Dr. Lev discusses relationships, schemas, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and her books on The Marilu Henner show.
Dr. Avigail Lev is a licensed clinical psychologist in California and a certified mediator. She utilizes evidence-based practices, including cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance-based treatments, to treat both couples and individuals struggling with relationship problems, anxiety, trauma, depression, emotional dysregulation, trichotillomania, OCD, and mood disorders.
She specializes in integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Schema Therapy to address interpersonal problems and unhelpful patterns in relationships. She has coauthored two books integrating these treatments to help improve relationships. The first, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems: Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Schema Awareness to Change Interpersonal Behaviors, presents a complete treatment protocol for therapists working with clients who fall into unhealthy relationship patterns and helps them overcome maladaptive interpersonal behavior. The second book, The Interpersonal Problems Workbook: ACT to End Painful Relationship Patterns, combines research and evidence-based techniques for strengthening relationships.
We are a group practice of cognitive behavioral therapists located in the Bay Area. We offer a number of empirically supported treatments including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT), mindfulness-based therapies, and schema therapy. We apply behavioral principles while emphasizing an attachment and relational frame that considers the whole person.
Integrative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a term used to describe a form of therapeutic treatment that combines strategies used in both cognitive and behavior therapies as well as other scientifically proven evidence-based treatments. These treatments have demonstrated to be highly effective in alleviating a variety of struggles including: panic, social phobia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety and rumination, eating disorders, marital distress, anger, chronic pain, and trauma. CBT helps individuals develop effective coping skills.
The cognitive therapy model states that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected and influence one another. Cognitive interventions include identifying unhelpful and distorted thinking, testing and modifying beliefs, and developing skills to distance from one’s thoughts. The premise is that the core beliefs and stories that we have developed about ourselves in childhood continue to impact our current behaviors. These stories are like lenses that distort our perceptions and experiences with others and can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies in relationships. Cognitive interventions help individuals understand how their conditioning from early childhood is impacting their current relationships and influencing their behaviors. The goal is to help individuals recognize the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to create behavioral flexibility.
Behavioral therapy encourages individuals to experiment with new behaviors. It is based on the premise that existing patterns of behavior have been established and learned through social conditioning. For example, a child who is repeatedly told “no candy,” throws a fit, and then the parent gives in and allows the candy. The child has learned that throwing a fit garners his desire. Behavioral therapy assists clients in unlearning unhealthy behavior and replacing it with values-based action.
CBT can help you recognize your thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how these influence one another. The objective is to decrease the level of influence that your thoughts and feelings have over your behaviors. Cognitive behavior therapy is an empirically supported treatment and has been proven to be extremely effective for individuals with maladaptive behaviors. There are several approaches (all working toward the success of behavior replacement), and are considered part of the CBT umbrella. Some include:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT). Assists in recovery of post-traumatic stress disorder.
In short, CBT helps individuals take incremental, constructive steps towards replacing automatic and learned behaviors with positive new ones. CBT teaches: 1) tools for tolerating and relating to thoughts and feelings differently and 2) testing out new behavioral responses. Through identifying distorted/negative thinking processes and schemas that influence behaviors, the therapist and client work together to replace old behaviors with alternative behaviors that are more effective, positive, and based on values. The goal is to develop skills to cope with your internal experiences so that they don’t stop you from taking actions towards creating the life that you want.