Therapeutic Approach

System Perspective

Dr. Hiestand does not view mental illness as an isolated event. Illness has multiple influencing factors, which can include genetics, personality traits, relationships, social and cultural influences, and life experiences. Treatment is focused on exploring all the factors that influence the problem and working toward solutions. Treatment planning is done collaboratively by Dr. Hiestand and the client working together to outline the goals of treatment.

EMDR Therapy

Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a complex approach to psychotherapy that incorporates much of the wisdom of other therapies. Although most people have come to associate it with eye movement, EMDR therapy is an accelerated form of information processing that includes an eight phase approach and numerous procedural elements that contribute to its success. EDMR therapy is used within a comprehensive treatment plan to promote recovery from your difficulties.

EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Attention is also given to current situations that cause distress as well as to the development of skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach. EMDR therapy helps someone conceptualize his or her memories through a new perspective. After reprocessing the memory of a negative life event the person is able to let go of past negative personal beliefs (e.g. I am not enough, I am insignificant) and replace them with new positive beliefs (e.g. I am enough, I am significant).

Currently, there is extensive research on EMDR therapy. To learn more about EMDR, read Francine Shapiro's article, the originator and developer of EMDR or visit the EMDR Institute website. Additionally, Savor Podcast has an entire episode on EMDR therapy.


Mindfulness is a useful skill and for some an approach to life. According to Kabat-Zinn (1990), mindfulness is moving your awareness to the present moment while at the same time allowing yourself to completely accept each aspect of your experience without trying to change any one part. The past is gone and the future is unknown, therefore the present is the only moment you have. It is the only moment when learning, acting, choosing, changing and healing can be done.

When the mind is dominated by anxiety, fear, and dissatisfaction it is difficult to feel calm or relaxed. Instead, you are likely to feel disconnected, overwhelmed, and fragmented. Mindfulness might be beneficial to you because it can:

  • Help you to cope with emotional and psychological problems that distress you by changing your relationship with the distress, symptoms, suffering, and pain that you experience.
  • Lead to the discovery of deep realms of relaxation, calmness, and insight within yourself.
  • Help you to lessen your reliance on harmful means (drugs, drinking, disorderly eating, numbing) to cope.
  • Help you to become more aware so that you don't miss life's important moments.

For clients that are interested, Dr. Hiestand provides mindfulness skills and opportunities to practice mindful awareness. To experience a brief meditation provided by Dr. Hiestand click on the meditation link on the homepage.

Mindfulness excerpts taken from Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delta.