Last week, we received the following in an email from a therapist in Arizona who began using CBT with his clients, and for his own battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Here’s what he experienced, in his own words:
I am a Licensed Associate Counselor in Arizona currently working toward independent status. I have had supervisors of various theoretical orientations. A few months into my M. A. internship it became apparent that very few had any real insight into client problems and psychopathology. While some were very gifted, others seemed clueless. I found this discouraging.
About 2 years ago I began to read everything I could on CBT. I have read many works from the UK, works from both Drs. Beck, and a host of works on OCD, chronic depression, etc. etc. Imagine my surprise when a good number of my clients suddenly began completing homework and actually GETTING BETTER!! Interestingly, I now find that practitioners from around my area now refer clients to me with depression and anxiety disorders, in spite of the fact that I am not independently licensed (of course, I continue to practice under direct supervision in a state funded community agency, though I hope to enter private practice one day). I don’t think this would be happening had I not embraced CBT. I work in rural southwestern AZ. Many people here claim to use CBT, but after conversation it becomes obvious to me that most of them simply use one or two cognitive techniques here and there and really don’t utilize any type of case conceptualization.
In May of 2006 I received some bad news and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Looking back, my disease probably began to present around 1999, but I did not recognize it at the time. I have found the techniques set forth in Padesky’s “Mind over mood“, along with antidepressant medication, extremely helpful for coming to grips with the uncertain future that characterizes MS. While complete disability is a real possibility for me, I have been able to really look at things from a realistic point of view, and avoid catastrophizing. I recently began walking with a cane (something I should have begun doing about 6 months ago) and was surprised when two of my clients told me that their doctors have been hounding them for a long time to use a mobility aid. When I told them how much more energy it gave me they seemed interested and seemed to make the connection that walking with a cane does not automatically mean that one is weak (especially when they see how fast I can move with it!!). Anyway, wanted to share this information. I anticipate taking a formal training course in CT once I can get the tuition saved and looking into certification with the Academy once I hit independent licensure.
— Kevin L. Benbow, MA, LAC