BASE Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an innovative specialist psychology practice that takes psychology to new heights. The image of the triangle and its iterations (mountains, peaks, and angles) are all representations of the transformation that can be achieved through CBT. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that our psychological well-being is built on the satisfaction of essential needs and we develop psychologically as we learn how to have our basic needs met. This model presents the foundation of the benefits of psychological growth, and our BASE principles follow his original model.
Our team is made up of exceptionally trained providers who utilize evidence-based interventions to help clients thrive. We are moving psychology forward through our regular integration of evidence-based interventions, assessment of client progress, participation in training psychological professionals, and active engagement in research. BASE Cognitive Behavioral Therapy intends to set the standard for the modern practice of psychology.
Balance is an even distribution of weight. Many people can struggle with understanding how to have limits in their lives and where they should place effort. In psychotherapy, we balance essential changes with acceptance of individual differences. We try to understand where our psychological nature may have developed, while utilizing change strategies for further development. We find a middle ground for positive emotional growth.
Awareness is key in psychological growth, as we cannot change that which we don't recognize. The therapeutic relationship provides a safe context in which we can develop increased self awareness, and insight into the actions and motives of others. Awareness helps us to develop understanding, creating intention in actions and behaviors which consistently orient us toward our values.
Strengths-based approaches in psychology acknowledge that everyone has a range of abilities and challenges. Well-being is sustained when we are aware of our strengths and are able to incorporate them into our self concept. Insight into our strengths can help us to maximize success in important roles in our life. We develop strength with repeated practice of desired behaviors and responses, while engaging with radical acceptance of our challenges.
Evolution, growth, or adaptation is the desired outcome for every BASE client and provider. CBT has the capacity to maximize neuro-plasticity in the brain and create lasting changes in psychological functioning. Working with BASE professionals will result in healing from dysfunctional behavior patterns and consistent performance of values-based behaviors. Everyone has the potential for change.
“My action are my only true belongings.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, outcomes-focused therapy that has been empirically validated for treatment of many psychological conditions including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, chronic pain, tinnitus, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, and eating disorders. It was originally pioneered by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960's, and was built upon the principles that moods influence thoughts, thoughts influence behaviors, and we all have the capacity to get stuck in cycles that affect our psychological and physical functioning. Participation in therapy can result in a number of benefits, such as improving relationships, reductions in negative emotions, and resolution of the specific concerns that led you to seek help. Most clients’ personal goals and values become clearer, allowing growth in many different areas. Increased awareness, coping skills, and balance help to improve daily functioning and overall enjoyment of life.
Whereas traditional therapy tends to focus on personal history and puts the therapist into the role of listener, CBT is present and future oriented and puts therapist into the position of active partner in the change process. CBT calls for a very active effort on your part, including homework and skill practice outside of session. We use these practices to accelerate the change process, and create momentum toward desired outcomes. Due to the active engagement with thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, CBT tends to create meaningful change in fewer therapy sessions than traditional talk therapy.
There are newer waves of CBT which are also offered at BASE. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1990's for the treatment of chronically suicidal individuals and people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. It has been recognized as the gold standard of treatment for this population, but also has been empirically validated in the treatment of trauma, substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders. DBT utilizes emotional skills training in both group and individual therapy, and it aims to teach four critical areas: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. The main goal of DBT is to integrate emotional and rational information and create effective ways to navigate emotions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a therapy that was developed by Dr. Steven Hayes and colleagues in the late 1990's. ACT advances the work done in DBT to integrate emotional mind and rational mind, but also recognizes the limitations of changing language-based thoughts. ACT approaches psychological distress from a position of separating what information is useful and what information is interfering. For example, someone who is trying to start exercising may struggle with thoughts, worries, and even physical pain which interferes with their goal of exercising. Rather than needing to change these sensations, the goal within ACT is to figure out how to sustain values-based living in spite of resistance toward positive change.
“Any search for a “pain-free existence” is doomed to failure.”
- Russ Harris
Choosing a Provider
There are a lot of therapy options, and determining the right option can be a significant challenge, especially during an emotionally vulnerable time. To try to make this process a little easier, it can be good to look at three key components: training, specialization, and goodness-of-fit.
Training tends to fall into two main categories: Master's level training and Doctoral level training. Master's are often designated as a MA, MS, or MFT. Doctoral-level therapists are designated by a PhD or PsyD. The biggest consistent difference between Master's and Doctorate are the years of schooling and years of supervised clinical work within the educational program. You will also want to make sure the provider is a licensed professional.
Specialization comes after training is completed, unless the training program was a specialist program (this is very rare). Specialist training consists of specific continuing education classes, and often includes some benchmark testing within the discipline. This can vary for each specialty, so it can be good to look for the standard within a specialty. Membership to specialist societies is an additional method through which providers demonstrate their participation within the specialty. You can often find this information in a providers' biography or their curriculum vitae (CV) which is an educational/training summary.
Training and specialization are important, but it is not the end of the journey. It is essential that therapy creates a safe environment to promote psychological growth, and goodness of fit matters. Many providers will offer meetings to be able to introduce themselves, and it is worthwhile to bring a lot of questions to this meeting. You will want to make sure you feel comfortable working with the provider, as therapy will not be effective if you do not feel you will be able to work with that person. It can take some time to build up comfort and trust, but you will also have to trust your gut. Asking for a referral or suggestions from your physician, another medical professional, a family member, or a friend might help you narrow down your options as well.