Pamela MacDonald

Licensed Psychologist

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

My primary approach to therapy is Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The reason I most often choose this approach is because so many issues are caused by, and can be improved by, thought patterns and tendencies. You can't always change the situation(s), but you can change how you think about it. CBT usually includes homework, to identify problematic tendencies in your through patterns, and to introduce and practice new and healthier thoughts. As there is a connection between thoughts and feelings, this also helps to improve your emotions. 

Client-Centered Therapy

The three hallmarks of Client-centered therapy are empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard. I draw upon these client-centered therapy techniques no matter which other strategies or exercises I use with clients, because I believe the therapeutic relationship is important. In fact, it is one of the most important aspects of therapy. For a client to feel comfortable enough to open up, they have to know that they are not being judged, that they are regarded positively and valued by the Psychologist no matter what mistakes they have made, or thoughts they have had. This is something I truly believe, and do my best to show clients this in session. They also need to get a sense that the Psychologist is being genuine in order to trust that the positive regard is true, and therefore, I try to always be real and honest with my clients. And finally, to offer the most assistance possible, I have to understand what clients are going through, and how they feel, seeing things from their perspectives as much as possible. I do my best to foster this kind of understanding and open therapeutic relationship, no matter what the issue, or what other approaches are being utilized.

Other Approaches

I draw on strategies from some different approaches, as appropriate for each client. Other approaches I often use include solution-focused, which can include setting positive goals and behavior changes, motivational interviewing, which can help clients explore ambivalence with regard to change, and existentialism, which can include exploration of life's meaning and purpose. As these approaches are not my primary, they are often used in conjunction with CBT and/or each other. I try to remain flexible to clients' needs, and adjust strategies as appropriate, and on an individual basis.