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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?
    Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that teaches new skills in Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Walking the Middle Path. DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, PhD to originally treat people with intense emotional swings, chaotic interpersonal relationships, impulsiveness, and suicidal / self-harm behaviors. It is based on the biosocial theory that problems develop from an interaction between biological factors and environmental factors and on the idea that opposites can coexist and be synthesized. The ultimate goal is to live a life worth living in which the person feels connection to others and the world. The DBT therapist balances empathy and warm acceptance with a focus on teaching you ways to change behaviors that are not effective. DBT is now also being used to successfully treat symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, depression, eating disorders, difficulties managing emotions, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance use and addictions, adolescents and children with difficulty managing emotions, and other conditions that involve intense emotions and impulsive behaviors. DBT and the emphasis on Mindfulness is also very useful in managing stress. DBT is backed by significant research that shows it is an effective therapy with techniques that work. Those in DBT typically have decreased use of emergency room and crisis services, and decreased rates of suicidal gestures. A comprehensive DBT program consists of weekly individual sessions with between-session phone coaching and a weekly skills training class. (Sometimes referred to as a DBT group.) Once behaviors are able to be managed by the person in treatment, other stages of treatment may include expressing emotions more effectively, building a Life Worth Living, and developing satisfying connections to others and the world. Treatment can include targeted treatment for PTSD symptoms, advanced Mindfulness instruction, or focus on anger management strategies. Also included is education and support for family members. Partners, parents, significant others of those in our program are highly encouraged to also learn the skills and receive support and education on how to reinforce effective behaviors at home. A Comprehensive DBT program also means that your therapist will be meeting at least once per week with other Transformation Behavioral Health DBT therapists to coordinate your care. Our Linehan Board of Certification seal indicates that we are committed to providing a DBT program that is adherent to the model of care that is backed by significant research. We have met national standards of training, testing, and competency and provide the type of DBT that is supported by research. If you are interested in participating in our DBT program, or learning more about this treatment, call us and we will schedule an intake appointment to discuss the most effective treatment options for you.
  • What is Depression? How do we treat it?
    Life can be hard, and the trials and tribulations we experience can leave us feeling appropriately "sad," "down," or outright "depressed." These emotions, although unpleasant, are a part of living. As such, it can be difficult to discern when it is time to get help. Rest assured, there is not a "right" or "wrong" time. Whether a person is clinically depressed or facing a "normal" slump, therapy can help you cope with your life situation. Major Depressive Disorder: People with major depressive disorder (MDD) may feel depressed or hopeless. Many people will experience a change in their sleeping habits, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or they may be sleeping significantly more than normal. They often notice changes in their appetite, and may find themselves eating more or less than what is typical for themselves. People with MDD no longer find enjoyment in activities that they used to, and that may include no longer enjoying being around family, hanging out with friends, or playing games that they used to find fun. People often feel that their energy is low, and may feel too tired to function normally at work. At work they often have difficulty concentrating on tasks, and notice themselves moving through their day at a slower pace. Some people with MDD experience even more severe symptoms. Some people are so depressed that they no longer want to live. They think that their lives are useless and that people close to them would be better off if they were dead. They may believe that nobody would miss them. These people have suicidal ideation. If you or somebody you know is in immediate danger of suicide or harming themselves (or other people), it is considered a medical emergency that warrants presentation to the nearest emergency department. How can we treat your depression? In therapy, we will use solution-focused therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), to help you develop and practice skills and techniques that you can use to recover and get your life back. We will help you learn to recognize destructive thought patterns and how they impact you. We will then work on supporting you while you make changes in your thought patterns and behaviors to improve your mood and start feeling better. Learning and practicing mindfulness is also a key component to treatment for depression. You will learn ways to make mindfulness a daily practice. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is recognized as the gold standard for treating depression. Call or text us at 815-575-9675, or email to learn more about how we can help you.
  • What is Anxiety? How do we treat it?
