I have over 15 years of experience as a psychotherapist offering cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and clinical hypnosis to individuals, couples, and families in need. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, an Approved Consultant of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, a professional member of the National Association of Social Workers, and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice. My approach to counseling and psychotherapy is pragmatic and solution-focused. In my part-time private practice, I challenge my clients to grow in addition to giving them the emotional support and tools necessary to do so. I am not a passive therapist who will repeatedly ask you to “tell me how you feel” or dredge up the past– instead, I offer practical, concrete strategies and techniques that you can use to help yourself progress towards your goals. My therapy style is alternately gentle and firm, and designed to generate insight as well as behavioral change. I also work to help clients in their quest for personal growth and self-actualization. When appropriate, I engage clients on an existential level, assisting them in clarifying the meaning and mission of their lives.
Through a wide range of techniques, I have supported my clients in making deep, enduring, and positive changes to their lives. I have successfully assisted clients with diverse issues including: stress; depression; anxiety; panic disorder; drug, cigarette, and alcohol addiction; addiction to prescription opioid painkillers; chronic pain; irritable bowel syndrome; migraine headaches; adjustment to illness; mind-body issues; weight loss; sleep difficulties; parent-child and marital conflict; divorce; sex addiction; obsessive compulsive disorder; behavioral habits like trichotillomania; trauma; physical and sexual abuse; and self-esteem issues, among others.
Why Do You Need Counseling or Psychotherapy?
Counseling and psychotherapy, terms used here synonymously, can be enormously effective in helping you to overcome life problems and further your personal growth. In my part-time private practice, I use pragmatic techniques to help you bring about the changes you desire in your life. I distinguish myself from many other therapists in that I employ action-oriented therapy techniques designed to help you achieve significant results in a brief time span. Unlike other therapists, I will not ask you to rehash the past over and over again. Instead, I will help you to find solutions to your problems and a new perspective that will ultimately empower you to find meaning and enjoyment in your life. To that end, I use a strategic integration of several therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, solution-focused therapy, and clinical hypnosis.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown through more than 300 well-controlled clinical trials to be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, is based on the notion that our thoughts influence our emotions and our actions. By changing our thought patterns, deeply held beliefs, and unhelpful behavioral habits, we can indirectly change our feelings and improve the quality of our lives. For example, if a person thought that they were no good, always destined to fail, they would likely feel depressed, and would probably avoid challenging situations. Conversely, if a person believed that they were capable of managing stressful situations, they would feel encouraged, and would face challenges head on. Cognitive therapy helps people to change their thought patterns and engage in new ways of acting more effectively in the world.
Mindfulness training has been demonstrated through research to help people find well-being by overcoming negative emotions and unhelpful thought patterns. I myself have conducted a number of clinical trials of mindfulness-based therapies and have published more than 40 scientific journal articles on mindfulness. This growing body of research conducted by myself and my colleagues at the Mind and Life Institute indicates that mindfulness training can result in profound and lasting changes to psychological, autonomic (e.g., the “fight or flight” stress response), and brain function – indeed, new studies are emerging showing that mindfulness training can improve the way our hearts respond to stress, alter the structure of our brains, and even modify the expression of our genes! Beyond its many positive effects on physical health, this form of mental training is especially good at helping people overcome self-critical, self-defeating, and pessimistic thoughts and fears. Mindfulness helps you to learn to focus your mind on the present moment in an open, accepting, nonjudgmental, and nonreactive manner. By training yourself to pay attention to your breathing and body sensations, you can learn to “step back” from negative thoughts and feelings, reducing stress and managing emotional and physical pain. In so doing, you can learn to “get out of your head” so that you can enjoy your life more fully in the present. Ultimately, mindfulness training can help you to let go of distressing thoughts, emotions, and sensations, allowing you to accept, appreciate, and enjoy your life more fully.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Solution-focused brief therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on developing action-oriented strategies to overcome problems and achieve life goals. This form of counseling does not require you to re-hash painful past events. Instead, it focuses on active change in the present that can help you to build the future you desire. Using this therapy, I will ask questions aimed at helping you find your own solutions to the challenges in your life. In so doing, I can help you construct a clear vision of your preferred future, as well as a roadmap that describes the small steps you can take to get there. In our first meeting, we will discuss your goals for treatment. One of my first questions to you will be, “How will you know when you’ve gotten what you need out of this experience and no longer need therapy?” I am pragmatic in his approach and will seek to be as efficient as possible. Most issues can be resolved in five to ten sessions. I will be up-front and honest with you about your counseling goals and the approximate length of time necessary to achieve them. My goal is for you to get what you need out of our work together and then move on with living the life you want to live.
I am a certified, approved consultant in clinical hypnosis from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Clinical hypnosis is a powerful tool that can help you to heal and gain self-control by learning to focus your mind in a natural state of deep concentration. Hypnosis involves the induction of a state of mind that is focused and absorbed, but at the same time relaxed and open. In this state of concentrated attention, you can become more open to positive suggestions for growth and healing. Thus, the hypnotic state can enable you to resolve life problems quickly and effectively. Also, hypnosis facilitates personal growth by helping people to overcome learned limitations. Hypnosis allows you to bypass the conscious mind, which often holds us back with worries, doubts, or limiting beliefs. As you learn to enter into the hypnotic state, you can put the interference of these conscious limitations to rest, thereby enabling you to change and live your life the way you want to. Hypnosis can also be used for pain relief, as well as mind-body communication and healing. A large body of well-controlled research indicates that hypnosis can reduce pain often to a greater extent than conventional medical treatments. Hypnosis can influence the body through the autonomic nervous system, a network of nerves connecting the brain to the organs of the body that controls the stress reaction and relaxation response. Brain imaging studies have shown that hypnosis also influences brain structures that gate signals from the body to the cortex for the regulation of thought and emotion. Contrary to popular myth, the hypnotist does not put someone in a trance and dominate their will. Instead, during clinical hypnosis, I will present to you ideas and suggestions that will evoke mental imagery and metaphorical associations which will help you to enter into your own self-hypnotic state. All hypnosis is really self-hypnosis. I serve as a guide to help you stimulate your own inner resources for growth and healing. Hypnosis is most effective when you are highly motivated to change or overcome a problem. The change that can occur from clinical hypnosis may happen rapidly or gradually, depending on your issue and your receptivity to the hypnotic state. To learn more about this amazing technique, visit the website of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, or for more in-depth reading on the science of hypnosis, take a look at this webpage by John Kihlstrom, Professor of Psychology from University of California at Berkeley, one of the world’s greatest authorities on hypnosis and the scientific study of consciousness. I have used hypnosis successfully to treat a wide array of emotional, behavioral, and mind-body issues.
For a map of my practice location, click Goodwill Humanitarian Building (map).
Eric Garland, Ph.D., LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist in Utah, an Approved Consultant from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, a professional member of the National Association of Social Workers, and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice. He completed a fellowship in integrative medicine funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where he conducted clinical research on mindfulness-oriented treatments for addiction, irritable bowel syndrome, and other stress- and pain-related conditions. In addition to providing counseling, Dr. Garland is an Associate Professor in the University of Utah College of Social Work, where he teaches cognitive-behavioral therapy and conducts clinical research on mindfulness-based interventions.