Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment approach to therapy that combines psychotherapy
and behavioral therapy. CBT has been found to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders,
depression, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions and
situations. CBT emphasizes the importance and the link between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
When I treat clients with CBT I help clients identify underlying core beliefs they have developed about
themselves and their world which clients may or may not be aware of. I also work with clients to
identify when and how these core beliefs became automatic coping thoughts. Our core beliefs affect
how we feel about ourselves and others. If the core beliefs we have developed are negative and
irrational then we are not going to feel like our best selves. When our thoughts and feelings are
negative, we tend to want to avoid them instead of dealing with them and this is when people can
develop addictive behaviors and other behaviors that come with consequences. I help and teach clients
how to challenge and replace these core beliefs with positive, realistic and empowering core beliefs.
Sometimes when people are going through dark times it is difficult for them to see the facts and the
full picture realistically and clearly. CBT helps calm down irrational and negative thoughts and in turn
helps people feel better. Part of our work together when using CBT is also working on becoming more
comfortable with identifying, labeling, and communicating feelings. As we work on thoughts and
feelings that have been negatively impacting behavior, we also begin to identify and use healthier
coping strategies to produce better outcomes.
Mindfulness is a treatment strategy that has been used for many years starting with Buddhist meditation
practices. This practice is intended to bring increasing awareness to the present moment. Mindfulness is
a state of non-judgmental awareness that brings attention to thoughts, emotions, and sensations
experienced within our bodies as well as brings awareness to our surrounding environments.
Mindfulness helps take away the focus from the past which can create sadness and the future which can
create anxiety and focuses on the present moment in order to break from unhelpful thinking.
Mindfulness helps clients recognize thoughts and emotions for what they are. When I use mindfulness
techniques with clients I am teaching clients how to be present in the moment and pausing before
turning to reactivity and impulsivity. Mindfulness has been found effective for the treatment of anxiety
disorders, depression, anger, chronic pain, grief and loss, ADD/ADHD, substance abuse disorder,
bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions.
The Benefits of Mindfulness include:
· Better ability to regulate emotions
· Improvement of concentration and memory
· Increased ability to handle stressful situations
· Increased satisfaction and motivation\A decrease of ruminating thoughts
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is an effective
treatment to help people manage overwhelming emotions. DBT is used to strengthen a person's ability
to overcome distressful situations without reacting in destructive and impulsive ways. It has been
useful for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression,
eating disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Mindfulness practices are incorporated into DBT
techniques in order to help clients increase awareness of and acceptance of the present moment. DBT
also focuses on distress tolerance strategies which teaches clients how to stop avoidance patterns and
increase their ability to tolerant negative feelings. DBT covers strategies to help with emotional
regulation as well by teaching clients how to manage intense emotions. Another focus of DBT is
interpersonal effectiveness which is a focus on teaching interpersonal skills that encourages the
development of healthy communication skills, assertiveness skills, and the ability to set healthy
personal boundaries. The goal of DBT is to achieve acceptance and change. DBT can be practiced
through the use of one on one counseling sessions as well as can be paired with referrals to DBT group
Trauma Informed Therapy
Trauma informed therapy is a treatment approach in which treatment planning is based on personal histories and triggers disclosed. The trauma informed clinician is nonjudgmental and provides a confidential and safe space for the client. Psychoeducation is provided on the signs and symptoms of trauma as well as acknowledges the impact trauma has had on the individual in order to provide effective mental health care. Clients also learn about the connection between brain health and trauma in order to learn who to rewire their train of thought and better calm fight or flight responses.
Strength Based Approach
Positive psychology states that people who are aware of their strengths and good qualities have greater
ability to maintain healthy self-esteem levels and are more likely to practice self-care strategies. I
use a strength-based approach for clients who have issues with poor self-esteem and body image. This
is done through a variety of worksheets and activities to help identify strengths and teach people how to
practice positive self-talk. I also use identified strengths and qualities to challenge negative core beliefs
that are at the root of poor self-esteem and self-confidence issues. We may also identify and implement
the use of positive affirmations and mantras to help improve a positive sense of self.
Certified Integrative Mental Health Provider (CIMHP)
Kerry Duarte, LICSW became a Certified Integrative Mental Health Provider (CIMHP) in 2019. This means that this therapist is certified to provide education and recommendations for clients interested in natural approaches to emotional healing or would like to combine holistic approaches with conventional treatment and medication. This therapist is open to using this approach when there is collaboration with other providers. When working with this therapist she can provide education on alternative approaches to healing if clients are interested in exploring other options. This clinician can provide referrals as needed. This clinician may want to collaborate with primary care physicians as well as integrative medicine physicians to advocate for some clients who may need to rule out medical conditions such as issues with thyroid, anemia, nutrient deficiencies, infections, and autoimmune conditions that can impact mental health and wellness. Unfortunately, integrative and holistic health interventions are often not covered by insurance. Since this practice is driven by an affordable model that takes insurance other referrals that can provide alternative methods can be suggested. As an CIMHP, Kerry Duarte intends on providing more education on a number of factors that contribute to overall mental health and optimal physical well-being. A way to get the message out there is for interested readers is to look at the practice's blog, Radiate, for more free information on integrative approaches to mental health and wellness.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a type of therapy that teaches individuals we all have several parts, also referred to as subpersonalities. Some of these parts have healthy roles and some of these parts have unhealthy roles. Trauma and high stressful events can force healthy parts into unhealthy and destructive roles as a way to protect the individual. Trauma can cause this shift to happen because trauma creates and strengthens negative extreme beliefs and emotions that attach to these parts and take over. An IFS therapist can help clients identify these parts, guide and enlighten clients on the roles these part have had as well as safety guide clients through extreme beliefs and emotions so that clients can feel safe again. This form of therapy teaches that once a part believes it is safe then the extreme beliefs and emotions can lose its strength and be released.
At Ray of Light Wellness LLC we have therapists who speak languages other than English. Kerry Duarte, LICSW, CIMHP speaks Portuguese and Rosilver Salcedo, LCSW speaks Spanish. Both of these therapists can offer bilingual sessions if needed. The demand for therapists who are bilingual is high. Please reach out to us and ask about these therapists' availability.
Group Therapy Options Coming Soon...