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Community Mental Health Clinic

Psychotherapy

Contact Community Mental Health Clinic  

Community Mental Health Clinic

Address:
Wayne Hall, 8th Floor
125 West Rosedale Avenue 
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-2510
Fax: 610-436-2929
Email: cmhs@wcupa.edu


Psychotherapy

Anxiety/Stress

Everyone experiences stress, worry or fear at times. When stress or worry interfere with sleep or daily functioning, or when fears are out of proportion to the actual danger, it may be time to seek assistance. In fact, anxiety disorders are common and may include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder worry about a number of issues that are difficult to control. Worry may impact a number of areas of functioning, including sleep, work and interpersonal relationships.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – intrusive, difficult to control thoughts and repetitive behaviors, such as checking or hand-washing that are often used to help manage the thoughts. Individuals may also find it difficult to part with certain objects/possessions.

Panic Disorder – intense fear responses that are out of proportion to the anxiety-provoking stimulus; includes both episodes of panic (e.g. shortness of breath, racing heart) and fear of experiencing another panic episode.

Social Phobia – an intense fear of negative evaluation by others; leads to avoidance of social situations, speaking in public, etc.

Specific Phobias – intense fear of specific animals, objects, or situations, such as snakes, spiders, dogs, closed spaces, flying, driving, etc.

Test Anxiety – worry about performance on exams or in exam-like situations that negatively affects performance is quite common. There are a number of techniques available to help decrease worry and improve performance.

We offer a variety of treatments and strategies to better manage stress, worry, and anxiety, including:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Meditation/Mindfulness
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Relaxation Training

Children and Teens

Much of the information available on this page was adapted from the Effective Child Therapy website of Division 53 of the American Psychological Association. More information about specific disorders and associated treatments can be found there.

Body-focused Repetitive Disorders – many of these behaviors, such as thumb-sucking, are considered normal; however when they occur with increased intensity or frequency they may result in impairment and/or affect quality of life. Behaviors such as thumb-sucking, nail-biting, hair-pulling, skin picking, etc. can be treated effectively with individual behavior therapy.

Bullying – whether the child is being bullied or is bullying others, bullying may result in long-term problems. Stopbullying.gov is an excellent resource for parents and educators with information on how to respond to bullying. Psychotherapy may also help the family and child work through their own responses to bullying and examine potential solutions.

Eating & Body Image Problems – characterized by risky eating behaviors, and often harmful efforts to control one’s body size, and/or severe disturbances in one’s own body image. Behavioral Family Therapy and Individual Psychotherapy are often effective treatments for these disorders.

Fear, Worry, & Anxiety – everyone experiences fear or worry at times. Fear or worry needs clinical attention when responses to specific situations are out of proportion to the actual danger. These heightened responses can result in considerable distress and interference with daily activities at school (including test anxiety), at home, or with peers. Individual and Family Therapy are both effective in treating these disorders.

Gender and Sexual Identity – we work with adolescents who may be experiencing gender identity confusion and/or who are questioning their sexual identity. We also work with family members to adjust to another family member’s coming out as LGBTQ.

Inattention & Hyperactivity – often diagnosed as ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), difficulty with inattention and hyperactivity can cause significant problems at school and situations similar to a school environment (e.g. attending church). Signs of inattention may also be more subtle, such as difficulty learning, lower grades than expected given documented intelligence level, disorganization, or being slow to complete tasks. A thorough assessment can help rule in or out attention-based disorders, and Family and Individual Behavior Therapy can help children better manage symptoms.

Rule Breaking, Defiance, & "Acting Out" - rule breaking, defiance, and generally "acting out" are some of the defining features of a group of disorders referred to as child and adolescent disruptive behavior disorders. Behaviors such as stealing, arguing, lying, harming or bullying, particularly when they cause disruption in school, home or peer interactions may indicate that a disruptive behavior disorder is present. Family-focused multi-component treatments have proven to be effective reducing symptoms.

Sadness, Hopelessness, & Depression – it is not unusual for most children and teenagers to feel down or sad sometimes. However, some children and teenagers feel sad, hopeless, or irritable for weeks or even months at a time. These feelings may be accompanied by a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, disruption in sleeping or eating habits, or difficulty thinking or paying attention, even to TV programs or games. Group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapy and family therapy have all proven effective in treating depression-related disorders.

