Q&A with Dr. Andrea Elkon, PhD
Next up in the ‘Our Psychologists’ Series is Dr. Elkon Dr. Elkon is one of our psychologists at Best Within You, who brings with her over 15 years of experience in Clinical, Health, and Sports psychology. Dr. Elkon’s broad range of experience has contributed to her commitment to whole-person wellness. Thank you Dr. Elkon for sitting down with us to answer some questions!
What is your role at Best Within You?
I have been a Clinical Psychologist at Best Within You for almost one year.
What is your therapeutic approach?
I consider myself predominantly a Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) Therapist. Although, I have to say, I do not love to be super rigid about my approach because every person is different. I believe it is important to have a strong theoretical framework, which CBT offers, and then I tailor my approach to fit each new client I meet.
I help clients learn the connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We don’t tend to spend much time thinking about our thoughts; it’s just not something we do naturally. However, when we start to really take a deep dive into examining our thoughts, we discover that they are the key to why we feel how we feel. I want to help my clients learn to respond to those feelings in healthy ways, and sometimes that means challenging the thoughts driving the feelings.
As an action-oriented and solution-focused psychologist, I love CBT because right out of the gate, I’m working with my clients on some specific behavioral tools that they can use to manage unpleasant emotions. Early on in therapy, clients feel empowered to help themselves when these emotions arise; which builds motivation to continue making small behavioral changes and exploring (and reshaping) unhelpful thoughts.
As I said earlier, therapy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. I also like to use elements of mindfulness practice and interpersonal therapy. After all, a healthy relationship between a client and a therapist is essential for trust and for change.
What are your areas of speciality?
Although I began my career as a Forensic Psychologist, I transitioned into health and wellness psychology over the past decade. We cannot separate physical health from mental health, and as a Health Psychologist, I get to be part of my clients’ journey to feeling better in every aspect of their lives.
Within the health psychology umbrella, I consider my primary specialty to be Sports Psychology. As a former collegiate athlete, I know first-hand the powerful role of emotional wellness in physical performance and recovery. Athletes as a population tend to be incredibly hard-working and goal-oriented, and they are used to putting in the effort even when it’s challenging or unpleasant. The athlete mindset mirrors perfectly the kind of mindset on which we work in therapy. Athletes have tremendous external pressures placed upon them, and you would be hard-pressed to find an athlete totally immune to those pressures. Therefore, it is no wonder that athletes struggle with performance anxiety, get particularly frustrated during rehabilitation from injury and/or with physical changes with aging, or feel like they can’t have lives or identities outside of sports. I want to help athletes find success and fulfillment in their lives, both on and off the court (pitch/field/pool/mat, etc.)
When did your love for therapy begin?
In the early part of my career, most of my work was around psychological assessment. In that way. I would meet a client for only a few hours, perform psychological tests, write a report, make recommendations, and never see them again. Although I enjoy assessment tremendously, I was really missing getting to know the clients over the longer-term, building a real relationship, and being more hands-on about helping them make changes.
As my career has progressed, I enjoy therapy more every day. I really love being able to build a unique connection with each client and see them change and more effectively work through the ups and downs of life.
What are you most passionate about?
Learning. I never want to stop learning. I love that the field of Psychology is continuously evolving, with new research and practice constantly tweaking what we previously knew or believed to be true. Although the fundamentals of our field withstand the test of time, we are always learning how to more effectively help our clients. I feel grateful to be in a field in which I’m constantly learning new skills.
I also love learning from my clients. Each client brings something so unique to the table, and it is such a privilege to be part of my clients’ lives.
What would you say to someone who is considering therapy?
I would say it never hurts to try! I know that the process of opening up to a complete stranger can feel extremely scary, even if the stranger is a trained professional. I would also say that it is *okay* if you cannot “fix” or “solve” your problems on your own. A lot of the clients I have seen are driven and perfectionistic, and believe that they must solve their problems themselves. I want to say that it is healthy to ask for help. It takes a lot of courage, but taking that first step is truly worth it.
Therapy with Dr. Elkon
Thank You to Dr. Elkon for this wonderful Q&A. If you are looking for therapy related to sports psychology in specific or health and wellness in general, Dr. Elkon may be a great fit for you. She also works with many clients at Best Within You Therapy & Wellness who struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, performance concerns, or eating concerns. If you think you would benefit from our services at Best Within You, you can schedule a free consultation!