Doug McClosky, LMFT
Family, Adult, Adolescent, and Child Therapy
Cognitive Therapy: Automatic thoughts filter and color everyone's world. In cognitive therapy we find out what we say to ourselves and ask if it is helpful or self-defeating. By choosing to increase our helpful ways of thinking while reducing our self-defeating thoughts, we experience more freedom and control in our lives. Cognitive therapists help identify feelings, automatic thoughts, and patterns of behavior. They help establish new habits intended to improve their client's quality of life.
Behavioral Therapy: This is a close cousin of cognitive therapy and the two are often referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy. In behavior therapy the focus is on observable behavior and its context. Quality of life can be improved by rewarding oneself for desired behavior, changing the environment, changing patterns and habits, practicing new skills, and setting clear goals. Therapists coach their clients through creating written plans to reach clearly stated goals.
Art, Play, and Role Playing in therapy: No matter what our age or sex, talk is not always the easiest way to identify feelings or to communicate what a person is experiencing. For children, play is their primary language. For adults, artistic expression enriches our communication and sums up what we can't quite say in plain words. Clients use their own art, or they talk about the works of others. Art can be the beginning, middle, or summation of therapy. Role Playing refers to acting out scenarios to explore something that happened, or to practice new skills.
Family Therapy: Family therapy refers to bringing several members of a household or extended family in to meet at the same time. ("Family" is flexibly defined.) Family therapy comes in many forms. It is used because it is often difficult for one person in a household to change while everyone else expects them to stay unchanged. Everyone affects one another. In family therapy, the therapist helps find ways for the whole family to change together and to support those with special needs. Family therapy is especially effective when raising children. Family therapy often includes coaching parents in new strategies for nurturing their children. I encourage parents to use "Adlerian" approaches as popularized by Jane Nelsen's "Positive Discipline" series.
Existential Themes (English version!): Part of being human is that we all have to create answers to the same basic issues. These issues lie underneath struggles with feelings, behaviors, and relationships.
In therapy I identify underlying issues and discuss them directly. For example, one issue is the need to experience choice and control in life. Another issue is loneliness, our need to feel that we are understood by others, and our need to feel that we belong. A third issue is the need to feel that life has meaning and that our life has direction and purpose. A fourth issue is the need to find a constructive way to think about our mortality. These are "spiritual" questions that are often addressed with religion and philosophy. In therapy I help people honor and clarify their personal answers to these core life issues and to other issues not listed.
Adlerian Psychology: For a wonderful description of Adlerian Psychology go to www.psasadler.org and select "Adlerian Psych 101" from the menu on the upper left hand side of the page.