Mary Brayton, M. A.
Marriage and Family Therapist
260 Sheridan Avenue
Palo Alto, California
How Do I Work?
I use a variety of treatment models in my work. I look for innate strengths in each individual, family, and couple so we can build on them. I want to know what is "right" in your life as well as what is troublesome.
Current research confirms that mind and body are not distinct and separate. Physical ailments can reflect emotional health. I encourage clients' awareness of how they are feeling physically as well as emotionally. I encourage use of deep breathing, grounding and mindfulness exercises.
When I work with young children, I use sand tray, art and other forms of play therapy to form connection and to understand each child's unique world. I work to help children identify their feelings and ways to express them appropriately. I work closely with parents while doing this. Building strong family relationships in addition to a sense of well-being about oneself is the focus at this age. The word family refers to traditional as well as nontraditional in my practice.
I encourage teens to express themselves in a variety of creative, appropriate ways. I look for opportunities to help teens develop clearer understanding of who they are, what their values and goals are and clarify what kind of relationships they want with others.
Here are some options for treatment:
Focus on the current problem(s) and on possible solutions (solution focused)
Help you identify thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself and your problems that might not be serving you well; identifying negative behaviors and ways to change them (cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT)
Help you examine lifetime patterns which developed when you were young and may be affecting current issues (psychodynamic therapy)
Often a combination of these modalities is most helpful. There are other options as well. I use treatment models that have been researched and shown to be effective. To read about my work with substance abuse, click here.