Specializing in Behavioral Healthcare for Children &

Adolescents, Families, Couples, and Adults. 











It’s important that you have an understanding of my basic philosophy and approach toward providing behavioral healthcare treatment, especially as it relates to your role as a patient and a consumer of treatment services.  If you are a new patient, please read the information below so that you will be prepared to get the most out of our treatment sessions.  We’ll discuss any questions you may have when we meet. 


As you may know, there are many different types of therapy or treatment models in psychology.  The particular type of  psychotherapy I practice is called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  CBT is a scientifically-based approach to helping people overcome their emotional and behavioral problems.


  CLICK HERE to read A Primer on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


Over the first few sessions, you and I will work collaboratively to identify specific treatment goals.  I will assist you in working toward these goals by listening carefully and understanding your present problems and concerns in a historical and developmental context, and then assisting you in exploring new and healthy ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  I frequently will offer my impressions regarding your current cognitive-affective and/or interpersonal patterns in an effort to help you recognize and change those patterns which are not effective for you in your daily life.  Throughout your treatment, it will be important that we have a mutual understanding of your goals and the extent to which you are experiencing progress toward those goals.  Regardless of how our treatment relationship unfolds, I will be committed to helping you to employ healthy and adaptive responses to the challenges you face in your life.


The treatment process in psychotherapy usually involves exploring feelings, perceptions, and beliefs about oneself and others, understanding how and why problematic patterns of behavior and relationships have developed, and discovering how to modify them.  Treatment in couples and family psychotherapy may involve identifying dysfunctional interaction patterns, as well as exploring past/current relationship problems such as sexual intimacy, finances, and parenting styles to better understand the meaning of current conflicts.  With patients of all ages, some problems can be resolved relatively quickly, while others require months or years of treatment.  Perhaps the most important thing for you to understand about my approach to treatment is that I am committed to helping you overcome whatever psychological issues are preventing you from attaining happiness and health in your life.


Psychotherapy has both benefits and risks.  Risks sometimes include experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, and loneliness as a result of discussing unpleasant aspects of your life.  In general, research as shown that psychotherapy has significant benefits.  For example, therapy often leads to an improvement in psychological health and a significant reduction in emotional distress, the resolution of specific problems and disorders, and improved relationships and overall quality-of-life.  However, there are no guarantees as individual experiences vary due to a number of factors. 


Also, effective psychotherapy requires a very active effort on your part.  The success of treatment depends greatly on the extent to which you engage in the therapy process and are willing and able to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.   Of course, I will never require nor force you to discuss anything, although I may strongly encourage you at times to discuss a particular topic.  The choice to do so will always be yours. 


A fundamental part of our treatment agreement pertains to confidentiality and a mutual understanding that what you tell me during the course of treatment will not be revealed by me to another party without your written authorization.  I sometimes seek consultation with other mental health professionals regarding my patients.  During these consultations I do not disclose any identifying information.  The consultant is, of course, also legally bound to keep the information confidential.  Unless you object, I will not tell you about these consultations unless I feel that it is important to your treatment. 


I also think it’s important that you understand that I have a very active style in therapy.  I will not simply sit back in my chair and comment, “Oh, that’s interesting” from time to time.  Instead, I will give you my candid input on the issues with which you are struggling in your life.  My commitment to you is to give you my complete attention, care, and concern within the professional boundaries of our treatment relationship.  My input and is always based on a concept called “the support-to-confront ratio.”  What this means is that good and effective therapy entails as balance between the right amount of emotional support, and the right amount of caring and empathic confrontation.  My goal as your psychologist is to help you BE better, not just to help you FEEL better.  If you’ve participated in therapy before, the concept of the support-to-confront ratio may make sense.  If a therapist is too supportive and does not confront negative and dysfunctional behaviors appropriately, then the patient may feel better, but may not necessarily BE better in terms of learning new and more effective ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.  However, if a therapist is not supportive enough and is too confrontive (remember the concept of “Tough Love”?), then a patient will not experience the support and encouragement we all need to move forward and to tackle the difficult aspects of our life that need to be addressed. 


One axiom of psychotherapy is that people will not begin to change their behavior until they first begin to take responsibility for changing their behavior.  Thus, regardless of the issue or problem that brings people into therapy, any change in the problem will not occur until the patient first takes responsibility for changing the problem.  However--and this next point is important—the patient only has to take responsibility for playing a role in the solution to the problem—not necessarily the cause of the problem. Psychologists refer to this as the “existential paradox”—the fact that, regardless of the origin of our problems (e.g., traumatic childhood) if we, as adults, have any hope of overcoming our problems, we first must take responsibility for the solution.  So, the existential paradox is that every person experiences problems in their current life that are the result of circumstances during childhood and adolescence for which they had no responsibility in creating.  However, even though they were not responsible for creating their problems, if they are to successfully overcome their problems, they must bear the responsibility for solving them. 











Telephone: 509-910-0329




Copyright © 2004-2007 Robert M. Newell, Ph.D. All rights reserved.