Patricia Coughlin, Ph.D., is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 35 years of clinical experience.
We seek to create a safe but challenging environment, in which patients are willing to abandon outmoded avoidant strategies and open up to the possibility of intimacy with self and other, by experiencing and revealing their deepest thoughts and feelings.
We use effective techniques that flow from, and are internally consistent with theory, and are supported by scientific research. In particular, we have created a treatment model and method of teaching that is alignment with the most recent neuroscientific findings on how the adult brain changes. In order to facilitate new learning and lasting change, we incorporate the following:
Maintain a high level of focus
Develop an atmosphere of trust by displaying skill and competence and being a resource for patients and students
Build a collaborative alliance in which both participants give 100% of their effort to the task
Facilitate intense involvement, in which multiple modes of experience (cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal) are facilitated and integrated
Keep anxiety and stress in the moderate range, alternating with periods of calm consolidation
Encourage profound moments of meeting by encouraging the removal of barriers to intimacy and closeness
Develop meaning and a coherent life narrative
The therapist is an engaged and authentic presence. We do our best to be the change we seek to create. The atmosphere in both therapy and teaching is one of compassion, respect, and commitment to meeting or exceeding the needs and goals of both patients and trainees. We treat and teach the whole person, not just their problems.
By helping others to relinquish limiting and self-defeating habits, obstacles to their growth are removed. We seek to move beyond the removal of symptoms and suffering, to the development of health, vitality and well-being.
We seek to replace despair with hope, stagnation with growth, and isolation with engagement. The ultimate goal is that each individual becomes their true and authentic self, free to contribute their unique gifts to the world.
ISTDP is an empirically supported treatment for a wide range of psychological disorders, including anxiety, panic attacks, depression, OCD, personality disorders, conversion disorder, chronic pain, and unexplained medical symptoms. For those interested in examining the research results directly, follow the link to the Center for Emotions and Health (medicine.dal.ca). For those particularly interested in understanding the relationship between suppressed emotions and chronic pain, visit unlearnyourpain.com.