Dr. Aimee Ruscio
Psychologist in Washington DC
A Philosophy of Therapy and Change That Leads to Transformation
Everyone deserves access to effective psychotherapy. All types of therapy can help you feel supported and validated, learn to manage your symptoms, and solve many immediate problems.
However, I believe that therapy should be transformational.
Therapy should provide profound and lasting healing, not merely manage your symptoms.
For this reason, I practice an emotion-focused approach to healing. This therapy method takes you beyond the surface level of solving your problems (see below).
Directly working with emotions can transform how you experience yourself, your relationships, and the world around you.
I don’t view treatment from the medical model’s perspective, which assumes people are broken and need to be fixed.
Instead, I help you increase your emotional skill and fitness, similar to how coaches work with athletes to improve their physical skill and fitness.
Therapy Approach: Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
The Role of Emotions in Life and in Therapy
Like many people, you may view painful or difficult emotions as something that you need to ignore, forget, or get rid of in some way.
Yet all emotions – positive and negative – are healthy in the sense that they are part of you.
Your emotions help you take steps to get your needs met. They let you know when you’re well-being is threatened, when you need care and attention, and they lead you in positive directions in your life.
When you’re in touch with your emotions and know how to use them to your advantage, they act as wise guides highlighting what is most meaningful to you.
Your emotions can lead you to get in deeper touch with your authentic self and help you create the life you truly want.
The EFT Process
EFT aims to activate your emotions, to help you to explore them, and in some cases change them. You’ll learn which emotions are adaptive, pointing you towards new experiences and growth.
You’ll also learn to change painful emotions or negative experiences, often residuals from your past, into more positive ones.
The wise founder of EFT says it best below…
How Changing Painful Emotions with Emotion Leads to Change
I don’t believe you can change core painful emotions through reason. They are impenetrable to reason.
The way to change a core painful emotion is by having another emotion. The new emotion does not replace the old emotion. It transforms or synthesizes with the old emotion, and then we have a new emotion that we didn’t feel before.
Shame is changed by anger, and what you end up with might be confidence. Fear might be changed by sadness, and what we end up with is calm or relief. One emotion changes another emotion.
– Les Greenberg – Founder of Emotion Focused Therapy
During EFT therapy, I will follow and guide your emotional process, emphasizing the quality of our relationship and using EFT skills.
At various times, I’ll walk you through EFT-based emotion exercises designed to deepen your awareness and experience, transform difficult emotions, and give you new ways to relate to yourself.
My Therapy Style
I consider you to be the expert in your life. I trust that you know best what you need to talk about. I help guide the process of therapy towards change. At the end of your therapy journey, both the hard work and the benefit will be yours.
I want you to feel safe in our sessions. I make an effort to ensure you feel deeply heard and understood. You can be who you are and express any messy, illogical emotions, and we’ll make sense of them together.
I will never judge you. I’ll respect your feelings, experiences, and decisions, no matter what.
I’ll believe in your courage and strength. I trust that you’re strong enough to face all of your experience, even the painful or difficult to understand parts.
I will both gently challenge you to go to hard places and respect your sense of what feels doable in any session.
Benefits of EFT
EFT is now backed by many research studies showing its effectiveness.
Here are some of the main benefits of EFT:
- Brings buried emotions to the surface where you can access them and transform them
- Reduces intense feelings (depression, anxiety, tension, anger), so you are less reactive, feel calmer and more in control
- Helps to set boundaries that ensure you are treated with the kindness and respect you deserve
- Resolves relationship trauma and pain – allows room for more satisfying relationships
- Reduces or eliminates depression – increases feelings of well-being.
- Decreases anxiety – helps you feel calmer and safer.
Does the EFT therapy approach seem like it can help you?
If you’re unsure if EFT can help you achieve your goals, book a no-charge 20-minute inquiry call with me.
If you’re ready to get started, you can book an appointment with me.
I offer sessions in person in Washington, DC and via video teletherapy.