The core of the work at Integrative Psychotherapy of Omaha is to offer a transformative emotional experience. For some, this may mean psychotherapy, nutritional support, mind/body techniques alone, while for many treatment will combine these synergistic approaches. The appropriate combination will be determined through an ongoing dialogue guided by the needs and interests of each person.
An ongoing therapeutic relationship provides the ground for all change to occur. It is in this context, people feel safe enough to open up and look at old wounds and to allow sequestered developmental needs to re-emerge. When safety is achieved in the therapeutic relationship, skills-based interventions become tools to break persistent thought and behavior patterns. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness techniques allow people to develop new ways of relating to their thoughts and feelings that promote freedom, choice and empowerment.
Mental Health Nutrition
The brain is the most sensitive organ of the body. It requires good nourishment to function optimally. A well-nourished brain leads to feelings of well-being and balanced mood. Genetic vulnerability or poor nutrition can lead to biochemical imbalances that cause many mental health symptoms including depression, anxiety, mood swings, anger, obsessive tendencies, eating disorders, substance abuse, and others. Identifying and addressing the underlying biochemical issues causing or exacerbating mental health symptoms can make the difference between lifelong mental health issues or recovery.
The food we eat directly impacts how well our brains function. Though this is different for every person, a pro-mental health diet has been identified that specifies the types of food that provide the essential building blocks for optimum mental and emotional health. Interested patients will be provided education regarding a pro-recovery diet while working collaboratively to find the combination of foods that work best for their particular biochemistry.
Amino Acid Therapy
The central nutritional tool for addressing mental health symptoms naturally is the use of amino acids. Amino acids are the protein building blocks of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for every aspect of our cognitive and emotional functioning. Four key brain neurotransmitters have been identified, Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, and Endorphin. Research has linked problematic levels of these brain chemicals to virtually all mental health symptoms. Prozac and other psychotropic medications target one or more of these mood-altering chemicals. Research has also found that amino acids can naturally build up levels of these same neurotransmitters.
Through comprehensive assessment, Dr. Friedman helps patients identify their neurotransmitter deficiencies and provides education about the basic supplements that help alleviate specific neurotransmitter deficiency symptoms. These techniques have been shown to be effective without many of the side effects of medication and can often be used in conjunction with psychiatric medications with approval of the prescribing health care provider.
Functional Medicine For Mental Health
While many patients’ mental health symptoms respond robustly to Amino Acid Therapy, there are times when a deeper view into the working of a person’s biology is required to understand the biochemical “glitch(s)” causing the troubling issues. At such times, Functional Medicine can provide this needed information through its use of specific diagnostic testing designed to identify the “root cause(s)” of chronic mental and physical health disorders. Once the root cause(s) of a symptom like depression or anxiety are identified, targeted interventions can be created using nutritional and natural means. For instance, depression can be caused by numerous biochemical issues. Knowing whether “your” depression is caused by vitamin D deficiency, food allergies, or a yeast infection with provide invaluable information for deciding the appropriate intervention(s). When appropriate and relevant to the the therapeutic process, Dr. Friedman provides education and coaching about Functional Medicine and facilitates interested individuals in finding trained medical professions to order and interpret testing, and guide treatment.
Dr. Friedman has found that teaching simple and easy to learn techniques can facilitate therapeutic unfolding. Consciously learning to calm the body and mind makes people more open and receptive to talk therapy. Dr. Friedman teaches patients mind/body tools including meditation, breath training, relaxation techniques and the Emotional Freedom Technique to facilitate the process of achieving emotional wellness.
“I found Dr. Friedman at a time in my life when I was completely overwhelmed and ready to give up. I have always considered myself a non-traditional person and with his willingness to explore meditation and other techniques, combined with talk therapy, I have been able to find center in my life again. As a person with multiple symptoms he has taught me how to cope and function in a comfortable way for me. Honestly, he has helped save me from alcoholism, depression and PTSD. He helped me to understand how to live in a more emotionally balanced way in life and with my family.”
“I was extremely satisfied with my experience consulting with Dr. Josh Friedman. His guidance and intuitive counsel helped me realize my goal of managing stress and anxiety. Blending advice about nutrition, supplements, mindful meditation and relaxation techniques helped me to achieve a sense of balance and well being. I learned a great deal from our discussions and was able to successfully integrate the information, creating behavior changes in my own life. I would highly recommend the services provided.”
“I was referred to Dr. Friedman by a therapist in Omaha when I began having increasing anxiety, restlessness, racing thoughts, and poor concentration. I began to self medicate for these feelings with alcohol, diet restriction, and other high-risk behaviors. After talking with Dr. Friedman I realized I was not giving my brain the nutrition that it needed to function. Dr. Friedman provided me with education about supplements and explained the importance of amino acids and brain function. He also gave me many recommendations for improving my diet and increasing protein intake. I went back to him weekly for about a month, each week we would talk about what had improved and what could be worked on and made adjustments accordingly. With the supplements and a diet change as recommended by Dr. Friedman I noticed immediate results. Within the first two days I was able to sit down and rest, without my mind racing. I could now complete my thoughts and tasks. Within the first week I started to feel more at peace with being alone. For a long time I thought the way I felt everyday was normal. When it began to spiral out of control I called out for help and his help has brought me to a happier and more peaceful place, a place I did not know existed.”
