Kathy Engel, Psy.D.
Philosophy of Care
Philosophy of Care
As a doctoral trained clinical psychologist, I have been fortunate to be exposed to an array of theoretical and conceptual frameworks that have allowed me to better understand the complexity of human behavior and the many factors that can impact the quality of one's life. The individual cannot be separated from their environment. My philosophy of healing is based on a biopsychosocial model, with the understanding that each individual functions within the context of many relationships and systems. When the individual struggles, it has a ripple effect, impacting family relationships, friendships, and school or work performance. My treatment incorporates a collaborative, systemic approach with families, the school system, and medical professionals.
With over 20 years of practice, I have found that an integrative theoretical orientation is most effective and allows interventions to be individually tailored to address the presenting problem. My treatment approach may include interventions from the following therapies: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Skills Training, Narrative Therapy, Self Psychology, and Trauma-Focused Therapy. With children and teens, I emphasize self-expression and creativity through play, art, and writing. With all ages, I tend to conceptualize the problem area within the context of life cycle stages, pinpointing developmental tasks and areas of dysfunction that need to be addressed to allow growth and movement toward one's goals.
During this pandemic, I have observed a disruption in self development with youth. Social distancing and isolation in some cases has at best delayed self development and at worst negatively impacted self development. Social experiences facilitate the development of a child's world view, a teen's self identity, and a young adult's ability to mature into full adulthood. When an individual's striving to grow and develop is disrupted, it can result in anxiety and/or depression. Therapy occurs in the context of a relationship. This therapeutic relationship built in compassion and validation facilitates the development of self capacities like the ability to tolerate strong emotions, soothe oneself, and ground oneself in the identification of one's strengths.
Last but not least, therapy involves the teaching of skills to facilitate emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. Each individual has their own story or narrative. At times of stress, we can develop a faulty frame of reference or negative working model of ourselves, others, and the world in general. We can have tunnel vision and fall into patterns of choosing certain life events or feedback we have received from others to inform our story. When those events or feedback are negative in nature, we become trapped. It is my job to help clients build a healthy, cognitive mindset by teaching them how to recognize negatively distorted thinking patterns, challenge these, and restructure their working model. It is important that we broaden our stories to achieve balance and a more healthy, accurate view of ourselves, others, and the world.