What is Cognitive Therapy?
As Humans, we are capable of observing our own thinking. That's what gives us the ability to change our thought processes. We know our thoughts are linked to our mood so if we think about something and misinterpret it, that can lead to negative moods and emotions.
The objective of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to help people manage this link in a practical way.
But for counselors it's important to remember that people don't fit into neat little boxes, and neither do our problems. So like all counseling founded on modern Psychology, Cognitive Therapy is not "one size fits all." And that's why flexibility is so important.
Common Sense is the Best Approach
I won’t just use techniques from cognitive and behavioral therapy. I will also solution-focused therapy.
I will use motivational interviewing to help you recognize things that you might want to change in your life. I'll use psychodynamic principles to help you understand how internal conflicts or your past might also affect those issues.
Most importantly, I will work with you as a team. I will do my best to meet you where you are, both mentally and emotionally.
I'm also very patient. Instead of saddling you with demanding expectations, I will make every effort to fully understand you and your situation.
Here Are 3 Things I Want You To Know:
You Will Not Be Judged
In my line of work, I hear things every day that people would never tell anyone else.
I want you to know that it doesn't matter what you tell me; I will not judge you. I will not think ill of you, I won't think you are crazy or perverted, or anything like that.
I'm here to help you, and in these chairs you will not be judged.
I Want To Understand You
I would like you to know that my first intention is always to understand you.
I'll do my best to understand where you're coming from and then I'll apply everything I know to help you resolve whatever it is you’re coming to see me for.
I Will Respect Your Decisions
I will always respect your individuality and freedom of choice in everything you do. I don't make decisions for people.
Now, some decisions I do have to make, but that's just when someone is in danger. If someone is suicidal, for example, I am going to intervene. If someone is being abused, I will intervene.
Every now and then, when a situation is drastic, I'll advise someone to leave an abusive relationship. But I absolutely respect my clients' autonomy. They can decide to divorce or stay with a spouse, and I will support whatever decision they make.
Who Am I?
My name is Kevin Benbow. I'm a licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 13 years of experience. But above all, I'm a compassionate person and I find it really gratifying to be able to use my expertise to help people who need it.
When I was 12 years old I realized that I would spend a lot of time worrying about stuff that would never actually happen. As an adult and an experienced Mental Health Professional, I now recognize this as Catastrophizing. It’s something that millions of people do every day.
As I grew up, analyzing my own anxiety is what helped me manage it. And this is why the cognitive approach fits nicely with my world view.
It’s logical, it’s straight forward, and it’s intuitive. It’s easy to understand, and while it can take quite a bit of work in our personal lives (as it did in mine) it’s a really common sense approach, and that’s what I like about it.
When I'm Not Counseling
Outside of my job as a counselor I’m a Classical Guitarist.
I play all kinds of music from Bach to Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther and I have a nice arrangement of Stairway to Heaven and Dust in the Wind. But I also play things from Francisco Tarrega and other Spanish, Argentine, and Brazilian composers. Most of the stuff I play has a Latin feel to it but it’s more of the Classical genre.
Playing the Guitar is an emotional experience; it’s an art form. Counseling is also an art that's that’s based in the science of psychology. But what I love about playing the guitar is how it enables me to express emotion and cultivate a different kind of discipline.
In counseling, like most emotionally demanding jobs, if you don’t have something to do on the side it’s easy to develop bad habits to deal with the stress. It’s important to have something that takes your mind to a different place.
I like to get up early at 5AM to practice because it has a way of clearing my head and getting me ready to take on the day.