“I was the type of woman who thought she didn’t need a counselor, strong enough to “handle it.” I thought I could organize, reason and muscle my way through life’s challenges. Josh opened my eyes, got me out of my own head and slowed me down. I am forever grateful for my time with Josh. Funny, I am that strong woman but now I am wiser, I am kinder and I am more patient …Thank-you Josh!!”
“I was referred to Dr. Friedman by my regular therapist at a time when I had become depressed. I have never been a “medicine person” so the idea of taking anti-depressants just wasn’t for me. At my first meeting with Josh, he provided information to help me undestand the role of diet and amino acids in depression. Josh worked closely with me over the next few days and then weeks to fine-tune my program. I was amazed that within 36 hours my mind was calm and the suicidal thoughts had diminished. I have since been able to return to my regular therapy schedule and with the support of the amino acids and supplements have made great progress. I am grateful to have such an amazing resource.”
“I was referred to Josh by a friend of mine. It fet like this was my last ditch effort in dealing with my diagnoses of major depression and anxiety disorders. I tried exercise, getting adequate sleep, and four different types of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. Each different medication caused a severe allergic reaction or caused extra side effects that made the situation worse. Josh took time to meet with me and went over my questionnaire and assessment I filled out. He didn’t rush things like many doctors at clinics do, asked a lot of questions and always asked if I had any other things I wanted to add. My history with family, illness, and surgeries made me a very complicated case, but Josh educated me about the power of amino acids. I have been on these supplements for more than six months now and I feel a night and day difference. I did not have any side effects from the supplements and I don’t have anxiety filled days, and I’m able to sleep at night again. If I wouldn’t have found this I’m not sure where I’d be right now.”
“Dr. Friedman offers a variety of tools as part of a “healing” process. Each person is treated as an individual and issues are dealt with the knowledge that one method may not work for all people or every issue. His open-mindedness and “down-to-earth” approach to the therapy allowed me to feel more comfortable in opening up to discuss my issues, even when it was hard for me. He enjoys what he does and is very good at it, as shown by his genuine concern, caring, and support. I feel lucky to have worked with Dr. Friedman as I have learned to become a stronger person.”
“As a physician, I tend to be somewhat skeptical of ‘alternative therapies’. However, my cravings for sugar and other carbohydrates were so strong that I was unable to resist them, and as a result I had a very difficult time losing weight. As a last resort, I contacted Dr. Friedman who educated me about neurotransmitter deficiencies, and suggested I look into amino acid supplements to help correct them. Within two weeks of starting the supplements, my cravings were gone and my appetite had diminished to such an extent that I have been able to eat a healthy, brain-supporting diet and have not even been interested in the sweets and other junk food that I previously found impossible to resist.”
“During an extraordinarily tough time in my life, Josh was there for me. It seemed that everything had turned upside down & inside out…from the core beliefs of my spirituality, to my professional life, and including my marriage. Josh helped me process the changes, to deal with the pain and find peace and a new way of being. I am in such a better place, and I owe a great debt of thanks to Josh and his willingness to “walk” with me through everything; to listen as well as to ask tough questions. His warm acceptance of me as a person, his clear-eyed validation of many of my feelings, persistent yet gentle challenging of my blind spots made an immeasurable difference to me.”
“Dr. Josh Friedman really knows his science and combines that knowledge with an open mind and a generous heart. It’s the best of all combinations. With Josh’s support and guidance, I am finally free of medication and substance abuse for the first time in 20+ years. It’s like coming back to life–a very good life–and I can’t thank Josh enough for it.”
“I have been seeing Dr Friedman since I arrived in Omaha with my husband, who is in the Army. He is very real and easy to talk to. He has guided me through so many obstacles. If it weren’t for Dr Friedman I wouldn’t have reconnected with my father a year before he died. I had surgery for a brain aneurysm this year and he taught me how to meditate to work through my anxiety before surgery which helped me tremendously. I have learned so much about myself through our talks. I felt so lost before I met him. I don’t think I would be where or who I am today without him. I am forever grateful. Thank you for giving me the tools I never received!”
“I recently attended a talk you gave on the relationship between “Nutrition and Anxiety”. As a vegetarian for 30 years, I had been mindful of my protein consumption, but had not connected the dots to mild anxiety/depression issues. After hearing the talk, I became even more conscientious about counting protein grams. I also ordered a few of the supplements you talked about. I am feeling more grounded and focused during the day. However, the biggest improvement has been at night; deep, long, consistent sleep, with wonderful vivid dreams. Being rested is curative in and of itself!!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on this subject. I am very grateful.”