Behavioral Medicine & Health Psychology

The fields of behavioral medicine and health psychology are growing and many of our therapists are specialized in these fields.

The field of behavioral medicine and health psychology focus on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact health. From irritable bowel syndrome to insomnia, weight management, diabetes, and chronic pain, our psychologists and dietitians can help you learn how to best manage symptoms associated with these conditions.


Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Are you tossing and turning in the middle of the night?

There is hope. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a highly effective treatment for insomnia. Insomnia can be detrimental to your health for many reasons. Without proper sleep, you could suffer the following negative consequences:
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Weakened immune system
These are just a few of the consequences. Endless research continues to come out about the impact insomnia can have on one’s health.

Treatment for Insomnia

CBT-I is one of the few psychological interventions that directly impacts one’s physiology. It’s highly successful in helping those who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Clients will fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night such that they will wake up feeling much more well rested!

1. In our first session, we’ll review your current sleep habits. I'll ask the following questions:
2. What is your bedtime routine like?
3. What time do you get into bed?
4. How long does it take you to fall asleep?
5. How many times do you wake up in the middle of the night?
6. How long are you awake in the middle of the night?
7. What time do you wake up in the morning? How long are you staying in bed awake?
8. Do you nap during the day?
9. Does your sleep look different on weekends vs. weekdays?

Treatment Components

Sleep Restriction Therapy
Many individuals get into bed earlier in hopes of getting more sleep throughout the night. Sleep restriction will require clients to stay up later than they might be used to so that they sleep more efficiently throughout the night. It helps to eliminate awakenings in the middle of the night. It may be difficult the first few nights, but eventually clients find they are falling asleep quickly and effortlessly! In therapy, you will complete sleep logs and be prescribed a recommended earliest bedtime and a standard rise time.

Stimulus Control
Do you watch television while in bed? Do you read? Are you checking your email, Twitter, Facebook … right before going to bed? Are you spending a lot of time awake in bed or in your bedroom? We’ll discuss how these behaviors impact your ability to sleep and how to change these habits to improve your sleep!

Sleep Hygiene
Is your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool? Are you drinking alcohol close to bedtime? Are you drinking too much caffeine? Do you have a bedtime routine? All of these factors could be affecting your ability to sleep well. Together we’ll determine what, if any, changes need to be made in this regard such that your sleep improves.

Cognitive Therapy
Do you think, plan, or worry in bed? Do you lay awake worrying about everything you need to do tomorrow? Do you worry about whether or not you’ll be able to sleep and how a lack of sleep will impact you the next day? In treatment, we will use cognitive therapy to help manage these thought processes so that they no longer impact your sleep.

Stop suffering from insomnia. See results and feel better.

Chronic Pain & Illness

Chronic pain and chronic illnesses are the leading presenting problems at doctor offices. Chronic pain and chronic illnesses are complex and often not just physical problems. One’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior have a lot to do with one’s experience of pain and illness. Chronic pain and illness also can create feelings of hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and anger. This is where psychological treatment can be helpful.

We treat clients with various complex chronic pain/illness presentations including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Migraine headaches
  • Back/neck/face/joint/pelvic pain
  • GI conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Concussion
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Life changing injuries

Chronic Pain & Illness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Biofeedback, and Mindfulness Meditation have all been shown through research to be effective in helping clients who are currently suffering from chronic pain and chronic illnesses.

We have several staff members and services that may help you.

ACT Therapy for Chronic Pain/Illness

Our psychologists have expertise in using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to help clients learn to live with pain/illness and work on reducing the control it has over their lives. Instead of trying to eliminate pain and discomfort, clients will learn to learn to live a life that is fulfilling for them the best they can with the physical pain/discomfort. Using acceptance-based strategies, clients learn to psychologically manage their pain and discomfort such that it no longer controls their day to day functioning. Instead, clients begin exploring their values and set goals that help them live a life consistently with their values. This helps to improve quality of life.

CBT Therapy for Chronic Pain/Illness

Our health psychologists have expertise in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients address their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in a way that helps them see a reduction in pain/illness severity and improve their quality of life. Chronic pain/illness can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability (emotions), negative thought patterns (thoughts), and increased isolation and withdrawal from day to day activities (behaviors).

These side effects of living with chronic pain/illness can often decrease one’s quality of life and make the experience of pain and discomfort far worse. CBT helps clients get more active, but in a gradual way where one learns to pace oneself so that they are not overdoing it which can lead to increased pain, distress, and withdrawal. Next, our psychologists would review relaxation training with the client focusing on deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and and guided imagery. These strategies have been shown in research to improve chronic pain and illness severity. Lastly, our psychologists will discuss sleep patterns to ensure clients are getting adequate sleep and our psychologists will work with clients to help ensure they are incorporating meaningful, pleasant activities into their days. As a total treatment plan, research supports the efficacy of CBT for those with chronic pain/illness.

Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain/Illness

Some of our psychologists teach mindfulness meditation to their clients. Their approaches are closely linked to Jon Kabat Zin’s work in mindfulness based stress reduction. Research done using mindfulness based approaches have shown that individuals enrolled in such programs often have reduced pain and illness severity and improved health related quality of life. This is often contingent upon home practice. Our psychologists helps clients learn the various forms of mindfulness meditation they can use at home in between sessions.

Stress Management

Due to the pressures of daily life, many people report high levels of stress and burnout. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health concerns, and stress reduction is often recommended. However, most people have difficulty fitting self-care and stress reduction techniques into their schedules. Mindfulness training is one effective stress reduction technique that has been found to prevent burnout and improve relationships.

We have psychologists on staff who are experts in mindfulness meditation and stress management. They work with clients in exploring different ways to incorporate self-care into busy schedules. You may have been exposed to meditation in the past, but our health psychologists introduce clients to mindfulness meditation in a way that does not have any religious undertones to it. It is focused more on psychological awareness and our psychologists discuss research behind mindfulness practices.

In working with our psychologists, you’ll learn the following skills:

  • Cultivating Self-Awareness
  • Learning Skillful Responding, Decreasing Stress Reactivity
  • Eating Mindfully
  • Practicing Mindful Movement
  • Managing Difficult Situations and Emotions
  • Increasing Focus and Mental Clarity
  • Improving Communication and Connection with Others
  • Learning About the Mind-Body Connection