Adults Services Division at PPA
At PPA, our approach is the whole family unit, which also includes adults. Many of our therapists have clinical training and experience with adults and provide services at our PPA locations. Listed below are some of the adult services that are provided at PPA.
Adjustment and Life Changes
Adjustment to major life events, whether positive or negative, can be stressful and interfere with the way individuals function and cope. Whether going through an acutely stressful situation or feeling that your life is not taking the direction you had hoped, our therapists provide a warm, safe environment where clients can feel comfortable discussing their dreams, fears, and goals for treatment. A primary goal of therapy is to relieve symptoms and help clients develop a short-term plan to achieve a better level of functioning. Once realistic short-term goals are identified, our therapists help empower clients to develop strategies that result in lasting change, and assist them in better understanding their behaviors, environments, and relationship patterns.
Other goals of therapy will often center around identifying available social supports in the form of family, friends, and community, exploration and development of coping and problem-solving skills, and use of cognitive and relaxation techniques to deal with feelings of stress. Treatment also focuses on helping individuals understand their role and reactions to stressors, reviewing and reinforcing positive steps taken to deal with stress, teaching ways to cope or avoid stressful situations in the future, finding perspective when dealing with stress in overall life, and helping to view stressors as a chance for positive change and improvement. At the end of therapy, individuals will have the tools to feel confident and experience increased self-awareness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment method used to address adjustment and life changes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Depression (acute and chronic)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment that helps you change the way you think, and consequently, helps you change the way you behave. Within CBT treatment, we will work together to help identify the specific thoughts related to your worry and anxiety. Then, we will try out different strategies to help you challenge these anxious thoughts. In other words, you will learn how to “talk back” to your anxiety and reexamine the accuracy of those thoughts. Then, the most critical component of treatment involves gradually facing your fears. For many adults struggling with anxiety, OCD, and related problems, weekly therapy is an appropriate and effective treatment. However, for individuals who are struggling with severe anxiety and may benefit from a higher level of care, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).
Anxiety Treatment: If you are struggling with anxiety, it is critical to find a therapist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety. A great deal of research has been done on anxiety treatment and based on study findings, we have a good idea of what usually works for most people: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Many therapists at PPA have extensive training and experience in CBT, and use this approach with patients who struggle with anxiety for one simple reason: it helps most people feel better. We tailor the treatment to meet each person’s specific needs, and as needed will incorporate other approaches, such as mindfulness, family systems, and acceptance-based techniques. Psychologists refer to this process of facing your fears as “exposures” because you are exposing yourself to situations that tend to make you feel anxious, and then using the tools learned in therapy to cope with this anxiety. Exposures are done in a gradual manner, such that you start by facing low level-fears, and then move on to more challenging situations. With the help of your therapist, patients first design an exposure hierarchy, which is a list of various situations that make one feel very nervous (e.g., social gatherings). This list also includes factors that either worsen or alleviate feelings of anxiety (e.g., small vs. large groups, public vs. private settings). Some exposures are done in session with the assistance of your therapist, while other exposures are assigned for practice to be done outside of the therapy session.
OCD Treatment: For individuals who are struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the CBT tools described above are helpful, but an additional key component of treatment is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is an evidence-based treatment that is used to help individuals gradually reduce their engagement in compulsive rituals. In other words, for individuals with OCD, during an exposure, we will work together to gradually help you fight the urge to engage in a specific compulsion. For example, you might try to delay the compulsion, change it, or mess it up in some way, before you eventually try to keep yourself from doing the compulsion altogether. At the end of a successful course of CBT and/or ERP treatment, you should feel confident that when a situation arises that might make you feel uncomfortable or nervous, you will know exactly how to handle it.
Depression treatment: For decades, CBT has been regarded in clinical settings as a successful form of treatment for depressive disorders, with abundant support in psychology literature. Individuals who are experiencing difficulties with depressive symptoms, be it long-lasting symptoms or recently-developed ones, often display specific thinking and behavior patterns that contribute to the creation and maintenance of the depressive episode. Situations in these individuals’ lives tend to be seen from a rigid, negative perspective; their future looks reportedly bleak; and emotions may prove too overwhelming to be dealt with. From a CBT standpoint, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can become intertwined in a self-sustaining depressive cycle: when a situation happens, you have unhelpful ideas, that in turn make you feel hopeless and lack pleasure in otherwise pleasurable activities, which in turn make you disengage from everything and everyone and stop caring about yourself.
