© 2019 by Dr. Paula Levine

About My Practice

As a “seasoned” therapist, my techniques and modalities vary from patient to patient, as they should. There is no template…I am eclectic, to say the least, but my work is informed by several sources, areas of interest, and post-graduate training over the years. I have been fortunate to study with some of the “giants” in our field, Albert Ellis, Virginia Satir, Herb Whittaker, Salvador Minuchin, Jay Haley, Chloe Madanes, Edna Foa, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Joan Borysenko, Francine Shapiro, Steve Gilligan, Donald Meichenbaum, Bill O’Hanlon, Kelly Wilson, Russ Harris, and so forth.

My training has included Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT,) Clinical Hypnosis (American Society of Clinical Hypnosis,) Guided Imagery, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR,) Deep Muscle Relaxation, and Somatic Experiencing (SE). I am especially interested in the mind-body connection and want to know more about brain activity and the neurophysiology of panic, trauma, OCD, and eating disorders.


 

I am becoming more involved in the philosophy and practice of a relatively new therapy called ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT differs from traditional CBT in that rather than trying to "get rid of" unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations and anxieties, ACT invites you to "just notice" and ACCEPT these private events, while at the same time utilizing MINDFULNESS and BEHAVIOR-CHANGING strategies designed to encourage psychological flexibility and valued living. For a more thorough understanding and appreciation of ACT, I suggest reading ACT Made Simple and/or The Happiness Trap, both by Russ Harris. There are also hundreds of articles available on the internet that simplify and explain this paradoxical, powerful and life-changing therapy. 

I do not spend the first 6 sessions “taking a history.” I am results-oriented, and I look for tangible, observable and reportable changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We plunge right in with evidence-based therapeutic modalities and tools that I know will work for you. In any given session, besides a lot of talking, reflecting, and laughing (yes, there must always be some laughter!), we might do a variety of things: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness meditation, breathing, body scan and relaxation exercises, and/or guided visualizations.
 
I often prescribe homework, particularly CBT and ACT “assignments,” food logs, reading, journaling, and at-home mindfulness practice. And, if you are struggling with any kind of Anxiety/Panic Disorder, Phobia, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is an essential part of treatment, a great deal of which takes place in prescribed homework assignments between sessions. So, starting with the end in mind, are you ready to take my hand, begin the journey, and take the FIRST steps toward a LASTING recovery? I hope so…I would love to work with you.   

My personal interests include yoga and mindfulness-meditation, both of which I recommend to patients as needed, whether or not we are specifically engaged in MINDFULNESS as one of the central and necessary components of ACT. I want to work with the whole person, and need to know not only about emotional and behavioral problems but also about eating, sleeping, exercise and social habits…what do they do to have fun? What do they do when they’re not in their “problem” or “disorder?” How much time do they spend with family and friends? What do they do that makes them feel good and worthwhile and productive?

I am also informed and nourished by the professional work I do outside the walls of my office, the boards, the writing, the conferences, and working with the media. I am proud to have been a founding member of 3 national organizations, Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA,) National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA,) and Academy for Eating Disorders (AED.) I served on the NEDA board for 10 years and was its’ president from 1992-93.

I have written several book chapters and still contribute regularly to national journals, magazines, and newsletters. I enjoyed being on the editorial board of Eating Disorders: the Journal of Treatment and Prevention, for 15 years. I still make television appearances and serve as a media consultant for the American Psychology Association (APA.) My plate is full and I love it.