Author: Clinicians at SF Bay CBT
At SF Bay CBT, we stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and wish to express solidarity with those around the world protesting violence, oppression, and stigmatization against Black individuals. We are outraged and saddened by the recent instances of violence against Black people, which reflect the longstanding and entrenched structural and systemic racial injustices in our country.
We stand against racism and hate in all forms.
We are in support of the American Psychological Association’s efforts to communicate more broadly on racism, to develop science-based recommendations to reduce police violence against Black people, and to address systemic and institutional racism.
Systemically and individually, we know we have work to do to address the persistent and undeniable racism in our communities. We are committed to the belief that all people (including clients) feel valued, respected, and safe. As believers in every human being’s potential for healing and growth, we hold firm the values of inclusion, multicultural diversity, multicultural humility, and social justice. At SF Bay CBT, we commit to listening, learning, unlearning, reflecting, and acting in order to do our part to affirm Black lives.
We see you, we hear you, and we value you.
We are all at the heart of this change. Please join us in coming together with respect, with understanding, and with the strength to make a change.
Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
As we have continued to support our patients via telehealth during this challenging time, we are observing the impact that this global pandemic is having on all aspects of their lives. Many patients are reporting that they are experiencing an increase in their psychiatric symptoms, including depression and anxiety, which is normal during these challenging times. This video series provides evidence-based tips for improving coronavirus related anxiety and depression. If you would like more information about how we can help during this time, feel free to reach out via our contact form. We are all in this together.
We are all sharing a collective experience right now in the time of Covid-19. It is scary, it is uncertain, it is overwhelming, it is exhausting, and it is a rollercoaster. I've struggled to make sense of this experience myself and when I came across this interview of David Kessler in the Harvard Business Review, I found comfort, insight, and most importantly, hope. Kessler describes this collective experience as grief, and provides a very clear conceptualization of how what we are all going through resembles the six stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance, and meaning-making. He also provides helpful tips for coping with this grief and concludes with a hopeful and helpful reminder that this is temporary and we are more resilient than we think.
Author: Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
At SFBayCBT, we use evidence based treatments to help our clients get relief from their symptoms. This article discusses data that shows Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety-related disorders produces reductions in problematic symptoms and improved outcomes compared to control groups. Please contact us to learn more about how CBT can help you!
Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
Our patients come to us with a wide range of concerns, but one thing that many people we see have in common is that most of us want to feel happier. We want to experience more joy and contentment in our day to day lives. Sometimes psychiatric symptoms such as depression or anxiety can make it difficult for people to engage in the activities that help them feel relaxed and happy.
We all have busy lives, and making time for fun can be really challenging. What do you think about when you first think about making more time for activities that you enjoy? Many of our patients have a lot of good reasons for having difficulty making time in their schedules, including:
For these and many more reasons, many of our patients report that there are many days where they don’t engage in activities that bring them joy. When we start working with someone experiencing mood challenges, one of the first suggestions we will make is to set aside time every day to do something pleasurable. This doesn’t need to be a lot of time; there are many small things you can do over the course of the day that are fun and can bring you joy. Some examples might include:
We encourage our clients to make time each day for at least one activity that truly makes them happy. We find that when people make time for joy, they experience a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression. We work together with our patients to identify the activities that really bring them joy, and to problem-solve barriers to fitting these into their day to day lives. If you’re struggling to feel happy, try implementing this practice in your day to day life and notice how it impacts your mood. And feel free to reach out to us for a free phone consultation to learn more about evidence-based skills for managing depression and anxiety.
Author: Kari Kagan, Psy.D.
Many women experience both depression and anxiety in the prenatal and postpartum period of having a baby. Although both are commonly experienced, anxiety is often less talked about and less researched in postpartum women. As such, the goal of this blog is to review common anxiety disorders that can be prevalent in the postpartum period in order to increase awareness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be reassured that you are not alone and that you can get help.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
This is a summary of common anxiety disorders and how they can present in the postpartum period. Please note that it is completely normal for women to experience at least some of the above symptoms at any given point during or after their pregnancies. However, if any of these symptoms are causing significant distress to the point of interfering with functioning and do not seem to be improving on their own, it may be a good idea to reach out for help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective for treating anxiety disorders in the postpartum period. At SF Bay CBT, we have training and experience in treating prenatal and postpartum distress. Please contact us for a free phone consultation to learn more about how we can help you cope with and improve postpartum distress.
Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
As insomnia specialists we see many people struggling with the duration and quality of their sleep. Many people have inaccurate beliefs about sleep that make it difficult for them to improve their sleep quality. CNN outlines several commonly held beliefs about sleep that are inaccurate. Contact us for more information about how we can help alleviate your insomnia!