CBT sessions follow an agenda that is collaboratively established between you and your therapist, always keeping in mind the importance of the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and yourself. To combat the depressive episode, your therapist can help you with CBT techniques (e.g., Socratic Questioning, Positive Activity Scheduling, Imagery, Role-playing) that will target the depressogenic cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by looking at unhelpful automatic thoughts and maladaptive core beliefs you may endorse. Lastly, one of the goals of the CBT treatment for depression is for you to learn to dismantle the depressogenic cycle on your own, thus fostering independence and empowerment.
Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating of jobs out there. PPA offers parents a safe space to discuss the important topics and challenges that many parents today are faced with. Children’s developmental and social/emotional needs change as they grow, and oftentimes guidance by a professional is helpful. Questions such as “Should I allow my child to play video games?”; “When should I give my child a cell phone and/or access to social media?”; “How much time on electronics is too much?”. These questions and more can be answered by our practitioners. Additionally, parents frequently encounter that their partner holds different beliefs about parenting strategies or disciplinary styles. The professionals at PPA can help these parents navigate these differences and work towards common goals and solutions to the everyday disagreements that occur in many families.
The process of divorce is typically challenging for every member of the family. At PPA, we offer supportive services for adults trying to navigate the changes that are occurring within the family. These services include parent coordination services, collaborative divorce, as well as parent training and education on how to manage child behavioral and emotional issues that may occur. Our professionals with experience in family therapy will help identify strategies that can be implemented in order to make the transitions and adjustments as smooth as possible for the whole family. Moreover, if you are in need of individual treatment, our practitioners are also available in order to help you cope with what you are going through on a personal level. While divorce can often feel like an overwhelming experience, you do not have to go through it alone. Let our compassionate psychologists support you and your family in order to help heal the wounds that divorce can leave behind.
When considering entering treatment for an eating disorder, this can be a difficult decision that requires courage. Our treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Orthorexia is delivered by expert practitioners in a warm and therapeutic setting. We recognize that top-quality, evidence-based care must also be combined with a compassionate, understanding, and individualized treatment targeted for the unique needs of each person affected.
Our practitioners specializing in eating disorders use a comprehensive team approach (e.g., therapy along with consultation with a nutritionist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, and other providers) to address each factor of the biopsychosocial model in treatment. Comprehensive treatment often involves both individual and family therapy. We use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy, which have all been proven effective in treating eating disorders. We strive to address the core issues driving the eating disorder, and provide the tools for living a meaningful life free from the confines of the eating disorder. We recognize that recovery can be a long and difficult process. Don’t try to get help on your own; our professionals can help you and your family find the motivation and the tools that you need to overcome an eating disorder and achieve complete recovery. For more about eating disorders, please refer to our Eating Disorders section.
Neuropsychological Evaluations are conducted to assess an individual’s cognitive profile when there is a known or suspected brain dysfunction. Neuropsychological testing provides a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and emotional functioning using standardized tests. A neuropsychological evaluation includes assessment of intellectual abilities, language, attention, learning and memory, visuospatial/constructive skills, executive functions and motor abilities, as well as mood and personality. Neuropsychological evaluations can be useful in differential diagnosis, establishing a baseline level of cognitive functioning, patient care management, and treatment planning. The results can provide objective information relating to an individual’s potential for rehabilitation, return to work, or ability to function independently. Common reasons for referral include differential diagnosis of memory vs. attention problems, dementia vs. depression, and normal aging vs. mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Additional reasons for referral include the assessment/monitoring of neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, genetic disorders etc.), assessing the cognitive sequelae of neuromuscular and demyelinating disease, epilepsy, and recovery of function after a head injury or stroke.
Psychological Evaluations are conducted to primarily assess an individual’s emotional and behavioral functioning using standardized tests. These evaluations provide useful information about how someone’s character, psychological constructs, and interpersonal style are affecting an individual’s functioning. Diagnostic information is useful to clarify a clinical picture and help guide treatment. Common reasons for referrals include the assessment of Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, Depressive Disorders, and Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders.
For more information about our evaluations, please click here (Evaluations).
Social-Communication and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD):
Evaluations, Psychotherapy and Family Guidance
Adults on the autism spectrum or with a related social disability can be affected in many ways without the proper support and guidance. At PPA we offer psychological evaluations for suspected adults on the autism spectrum, as well as previously diagnosed adults with ASD requiring an evaluation to gather more information on their cognitive and psychosocial abilities to provide guidance and recommendations in many areas which include: treatment of interfering symptoms (anxiety, depression, interfering behaviors), employment, independence/adaptive skills, and social skills. Adults on the Autism Spectrum can lead a fulfilling life with proper guidance and support.