Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is an approach to psychotherapy that focuses primarily on how thoughts, behaviors, and emotions interact and affect one another. CBT is very present focused: “What symptoms am I experiencing right now?”, “How does the way I think about situations affect how I feel about them?”, “How can I change the way I think or interact in certain situations to improve the way I cope with them?”

There are many different techniques that are used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These may include exploring how you think about the world around you; keeping a journal about your symptoms, feelings, thoughts, or behavior; learning relaxation techniques; changing your behaviors (exercise, diet, smoking, etc.); or identifying anxiety-producing thoughts or situations and slowly exposing yourself to them until they no longer make you anxious. The type of techniques used would depend on what symptoms you are experiencing and what is most effective for you.

Relaxation Training and Therapy:

Relaxation training refers to multiple techniques that are used to help you decrease your stress or anxiety levels. This may include breathing techniques, guided imagery, muscle relaxation techniques, meditation, or changes in your daily life that help to decrease your overall stress. Relaxation training can be done on its own or aided by using hypnosis or biofeedback. Relaxation training can be used to increase general well-being and health to help cope with anxiety, anger issues, and depression, or to decrease symptoms of stress-related illness, muscle tension, and chronic pain.

Mindfulness Therapy Techniques:

The term mindfulness originated in the teachings of Buddhist meditation but has also been a common concept in psychology since the 1970’s. Therapeutic approaches involving it are sometimes referred to as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness refers to a process of being in the moment, in a present-centered, non-judgmental state of mental awareness. In psychotherapy this concept is used to help people become more aware of what they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing without judging or getting caught in the past or the future. This can lead to a much fuller life experience with less anxiety and negative preoccupations.

Biofeedback Treatment Techniques:

Biofeedback is a treatment technique which uses information gathered by a sensor or computer about what is happening in your body. This digital information is used to help you become more aware of how different levels of stress and emotions can affect your body’s functioning. When you are more aware of what is happening in your body, you can also learn to have more voluntary control over these reactions. Relaxation techniques can be used to decrease negative physiological reactions to stress and emotions, and learning to make these changes is aided by being able to witness the differences on the biofeedback monitor.

Biofeedback equipment can gather many different kinds of physical data including breathing, heart rate, temperature, blood flow, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Dr. Sara Acker Leo uses equipment that primarily focuses on blood flow, temperature, breathing, and heart rate to obtain the best picture of how stress is affecting your body. Biofeedback can be used to aid in the treatment of a variety of conditions including anxiety, chronic pain conditions, migraines, tension headaches, TMJ, high blood pressure, tachycardia, digestive problems including IBS, Raynaud’s disease and other circulatory problems, as well as other stress-related issues.