Welcome To My Practice

Welcome to my practice! I am a licensed psychologist, specializing in anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders, while also treating a broad range of problematic issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, low self-esteem, self-injurious behaviors, and relationship distress.

One of the questions I commonly encounter in my work with clients is, “how is talking about my problems going to fix anything?”  This is such an unfortunate misperception, as brain science now provides scientific evidence to support what was once just experienced by those in therapy, that is, the relationship matters and heals!  A meaningful therapeutic connection accomplishes this through a concept called neuroplasticity, which is the brains’ ability to reorganize itself and form new connections in response to new learning and experience.  A therapeutic relationship that encompasses attributes such as attunement and resonance helps cultivate the development of integrative fibers in the brain that promote self-regulation, meaning that you can handle life’s ups and downs with more balance.  This process also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as other inflammatory markers in the body, which have been associated with depression and anxiety.  In addition, talk therapy helps to integrate and process feelings and experiences that are unresolved and likely causing one distress.

If you are considering therapy, are suffering, or are not satisfied with your life, important questions to ask yourself include “do you find yourself held back in life by your depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorder, low self-esteem, etc?  Are you waiting until you’re ‘better’ to begin certain goals, be more social, be a more loving partner/mother/friend, or start that exercise program you know would be good for you?  Are you confused by behaviors that you keep engaging in that you know are not good for you, but you can’t seem to stop?   Have you been able to give up an unhealthy coping mechanism, only to have it replaced by another unhealthy one?”

If the answer is “yes”, to any of the above then starting therapy is absolutely the first step in the right direction.

Keep in mind that what brings someone to therapy is a problem, but it may not be the problem.

It is so common to hear individuals report that they don’t understand why they keep engaging in “X” behavior and that they don’t know how to stop perpetuating the negative cycle they are in.  Often this is because your physiological goals/needs are not congruent with your psychological goals.  In other words, even though the behavior may be problematic, there is some reward/pay-off (ie. it feels good, relieves anxiety, etc), otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it anymore!

If you decide to enter therapy with me, you will learn the difference between your mind and your brain, so that you can use your mind to change your brain!  We will seek to uncover and address the underlying, core emotional issues that may be manifesting as symptoms or problematic behavior.  For example, perhaps it is your unconscious (or conscious) fear of abandonment that interferes with your ability to have healthy relationships and ultimately causes you to act in ways that push people away, which only reinforces your fear and belief that people cannot be trusted.  Or conceivably, below your awareness, there is a deep sense of shame, which you are not in touch with, as you are so preoccupied with your depression or anxiety. Helping you to identify these core issues will provide the much-needed insight to assist you in changing.

Therapy will allow you to become aware of your psychological defense mechanisms and how these work to keep anxiety-provoking material out of your consciousness.  You will learn about your patterns of relating and attaching to others and any unmet needs you seek to have fulfilled.  You will become more adept at identifying and disentangling yourself from problematic thoughts and feelings, while also changing your relationship to them (accepting what is).

We will work together to help you discover specific, actionable values and how to commit yourself to live your life in a manner that is congruent with them, even in the presence of painful feelings and experiences. This is an important, concrete step to take, as research validates that living your valued life is directly correlated to your level of well-being and life satisfaction.

Therapy provides you with hands-on, immediate tools to utilize as you work through your struggles, while also holding the space to delve deeper into your psyche to bring about lasting change and personal growth.   Invest in yourself, because change is possible!

Adina McGarr-Knabke