A Unique, Integrative, and FUN™ Approach
Since 1988, Dr. Kathy Shafer has been the leader in therapy and counseling for individuals, families, couples,
children, teens, groups, and older adults. Located in Jupiter, Florida, her private practice approach to psychotherapy is unique and useful for diverse populations and age groups. Additionally, she
is an author, professor, conducts workshops, and continuing education seminars.
Her career, as a therapist, has won her the reputation of solid scholarship and as the “go to” therapist for Palm Beach County and Jupiter. Dr. Shafer is internationally renowned as a dynamic speaker and conference presenter. She also provides supervision for mental health and addiction professionals seeking licensure.
Is a Psychotherapist a Therapist?
A Psychotherapist is an trained licensed professional who is considered a mental health and behavior expert in assisting individuals, families, and relationships combating extreme stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, addictions, trauma, and various other emotional and life management issues. Although the terms counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling. Counseling is usually more short-term and may not require extensive education and training. Psychotherapy is more long-term and focuses on a broader range of issues, requiring supervision, licensing, and continuing education.
Dr. Shafer integrates a unique blend of clinical and somatic therapies into the psychotherapy session. This blended therapy approach is available due to her diverse training, experience as a licensed psychotherapist and addiction and trauma professional, and her training as a certified yoga therapist. Moreover, Dr. Shafer provides individual, group, family, and yoga classes for all age groups impacted by mood disorders, relationship problems, anger, and complex stress. For your convenience, here are some definitions for conditions addressed and techniques used.
- What is Mindfulness and how is that used in psychotherapy sessions?The ability to remain in non-judgmental (non-reactive) attention while surrounded by challenging life circumstances can be difficult. The self-regulation exercises that Dr. Kathy teaches at her private practice in Jupiter called mindfulness, clients learn how not to engage the fight or flight response associated with stress. The mindfulness tools incorporated into the FUN™ Program include breathing exercises, mental imagery, emotional freedom technique (EFT), movement and self-inquiry to create new habits (it takes 21 days to change a habit). Taking charge and using this tools instead of habitual ways of reacting, clients can release and decrease the emotional charge and implement calming, peaceful ways of coping.
- What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Most people have experienced mild dissociation, which is like daydreaming or getting lost in the moment while working on something. However, dissociative identity disorder is a severe form of dissociation. Dissociation is a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is thought to be caused by trauma experienced by the person with the disorder.
The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism. The person literally dissociates themselves from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful for his conscious self. It can be like watching a movie of their life from a distance. Often associated with coping with trauma and addiction problems, persons with DID often receive different diagnoses from professionals not trained in identifying DID. Grounding skills, such as yoga and other body-based therapies, have been helpful to teach patients how to self-soothe and remain in present. As a result of using these tools, clients learn to actually be present occupy the mind and body.
- What is trauma therapy?
Emotional and physical trauma is the response to a distressing experience. The response can cause emotional shock, biological issues, and have long-lasting psychological effects as the person keeps reliving the past event in the present. Healing is accomplished when memories, beliefs, or events no longer trigger reactions or behaviors that interfere with daily functioning. Some examples of trauma and disturbing events that can disrupt healthy behaviors and create mood disturbance include:
- any type of abuse, assault, rape, or neglect
- witnessing or receiving verbal and/or physical violence
- natural or man-made disasters
- excessive or cruel teasing (bullying)
- major or unresolved grief issues
- feeling inferior or defective
- having a life-threatening illness
- being in or witnessing a severe accident
- being on the receiving end of a significant betrayal of some sort
Dr. Kathy is certified in EMDR and is an EMDR Consultant in Training in South East Florida. For more information on the use of this evidence-based tool for self-regulation, mindfulness, and mood management, go to the professional website: EMDRIA.org.
- What is hoarding? Is it another type of addiction?
Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. Also, a person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of these items. Furthermore, excessive accumulation of material things, regardless of actual value, occurs. Hoarding often creates cramped living conditions. Homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Some people also collect animals which are kept in unsanitary conditions because they can’t be cared for properly.
