Treatment Areas and Expertise
In the context of building a warm, trusting, and compassionate therapeutic relationship, I use evidence-supported treatments and techniques to address your concerns. This means that there is research to support the effectiveness of those treatments and approaches.
A large percentage of my practice is treating adults and older adolescents who have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and related disorders. I have extensive training in the treatment of OCD, including the International OCD Foundation’s (IOCDF) BTTI1 and BTTI2 trainings, and years of experience treating OCD successfully. I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which includes cognitive restructuring, behavioral planning, and exposure and response prevention (ERP). I also have expanded my training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and am increasingly using ACT principles and techniques with clients. Therapy includes exercises in the office (or in the community accompanied by me) and assigned homework tasks to facilitate progress. I recommend reading, written exercises, and other media as part of treatment. Family members are involved in sessions as needed.
Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Life Stresses, Relationship Issues
I also see older teens and adults who are struggling with depression, other anxiety disorders, life transitions and stresses, and relationship challenges. CBT is used to reduce distress that you experience, including cognitive therapy, behavioral planning, and mindfulness/acceptance approaches (including ACT). In addition, when appropriate, I use Timothy Stokes’ 3-step approach to identify and re-work historical cognitive scripts that may be impeding progress in the present. Finally, I work with couples who are looking to improve communication and problem-solving skills.
Collaborative Problem Solving (Think:Kids approach)
Training for Parents
I conduct parent coaching sessions with parents of young children (typically below 7) who want to implement the Collaborative Problem-Solving approach (developed at Massachusetts General Hospital [MGH]), with their challenging children. I also run groups for parents (of kids of all ages) wanting to learn the CPS/Think:Kids approach. I have achieved the Certified Trainer credential from MGH in the approach, and I undergo annual recertification and ongoing continuing education to keep my skills up to date. Click here for information on Dr. Pierce’s upcoming group. Also see thinkkids.org.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This approach focuses on changing specific thoughts/cognitions that can fuel negative mood states. Therapy also focuses on changing behaviors that create difficulties for you so you can engage in more adaptive behaviors. There is structure to the therapy and often homework to do. I recommend reading, other media, and family involvement as needed. With couples, we work on improving communication and problem-solving skills.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This approach includes increasing mindfulness skills and the ability to experience a wide range of emotions and sensations, changing one’s relationship to one’s thoughts, and guiding behavior toward one’s values.
Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP)
This is a technique used commonly for the treatment of OCD and other anxiety problems. The client is exposed to a feared thought or situation and asked to refrain from avoidance or a compulsive behavior or ritual, with the goal of reducing associated anxiety. We also build a toolbox for coping with anxiety and challenging situations.
Timothy Stokes’ 3-Step Approach
This approach identifies current maladaptive cognitive scripts, traces them back to early versions and their function at that time, and reworks the past and current scripts to allow a person more freedom in their current thinking and behavior. Outlined in the book What Freud Didn’t Know.
Collaborative Problem Solving
Originally described by Dr. Ross Greene, and further developed by Dr. Greene and Dr. Stuart Ablon at MGH, this is a cognitive-behavioral model. Parents work with the clinician to identify “Problems to be Solved” involving their child. “Lagging thinking skills” are also identified. Then the parents are taught a series of steps for identifying parent and child concerns, and problem solving solutions. Specific daily problems are solved while improving the parent-child relationship and working on the child’s thinking skills. See thinkkids.org for more information. Click here for more information about Dr. Pierce’s parent groups.
I believe in respecting the dignity, autonomy, and strength of everyone with whom I work. We are collaborators in meeting your therapeutic goals. In this partnership, you bring a wealth of information and insight about yourself, your family, or your child, as well as knowledge about what has worked and not worked for you in your efforts to make psychological change. I bring my professional expertise, including research-supported clinical tools and techniques, guidance about how to move forward and make changes, many years of clinical experience, and hopefully, a supportive, accepting relationship in which you can feel comfortable to express yourself. I come from a strong academic training background, and regularly update my knowledge and skills through reading, conference participation, consultation, and advanced trainings. Even though we might be working on a particular problem, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, or a child’s problem, I want to relate to you as the whole person that you are.
I will inform you of all my policies, either in written or verbal form, and will always strive to respect your right to make choices at every step of the way. Choosing a therapist is an important matter, and I encourage people to look around and find a provider that feels like a good fit. Therefore, if you would like to come meet with me for an initial meeting to see if the fit is right, I am very open to that.
At the beginning, we do an assessment of your background and the issues, and we develop goals. At various points along the way, we do a re-evaluation of progress and goals, to make sure we are making progress toward the goals. This can be a conversation, or sometimes includes interviews and questionnaires. I am receptive, on an ongoing basis, to your feedback about how you feel therapy is going, and how I can be the best therapist for you.
Education, Training, and Credentials
Barnard College, Columbia University
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
University of Pittsburgh
Schneider Children’s Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Postdoctoral Research and Clinical Fellowship
Family Therapy Intensive Training
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA
Certified Practitioner and Certified Trainer
Think:Kids Approach (Collaborative Problem Solving) through MGH
Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) Graduate
(1st and Advanced Courses), International OCD Foundation
Licensed as Psychologist/Provider in MA since 1996
Previously licensed also in RI
Dr. Elizabeth Pierce
Clinical Psychologist & Therapist
76 Bedford Street, Suite 10, Lexington, MA 02420
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
FROM 128/95 — Take exit 31A (Route 4/225) toward Lexington. Go about 1 mile on 4/225 (also called Bedford Street). 76 Bedford Street (Custance Place) is on the right.
HEADING WEST ON ROUTE 2 — Take exit 54B (Waltham Street, Lexington). Off exit, bear right on Waltham Street. Take left on Worthen Road, then left on Bedford Street. 76 Bedford Street (Custance Place) is immediately on the left past the Starbucks.
HEADING EAST ON ROUTE 2A — Turn left on Mass. Ave., left on Worthen Road, then left on Bedford Street.
FROM ARLINGTON — Go northwest on Mass. Ave., through Lexington center. At the town green, bear right onto Bedford Street. 76 Bedford Street (Custance Place) is .4 miles up on the left after the Starbucks.
ONCE YOU GET TO THE BUILDING: Enter #76 Bedford, walk up to the second floor, and turn left down the long hallway. There is also an elevator, in which case you take a right down the hall. Suite 10 is the door straight ahead of you – it says “Suite 10” on the door. My office is right inside the door.
Ample free parking available.
Insurance & Fees
Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In addition, clients may be able to use out-of-network benefits for other plans. This involves paying for the session at the time of visit, and then submitting an itemized receipt to your insurance company.
I am happy to work with you to optimize your coverage.