Our therapists use a variety of research-supported techniques when working with clients. Below you will see brief explanations about some of them, as well as links to further information if you are interested.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

 This approach focuses on changing thoughts (e.g., "other people are untrustworthy" might shift to "some people can be trusted,") and behaviours (for example, going to bed when feeling overwhelmed may change to calling a friend to discuss the problem) to change emotions and to improve coping. Some techniques used in this approach include checking the objective evidence for a belief, or trying a behavioural experiment to see which strategies might be more effective in moving towards a concrete goal, such as reducing the number of panic attacks in a week. The therapist and client work together to identify goals and design ways to move towards them. This approach is particularly effective for anxiety and pain management, and there is also good evidence for its use with other problems such as depression and stress management. Here's a cartoon example of CBT too.

Observed and Experiential Integration (OEI)

This is a treatment approach that integrates talking through the experiences of trauma with physical movements to decrease emotional intensity and allow the brain to make sense of the confusing sensory, physical, emotional and cognitive experiences associated with trauma. It is a very gentle approach in which the therapist asks the client to cover and uncover one eye at a time, and follow the therapist`s finger. The eye movements result in integrating or resolving trauma, and reducing the intensity of bodily sensations and emotions associated with the traumatic experience.

Sand tray therapy

This method is used both with adults and children, particularly those who have experienced trauma. Sand tray work provides a spontaneous and imaginative expression of the inner world of a child, youth, or adult in a sand box, using miniature figurines and objects (people, houses, animals). Being able to express psychological distress in a defined space enables clients to tell their story, express emotions, and gain insights in ways that promote healing and change. This can be particularly useful for those who express themselves more comfortably in non-verbal ways. Here's a video example with an adult client.

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)

This approach is typically used in couples and relationship therapy, as well as with children and adults, and focuses on the emotional bonds between family members. If the bond is damaged, for example, by a betrayal of some kind or misunderstanding, a relationship tends to become bogged down in miscommunication and mistrust, and further hurts continue to accumulate. Focusing on healing the bond through gentle and supportive discussion of past events, as well as identifying each partners' individual needs and discussing ways to meet these that will foster closeness, are some ways in which EFT may be used to improve relationships. Also, here's a link to a Youtube video for a brief demonstration of the technique by the woman who developed it, Dr. Sue Johnson.

Gottman Couples Therapy

This treatment style is based on the relationship research of Drs. Julie and John Gottman, who have identified a number of ways in which couples can develop maladaptive relationship patterns. For example, hostility and withdrawal are two interaction types that have strong negative effects on the health and happiness of relationships. Using this information, the therapist works with the couple to identify which issues are affecting their relationship, and develop ways to shift these patterns into healthier communication and connection. Here's Dr. John Gottman talking about this therapy approach.