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About

Goals of Therapy

3 Simple Goals of Therapy

Mental Health Counseling for Anxiety, Chronic Illness and Couples.

Openness

Reduce the amount of suffering that you (your partner or family) has to deal with on a daily basis. 

Awareness

Increased awareness with knowledge and skills so changes made are sustainable and adaptable  

Engaged

A values-based framework which allows for a life that touches, moves and inspires you. 

PHILOSOPHY

Underlying Assumption

​The underlying truth which is the foundation of the therapeutic approach at AQAL Therapies, is the understanding that people are doing the best that they can, with the knowledge and skills that they have.

 

If there was any other better way that a person could have done it,

that would be the path that they would have taken. ​

 

Once a person can grasp this underlying concept, it becomes possible to see our choices for what they were and what they are, allowing us freedom from the meaning we have added to it all without losing the wisdom gained in these experiences.

This is psychological flexibility. 

Psychological Flexibility

 Openness, awareness and values-based actions help to increase psychological flexibility so that it becomes possible to transition through such a stage.

APPROACH

3 Main Approaches

Theoretical Approach to Counseling

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT (pronounced “act”) is an evidence-based model of psychotherapy that is a branch of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is similar to CBT in it's structure, with an intentional focus on goals and treatment plans and the use of homework. However, ACT differs from traditional CBT in that it is more focused on mindfulness and aims to increase psychological flexibility.

 

The goal of ACT is to work towards “acceptance” of what is outside of your control and to make a commitment to change things that are inside your control, in order to improve and enrich your life. ACT does this by helping you utilize mindfulness skills to lessen the impact of painful thoughts and feelings that are an inevitable part of life, clarify values, and make conscious steps toward moving in the direction of those values.

Watch this video to learn more about ACT

Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (fACT)

fACT is a new model of brief therapy (25-30 minutes long) that is a highly condensed version of a well-established longer-term treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT. 

 

It uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies to help people transform their relationship with unwanted, distressing experiences, such as disturbing thoughts, unpleasant emotions, painful memories or uncomfortable physical symptoms by seeing them for what they are, emotions as just emotions, thoughts as just thoughts, and sensations as just sensations.

There is a greater emphasis is on helping people connect with personal values and engaging in committed actions that are consistent with their core values, instead of focusing on emotional control helping people focus on regaining a desired quality of life.

These sessions are also affordable in that they are typically half the cost of a regular session and have been demonstrated to work as a stand alone session or with only a few session being required to achieve a significant reduction in reported issues.  This helps overcome the access to care barrier many have to deal with and allows for more appointment times to be offered. 

Integral Psychotherapy

Integral Psychotherapy involves paying attention to several important aspects that inform our unique perspective.  This allows for the creation of an individualized plan that focuses on specific knowledge and skills to address challenges successfully.  The goal of Integral Psychotherapy is to help us move beyond the limits of our internal processes, our rules and tools thinking into a truly comprehensive, integrated understanding of mental health and well-being.

Todd Schmenk
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Todd Schmenk

M.S., M.Ed., CIT, LMHC

Todd Schmenk is a mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of anxiety-related issues. His focus areas include general anxiety, panic attacks, chronic health conditions, couples counseling, and performance anxiety.

Todd previously worked as an elementary school teacher, health educator, business wellness executive, a behavioral therapist, and since 2015 as a counselor at his private practice, AQAL Therapies. For fun, he can be found swing dancing, in his gardens, out on his kayak or in his woodshop.  You can find his work history here.

The Team

The Team.

In addition to working directly with patients, I also work as a supervisor with the Mental Health Counseling programs at Rhode Island College and Johnson and Whales.  I oversee and/or train these clinicians to utilize several of the approaches I personally use. 

What to expect in your first session with an ACT Therapist

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a flexible and individualized approach, so the specific steps of a therapy session may vary based on the needs and goals of each couple. However, here is a general outline of the steps that might be used in an ACT-based couples counseling session:

  1. Establishing a rapport: The therapist will begin by establishing a connection with both partners and creating a safe and supportive environment for them to express their concerns and feelings.

  2. Identifying the issues: The therapist will ask the couple to describe the issues that they are experiencing in their relationship. The therapist will work with the couple to clarify the specific problems they want to address in therapy.

  3. Values exploration: The therapist will explore the values of each partner and help them identify what is most important to them in life and in their relationship. This step is important in helping couples identify shared goals and values.

  4. Mindfulness practice: The therapist may introduce mindfulness practices to help the couple become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This may involve simple mindfulness exercises such as mindful breathing or body scans.

  5. Acceptance and defusion techniques: The therapist may introduce exercises that help the couple to identify and accept their difficult emotions and thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. These exercises can help couples learn to "make room" for their feelings and thoughts without letting them control their actions.

  6. Committed action: The therapist will help the couple identify specific actions that they can take to support their values and goals in their relationship. This may involve setting up a plan to engage in activities that they both enjoy or working to develop new shared experiences.

  7. Homework and follow-up: At the end of the session, the therapist may give the couple "homework" to practice the skills and strategies they learned in therapy. The therapist will also schedule follow-up sessions to check in on the couple's progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Throughout the session, the therapist will be attuned to the couple's emotions and may use interventions such as empathic listening, validation, and normalization to create a safe and supportive space for the couple to work through their challenges. The therapist will also be flexible and adjust the treatment plan as needed based on the couple's progress and feedback.

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