MARYKAY FISHER, PSYD, LP: San Diego, CA
THE SANCTUARY FOR WOMEN & GIRLS
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
CA License 25344

Spirit-Conscious, Solution-Focused Mental Health Care Exclusively for WOMEN

How Can Dr. Fisher Help?

Dr. Fisher integrates the tried-and-true with the cutting edge. The innovative approaches she uses are theoretically grounded in recent research in cognitive neuroscience - the science that explores how the brain organizes the contents of consciousness. You and she will choose the methods that seem most right for you, given your goals and preferences. The approach may be counseling, psychotherapy, or a combination. Counseling involves talking about your problems and coming up with solutions. Psychotherapy is a deeper engagement where you will be asked to pay attention to (be “mindful” of) what’s going on inside you, in real time—thoughts, feelings and body sensations—for the purpose of moving stuck material to an adaptive resolution.

For clearing trauma-related material, she may use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is now supported by an extensive body of research. It is one of only three therapies currently regarded by the American Psychiatric Association, the Veteran’s Administration, and the World Health Organization (WHO) as effective for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (the others are Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy, both forms of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy). EMDR incorporates a process known as "bilateral stimulation," thought to be an active agent in the EMDR treatment protocols. While research is still going on to help us understand the exact mechanism of change, it does seem to create conditions in the brain that allow for rapid, permanent reconstruction of problematic neural networks.  Here is text from the World Health Organization's description of EMDR:

World Health Organization (2013). Guidelines for the management of conditions that are specifically related to stress. Geneva, WHO.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This therapy is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardized procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.

Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive beliefs related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure, or (d) homework.

Recent research in the neurobiology of trauma and attachment points to the importance of the relationship between mind and body. For this reason, she also incorporates somatic (body-focused) treatment methods into her work. These are based on mindful attention, attunement, non-judgmental acceptance, and intention. These methods are particularly effective for the kinds of difficulties Dr. Fisher treats, because of the way they directly impact the physical body.

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