Author: Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
As the holiday season fast approaches, we wanted to spend some time exploring the idea of gratitude and ways that you can practice gratitude in your life. The holidays are a busy time for many of our clients and taking time to focus on thankfulness can have multiple positive effects as they embark on their festivities. According to Harvard Health, gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. Research has shown that gratitude is associated with subjective well-being, higher self-esteem, and improved relationships. Gratitude has also been shown to be significantly associated with greater happiness in one’s life and improve sleep quality. While the benefits of gratitude are plenty, it can be hard to build a gratitude practice. Below are some ways to begin:
At SF Bay CBT, we work with clients on cultivating gratitude not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year. We'd love the opportunity to help support you on your gratitude journey. Please contact us to learn more.
Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
Many of our clients come to us with concerns about one or more important relationship in their lives. Being in relationships is a wonderful part of being human, and a lot of us want to make our relationship as strong as possible. But it can also be really difficult to build strong relationships where we feel emotionally safe and secure.
As CBT therapists, our approach to relational conflicts and concerns starts in the present. We want to understand where your relationship is right now and where you would like it to be, and give you concrete skills and tools for making improvements that you can see right away. As you start to see improvement, we may dive deeper into understanding how your past experiences are shaping your current behaviors. By combining present-focused skills and tools with deeper inquiry, we can help people clarify their relationship goals and improve their most important relationships.
One of the most important elements of close relationships is trust. In order to feel emotionally safe, we need to trust the other person. It sounds straightforward enough, but many of us have had experiences of thinking we could trust someone and finding out later that our trust was misplaced. Dr. Brene Brown developed a seven part definition of trust, which she refers to as the BRAVING technique. These seven components encompass the most essential processes that allow us to trust each other.
Boundaries: When someone has good boundaries, they respect your limits and your nos, and they clearly communicate their own limits. If they are unsure of your boundaries, they ask before making assumptions about what is OK.
Reliability: People who are reliable do what they say they are going to do and honor their commitments.
Accountability: Taking accountability means owning up to mistakes, big or small, and taking responsibility for our actions. It also means trying to make amends whenever possible.
Vault: People who we can trust keep our confidences. When we ask that something remain confidential, they comply.
Integrity: People who have integrity choose “courage over comfort,” meaning that they will do what’s right even if it’s harder or less fun than doing something else. They live by their values and actively practice them, rather than just talking about them.
Nonjugement: People who we can trust don’t judge us for expressing our needs, and they meet our needs with gentle curiosity rather than criticism. Both people in the relationship feel safe expressing what they need.
Generosity: People who are generous of spirit assume the best intentions from people that they trust. When someone we trust hurts us, we talk about it kindly and directly and trust them to receive it gracefully. We assume that they are coming from a place of love and trying their best.
We hope that this tool is helpful as you assess your most important relationships. When we work with our clients around relational concerns, this is one tool we can use to assess the relationship quality and to determine whether there are areas of growth. We work with clients to understand the role they are playing in relationship and to improve their own skills. We also work with people to help them understand the behaviors of those they are in relationship with, and to set strong boundaries to help navigate more challenging relationships. And as licensed psychologists, we can also treat psychiatric conditions that may be exacerbating relationship conflicts, such as depression, anxiety, or other disorders. Feel free to reach out for a free phone consultation to learn more about how we can help with these concerns. And stay tuned for more blog posts in our Improving Relationships series.
Author: Kari Kagan, Psy.D.
The first step in making a change in your drinking or other substance use habits is to better understand the function of the substance in your life. In other words, understanding how you end up drinking or using when you did not intend, and what you might be getting from it, could help you to make different choices around your drinking or other drug use in the future. Below is an outline of a tool called a functional analysis. Working through this tool will help you take a detailed inventory of typical triggers and both positive and negative consequences of your substance use. The ultimate purpose of completing this inventory is to increase awareness of the patterns that lead to using and subsequently make changes that help you to achieve your substance use goals.
Functional Analysis Tool
Identify your external triggers:
Identify your internal triggers:
Use or Drinking Behavior:
Short-term positive consequences:
Long-term negative consequences:
After working through this tool, we hope you have a better understanding of both the triggers and consequences of your substance use. This information can be very useful in helping you to avoid common triggers in order to prevent drinking. In addition, having a better understanding of the positive effects of your substance use can help you to identify alternative ways you can achieve similar positive experiences. For example, if you find drinking helps you to relax, you might try taking an exercise class at the time you would usually drink. Further, reminding yourself of the negative consequences you experience as a result of your substance use could help to motivate you to make choices that align with your goals. At SF Bay CBT, our goal is to teach you a variety of tools that you can use to help you manage your substance use and related mental health issues. Feel free to reach out to us for a free phone consultation to learn more about the tools we use in our work.
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.