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Adult Psychotherapy

I believe in creating a safe and collaborative environment in psychotherapy where we can explore various dimensions of the current problem you are experiencing. Through open self-expression and close listening, we can clarify various relational, emotional, and thought processes that may be contributing to the problem and identify the central dynamic. Psychotherapy also provides a platform to understand the main coping mechanisms one employs in dealing with life’s challenges. 

 

My approach is empathic, engaging, and respectful while gently challenging the individual towards their growth edge.  I believe in our capacities for resilience and growth gave the right kind of support.  

 

My work is grounded in psychodynamic theory and methods. It is also informed by body-based and experiential methods. As demonstrated by recent research in neuropsychology and psychotherapy, embodying our affective experiences provides us with valuable clues into better understanding and managing them. It also mobilizes our resources to move forward and lead more fulfilling lives.  The safe relational environment we create in the psychotherapy process also makes it possible to process various traumatic experiences. When appropriate, I integrate body-based methods to help processing trauma.

 

I have extensive experience working on issues of depression, anxiety, problems with emotional regulation, coping with life changes, feeling stuck in life or in relationships, divorce, loss, stress, trauma, relationship issues, personality problems, somatic complaints (bodily symptoms that do not have an apparent physical cause,), personal development.

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

My work with children includes methods of play therapy, verbal therapy and art, and dance/movement therapy methods. I seek to provide a variety of routes to self-expression while engaging children and adolescents.  Through careful tracking and containment of the symbolic content and affective experiences that emerge in play therapy, we can support children’s ability to make sense of their experiences and face developmental challenges.

  I also conduct parent-child psychotherapy with a focus on fostering healthy attachment and mentalization skills.  My work is informed by current research on key variables in socio-emotional development. I am excited to be part of a research group at the Center for Attachment Research at the New School studying effective interventions to foster healthy parent-child interaction. I have a particular interest in cultural variables in parenting and supporting parent-child relationships through experiential methods.

 

My work with children also involves parenting guidance and collaboration with the school in order to understand the whole child. Having conducted research on parenting goals and parenting strategies, I understand the complexity of the challenges parents face in today’s world and their struggle to balance various demands. I seek to create an environment where different perspectives of family members can be voiced, heard, and appreciated to find enduring solutions.   

Areas of Expertise

Affective difficulties in Childhood and Adolescence

Adapting to divorce, loss, or major life changes

Anxiety, fear

Social Skills

Self-esteem problems

Anger management

Adoption

Trauma and Stress

Abuse

Effective Parenting Skills 

Preparing for parenting

Managing divorce and co-parenting

Somatic Experiencing and Embodied Psychotherapy

Current research indicates the key role of the body and our nervous system in restoring traumatic experiences, which then lead to chronic symptoms that can range from fatigue, depression to a state of anxiety and over-arousal. Therefore, the use of body-based methods in trauma therapy is gaining increasing prominence. 

 

Somatic Experiencing is a body-based method that was developed by Peter Levine. It involves a rather simple method of learning to track one’s bodily sensations and applying self-regulation skills while processing traumatic experiences. These simple methods allow the discharge of trauma energy that has been stored in the nervous system and expand one’s capacity to affect containment and self-regulation. Through building the interconnections between one’s sensations, feelings, thoughts, and meaning system one can understand the full spectrum of trauma’s effect and transform them. Somatic Experiencing can be used with a whole host of early developmental or recent, single-episode traumas.

 

 

Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/ movement therapy is a method of expressive therapy that is founded on the principle of body/ mind unity. It utilizes the expressive and communicative power of body movement to tap into the body’s resources to achieve self-regulation and growth. 

Our movement style corresponds to various dimensions of our personality and ways of relating to others. Through structured and improvisational dance/movement exercises one can start building connections between how various feelings, thought processes and bodily experiences are related. Engaging one’s expressive and creative capacities in dance/movement therapy allows one to expand their repertoire for different ways of being in the world and with others. It also facilitates the processing of difficult feelings and restores a sense of vitality and agency. 

 

The body is also often the repository for trauma. It holds various sensations related to traumatic experiences, which can lead to somatic complaints and limit one’s life and relationships. Through engaging body memory for trauma along with healthy self-regulation capacity, traumatic experiences can be processed through dance therapy.

 

I utilize various methods of dance/movement therapy with adults and groups. When appropriate I also integrate them into my work with children. I established and directed the Creative Movement and Dance/Movement Therapy certificate program at Istanbul Bilgi University between the years of 2013-2018. I have also been practicing Authentic Movement since 2007, which informs my work with individuals as well as groups. 

 

No particular experience with dance or movement is necessary to participate in this method of therapy. I have a particular interest in aiding people to find their own, unique pathway into building a closer relationship with their bodies. 

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Psychological Testing

Psychological testing may be indicated at the beginning or during the course of the psychotherapy process. It includes standardized cognitive and/or personality tests to better understand and differentiate emotional, cognitive, and developmental variables that may be contributing to the problem at hand. Testing may also aid in clarifying diagnosis and informing the treatment process.

 

With children and adolescents, testing is helpful to assess their development across a variety of domains, distinguish areas of strength and those that need further support. Testing is also helpful to evaluate possible effects of emotional variables on cognitive processes such as learning, memory, attention. 

 

I have 14 years of experience teaching graduate-level courses on cognitive and personality tests (projective and self-report). I value the richness and precision of data tests can provide, which can be utilized to develop multilayered and nuanced formulations and treatment strategies.

Testing Tools I Utilize

Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Adults and Children

Rorschach Inkblot Test- Comprehensive System

Thematic Apperception Test

Children’s Apperception Test

MMPI-II

Figure Drawings

Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test

Supervision

I have over 15 years of experience teaching group and individual supervision in graduate-level clinical psychology programs as well as conducting supervision in private practice. I enjoy supervision deeply as an opportunity to engage in a collaborative effort with a colleague; one that promotes growth for all parties. I seek to provide a safe, supportive environment where the clinical perspective can be expanded and the clinician is supported to gain more confidence in and access to their resources. My approach is grounded in psychodynamic/ psychoanalytic theory and methods. I also emphasize integrating findings from current research and methods that focus on attachment, mentalization, affect regulation, and embodied methods. I have found that including embodied and experiential elements in supervision also deepens clinical insight considerably.

© 2021 by Zeynep Catay