Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
I offer CBT therapy for Bipolar Disorder in my New York City office (virtual and in person). I have extensive experience helping clients with Bipolar Disorder to balance their mental health needs with the demands of a busy lifestyle. Treatment for Bipolar Affective Disorder requires a skilled therapist who can adjust therapy sessions based on the varying needs of the client from week to week.
The CBT therapy I offer is catered to the needs of people with a variety of mood disorders, including Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.
In order to better manage mood fluctuations, I focus on the following general therapeutic goals with my clients:
(1) To develop greater mood stability and a range of options for reacting to stressors.
Clients learn stress management techniques and develop a deeper awareness of personal triggers and the behavioral and cognitive options available to them.
(2) To “get out in front of changes in mood” by actively monitoring mood fluctuations and learning how to adjust effectively.
I work with my clients to gain increased awareness of subtle or clear changes in their mood. Together we manage depressive, hypomanic or manic episodes.
A more expanded version of my focus now follows…..
Five Ways Psychotherapy Will Help with Bipolar Symptoms
I help clients to create a toolbox of coping mechanisms for managing their Bipolar diagnosis.
My clients who find success in therapy with managing symptoms of Bipolar Affective Disorder usually attend weekly therapy sessions and are often, but not always, on medication. Here are five main areas of focus that I help clients with various manifestations of Bipolar Disorder to improve.
1. The primary way to manage manic, hypomanic and depressive symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder is to get in front of your symptoms.
This involves helping you to have the perspective to understand when you need to make changes to either fend off or accommodate fluctuations in your mood. Very often, this involves changing your routines, enlisting the support of others and processing painful thoughts and feelings successfully. Managing sleep is usually a part of this therapeutic goal of getting in front of symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. This is where I excel as a clinical psychologist. Clients have reported positive effects of this therapeutic goal.
2. Therapy for Bipolar Disorder involves deepening your understanding between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, as well as altering belief systems and irrational ideas that control personal choices and the interpretation of events.
This Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach enhances your ability to step back and better frame decisions made by you and the people in your life.
3. Stress management is a huge part of managing Bipolar Disorder and related conditions.
It appears that episodes of mania, hypomania and depression are often triggered by reactions to stress. I am careful here with my words. It’s not stress itself, but your reaction to stress. I help New Yorkers by teaching them stress management techniques.
4. Successful therapy for Bipolar Disorder includes helping you to establish a social rhythm.
That is, we will organize your relationships and daily routines so that you feel more personal predictability and a greater sense of control. We will analyze your interpersonal relations to gain greater perspective and behavioral options for managing the interface between your social, work, family and romantic relationships and fluctuations in your mood.
5. Compliance with therapy and the cadence established translates into success in managing stress and Bipolar symptoms.
In addition to a strong therapeutic bond with your psychologist, the greatest predictor of therapeutic success with managing Bipolar Affective Disorder is compliance with treatment.
More on Compliance with Therapy and Routines
A commitment to treatment is extremely important for people with certain manifestations of Bipolar Disorder.
Given that changes in mood heavily influence behavior and choices, compliance with both psychotherapy sessions and daily routines is directly connected to success with managing symptoms of Bipolar Affective Disorder. Of course, this does not apply to everyone, but when someone experiences a significantly depressed mood and feels like withdrawing into an idle state, there might be less motivation to attend a therapy session. Similarly, when manic or hypomanic symptoms are present, or when there is strong relief from a high or low, it might feel like there is no need for therapy. This problem with noncompliance in psychotherapy can sabotage progress.
I believe my success in treating people with Bipolar Disorder starts with the strong therapeutic relationship that I build with my clients. Having an experienced psychologist in your corner who serves as a collaborator, an ally, a coach, an analyst and a motivator can lend itself to a powerful therapeutic experience.
My patients tend to report a positive impact from the work we do, and the rhythm of the therapy really matters.
Bipolar Disorder and the Fast-Paced New York City Lifestyle
I am keenly aware that many New Yorkers are highly ambitious and intelligent. They also tend to be over-scheduled and live in extremes.
It is certainly not easy to manage disruptive mood fluctuations AND juggle a demanding job, relationship obligations, a busy family life and/or a commitment to your passions and hobbies. CBT therapy will help you to find as much balance as is possible given all of your obligations. When you’re in the throes of a depressive, manic or hypomanic episode, something has to temporarily give.
As a psychologist in New York City for over 20 years, I am an expert at helping clients manage the derailment of obligations and relationships caused by Bipolar symptoms.
Psychotherapy is a space to process your wishes, dreams, obligations, stress and fears…and their intersection with mood fluctuations.
Bipolar Disorder and the Presence of Other Emotional Challenges
CBT Therapy for Bipolar symptoms also takes into account the presence of other influences on your mind and body. Some people with intense or moderate mood fluctuations are also grappling with addiction, obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder (Adult ADD) and other psychological challenges.
Psychotherapy takes into account all of these factors. I have helped hundreds of clients in my private practice with various forms of Bipolar Disorder over the past 17+ years and in hospitals and clinics before my practice.
I would be happy to help you if you’re ready for the commitment. Please feel free to reach out with any questions ([email protected]).
All the best!
Dr. KLearn More
My Guide on Huff Post to Starting Therapy
As you prepare for your first session, you may have questions about the process of being in therapy. Please don’t hesitate to write them down and ask me. It can be confusing to figure out how to say everything you want to say in one visit. I urge you to relieve yourself of that pressure and try to trust in the process.
I am highly skilled in building a solid therapeutic relationship, so you can rest assured that you won’t feel judged for what you’re reluctant to talk about. I’m here to help.
Here’s my Huff Post article about starting therapy:
11 Things You Must Know About Getting Started in Therapy
P.S.- You can also call me or email me. I’d be happy to answer all of your questions.