I believe that a therapist’s strength lies in an ability to tailor his or her approach to the needs of each patient. Some people need help with specific problems (e.g., a fear of heights or a tendency to procrastinate), while others look for a broader change. It could be that a more focused problem is successfully addressed in just a few sessions. A deeper change, on the other hand, may only be achieved through systematic reflection and introspection, in a concerted effort to gain insight into one’s being, which, needless to say, takes a while. The length and depth of treatment, therefore, depend entirely on the severity of the symptoms or the individual goals of each patient. I try to recognize these distinctions and be flexible in my work.
With patients who suffer from such problems as acute anxiety, panic, or a phobia, I may use a combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness practices. To help those whose problems are broader in nature or affect more areas of their daily life, I might draw on insight-oriented and/or existential approaches to therapy. Most often, elements of different theoretical frameworks can be successfully combined in psychotherapy. Regardless of the issues we work on, however, I encourage all my patients to make meditation an essential part of their lives and share what I know about various meditation techniques. Ultimately, meditation is one of the best ways to overcome not just anxiety or depression, but to cultivate wholeness in both body and mind.