I have been trained in cognitive psychology and use this approach in my work with individuals, couples and families. I am interested in how individuals “form and maintain” attitudes about themselves (often referred to as the self narrative) and important relationships and events. I focus on whether these narratives are adaptive or maladaptive.
Therapy is often about re-interpreting events in more productive and useful ways. Therapy also involves counteracting negative messages which are self-limiting and keep people stuck in emotional conflict or ineffective behaviors. In my view, the goal of therapy is to provide intermittent assistance so individuals can reduce conflict generated affect, think more clearly, and behave more effectively. When we create more precise thinking about ourselves, events and the people who are important to us, we are more effective and happier.
In couples therapy, the focus is on the attitudes formed by each partner concerning the relationship. The goal is to improve communication and develop more adaptive ways of thinking about and having the relationship which benefits both partners.
Perhaps the greatest advancement in psychology in the past fifty years is our understanding of human behavior as taking place in context. Family therapy addresses the interplay between family member ideas about each other and subsequent dis-satisfactions based on those attitudes and resultant behaviors. As in individual and couples therapy, the goal is always to develop more adaptive narratives about self and others.