While relatively new to Tucson, licensed psychologist Linda Leiphart is far from new to her profession, and is already making a big impact on her patient’s lives at her recently opened practice, CBT-DBT, LLC.
Leiphart specializes in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, implementing evidence-based treatments in each to provide patients with proven results.
“These are treatments that research studies have shown are effective in helping people make positive changes in their lives,” she said. “I like doing treatments with my patients that are proven to work.”
Cognitive behavior therapy, one of the most popular forms of psychotherapy, covers a wide range of problems to include depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic, social anxiety, procrastination or perfectionism, eating disorders, weight loss, substance abuse, and self-injury.
Dialectical behavior therapy, on the other hand, helps patients change behaviors that create such issues, and to develop new skills to avoid repeat problems.
“Dialectical behavior therapy is a very validating form of cognitive behavioral therapy, and helps people who often have intense mood swings and impulsive behaviors,” said Leiphart. “While a lot of psychologists don’t enjoy working with it, it’s one of my specialties. I enjoy it, and seem to do well with it.”
Leiphart has also found success in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy sessions in a new eight-week group class she began in spring.
“It’s very effective in helping people prevent relapse of depression,” she said. “It’s about bringing your attention to the present moment in a particular way where you let go of judgments. The other part of the treatment is that sometimes we end up maintaining our suffering by refusing to accept the pain that’s there. Sometimes it’s the fighting to get rid of anxiety that actually increases the anxiety and keeps it in place and makes it worse. Mindfulness is a technique that can help us stop fighting that in a way that allows anxiety to soften and dissipate.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in 10 adults suffer from depression. Depression is a mental illness that can be costly and debilitating to sufferers. Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression can also result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability and decreased productivity.
Leiphart spoke about one technique, called examine a raisin, which is used during the early stages of the group classes, which has proven simple but effective.
“I ask people to pretend they have just landed on the planet and have never seen this thing I am going to put in their hand, and to just really explore it and focus all of their attention on it, and having them be very intentional about what they see, and in putting it toward their mouth and in their mouth, and just noticing how their mouth responds to it being in there and biting down,” she said. “It’s an exercise about learning how to be in the present. Our minds tend to jump all over the place, so it’s an exercise to help them let go of the judgments and just observe what is.”
Leiphart will continue the mindfulness group therapy classes three to four times a year, and is hoping to begin the next class this summer.
Another program Leiphart hopes to implement soon is a program for adolescent girls who are self-injuring.
“Dialectical behavioral treatment is the most effective treatment available for individuals who are self-injuring or suicidal,” she said.
According to the CDC, more than 34,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. each year.
For potential patients unsure if therapy is a right fit, or unsure if the therapy needed is offered by CBT-DBT, Leiphart has some simple advice.
“Call and ask,” she said. “I’ll talk to someone on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes about what they’re looking for and whether it’s something I provide, and if it’s not something I provide, I can try to point them in the right direction.”
Leiphart graduated from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology in the year 2003. She has been practicing for 8 years, and opened her practice in Tucson last year.
CBT-DBT, LLC is located at 6885 N. Oracle Road, Suite E, and offers assistance to individuals fourteen years of age or older.
To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call 219-7383.