Erica Blystone has been working as a therapist for over 10 years and is licensed in NC. Some of her special interests and areas of expertise include couples counseling, mood and anxiety disorders, family of origin issues, and growth work. She is highly experienced in two therapy techniques empirically validated to be effective: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT).
Erica believes therapy is a partnership and encourages clients to take an active role. She helps clients get the most they can out of each session, and provides strong support around incorporating new skills into daily life to help clients create a life they love. Erica is a cognitive-behavioral therapist, so new skills include thinking differently and acting differently. She has a solution-focused style that gives direction throughout the therapy process, from goal setting to assessment of progress – both of which are done collaboratively with the client. She also incorporates an insight-oriented approach to her work, helping the client understand what they believe about themselves and the world they live in; identifying what is rational, healthy, and effective; and changing what is not working. Erica takes the time to get to know a client well, but helps them start the process of change and progress immediately. She strongly believes in the importance of creating a safe, trusting environment in which both therapist and client are able to be genuine. Unconditional positive regard is crucial to the development of the therapeutic partnership, and a strong therapeutic partnership is crucial to striving wholeheartedly toward finding the balance of acceptance and change. She believes each person is the expert on him or herself, and that at some point every one of us needs perspective and guidance when feeling stuck. Getting unstuck can be accomplished with believing in one’s inherent value and accepting help to work toward the vision of change one desires.
Erica has worked with adults from diverse backgrounds and with a wide variety of mental health issues. She has extensive experience with the full range of mood disorders and anxiety disorders so commonly experienced (depression, bi-polar, general anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, etc.), as well as weight loss and sleep problems. She has experience working with people who are dedicated to decreasing or stopping substance use that is adversely affecting their lives. She also enjoys working with clients with AD/HD to develop compensatory strategies to complement or replace medication. Erica helps people who are struggling with personality difficulties/disorders, stress management, trauma, and transitions. She approaches significant and upsetting life experiences within a framework of grief and loss, and provides therapy for issues such as death of a loved person, divorce, infertility, chronic pain, limited functioning from illness or accident, death of a pet, etc. Her training in the Duluth model of power and control influences her work in relationship enhancement, self-esteem/self-concept development, and anger management. Through growth work, she strives to help people develop meaningful and fulfilling relationships and activities. Erica is committed to helping clients not just decrease their unhappiness, which is what usually brings people to therapy, but increase their happiness. She sees this as different work with a distinct set of skills.
Specific areas of couples therapy in which Erica works include improving communication, increasing understanding and empathy of one another, conflict management and resolution, setting boundaries with work and/or family members, balancing individual needs with the needs of the couple, increasing sexual and emotional intimacy, and moving past an affair or other breach of trust. She has worked with couples of many ages, as well as with couples in different stages of relationships, including: helping couples decide to get married and preparing for marriage; helping couples navigate careers and children; helping couples transition into retirement living; and helping couples on the brink of divorce in any stage figure out what went wrong. Her experience with couples includes bi-racial and gay and lesbian couples as well.
Though Erica currently sees only adults and older teens in her practice, her previous work with children and adolescents makes her an excellent choice for clients whose concerns include helping their children with issues they are facing or who desire parent coaching. Erica has worked with issues such as childhood depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma, attachment issues, transitional difficulties, grief and loss, AD/HD, physical and emotional abuse, and self-esteem. She always involved the parent(s) in the younger client’s work, to continue the team efforts toward change after the child left the office. Erica works closely with parents to create a loving, secure environment in the home so that the child feels safe to connect with others and individuate in healthy and effective ways. She approaches therapy with parents with a mix of cognitive-behavioral techniques and insight development, with a strong focus on family of origin relationships, coaching the parent in implementing into daily life the new knowledge and skills achieved in therapy.
Erica is experienced in individual, couples, and group therapy. She has developed and facilitated a number of groups for adults, including a panic attack skills group, a depression and anxiety therapy group, a DBT group, a domestic violence group, a group for families with at-risk adolescents, several hospital-based groups aimed at improved self-care and life development after discharge, and a male sex offender group. Her work with children encompassed all ages and included assessment and therapy in outpatient, inpatient and daycare settings. Erica has worked in a variety of settings with adults, including private practice, community mental health clinics, court-mandated community groups, and psychiatric hospitals.