Dr. Dalea Alawar
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 10 years of experience treatment of adults who are struggling with their mental health. I have expertise in treating issues ranging from depression and anxiety to trauma and addiction.
In therapy, I base treatment on psychodynamic, insight-oriented, and attachment-based theories as well as the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Tailoring my treatment to align with my clients’ goals, I use different methods to meet their needs. At times, delving into past unresolved events and relationships and in other phases in therapy, helping clients learn skills to work through challenging thoughts and emotions.
Many people enter therapy because they have trouble dealing with difficult emotions such as:
- sadness & hopelessness
- guilt & shame
- anger & resentment
They work hard to not feel these emotions because they are very uncomfortable. Yet, these emotions are very important to feel because they tell us vital information about ourselves. One of my main aims in therapy is to guide my clients to become more comfortable with experiencing these difficult emotions so that they can understand themselves better, handle their emotions more thoughtfully, and, in turn, feel more in control of their own behavior.
I spend time guiding my clients in finding where their emotions live in their bodies, teaching them how to make room for their emotions, to learn from them, and to stop fighting with them. This is a somatic approach to therapy, where we focus on the body to help us understand what we are feeling; where we stop being afraid to connect to and be in our bodies.
This approach comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is the primary model of therapy that I use in my practice. It also focuses on teaching people how to take a step back from their thoughts, so they don’t feel so controlled by them, how to live more in the present, and how to act mindfully and thoughtfully rather than feeling like they have no control over their actions.
I also use Trauma-Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (TFACT), which is an exposure-centered approach to address a range of traumatic experiences. In TFACT, exposure is the process of turning towards (versus avoiding) thoughts, feelings, or memories that typically produce anxiety or other very uncomfortable feelings with curiosity, flexibility, and openness. TFACT also addresses issues such as:
- emotional numbness
- trauma-related anxiety
- panic attacks
- attachment-related trauma
- issues with trust.
My approach to therapy is also informed by psychodynamic, attachment, and family systems theories. Overall, I aim to provide my clients with a treatment approach that is tailored to their needs. Regardless of the approach I use, my priority is to create an environment of safety, understanding, non-judgment, and compassion. Without this, I do not believe change can happen.
I completed my training in Florida, USA, focusing on psychodynamic techniques. This training centered on understanding how early relationships, traumas, and subconscious emotions impact current life and challenges.
After becoming a licensed psychologist, I expanded my practice by integrating various therapeutic interventions to offer well-rounded services. I received training from Dr. Russ Harris in ACT and Trauma-Focused ACT, as well as training in the use of mindfulness in therapy. In my practice, mindfulness involves being aware of internal and external experiences with curiosity and without judgment.
- B.A. in Psychology from the American University of Beirut
- M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Psy.D. (Doctorate of Psychology) from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In my practice, I work with adults and older teens who are struggling with a wide range of issues, including:
- Anxiety or stress (including general anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, OCPD)
- Addictions (food, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
- Bipolar or psychotic disorders
- Relationship problems (fear of commitment, having unrealistic expectations, feeling “needy” and anxious, etc.)
- Dealing with difficult emotions (anger, guilt, shame, grief, resentment..etc.)
- Difficulties with communicating effectively
- Coping with major life changes (marriage, divorce, ending a romantic relationship, having a child, experiencing loss, etc.)
- Exploring life’s purpose