Joshua Lovejoy, MA, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology
Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
“My relationship with Joshua feels very professional in that I feel I can trust him, I am able to speak about very personal things, and I have a great deal of respect for his abiity as a counselor.” S. L.
My Approach to Counseling
I assist kids, families, adults, teens, and couples in addressing mental health concerns and facilitating growth toward connection, fulfillment, and vitality in life. Should you choose to work with me, we will explore how you wish to grow and discover how you can confront the challenges of living in fresh ways.
As my method of counseling is rooted in the integrative approach, I may draw upon many therapeutic disciplines and modalities in order to meet your needs. Our first counseling session will begin with a holistic assessment, surveying the major spheres of life. We will then use this assessment as a foundation for our explorations together and a lens for examining the apparent difficulties of life.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
Many clients find acceptance and commitment therapy to be effective even where other interventions have failed in the past. This is an evidence-based approach that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed with commitment and behavior-change strategies to increase psychological flexibility. Through acceptance and commitment therapy, you will learn to use several core tools for approaching the problems of life. These tools include cognitive defusion – using creative methods for maintaining perspective with thoughts, images, emotions, and memories; acceptance – allowing thoughts to come and go without struggling with them; present moment contact – maintaining awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness; self-observation – accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging; values – discovering what is most important to one’s true self; and committed action – setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
My approach to counseling is also informed by the cognitive-behavioral orientation. As natural, social beings, we can be influenced by our environment and susceptible to the conditioning of our thoughts and behaviors. Observing one’s inner dialogue, including thought patterns and the emotions they evoke, expands consciousness and opportunity for choice. A new perspective may be gained from crafting more effective forms of “self-talk.” At times, learning new skills and behaviors will provide the tools required to address a concern more successfully. Among the tools that my clients frequently find helpful are relaxation and stress-management, mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation and individuation, interpersonal effectiveness, and communication. Cognitive-behavior therapy can be conducted equally well through talking or through playing, depending upon the developmental levels of the participants. Trauma-informed care practices are used to sensitively address those aspects of experience that have been touched by trauma.
The focus of positive discipline, a child and family therapy, is approaching kids with both firmness and kindness so that any kid, from a three-year-old toddler to a rebellious teenager, can learn creative cooperation and self-discipline with no loss of dignity. As parents, you will develop non-punitive methods for teaching life skills in a manner that is respectful and encouraging for kids as well as adults. Positive discipline helps you to bridge communication gaps, defuse power struggles, and hold kids accountable while enforcing your message of love and maintaining their self-esteem. Together, we will explore how to win cooperation at home and at school, build on strengths rather than weaknesses, avoid the dangers of over-using praise, and meet the special challenge of teen misbehavior. In letting kids have control over some of their decisions and allowing them to experience the natural consequences, we reduce conflict and support kids’ self-esteem.
Collaborative Problem Solving
In addition, I utilize the collaborative problem solving model of counseling developed for kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Collaborative problem solving aims to help kids and their parents learn to resolve disagreements and disputes in a collaborative, mutually satisfactory manner. It posits two major tenets: first, that social, emotional, and behavioral challenges in kids are best understood as the byproduct of lagging skills (rather than, for example, as attention-seeking, manipulation, limit-testing, or signs of poor motivation); and second, that these challenges are best addressed by resolving the problems that set the stage for challenging behavior in a collaborative manner (rather than through reward and punishment programs and intensive imposition of adult will). Thus, we focus largely on teaching kids core skills in the areas of communication, leadership, interpersonal relations, decision making, coordination, and adaptability.
Parent Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported treatment for young children (ages 2 to 7) and their parents that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns. In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child while increasing their child’s pro-social behavior and decreasing negative behavior. This treatment focuses on two basic interactions: child directed interaction is similar to play therapy in that parents engage their child in a play situation with the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship; parent directed interaction resembles clinical behavior therapy in that parents learn to use specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child. I have been training intensively in this mode of therapy for the last two years, and although I do not yet have a fully-equipped PCIT room, we can explore ways of helping you achieve mastery of these skills. [requirements met for PCIT International, certification pending]
Child Directed Interaction Training
Child directed interaction training (CDIT) is a focused part of parent-child interaction therapy that focuses specifically on the attunement phase of the treatment. It is particularly useful in building relationships between young children and their adult caregivers in situations in which no major “acting out” behaviors are evident. Through CDIT, you may learn to improve your child’s attachment relationship with you, foster positive interactions together, expand mutual communication skills, and reduce your stress.
My approach to counseling is also influenced by the humanistic orientation to counseling. As people become more accepting of themselves, they discover more authentic and creative ways of living. Furthermore, I incorporate developmental, multicultural, and body-centered perspectives into my integrative approach. The specific therapeutic skills I use will be suited to your needs and overall goals for constructive life change. My approach guides me as I listen carefully and respectfully to how you see yourself and the ways you experience life.
Teamwork & Goals
Counseling is a collaborative endeavor from my perspective. It works best when clients are committed to making the progress needed to resolve their concerns. I believe that you are the ultimate expert on your experience. As we plan our work together, we will consider the areas you would like to work on and the methods we will use. I expect that we will agree on a service plan and both of us will work hard to follow it. Counseling goals will be set by you and me as a team. Whenever possible, goals and objectives are made to be measurable so that progress can be tracked. From time to time, we will examine our progress and goals. Then, if needed, we can change our plan. Some clients need only a few sessions to achieve their goals, while others may require many months. An indicator that counseling is effective is that you will feel better equipped to face challenges and experience greater well-being and engagement in life.