At the Integrative Therapy Institute we recognize that people usually come to therapy because they are unhappy, and so we see our job as helping them find a pathway to happiness. Psychotherapy has existed for over a century now, and during that time many treatment approaches have been developed based on different ideas about the underlying source of human unhappiness. We believe that unhappiness can have different causes, and so we have integrated elements of well-known psychotherapies into a flexible approach that feels to the client like a normal conversation.
Unhappiness, in our view, can stem from blocked emotions, traumatic past experiences, negatively distorted thoughts, or bad life circumstances. (Of course it may also involve a chemical imbalance, in which case we refer clients to a psychiatrist for co-treatment.)
With blocked emotions and past trauma we employ psychodynamic strategies, focusing on allowing the client full expression of feeling. We do this by listening, reflecting, supporting, and interpreting as the client gradually achieves insight, a fuller range of emotion, and mastery of traumatic memories. With negatively distorted thoughts we employ cognitive-behavioral interventions, challenging the cognitive distortions and clarifying to the client that these distorted thoughts are untrue and the misery that stems from them is unnecessary. With bad life circumstances we take a counseling approach, clearly identifying the life problems faced by the client, brainstorming and advising on ways to solve them, and also working with the client on any skill deficits that are part of the problems.
At ITI-NJ we also realize that these different causes of unhappiness are usually present to some degree in everyone, and that they are often interrelated. Blocked emotions or trauma can cause negatively distorted thoughts, which can cause poor life decisions, which can cause bad life circumstances. We seek to make each client aware of how all these factors relate, and on the need to work on the entire pattern as part of building his or her pathway to happiness.
We have found that the best way to integrate these
different techniques is to use them within the context of a
naturalistic conversation. We try to be friendly, open, helpful, and relaxed, while at the same time adhering to high standards of professionalism and competence. In the early days of therapy a psychoanalytic model was favored that prescribed very rigid rules for the conduct of therapy, with the therapist being remote, detached, and most of the time silent. We feel that this may have been appropriate for the cultural milieu of a century ago, but is inappropriate today. We answer questions, laugh at jokes, and tell you what we really think. Therapy sessions can be comforting or exhilarating, they can be very hard work, and sometimes they can even be funny. They should not feel like a weekly root canal, and with us they usually don’t.
Your pathway to happiness involves learning how be happy and practicing it. This may include painful memories and difficult realizations, but more often it will be about recognizing your strengths and using them.
Thomas B. Hollenbach, Ph.D.
For the individual seeking counseling or therapy, the Integrative Therapy Institute of New Jersey has two offices, one in Metuchen in Middlesex County, and the other in Montclair in Essex County. Our Metuchen office is convenient to the Middlesex County towns of Edison, Woodbridge, South Plainfield, Piscataway, Highland Park, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Sayreville, Dunellen, and Middlesex. For residents of Union County, the Metuchen office is near to the towns of Scotch Plains, Clark, Westfield, Plainfield, Garwood, and Fanwood. For residents of Somerset County we are near to the towns of North Plainfield, Green Brook, Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, Bridgewater, and Franklin, New Jersey.
Our Montclair office is convenient to the Essex County towns of Glen Ridge, Cedar Grove, Verona, Essex Fells, Bloomfield, Nutley, Caldwell, North Caldwell, and West Caldwell. Slightly farther away are Fairfield, Roseland, Livingston, Milburn, Orange, East Orange, and South Orange. For residents of Passaic County, we are near to the towns of Clifton, Little Falls, Woodland Park, and Totowa, New Jersey.
Integrative Therapy Institute of New Jersey, LLC • Copyright © 2013-2018 • Administrative Office in Metuchen, New Jersey