Our Approach

We provide therapy for children, teens, adults and couples at our Washington D.C. (Tenleytown) and Arlington (Court House) offices, and by teletherapy in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and 28 other states.


We believe in creating a safe, accepting environment where problems can be discussed.  To accomplish that, we use scientifically proven techniques.  Based on CBT principles, we will create an individualized treatment plan based on a deep understanding of your struggles, needs, and goals.


In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), adults and adolescents with extreme emotional instability, interpersonal difficulties, and/or difficulty regulating their impulses are treated.  Dr Marsha Linehan developed DBT to help people who engage in self-harm and destructive behaviors.  It aims to help depressed and anxious clients who have trouble regulating their emotions and reactions and who are dealing with ongoing interpersonal difficulties.  It combines traditional behavioral change techniques with fundamental acceptance of oneself.  Our therapists have extensive experience with DBT and apply it when necessary.  We also offer DBT Skills Training Groups.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is our specialty.  There is strong evidence that CBT is highly effective in treating anxiety, depression, anger, insomnia, and other problems.  CBT is the most widely used drug-free treatment available for most psychological disorders, as shown by clinical trials conducted over five decades with real patients.

The CBT process is active, solution-intensive, and relatively short-term.  By collaborating with our clients, we are able to achieve real improvements in their lives.  This is achieved through work both inside and outside of sessions, as well as through “homework assignments.” CBT involves developing skills to cope with difficult emotions and to alter unhelpful patterns of behavior.  The more effectively a client responds to troubling emotions and thoughts, the more barriers are removed to living a fuller, better life.  We can help you cultivate mindfulness, clarify your true goals, and move toward them.

Each of our therapists has been extensively trained in CBT at leading CBT institutions.  Our group is led by Dr. K, whose work is informed by years of clinical and academic experience, as well as involvement in cutting-edge psychological science.  Over time, CBT has evolved, and we strive to keep up with the latest clinical research.  By doing so, we have been able to bring our clients the latest in CBT. There are particular approaches to CBT that are particularly effective for certain disorders and problems, as described below.


The acceptance and commitment therapy approach (ACT) is a cognitive behavior therapy that combines traditional behavioral therapy with a strong focus on helping clients clarify their values and lead more fulfilling lives.  The treatment is particularly useful for people who struggle with anxiety or who feel stuck, having lost satisfaction or meaning in their lives.  ACT is based on questions such as, “What would your ideal life be like?” and “What are the obstacles keeping you from living your best life?” Our therapists who specialize in ACT will guide you through the process of eliminating avoidance patterns, overcoming fear, and committing to a more vital, value-driven lifestyle.


Anxiety problems can be treated with exposure therapy.  The most common type of exposure involves gradually exposing clients to anxiety-provoking situations.   Clients can either imagine themselves in a feared situation (“imaginal exposure”), view the material on video, or encounter it in person.  Socially anxious clients, for example, may imagine and explain in detail the events they will experience at a holiday office party.  An anxious flier might watch videos or movies about various flying experiences, including turbulence.  An individual who avoids theaters out of anxiety may follow a systematic plan starting with just buying a ticket and eventually securing a front row seat for the whole movie. In most instances, exposures are conducted with a psychologist who does the same exercises and coaches the client throughout the process.  Our therapists not only work in our office, but also schedule sessions out in the world.  This may include joining the client on a drive, walking to a metro stop or a bridge, interacting with retail staff or decluttering the client’s home, depending on the level of anxiety.


Exposure therapy, such as ERP, is used to treat disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), hoarding, and trichotillomania or hair pulling.  ERP can be done on a once-a-week basis, but the intensive version is sometimes needed – in that case, ERP is offered as an Intensive Outpatient Program.  An individual with contamination OCD might slowly begin touching tables, sofas, floors and handrails in and around a therapist’s office, all without using hand sanitizer or washing their hands. The eventual goal is that they will be able to eat when they come into contact with public surfaces.  When a client experiences intrusive, repetitive obsessive thoughts, they will learn how to manage them so that their frequency declines and life becomes more enjoyable again.

PTSD – SPECIFIC CBT (Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy)

Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) are specific types of CBT used to treat PTSD.  During PE, clients gradually confront previously avoided traumatic memories and feelings.  As part of exposure, people are also gradually faced with situations that trigger anxiety and trigger flashbacks.  PE requires a strong therapeutic relationship, as only a psychologist who has been well-trained can guide a client successfully through the process.

The goal of CPT is to change unhelpful thoughts and beliefs related to trauma.  Through this, surviving trauma in the context of one’s life can be reinterpreted and given new meaning.

Contact us
Call or text: 202-991-2200
Email: info@behaviortherapyinstitute.com