Elizabeth Nelson, Ph.D
From our very first meeting, I hope you’ll experience me as warm, intellectually rigorous, and absolutely dedicated to helping you reach the goals we set together. My approach to therapy is in many ways very structured (to help you feel better as soon as you can). At the same time, I see us as collaborators, engaging in a true back-and-forth dialogue about the issues important to you, and using humor and metaphor liberally to help you face – and develop the ability to shift your experience of – whatever the “hard stuff” is for you.
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
- anxiety & panic
- phobias (public speaking, flying, medical)
- depression/bipolar disorder
education & experience
- Swarthmore College: BA
- New York University: PhD
- American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (Fellowship)
- In practice since 2000
I specialize primarily in cognitive-behavioral (CBT) for adults, and view therapy as a collaborative and creative process. Most people come to therapy because in some way they are feeling or reacting in ways that they sense are out of proportion to their situation. The premise of CBT is that you can improve your feelings by modifying how you think about a situation (cognitions), and by modifying what you do (behavior). I help people learn a set of tools and apply them to their unique life situations, with the aim of having confidence and independence in handling their lives.
I strongly believe that therapy is a tool for improving quality of life, not an end in itself, and this informs my work with clients in every way.
Treatment for most clients’ initial problem is generally short-term (12-30 sessions). Once you feel that you have made sufficient progress on the issue that brought you to therapy, I encourage you to stretch out the time between sessions to develop confidence that you can maintain that progress, and eventually be in a position to stop treatment altogether or focus on another issue or area you’d like to change. Many of my clients continue therapy to work on quality-of-life issues, or return to treatment with me at another point for a “tune up” or to work on a new problem.
Having been in private practice for nearly 20 years, I find the basics of the CBT approach to be effective and efficient, and truly enjoy coming up with creative interventions to meet the challenges of each person’s unique situation. I do my best to incorporate your feedback about your progress and how we are working together, to improve the experience and outcome for you. Depending on your individual style and needs, in addition to cognitive-behavioral tools, I may suggest we incorporate mindfulness techniques, guided imagery, or creative projects to help you get in touch with the emotional facets of an issue, and cultivate a calm perspective. Having been trained in both psychodynamic and family/couples therapy, I also bring a multilayered understanding to learning about you and how to help you, which informs my clinical instincts for what may be the most helpful approach for you.
Focusing between sessions in some way on what you want to change is very important to achieving your goals in therapy. Our time together is best used to explore and understand various aspects of the issues in your life, or to learn and practice skills that are likely to help. It usually helps to identify an agenda for the session at the beginning, so we both know what’s most important to discuss, and are aware of how we are using the time in session. At the end of every session, one of my goals is to help you identify what makes sense for you to try before the next session to see what works and what doesn’t. During the following session, we can troubleshoot and continue to discover what is most effective and helpful for you.
If you are struggling with anxiety, sadness, grief, or anger, or are acting in ways that concern you or important others in your life, know that there is help. I encourage you to call and arrange a consultation with me, to discuss what’s bothering you now and to outline a plan for treatment.
Elizabeth Nelson's Outcomes
contact info & fees
$210 for 50-minute session
$315 for 75-minute session
Monday through Friday
8:00AM to 3:00PM
Limited evening hours
areas of treatment
- acceptance of
- career change
- grief & loss
- life transitions (marriage/divorce, job search/retirement, becoming a parent)
- panic attacks
- post-partum depression
- preparation for medical/dental procedures (MRI, surgery/anesthesia, colonoscopy)
- public speaking/performance anxiety
- trichotillomania (hair-pulling); also: skin-picking, nail-biting
Book Your Session
We are happy to do an initial phone call at no charge to help you find the right therapist. If someone else may be better for what you need, we are happy to refer you to a trusted colleague. Click to request a phone call or first session.