Leah E. Behl, Ph.D., LLC
I have had over a decade of experience helping children, adolescents and adults recover from trauma, anxiety and depression. I completed my Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University in Clinical Psychology. I received a NIMH pre-doctoral Fellowship for the study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault for the duration of my doctoral studies and internship. During my time at NIU in addition to general therapy, I also provided therapeutic services in an anxiety clinic receiving specialized training in the cognitive behavioral treatment of OCD, Phobias, Social Phobias and other anxiety disorders. On my internship, I specialized in Trauma treatment at the National Crime Victim Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston where I saw adult, adolescent and child clients who had experienced various traumatic events. I received direct training in Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorders. While I did specialize in trauma treatment I also received additional more generalized training for the treatment of various anxiety disorders (PTSD, Panic, Phobia, etc.) and depression. Subsequent to MUSC I completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Child Abuse Research and Educational Services (CARES) Institute in Stratford NJ. The CARES Institute is an internationally renowned center that specializes in the treatment children who have experienced abuse. They also provide training for clinicians throughout the world in TF-CBT and CPC-CBT.
I continued at the CARES Institute for 11 years, during which I received additional training in TF-CBT, CPC-CBT, and DBT and solidified many therapeutic skills in the treatment of trauma, anxiety and depression. The children and adolescents that I helped at CARES all had physical or sexual abuse, and/or neglect histories. In addition to Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I also provided therapeutic services for the Stabilization and Trauma Treatment for Adolescents at Risk (STTAR) Program. This program was a combination of TF-CBT and DBT programs providing trauma treatment for adolescents who were participating in high risk behaviors such as cutting or suicidal ideation. Consequently, I am very comfortable working with adolescents who have or are currently participating in such behaviors. Another aspect of my job at CARES was providing CPC-CBT to parents and families who were at risk for physically abusing their children, providing them with skills to help their children behave without the use of physical discipline. This experience solidified my knowledge and skill working effectively with parents of behaviorally challenging children helping them manage their children's behavior, as well as their own anger and frustration that comes with parenting a child with difficult behavior. In addition to providing treatment I was also an important part of the dissemination of both TF-CBT and CPC-CBT. I participated in providing trainings to clinicians and in writing articles and book chapters on both topics. I also provided supervision for students and post-doctoral trainees in TF-CBT and CPC-CBT.
In 2008 I began my private practice to obtain more diversity in the clients that I see, increasing the age range of my clients and diversity of presenting problems. I am currently working full time as a private practice therapist and am loving it! I am also currently available to provide supervision for qualified post-doctoral trainees in need of a licensed supervisor in New Jersey. I am also available to provide consultation for individuals who are licensed and are seeking direct consultation in TF-CBT or CPC-CBT .
While I do enjoy working with the full age range of clients, I think it is important to mention that I work well with adolescents and preadolescents. I typically get along well with this age, which may not necessarily be the case with all therapists. I understand their need for independence, while also understanding that they may not have developed the ability to be independent. Bridging this gap is something I am able to do respectfully and well. In addition, I don't take myself too seriously in therapy which allows laughter into the therapeutic process, which I feel is especially appreciated in this age group.
Because my approach in individual therapy is tends to be cognitively based, this type of work tends to be more effective with individuals who can understand the thoughts that they may be having. For younger children who may not understand the thoughts that they have or even what thoughts are, behavioral management of symptoms may be more appropriate. Consequently, these children are better helped when they are accompanied to treatment by adults who are participating actively in their treatment, working both in session and at home.
There are different kinds of approaches to therapy. I have a very strong cognitive behavioral background in my approach in therapy. What that means is that I believe that the things we think, feel and do are very interconnected. Having an understanding of the influence of our thoughts and behavior on what we are feeling can provide a road map of what can be done to help us feel differently, if that is the goal.
While trying to decide if I am the person you want to see for you therapeutic needs, it may be helpful to understand some of my beliefs regarding mental health, well-being and how it applies to therapy. I believe mental health doesn't mean the complete absence of negative emotions, but it does mean knowing how to handle them effectively. The negative emotions in our lives often motivate us to make changes that can decrease the negative experiences they are important indicators that we need to navigate life effectively, but getting stuck in an overwhelming negative emotion is not pleasant or healthy. Therapy can help get us unstuck and learn skills to keep us from getting stuck in the future. I also believe well-being is not simply the presence of mental health but also includes the presence of the things that make life worth living. Creating a life worth living may not be easy, but is worth the effort. In therapy I believe in a more research based - holistic approach to creating health and well-being. I believe the brain is a part of the body and the two are inseparable, for when we neglect our physical well-being, our mental well-being suffers and when we neglect our mental health our physical health suffers.
The field of psychology continues to become better informed as to which therapies are effective. This information is very helpful in providing effective therapy and can also be very helpful in choosing a therapist. The current research on how the brain works is also very helpful in understanding how the thoughts we have are related to our feelings and ultimately our behavior. I strongly believe that the practice of therapy should be informed by the latest in quality therapy and brain research.
Other online profiles for Leah E. Behl, Ph.D.
Psychology Today Website Profile
Good Therapy Website Profile
Secure Video Online Therapeutic Services Profile