Common Questions

Common Questions2023-02-23T14:30:51-08:00
What does “short-term” mean when it comes to therapy and in what ways does Focus on Change differ from other approaches?2023-03-03T15:03:37-08:00

The words “short-term” have to do with the focus of treatment as well as the number of sessions used to achieve desired goals. Since this approach is not devoted to finding out why you became stuck, less time is spent examining your past. The work is more about present goals and how to have your commitments reflect your deeper values.

Five sessions are generally recommended. These sessions are designed to form the basis of your independent work. Follow up sessions are available if you choose to do additional work on specific skills.

What can I expect from these sessions?2023-02-23T14:32:38-08:00

These sessions form the basis of your on-going independent work. How, when and in what ways you find yourself falling short of where you want to be in life will be fully examined in our first meeting. What you truly value will also be explored with the goal of creating your own “mission statement.”

With a clearer mission in life it becomes easier to establish specific goals and commitments out of which come new habits and behaviors. The thoughts and emotions that may at times get in the way of sustaining your momentum will be explored in depth and you will be offered helpful techniques to address this aspect of your work.

Briefly, this is what will be covered in these sessions:

Examining where you see yourself as stuck.
Reconnecting with your values.
Establishing goals and commitments.
Working with difficult thoughts and emotions.
Developing specific skills to sustain your momentum.

What are some new skills that I can expect to learn?2023-02-23T14:26:43-08:00

Focus on Change draws from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, an evidence based form of treatment with solid research to demonstrate its effectiveness. One skill that will be developed is called the “Choice Point,” a simple but powerful tool that can help you to see whether you are moving toward or away from your goals and when you are becoming “hooked” by your thoughts and emotions. Another skill involves learning to “pivot” towards what matters – a part of your increased emotional flexibility that will allow you to better deal with challenging thoughts and feelings as they arise.

Focus on Change is obviously a very practical therapy. Does it also contain within it any elements of mindfulness and spirituality?2023-02-23T14:27:39-08:00

Mindfulness is a key component of Focus on Change as is staying in contact with the present moment. Since the mindfulness skills you will learn are connected to your values and goals we might call this type of work “applied mindfulness.” Although Focus on Change is primarily a skills based approach to change, developing the qualities of awareness and self-observation will help you avoid getting stuck in thoughts that are counterproductive to your commitments and goals.

For some, meditation has proven helpful in achieving mental and emotional flexibility. Help is offered to those interested in creating a daily meditation practice. The development of self-compassion is another important aspect of Focus on Change, along with the willingness to face challenges as they arise.

What can I expect to come away with from five sessions of Focus on Change?2023-03-02T13:05:56-08:00

At the end of five sessions you will have been offered a number of tools that can start you on a path toward lasting change. The following are some takeaways that you can expect from these sessions:

  • A greater understanding and insight into the ways that you see yourself as stuck.
  • A new and revitalized mission statement that affirms your deepest values.
  • The creation of specific goals and commitments based on your chosen values.
  • The acquisition of new psychological tools, one being the “choice point,” to measure whether you are moving towards or away from your goals and commitments throughout the day.
  • Techniques to help you accept difficult feelings and sensations.
  • A practical approach for reframing and defusing negative thoughts.
  • Methods to help you to be a better witness to what you are doing, feeling and thinking throughout your day.

Overall, you will have started on a path that will help you to compassionately apply these kinds of mindfulness skills to living out your values and achieving your goals.