Self-injury or Self-harm/Cutting – self-injury is relatively rare in childhood, but increases dramatically in adolescence. It is estimated that up to 18% of adolescents will engage in some form of self-injurious behavior. A combination of individual and family cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective reducing and/or eliminating these behaviors.

Severe Mood Swings & Bursts of Rage – severe mood swings and bursts of anger are hallmark signs of child/adolescent bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood that exceed normal responses to life events and may represent a change from the child/adolescent’s normal behavior. Moods may range from severe “lows” to extreme “highs,” characterized by either extreme levels of happiness/activity and/or rage.  Mood swings affect normal functioning, causing problems in daily activities such as getting along with family, friends and teachers, or completing schoolwork.

Weight Problems – Overweight/obesity in childhood often leads to problems with weight in adulthood. Family therapy is often effective in helping children and adolescents better manage their weight.

Gender and Sexual Identity

We offer an empathic environment in which to discuss issues related to coming out and staying out, including school- or work-related concerns. We also work with couples to help improve communication and/or work on other areas within the relationship.

Relationships

Relationships may be impacted by a number of issues, including

  • Communication problems
  • Dissatisfaction with the relationship
  • Difficulty coping with life/financial stressors
  • Parenting differences

Psychotherapy can help the members of a relationship improve communication, learn to cope with external pressures, and decrease conflict.

Depression/Grief

Everyone experiences sadness, grief or depressed mood sometimes. However, when low mood is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, lasts for weeks or months at a time, and/or is accompanied by a loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, disruption of sleep or eating habits, or difficulty thinking or paying attention, assistance may be needed. Depression is common, and psychotherapy can be extremely effective treating depression and preventing relapse. Therapeutic approaches available in the clinic include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness-based approaches
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect individuals of all ages and include:

Anorexia Nervosa – a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight, often accompanied by an intense fear of gaining weight and/or regular behaviors that interfere with weight gain.  While anorexia is most common in adolescent and young adult females, it can develop in later adulthood and in males.

Bulimia Nervosa – a pattern of binge eating followed by inappropriate behaviors in order to prevent weight gain.  These behaviors can include self-induced vomiting, misuse of medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.  Like anorexia, bulimia is most common in adolescent and young adult females; however it can develop in later adulthood and in males.

Binge Eating Disorder – recurrent episodes of binge eating associated with distress regarding the binge eating episodes.  Binge eating disorder tends to affect both male and female adults.  While not all those afflicted are overweight, binge eating disorder is associated with weight gain.

We provide treatment to adolescents and adults who are struggling with eating or weight disorders and are medically stable.  Treatment begins with an evaluation to determine the best approach for each individual client.  In cases where the individual needs more intensive treatment, we can make recommendations to residential or intensive outpatient/day treatment programs.  For those appropriate for outpatient treatment, we provide psychotherapy to reduce/eliminate eating disordered behaviors, and to treat any co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, and/or emotion dysregulation.

Insomnia

Many people experience problems with sleep occasionally. An individual is considered to have insomnia when the sleep problems persist (last more than a month) and cause distress or interfere with daily functioning in some way. For example, someone experiencing insomnia may miss work due to poor sleep or cut back on other activities. Insomnia is often a symptom of other disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and insomnia can make those disorders worse. An individual is considered to have chronic insomnia if the symptoms last more than six months.

Our clinic utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to treat individuals impacted by sleep problems. CBT-I is an evidence-based practice that has proven to be extremely effective in helping individuals re-establish a healthy sleep pattern. CBT-I incorporates a number of different strategies, individualized for each client, that typically improve sleep patterns within 6-10 weeks.

Trauma-Related Disorders

Most people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime; many will experience multiple traumatic events. While many recover from these experiences, a significant number continue to have difficulty functioning months and sometimes years after experiencing trauma. The two most common disorders associated with trauma are depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but individuals may also struggle with anxiety, emotion regulation, anger, insomnia, co-occurring substance use disorders, and a number of other issues. All of the care provided in our clinic is evidence-based and trauma informed. We also offer specific treatments for trauma-related disorders, including:

  • Anger Management
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior therapy
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
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