Treatment Philosophy/ Modality
Our treatment philosophy starts with the values that are significant in therapeutic relationships. We believe in the dignity and worth of the person as well as their right to self-determination. ASANTE honors and respects the uniqueness of each individual, who may come from a different culture, religion, sexual orientation and/or social/economic background. ASANTE utilizes strength-based practice approach, which is designed to change the focus from deficit, problems and pathology to strengths and positive factors likely resolve the current challenge. This approach recognizes that each person has their own set of strengths and difficulties. Therefore, we actively engage each person to develop an individualized treatment plan. Only evidenced based treatment that are culturally appropriate, are utilized.
Our treatment modality is primarily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is based on the notion that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors; not external things like people, situations, and events. The benefit of CBT modality is that we can change the way we think in order to feel/act differently, even if the situation does not change. Used properly, CBT aims to influence dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and thoughts. In a systematic goal-oriented treatment process, our clinicians aim to address a myriad of psychosocial issues in the individual, group, and self-help settings using CBT. There are other multiple therapeutic approaches that have CBT as the theoretical foundation, including but not limited to: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy and Dialectic Behavior Therapy. ASANTE clinicians are able to utilize the different approaches to combine two very effective treatment focuses:
- Cognition - highlights those certain thinking patterns, which can cause various symptoms to give a distorted picture of reality in one's life and possibly make them feel anxious, depressed or angry or provoke a person into making poor choices, and
- Behavior - directs a client toward identification and utilization of healthy coping skills, e.g., communication and problem solving techniques.
In the use of these techniques, the clinician can teach clients to practice incorporating healthy thoughts and behaviors, calm the mind and body, and reduce stress resulting in the client’s ability to make healthier choices. In addition, clinicians may utilize comprehensive evidence based treatment models, which incorporate the use of elements from both the child advocacy and family system approach of treatment. These approaches treat all members of the family as is possible while addressing all levels of vulnerabilities of abuse/neglect. For example, the essential goal of any family sex abuse treatment is the immediate cessation of all forms of abuse within the family. This treatment goal would take precedence over all others and often determine the structure of therapy and the timing of interventions. The goal here is to reduce the family’s vulnerabilities to abuse so that there is little if any likelihood of future abuse in the family. In this process, the family learns to recognize the repetitive and dysfunctional patterns that might characterize their family and which may make them more vulnerable to abuse. Once these are recognized, the family learns ways to disrupt these patterns and establish new, healthier interactions.
In this treatment phase, families and their members are seen as competent, complex, human beings rather than as mere “labels,” such as “offender” or “victim.” The interventions are framed in a strength-based, resiliency manner. Family members are encouraged to engage in behaviors which build on their strengths and interests, and at the same time preclude abuse. The clinician ensures a consistent and specific focus on safety is maintained through the establishment of strong and appropriate boundaries, which produce a sense of safety for the child victim and family.
The CBT treatment philosophy is based on the following principles:
- Cognitive Model of Emotional Response - based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external situations or events. Therefore, treatment goal is to change the way the client thinks, feels or acts even if the client’s situation or event does not change.
- Brief and time-limited sessions – clients understand at the very beginning of the therapy process that therapy is not an open-ended, never-ending process. The decision to end the therapy is made by the clinician and the client.
- Building of sound therapeutic relationships – The clinician aims to build a trusting relationship with their client in order to build a climate for change. The client may then focus on learning the skills
- Collaboration between the clinician and the client – The clinician seeks to learn what the client wants out of life (their goals) and then help them achieve those goals. The Clinician listens, teaches, and encourages, while the client learns to express concerns and implement what they have learned.
- Not telling the client how they should feel – Most of our clients seek therapy because they do not want to feel the way they are feeling. The Clinician teaches the client how to more calmly accept and process the experience. This may put the client in a better position to make use of their intelligence, knowledge, energy, and resources to resolve their problem.
- The Socratic Method - The clinician aims to gain a good understanding of the client’s concerns. The clinician asks a lot of questions and encourages the client to ask questions, like, "How do I really know that those people are laughing at me?" "Could they be laughing about something else?"
- Structured and directive interactions - The clinician does not tell the client what to do; rather, they teach their client how to do.
- Teaching models - The Clinician believes the client understands how and why they are doing well; and that the client will know what to do to continue doing well.
- Inductive method - The Clinician encourages the client to examine their thoughts as being hypotheses or guesses that can be questioned and tested. If the hypotheses are incorrect (because we have new information), then the solution can be aligned with how things really are/
- Homework assignments. Goal achievement (if obtained) can take a very long time if the person only thinks about the techniques and topics taught in the one hour session per week. How much change can happen in twelve (12) or event Twenty-four (24) hours? That is why the Clinicians assigns reading and other assignments and encourage clients to practice the techniques learned.