I have been influenced and gained valuable experience from working alongside many talented people in the behavior health field throughout by career including innovative psychologists who taught me how to understand and appreciate the “patients” with mental illnesses as well as ways to help them learn. I have also worked with and learned from psychiatrists who want to listen to their clients not just prescribe them medications. I like the concept of “recovery” from psychiatric issues as well as the more common idea referring to individuals with substance use issues. However, “recovery” is a meaningful concept for all of us.
The greatest inspiration for me has been the work of Dr. Marsha Linehan, who created, developed, and extensively researched Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Her approach provides skills and concepts to improve our relationships, teach us how to tolerate distressing experiences of life, and to improve our ability to regulate our emotions. My work has also been guided by social and developmental psychology as well as other cognitive behavioral approaches.
Also influential for me has been the recent focus in the behavioral health field on the effects of traumatic experiences on individuals. This is a welcomed change. Long ago my professional experience taught me that a variety of experiences have a traumatic impact on individuals. Those experiences can include all types of abuse, physical, sexual, and emotional as well as difficulties with attaching to parents or growing up in invalidating environments. Trauma is defined as being exposed to natural disasters, war, violence, incest or witnessing others being traumatized. Recovery from these types of issues is possible. Recently I have had training in EMDR and incorporate this approach for recovery from traumatic experiences.