We provide both long-term psychotherapy as well as shorter-term counseling. New Perspectives therapists are experienced Interns, registered by the State of California, supervised by licensed clinicians. (For more about our counselors click here.)
Mindfulness is a unifying principle of the therapy approaches offered at NPCC. Mindfulness is an attitude and a practice that helps people to pay attention to the present moment in an intentional and nonjudgmental way. Extensive research has proven the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing stress and anxiety. Cutting-edge therapeutic approaches such as DBT and Hakomi use mindfulness as a cornerstone of their theory and method.
Working from this foundation, at NPCC counselors learn to integrate the traditional insight-oriented approach of psychodynamic therapy with skills-based orientations such as CBT and DBT, as well as the body-centered work of somatic therapy and the symbolic work of expressive arts therapy. Some of our counselors are also trained in EMDR, a mind/body method of working with trauma. Many of the counselors at NPCC explore transpersonal, or spiritual, perspectives in their own personal development and are available to explore these dimensions with clients, if desired.
Our therapeutic philosophy is both solution-focused and depth-oriented. NPCC counselors are trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities. Here’s a list of some of the approaches used at NPCC.
Traditional Insight-Oriented Therapy
Insight-oriented psychotherapy is what most of us might think of as “talk” therapy. As you talk about life events, desires, and past and current relationships, your therapist empathically listens and observes patterns in thinking. Your therapist interprets those patterns to help you to notice unconscious conflicts that affect your mood and how you experience life. With insight-oriented therapy, you and your therapist examine painful thoughts or emotions about the past and how they relate to your current distress. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is the form of insight-oriented therapy practiced at New Perspectives Center for Counseling. Most psychotherapies draw on some form of insight-oriented therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented, present focused therapy that teaches a client how emotions, behaviors and cognitions can create distress. CBT uses a skills-based, systematic process that helps you to overcome symptoms and improve functioning. “CBT” is used in diverse ways to designate behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to refer to therapy based on a combination of behavioral and cognitive research, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating and substance abuse disorders. Using CBT approaches, you and your therapist will track your emotions and thoughts and to notice how your thoughts “create” your emotions. CBT will help you to begin to differentiate thoughts from facts, to generate thoughts that are more accurate and to practice new behaviors that can lead to a lessening of negative, destructive moods and an increase in joy and fulfillment.
Somatic psychotherapy combines traditional psychotherapy (talk therapy, insight, and interpretation) with the study of how life experience is “embodied.” With somatic psychotherapies, feeling, sensation, expression and movement are observed and explored as a means to healing. Using a somatic approach, you and your therapist may explore sensations, gestures, posture, movement, and breath, noticing how each experience affects you. Somatic psychotherapists help you to notice, for instance, how traumatic experiences remain in the body. The Somatic psychotherapy practitioners at NPCC do not touch their clients but guide their clients in an exploration of the nature and extent of the physical dysregulation that is harbored in the body after trauma or other powerful life experience.
The Hakomi Method
Hakomi is a body-centered, somatic, psychotherapy using felt experience as an access route to “core material.” With Hakomi, unconscious material is elicited through somatic experiments. Mindfulness is a core part of what is taught in the training program at NPCC. Using the Hakomi Method, an entire session is conducted “in mindfulness,” meaning that the present moment is what is studied. This means that your therapist works with you to gently observe your experience as it happens. A Hakomi therapist not only observes present experience but also evokes present experiences, using gentle “experiments” with habitual tension or movement patterns. The Hakomi Method is influenced by humanistic therapy approaches such as Gestalt therapy and by Buddhist meditation traditions as well as by Feldenkrais, Focusing and Ericksonian Hypnosis as well as by the work of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen.
Hakomi Institute of California
Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy seeks to allow a client access to unconscious emotional experience through the use of visual arts (e.g., painting, drawing, collage), writing, movement, drama or music. Many therapists at NPCC use Expressive Arts Therapies as an adjunct to other therapy work. Other practitioners at NPCC use the Expressive Arts as a core part of the way they work with clients. The expressive arts become a means to explore and transform emotional and psychological issues, identify hopes, goals and strengths.
DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a treatment for severe emotional dysregulation, for example, dual diagnoses, PTSD, eating disorders and severe mood disorders (Bi-polar disorders, major depression and anxiety). Clients with these disorders often experience great suffering as they try to manage the emotional and relational crises of their lives. DBT teaches essential behavioral coping skills which help to reduce that suffering. While DBT is most often associated with the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT skills and concepts can also be very useful to in the treatment of “ordinary” life problems. DBT emphasizes acceptance and change (a “dialectic”). In other words, your DBT therapist respects that your feelings and actions are understandable and valid while coaching you to change unhealthy or dysfunctional behavior. DBT asks both patient and therapist to find a balance between accepting reality as it is, and maintaining a strong commitment to change. DBT uses a combination of individual therapy and a “DBT Skills Training” group. Many of the therapists at NPCC do “DBT informed” psychotherapy, supporting your work in a skills training group, validating your experience, and helping you to change behavior that creates suffering in your life. See our Group Therapy page for more information.
EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment most often used to resolve the effects of memories of traumatic events. “Bilateral sensory stimulation,” produced through eye movements or alternating taps or tones, is used to process distressing memories, in order to reduce their influence and to help you to develop better coping mechanisms. EMDR can often quickly reduce the effects of recent trauma and can also be integrated with other psychotherapies to treat PTSD and to resolve anxiety. EMDR is a process of “neural integration.”
Many of the therapists at NPCC are interested in studying what is referred to as the “transpersonal.” Transpersonal psychology recognizes and integrates spiritual states of consciousness into psychotherapy. Spiritual states of consciousness can include spiritual self-development, “peak experiences,” mystical experiences and other unusually experiences of living. Carl Jung, for example, explored aspects of the spiritual and transpersonal in his work. Your NPCC therapist will respect these sorts of experiences as part of your life and encourage your exploration of the transpersonal if you need or desire that exploration to be included in your psychotherapy.