I practice a form of contemporary cognitive and behavioral therapy, meaning that I coherently integrate processes and techniques originating from the greater family of behavioral therapies, based on the precise needs of each one of my specific clients.

What is a cognitive and/or behavioral approach?

The cognitive and behavioral approach is a current in psychotherapy that puts special emphasis on the scientific validation of psychotherapeutic interventions. Most therapeutic approaches in the cognitive and behavioral family are scientifically validated, which means that many studies demonstrate their effectiveness in helping individuals recover from various conditions.

This approach is also based on data originating in experimental psychology, mostly from the domains of behavior and learning, in humans and animals. Various universal principles, such as conditioning (respondent or operant), extinction, habituation, vicarious learning and others form the basis of interventions made within the context of this approach.

Cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy puts major emphasis on current (here-and-now) problems, while recognizing the importance of an individual’s past in the origin of their actual difficulties. Generally, the first few sessions in therapy aim at stabilizing the client’s state by addressing current factors causing daily suffering in the client. If need be, later in therapy, work on past origins of problems are then addressed.

Another particular aspect of cognitive and behavioral therapy is that it usually is time-limited. Although the duration of therapy can be highly variable between clients, establishing clear treatment objectives early on generally allows to limit the duration of psychotherapy.

Finally, over the course of cognitive and behavioral inspired treatments, the following three elements will usually be addressed :

  • 1. The person’s inner speech (thoughts, worries, ruminations, memories, obsessions, apprehensions, etc.), which appear to keep one from moving towards a valued life.
  • 2. Difficult emotions (anxiety, sadness, shame, shyness, anger, guilt, etc.) which are hard to tolerate and often engender chronic avoidance behaviors or some forms of impulsivity.
  • 3. Problem behaviors (automatisms, reflexes, impulsivity, inappropriate reactions, avoidance, excessive confronting, etc.) which interfere in the person’s family, professional, academic, health, sexual, social (or other) functioning.
  • What treatment modalities are used at Psychologie Déploiement?

  • “Classic” Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy
    (also known as CBT or 1st and 2nd wave CBT)
  • Classic CBT is an approach which puts special emphasis on thoughts and behaviors. In that type of therapy, one will point errors in a person’s logical reasoning in order to modify them. Problem solving strategies or other skills (such as communication skills) may be learned, sometimes via roleplaying exercises.

    Other techniques, such as gradual exposure, will be used to help clients develop a higher tolerance for anxiety. Behavioral activation will help improve the state of a client presenting symptoms of depression. Precise treatment protocols allow therapists to address many problems with this approach, such as insomnia, phobias (related to animals, insects, heights, places, crowds, means of transportation, blood, injections) and panic attacks.

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
    (ACT or 3rd wave CBT)
  • ACT is a modality that aims at developing a person’s psychological flexibility, in order to help them live a richer, more valued life. This approach grants more importance to emotions in treatment and proposes an innovative way of working the inner speech (or mental activity) of clients. It is an approach that fosters present-moment awareness as well as perspective taking in various contexts within the genesis and resolution of a person’s various problems.

    Because of the importance granted to psychological flexibility in this approach, it is a form of therapy which allows for the integrated use of various techniques, sometimes originating in other therapies, as long as they allow to augment the client’s psychological flexibility. The underlying philosophy of ACT usually is one that helps me integrate the various interventions I carry out over the course of psychotherapy.

  • Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)
  • FAP (yeah, the first time, I snickered too) is an approach that makes extensive use of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. In this type of therapy, therapist and client target specific client behaviors which help the latter improve and attempt to reinforce them. Then, they target client behaviors that hinder the client’s improvement and attempt to reduce the rate of emission of those behaviors, by ceasing to reinforce (or, rather, by extinguishing) them. The therapist’s behaviors are also included in this analysis, as he is not seen here as an absolute expert or a great specialist, but rather as a peer who experiments with the client in order to help them improve their condition.

    FAP focuses first and foremost on interactions between client and therapist within the sessions. It considers sessions as a laboratory for interpersonal experiencing, a sort of safe haven. When experiments lead to beneficial results, the client is encouraged to attempt to experiment outside of sessions. Three essential elements are promoted over the course of a FAP therapy: awareness (of oneself, one’s emotions and the effects of one’s behaviors), courage (behaving toward what really matters, regardless of the challenges, hardships and suffering), and love (of oneself and others).

  • Schema Therapy
  • Schema therapy is an integrative approach that combines elements from cognitive and behavioral, psychodynamic and gestalt therapies, as well as attachment theory. Compared to other behaviorally oriented therapies, schema therapy grants past conflicts greater importance in the content of sessions, although the crux of the work in treatment remains centered on actual difficulties. In a schema therapy, the first step consists in identifying the early maladaptive schemas of a client. These represent several forms of maladaptive cognitive (perception of self and the world), behavioral and emotional reactions which will be activated in response to a particular issue (abandonment, emotional deprivation, abuse, failure, etc.). These themes are often related to unfulfilled affective needs, going back in the client’s childhood or adolescence.

    Also the focus of treatment are schema modes and coping styles, rigid and problematic reactions that are related to schemas. The goal in treatment is to soften these reactions. The objective of schema therapy usually is to help the client find optimal ways of reacting toward others in order to fulfill their psychological needs. It is often recommended that clients obtain and read the book Reinventing your life, by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko, in parallel with the psychological treatment.

  • Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
  • CFT is a form of therapy that integrates elements from cognitive behavioral therapy, while adding compassion training, for oneself as well as for others. By helping clients develop aptitudes and attributes related to compassion, therapists seek to help them change the way they relate to their own anxiety, shame, anger and self-depreciating tendencies. This is meant to allow clients to establish kinder and warmer relationships with themselves and others.

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic style that aims at helping ambivalent individuals make a choice when it is difficult to move forward or improve one’s conditions. It is an approach that allows the therapist to help clients explore all facets of each option in order to augment one’s will to change and their aptitude to do so. Therapists attempt not to impose their opinion unto clients within this approach. It is frequently used in the treatment of addictions (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, video games), as well as for people with eating disorders and in couples therapy.