“Some day is made up of a thousand tiny nows”
My typical approach to therapy is to help kids and teens understand how feelings, thoughts, and behaviour operate in their lives and in all situations. Core messages related to RESILIENCE and AUTHENTICITY are almost always discussed, in addition to whatever key concern has brought a child or teen to therapy. I teach these concepts to all of my clients, but the way I deliver the messages changes depending on the age and development of who I am working with. Whether it’s through playing games, or working on arts and crafts projects, or just an honest conversation about what has been happening, I work with children and teens to help them develop and solidify concrete ways to use these kinds of skills and strategies in everyday life.
You will likely discover pretty quickly that my artistic skills are fairly dismal, and my clients often chuckle at some of the “works of art” I send home with them for reminders. However, I feel it’s important to create individualized projects with pictures and concepts that are meaningful for each person rather than photocopying much “prettier” hand-outs from a manual.
Finally, I believe in a family-focused model of treatment. Because the individual child or teen that I work with is part of a larger family unit, I feel it’s important to involve parents in the work that we are doing. My treatment sessions usually start with a brief parent discussion to give me a sense of what has been happening recently and to identify parent goals. I then meet individually with the child or teen to discuss situations and teach skills. Near the end of the meeting, I will often invite a parent back in to join us to discuss some of the key points and strategies that we have been working on in session. I see my role in therapy as being like the coach of a football team. The parent is the quarterback who calls and implements the plays on the field, and the child or teen is like the receiver who runs the plays and scores the touchdowns. We must all work together as a team to be successful.
General Approach to Therapy
In her approach to therapy, Dr. Kincade draws on different therapeutic models to understand people and some of the challenges that they are facing. Most commonly, Dr. Kincade uses short-term, solution-focused techniques with the greatest amount of scientifically researched, evidence-based support. By using methods that are proven through rigorous scientific research to be effective, Dr. Kincade is able to work with her clients to achieve efficient and long-lasting results.
Dr. Kincade typically uses a flexible style of therapy that reflects a combination of cognitive and behavioural approaches with integration of mindfulness techniques. She most frequently uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approaches in her work with clients. ACT has considerable empirical support for its effectiveness in the treatment of a number of different psychological and emotional challenges. ACT is considered one of the “third wave” or newer approaches to traditional Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
ACT involves using of a variety of mindfulness techniques to help us become more aware of the present moment and to reduce our tendencies to get “caught up” with thoughts about painful events from our past or situations we may fear (and try to avoid) in our future. By staying in the present moment, we can allow ourselves to experience difficult emotions rather than avoid them. This approach recognizes that most of our psychological and emotional suffering stems from a desire to avoid past or anticipated anxiety or pain. Dr. Kincade uses this technique to help people move away from engaging in a pattern of perpetual avoidance behaviours. Instead, ACT techniques help to move individuals toward incorporating specific types of behaviours that emphasize active, practical ways to achieve goals that meet your values and build the life that matters to you. Developing flexibility in your choices and resilience in the face of difficult emotions and troubling thoughts are key goals of ACT approaches.
The types of approaches used in therapy tend to focus on examining and understanding some of the thoughts and beliefs that accompany difficult emotions. This same type of approach can uncover how these thoughts and feelings impact our behaviour choices. By gaining insight and awareness into the processes that trigger an “automatic pilot” mode, we can start to become more aware and mindful of our habitual thinking and feeling patterns and we can then start to actively and intentionally choose different behaviours to meet our valued goals.