    Anxiety is a sense of worry and unease, often used to protect us from harm. It is an essential part of human survival. For example, the feeling of unease that may accompany walking near a cliff or being alone at night in an alley. The unease or outright fear that accompanies the experience motivates us to find a safe space. Although the feelings are unpleasant, they are beneficial. Anxiety becomes a problem in our lives when it becomes excessive, unwanted, and interferes with our ability to function normally in our life. Anxiety disorders take many different forms, and the impact it has on us as individuals varies greatly. Some of the common anxiety disorders that we see are listed below. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with GAD excessively worry about several aspects of their life such as school, work, performance, finances, family, etc. This constant worrying makes people feel restless, tired, and/or irritable. They often find that they have difficulty concentrating on their work, and often have muscle aches or difficulty sleeping. The excessive anxiety leads to distress and/or difficulty functioning in school, work, or other areas of daily life. Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder experience sudden panic attacks. These attacks present suddenly and may consist of intense fear, sweating, shaking, chest pain, shortness of breath, fear of dying, or feeling detached. These attacks are distressing and many people begin to fear future attacks to the point that they fear losing control and avoid places where they may not be able to escape if another attack happens. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): People with social anxiety fear a variety of social situations, which often arises from a fear of being evaluated or judged by others. Some people fear meeting new people, being observed, being in crowds, speaking in class, reading aloud, and/or presenting in meetings. People with SAD have a fear of others noticing their anxiety and subsequently judging them. People begin to avoid situations which cause them anxiety, which disrupts activities of their daily lives. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops after a traumatic event. A person may develop PTSD after experiencing a trauma firsthand, witnessing a trauma, learning about a trauma, or repeatedly experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about trauma. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks in which the person feels as though they are reliving the trauma, may have recurrent dreams about the trauma that are distressing, and may feel distressed mentally and physically when they encounter something that reminds them of the trauma. Many people often find themselves irritable, hypervigilant, and detached from other people. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): People with OCD have obsessive thoughts and/or accompanying compulsions. For example, a person may have repetitive and intrusive thoughts about their house burning down (obsession) if they do not repeatedly check that the stove is off (compulsion). The compulsion of checking the stove relieves the anxiety caused by the obsession about the house burning down. The person may know that the stove does not magically turn itself on, but the obsession remains distressing and the compulsion may significantly disrupt a person’s life. Agoraphobia: People with agoraphobia may fear a variety of places or situations such as open spaces, closed spaces, crowds, public transportation, or even any place outside of their house. People fear venturing into these spaces for a variety of reasons, but often fear an inability to escape if something bad happens. Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder: Medications prescribed by healthcare providers, legal substances such as caffeine, illicit substances, and drug and alcohol withdrawal can all elicit anxiety. Substances and medications may be the main cause of the anxiety or it may be contributing to an underlying anxiety disorder. Your therapist and other health care providers can help you determine factors contributing to your anxiety. Is there anything to make my anxiety better? Treatment for your anxiety disorder will vary depending on your unique needs. We work with you to come up with a therapy plan that works best for you and the treatment of your disorder. We use a variety of approaches such as Mindfulness, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and education on physiological strategies, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, supportive psychotherapy, or a combination of therapies. Some people need medications in combination with psychotherapy to help them cope with anxiety. With your permission, we are happy to communicate with other members of your healthcare team responsible for prescribing those medications. ​
  • I've never been to therapy before. I don't want to tell anyone about me.
    Congratulations on having the courage and dedication to improve your life! Sometimes it's easy to start therapy and for some people, it takes a lot to make that first call, and even more to walk in the door. We value everyone's safety and confidentiality above all else. Our offices are specially designed so that your conversations stay in the therapy room. With a video session, you do not even have to leave your own room to access confidential treatment. Many people feel uncomfortable sharing their feelings and concerns. You are the guide and only share as much as you feel comfortable. There are strategies we can teach you to cope without knowing a lot of details. Other times, you may want to share details so that you are not bearing a burden alone. We are here to support you and guide you on your journey. We encourage you to share your concerns with your therapist and ask questions about what is required of you in therapy. Let us know any thoughts you have about therapy, and what you may have been told.
  • I'm a professional. I should be able to handle everything on my own.
    As a professional, you handle a lot. You often share in carrying the burdens of others. It is common for people in professional occupations to experience times of feeling like they can not possible take on another task, dread going to work in a profession they value, wondering if they can keep going, feeling like everyone (at home and work) wants something from them, thinking it's impossible to manage everything they're being asked to do. You might think the last thing you need is another appointment. A therapy appointment might be the first thing you need! Taking care of yourself is critical. As professionals ourselves, we understand the risks of burnout, the importance of keeping a balance in our lives, and how this sometimes seems impossible. It is likely that we have shared similar experiences. Therapy can help you to become more centered and feel less stressed. You will learn to not judge yourself and to enjoy your life and your profession more.
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