Therapeutic Counseling Techniques

There are many types of therapeutic counseling techniques available.  Each has its appropriate use.  Some newer counseling techniques, particularly Lifespan Integration (LI) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), have been demonstrated to help clients deal quickly with a single episode trauma. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is especially effective for treating marital and relationship distress.  Below are some examples of the techniques I utilize within my practice.  By having multiple techniques from which to draw, I guide clients as they learn and manage their emotional healing process.

Lifespan Integration
This therapy is particularly adapted for gently unraveling and soothing both old and current traumatic experiences. People of all ages who experienced trauma tend to be re-triggered at different times in their adulthood. They often feel as if the wound were freshly experienced. They find themselves reacting in their old unproductive and sometimes self-destructive manner, utilizing mal-adaptive strategies. This tends to reinforce feelings of helplessness and poor self worth. Lifespan Integration allows clients to repair the original wounds, freeing them to learn a wider range of more adaptive strategies. Lifespan Integration draws from the individual’s current wisdom and strengths. The repair yields positive and quite rapid results.  See www.Lifespanintegration.com for a more comprehensive explanation of this technique.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR has been established as an evidence-based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress.   It alleviates the stored traumatic or distressing experience that can overwhelm the clients coping strategies. The client re-experiences the trauma when the individual faces events that trigger the trauma reaction. Through the reprocessing technique, the client is able to make new connections that include more updated information.  This allows the client to make a bridge between the distressing memory and a more adaptive resolution. The client frequently reports less emotional pain and anxiety and a better sense of well being—like a “black cloud” has been lifted. See www.emdr.com for a more comprehensive explanation of this technique.

Emotionally Focused Therapy
EFT helps distressed couples untangle negative interactional cycles. EFT therapy helps clients express unstated and unmet attachment needs.  Through a defined set of stages and steps, clients are able to transform negative emotions and interactive patterns in a manner that pull for compassion and connection from their partner, possibly for the first time in their marriage. Clients learn to identify and step away from their negative cycles, allay each other’s fears and  become each other’s longed for safe and secure connection.  EFT is regarded as the most effective technique for marital distress with a consistently more positive outcome than other couple therapy techniques.  See www.eft.ca for a more comprehensive explanation of this technique.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on the present and provides a means of alleviating current life distressing symptoms through a goal oriented, problem solving approach. This therapy technique teaches clients to identify, address and change non-productive thoughts and behavior.

Behavioral Modification
Addresses client issues through techniques that provide alternative behaviors and scripts.  Changing current undesired behaviors and self-defeating statements helps clients consider a more positive range of possible actions. According to established learning theories about how we learn and change, when people change their behaviors, they also change how they think about their issues.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Combines cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques with mindfulness. This technique helps client make non-judgmental, reflective observations of his/her internal and external environment. Clients learn to describe their behaviors without attaching negative labels to themselves. They also learn distress tolerance, leading towards a more positive self acceptance. This creates an environment where new, more useful behaviors can be experienced.

Rational Emotive Therapy (RET)
Focuses on resolving emotional and behavioral problems by helping the client change his perceptions, attitudes, and internal dialogues, which in turn, reduces the emotional distress. Once the level of distress is reduced, the client moves towards a healthier emotional outlook.

Gestalt Therapy
Emphasizes experiencing issues in the “here and now,” emphasizing personal responsibility. Focus is placed on the on the milieu and social aspects of a person’s life.  The client learns to compensate and make adjustments through therapeutic feedback, within the safe, client-therapist relationship. The client is then emotionally freed to achieve better self-acceptance and more relaxed interpersonal relationships.

Art Therapy
Art therapy uses the clients internal creative process to enhance and improve mental, physical and emotional well-being. It helps a client express emotions that are difficult to translate into words by use of visual, physical and tactile outlets. The creative process utilizes the artistic medium for self-expression and provides a means to resolve inner conflicts, manage stress, achieve insight, and increase self awareness and self-esteem. Clients are surprised by the outcomes.

Cynthia Benson Therapy

8121 W. Quinault Avenue,
Suite 202
Kennewick, WA 99336
(509) 579-0202