Approach and style of treatment
In my practice I help clients learn how to better cope with their feelings, improve their relationships and increase their self-understanding. My approach to therapy involves a fostering of interpersonal communication, problem-solving and coping skills as well as helping clients gain insight into how their life experiences influence their present functioning. I am an active therapist who engages clients on a personal level through thoughtful listening as well as focused questioning.
Do you have a particular theoretical approach?
I have had training in a range of theories and feel comfortable and fluent in many. Every client I work with is unique and has specific needs, that is why no intervention is ever the same. However, my style is heavily influenced by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Do you have a specialty?
Yes, I do. Although I have had experiences working with an array of diagnoses and populations and still am, I specializes working with adolescents and adults with anxiety disorders as well as eating disorders.
Dr. Nir's experience
Dr. Tal Nir received her training from the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD) at Boston University. CARD is an internationally known clinical and research center. It is dedicated to advancing knowledge and providing care for anxiety, mood, eating, sleeping and other related disorders. Dr. Nir has experience treating individuals with various diagnoses such as general anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorders, specific phobias such as fear of flying, heights, and driving, as well as depression. In addition, when appropriate, Dr. Nir works with clients who wish to wean off anxiety medication.
Dr. Nir completed her pre-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Mclean Hospital where she utilized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) techniques in the treatment of mood, anxiety and eating disorders. Currently, as a staff psychologist at Brandeis University's Psychological Counseling Center, Dr. Nir provides psychological services to undergraduate and graduate level students who have an array of diagnoses. She is also an active member of the Brandeis eating disorders team.
Anxiety is a normal emotional reaction to stress. At its optimum level it increases a person's ability to deal with difficult situations by motivating him or her to cope with them. However, when anxiety surpasses a certain level it becomes excessive and is no longer useful. When this occurs anxiety interferes with the ability to function and prevents a person from meeting his or her goals.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people who struggle with high levels of anxiety by providing goal-oriented, systematic procedures to follow. There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for treating a variety of disorders including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychosis. Treatment is often technique-driven, brief, direct, and time-limited. During CBT individuals gain adaptive and healthy perspectives regarding their condition and learn effective coping skills.
Although every individual is unique and presents with a different set of symptoms, the expected length of CBT for anxiety disorders is between twelve and fifteen sessions. Of course a person may choose to stay longer in treatment if he or she identifies additional goals.
In her approach to treating anxiety and mood disorders Dr. Nir combines her theoretical knowledge, which is based on current research, with the clinical experience she has acquired.
Do you feel that you turn to food, or avoid food more often than not? Do you feel that your relationship with food is hurting your quality of life and is often out of your control? Do you feel that you may have some form of eating disorder? If so, you should know that according to the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States:
80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (Smolak, 1996).
Approximately 25 million more are struggling with binge eating disorders (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995).
As many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
The majority of the population described above use or avoid food unconsciously as a way to cope with various life stresses, personal issues and emotional challenges that they are either unaware of or don’t have the coping skills to manage successfully. In a sense, disordered eating can be viewed as a symptom of deeper issues.
During treatment, Dr. Nir uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as relational therapy to help individuals identify the underlying issues that trigger their problematic relationship with food. Fostering such awareness lays the foundation for the next step, which is acquiring the appropriate tools and skills for coping with emotional challenges. Dr. Nir tailors each client’s treatment individually by incorporating CBT with dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
Dealing effectively with the underlying issues decreases the need to use unhealthy and problematic behaviors such as restricting, overeating, and purging food. This in turn will increase a person’s quality of life.
Eating disorders can vary in severity from mild to life threatening, and dealing with the underlying issues is often too difficult for people to manage on their own without the help of an experienced professional. The length of treatment is based on the specific needs of the individual as well as his or her own readiness at the onset of therapy.
Dr. Nir’s expertise with eating disorders
Dr. Nir has experience working within all levels of care, which includes residential, partial, and outpatient clients. She has cultivated a deep understanding of the complex nature of eating disorders and combines her knowledge with her natural ability to connect with people. She is passionate, sincere, and creates a safe, warm environment, which encourages growth and progress in her clients.
In addition, Dr. Nir completed her postdoctoral training at Tufts University, where she currently offers a body image workshop for university students.
Currently, as a staff psychologist at Brandeis University’s Psychological Counseling Center, Dr. Nir provides psychological services to undergraduate and graduate level students with an array of diagnoses including eating disorders.
Enhancing a Positive Body Image Workshop
This workshop is designed to promote a healthy and accepting relationship with one's body. It focuses on various triggers of negative body image such as cultural, cognitive, and behavioral and offers ways to better manage these triggers. It also encourage a more positive interaction with one's body to help rebuild a positive and realistic view of your body.
The workshop is about 4 to 8 sessions long (depends on setting and needs). It's orientation is cognitive behavioral and it’s content is based on research and clinical experience.
Skills Building Workshop
This workshop aims to provide participants with tools to cope with strong and overwhelming emotions, problem behaviors, and self-defeating thoughts. Impulse control, cognitive restructuring, and mindfulness are a few examples of this workshop's content.
The length of the workshop would vary depends on the setting and needs of the participants. The workshop combines CBT and DBT techniques.
Thoughts, Feelings and Food Workshop
The workshop deals with issues ranging from eating concerns to one’s mental health and stability. It is based on cognitive behavior approach (CBT). The workshop is interactive, engaging, and emphasis learning new skills and coping mechanisms. It is a structured workshop and each meeting has its own topic.