable outcomes. We know you want to feel better, engage more fully, and move forward toward what you truly value. With that in mind, our therapists will collaboratively develop a treatment plan with you and track your progress, and make sure we are helping you move in the direction of change. We expect that you will be making progress within a few weeks, and believe a “Course of Treatment” is somewhere between 18-25 sessions.

Time-Limited

What We Treat

OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts that result in great distress, and leads to compulsive behaviors that are meant to get rid of the thoughts and painful feelings. Unfortunately, like a knot that is pulled tighter and tighter: people with OCD can become stuck in this cycle, spending large amount of time and energy in the OCD loop.

Related to OCD are Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders (OCRD), which include Hoarding, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (like skin-picking and hair-pulling). More information about these difficulties can be found here.


Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders are a group of related difficulties where the level of anxiety a person is experiencing causes great distress and impacts their ability to function. They are differentiated by the contexts that the person experiences the anxiety. For example, people with Social Anxiety Disorder experience anxiety about social situations, fearing rejection and negative evaluation in social and performance-related situations. In Generalized Anxiety Disorder, people experience anxiety about many experiences (work, family, health, friendships) that result in worry and physiological symptoms. In Panic Disorder, people have sudden symptoms of anxiety and panic that arise out of the blue and may cause concern about health.


PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is set of symptoms that can result after a person has experienced a life-threatening event. These symptoms include re-experiencing the event (in thoughts, dreams, or feelings), trying to avoid remembering the event (by pushing down thoughts or avoiding places), increased reactivity, and changes in mood and thinking. It is important to know that right after a traumatic event, most people experience these symptoms; they are normal responses to a traumatic situation. However, if these symptoms do not improve over time, then a person may need help recovering.


Experiences of racism and discrimination can lead to stress, anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Even low-levels of discrimination experienced on a regular basis can result in psychological problems. Discrimination-related traumatic experiences can range from frequent ambiguous microaggressions to blatant hate crimes and physical assault. Microaggressions are subtle, yet pervasive acts of racial discrimination against stigmatized minorities. These may be brief remarks, vague insults, or even non-verbal exchanges. Chronic fear of everyday bias may induce constant vigilance or paranoia, which over time may result in PTSD-like symptoms, or even contribute to PTSD when a more stressful event occurs.

Distress related to discrimination


Assessments

The goal of a psychological assessment (sometimes called a psychological evaluation)  is to help a person identify personal strengths and challenges, identify  personalized recommendations for achieving greater success, describe possible accommodations that would help the person in their life.

The assessment might looks at a person's thinking and processing skills, emotional responses, personality, and functioning at school, work, home, and/or relationships.

Psychological assessment includes a clinical interview, different paper and pencil or computerized tests, and can take several hours and is typically scheduled over more than one day.

The outcome of the evaluation includes a feedback session to goes over the results and a comprehensive report.

We take referrals for many different kinds of questions which include assessment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disorders, to help clarify psychological diagnosis or questions about treatment recommendations, among others. Contact us and we can help you figure out if we are a good fit for your needs.

Services


Individual Therapy

You meet one-on-one with a therapist who has expertise in the issues you shared during the intake call. The first appointment is an opportunity to determine whether the match is a good one, and to develop a collaborative treatment plan. Individual therapy is time-limited (generally 16-25 sessions), and sessions are either 45-50 min or 53-75 minutes in length, depending on your needs. During sessions, you will talk about your difficulties, learn new coping tools, and engage in exposure exercises that will help you overcome your fears.

Group Therapy

Group therapy are organized based on topic or problem area, and are geared toward teaching you skills while at the same time making connections with others who are facing similar challenges. When struggling with psychological difficulties, we often feel so alone and isolated, when in reality so many are facing similar concerns. We have a number of groups that each focused on a specific issue.

Couples Therapy

Similar to individual therapy, you and your partner will meet one-on-one with a therapist skilled in evidence-based approaches to improving relationships. Sessions are either 45-50 min or 53-75 minutes in length, depending on your needs.


Exposure Support

While your therapist will help you in session learn how to engage in exposure and develop exercises outside of the office, most of the time you will be engaging in exposure in the community, either at your home, work, school or other places you encounter anxiety. Sometimes, because of the difficulty of the exposure or how busy your life is, additional support can be helpful to maximally engage in exposures. To help you, our therapists or our Exposure Coaches can come to you in the community to help you to enhance treatment.

Technological support

Sometimes the treatment as usual does not provide enough support that is needed and additional services can help you progress more quickly. The following are Technological Supports we are excited to offer in the near future to help you on your journey.

BIOFEEDBACK

Biofeedback is a computerized method that helps train people how to purposefully decrease physiological reactions that can go haywire in anxiety. By using dynamic feedback about your biological signals, you can learn how to purposefully slow your breathing and/or relax your body and brain. Overtime, you become better able to manage your physiology even without the assistance because you have begun to internalize the process. More information about biofeedback can be found here.

VIRTUAL REALITY

Because anxiety and OCD are often triggered by particular situations or events, it can be difficult to adequately face them in the therapy office. That is where virtual reality come in. More research is showing that virtual reality can feel real enough to clients that it helps them face their fears and decrease their anxiety in difficult settings. More technology companies are coming up with virtual reality software to address anxiety, and we hope to be able to provide virtual reality at ECAS soon. More information can be found here.