Dr. Lee’s primary treatment approach is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT; thoughts, emotions, physical reactions, behaviours) with an integrative approach that includes developmental factors and a strong focus on emotions.
A practical solution-focused approach is important for achieving gains in the short-term, but the roots of where the individual’s issues come from is important for sustaining long-term health and wellness.
In terms of trauma treatment, Dr. Lee continues to work from a trauma-focused CBT perspective with the incorporation of Prolonged Exposure (PE) and/or elements of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), which have strong research evidence and shown effectiveness with different populations, including military veterans, first responders, sexual assault survivors, and motor vehicle collision survivors. PE and CPT have been strongly recommended by the American Psychological Association’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of PTSD, the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies’ (ISTSS) Prevention and Treatment Guidelines, and the National Center for PTSD.
Q: How long does treatment take?
It can be difficult to give an estimate of how long treatment will take for an individual before getting a comprehensive picture of all relevant factors to the current issues. For each individual, goals are collaboratively established together and progress is continuously evaluated throughout treatment. I am mindful of financial constraints for many clients and will work with you to identify achievable and meaningful change within the time we have together. As a general estimate, results are often seen in cognitive-behavioural treatment targeting one specific issue (e.g., first time depression, panic disorder) in approx. 8 to 12 sessions.
Q: What is “Evidence-Based” Treatment? Does that mean therapy won’t be individualized for my unique situation?
“Evidence-based” means that the treatment was studied in multiple research studies with the relevant populations (e.g., adults with depression; military veterans with PTSD). Other important components:
- Large samples: The number of individuals included in the research studies were large enough to stand up statistically and give confidence that the results weren’t just a “fluke” or chance finding.
- Compared against other treatment/placebo: The group who received the treatment in question needs to have been tested against another group who received: an existing established treatment, were waiting on the waitlist, or placebo to ensure that any improvements were the results of the actual treatment itself.
- Peer-reviewed. The research studies should have been “peer-reviewed”; that is, reviewed by colleagues in the field who look at whether the study was carried out appropriately and the conclusions reached by the researchers were justified statistically.
- Consensus: Finally, experts in the field review the research studies in a given area and reach consensus as to the effectiveness of the treatment and that the benefits outweigh any potential harm to the clients.
Evidence-based treatment doesn’t mean a strict step-by-step approach to treatment though! Treatment does not involve just a manual and techniques. Treatment is individualized to each person’s needs, where they’re at, and their desired goals. Treatment, no matter what the treatment is, will ideally incorporate thoughts, emotions, physical reactions, behaviours, relationships, family, and history.
Q: How can I know if a therapist has enough experience with the evidence-based treatment?
When evaluating how experienced a clinician is with a specific evidence-based treatment, ask how much training and supervision they’ve had with that treatment. In-depth training includes:
- Coursework and/or readings,
- Training in the skills and how to adapt them to individuals, and
- Clinical supervision by another therapist experienced with this treatment.
A two-day workshop by itself is not enough training to be experienced in a specific treatment.