In the field of clinical psychology, there are many competing theories and treatment modalities that continue to be studied to determine their efficacy in treating specific psychological or psychiatric conditions. While some approaches seem to be more effective for acute symptom reduction, psychotherapy research outcome continues to indicate that the main factors highly correlated with the effectiveness of psychotherapy are the relationship that is developed and maintained between the clinician and patient and the skill of the clinician.
Below are brief descriptions of the various treatment interventions offered by Dr. Smith that can be used alone or in combination. Her application of these treatment modalities she derives from relational psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, attachment theory, and neuroscience.
After the initial evaluation, Dr. Smith will discuss with you the optimal recommended approach to address your specific situation.
Counseling is a brief therapeutic intervention that focuses on the resolution of specific problems and involves a certain amount of advice-giving. It is useful for assisting individuals who are dealing with important life decisions or preparing for major life transitions. It is particularly helpful for developing educational and career goals and exploring artistic interests.
Psychotherapy is best known as “talk therapy.” It is a brief or in-depth treatment approach where a trained professional enters into a relationship with a patient to help the patient address complex emotional problems and life-altering experiences. The current research on the efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapy indicates that this approach is particularly useful in the treatment of multiple and chronic psychological and psychiatric conditions.
Relational psychotherapy is a psychoanalytic theory of mind and treatment modality where the clinician and patient create a cooperative and safe relationship in the service of helping the patient explore the nature of and the resolution of the presenting problem. While both short-term and long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy value reflection and exploration of formative experiences, the short approach is more directive, focusing on symptom relief and the immediate resolution of specific problems. Long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a time-intensive and growth-oriented approach that examines feelings, thoughts, desires, behaviors, and the motivations behind recurring ineffective relational patterns and ways of addressing life challenges. It facilitates self-understanding and self-awareness and the ability to resolve emotional conflicts that are often at the core of many problems. The resolution of conflicts promotes freedom of action, authenticity, and a sense of competence and self-satisfaction.
This treatment modality may be brief or long-term, depending on the severity and duration of the presenting problem. It focuses on assisting couples in resolving relational and intimacy difficulties, develop mutual empathy, accept individual differences, resolve conflicts with role expectations, improve communication, and facilitate the growth of each member of the family and the family as a whole.
This form of psychotherapy is usually short-term, educational, and supportive. It is beneficial for patients with medical conditions and related emotional difficulties. It focuses on assisting them to cope with and manage their illness.
It is a crucial component in palliative care aimed at facilitating for the patient and their families the management of pain and suffering. It can help assist them in facing complex moral, ethical, and legal dilemmas that are related to the physiological functioning, medical prognosis, quality of life, personal values, and beliefs of the patient.
Expressive art therapy is a modality that combines talk therapy with non-verbal forms of communication, for example, drawing, painting, collage, photography. It is particularly useful in exploring emotional experiences and content that are usually inaccessible to consciousness or are difficult to reach through verbal dialogue alone. It is particularly suited for persons who are interested in making art objects as a medium for working through the resolution of deeply buried psychological issues and in the treatment of eating disorders, self-image and body-image concerns, and trauma. Artistic skills and training are not necessary to participate in this process.