However, in other cases, it seriously affects the functioning of the person hoarding and their family on a daily basis. People with hoarding disorder often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help them understand their compulsions and live safer, more enjoyable, and less cluttered lives.
- What is addiction treatment?
Addiction, also called substance use disorder, is dependence or abuse of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Remember that alcohol and nicotine are also considered drugs of abuse. Addiction can cause an intense craving for an obsession with the substance. When addicted, the person is not able to control their use of these substances. They may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes to themselves and their family members. Prescription medication addiction and abuse is using the drug for reasons other than it was prescribed. Additionally, it may involve taking the drug or stopping without consulting the physician prescribing the medication. Finally, prescription medication addiction may include sharing or taking medication from others and doctor shopping (to get more of the same medication).
Quitting or stopping the substance abuse without professional help is possible. However, it could be dangerous depending on the substance abused and the patient’s medical history. Moreover, most people find they stop on their own. However, they need and want support from others. All addictions (including hoarding, eating disorders, gaming, porn, shopping) can cause serious, long-term consequences. The resulting effects can include issues with physical and mental health, relationships, employment, and the law. To overcome your addiction and work on recovery, you may need help from a physician and certified addiction professional like Dr. Shafer that specializes in addiction. Also, for family and friends, support groups, and/or an organized treatment programs can be helpful.
- What is Yoga and how is it used in therapy?
Yoga is a practice that means many things to different people. In the past 30 years, pioneers in the research of traumatic stress and yoga therapy have challenged the limitations of talk therapy. The cutting edge of behavioral therapies today requires experts to develop integrative techniques such as the use of breathing and movement. These “prescribed” techniques address the unique needs of individuals seeking psychotherapy. The delivery of holistic and somatic therapies need to be continually examined and updated to complement the psychosocial and developmental stages of the person seeking help. Yoga practices on and off the mat direct the mind to empty of disturbing, repetitive thoughts, and relax the body which in turn holds stress and reactivity as seen in body posture. The combination of psychotherapy, neuroscience, and movement provides clients with practices that can be done daily. Clients discover that over time these can increase self-reliance, balance moods, and intention setting.
- What is Mental Imagery?
Mental imagery, sometimes called visualization, is the language used by the mind to communicate with the body. According to Dr. Gerald Epstein, Founder and Director of The American Institute for Mental Imagery, mental imagery is the mind speaking to us in pictures. This ancient, self-empowering, healing tool can be used on your own or with the help of a trained, clinical professional. Different from hypnosis, instead of being placed in trance, which can open you to the suggestion of others, mental imagery enlivens you and opens the doors to the inner expert that already exists inside of you, enabling you to become happy, healthy, and whole…on your own. This portable tool builds confidence and teaches you to be your own authority. While using mental imagery, you feel relaxed on the outside, yet more awake and alert on the inside. You open the door to being more awake, and in control.
- What is EMDR?
Official Definition: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment modality provided by trained and licensed clinicians that alleviates distress associated with traumatic memories. Discovered and created by Dr. Francine Shapiro, when disturbing events occur. These events seem to get locked and dysfunctionally stored in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, and feelings. Scattered memories need safety and containment. EMDR unlocks the nervous system. This allows the brain to process the experience to obtain more adaptive resolution. In this process of rebuilding new neural pathways, the mindbody has an innate healing system and knows how to help normal people cope/adjust to abnormal situations and events. During EMDR treatments, the targeted event or trauma episode, along with the beliefs attached to it, are relieved and reversed to generate healing, relief, and promote recovery.
- What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Talk therapy also known as “CBT” and often referred to as healing from the neck up. In particular, CBT is helpful for identifying and challenging held thoughts, beliefs, and habits of behavior. This direct therapy approach allows you to discover thoughts creating obstacles in daily functioning and self-care. Moreover, CBT can include practicing mindful exercises or trying new behaviors to replace old ones. It can also assist with trying something different.