Stefan Benton, MFT
Stefan Benton has a private practice in Corte Madera, where he works with individuals, couples and families with adolescents. He specializes in issues of anger, anxiety, depression, and substance use. He also has experience working with couples dealing with problems of intimacy, communication and conflict. His family work includes parenting, school related problems and family strife.
How Does CBT Work?
Extensive scientific research has shown that changing the way one thinks and behaves can have a profound effect on one’s emotional state. CBT utilizes a very directive, action-oriented approach which leads a person to explore, identify and analyze dysfunctional patterns of thinking and acting. Once these counterproductive patterns are identified, the therapist teaches the patient how to challenge and restructure their behavior and thinking. Behavior becomes based on rational, reality-based thinking. Negative emotional states such as depression and anxiety are thereby alleviated.
What are Common Benefits of CBT?
- Focuses on specific goals
- Promotes positive change through individualized exercises and assignments
- Uncovers problematic thoughts and behaviors
- Teaches new skills and healthier responses to troublesome situations
- Identifies concrete steps toward feeling better
- Effective coping skills
- Healthier habits
- New tools for future use
- Sustained positive feelings
- Reduced fear
- Increased confidence
- Improved relationships
- Enhanced self acceptance
A variety of techniques are used in cognitive behavioral therapy to produce successful outcomes. These include:
The therapist and client examine the thoughts and beliefs they are having in difficult situations. The cognitive-behavioral therapist helps the client to view these thoughts and beliefs from a more objective and realistic perspective. The goal is to shift client’s negative thought patterns so they can feel and act in ways that are more productive and satisfying.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Training:
Clients learn to step back and observe their responses to events and thoughts without reacting to them. The therapist teaches a variety of techniques to reduce physical tension and increase a sense of well-being.
Clients are guided through a process of imagining specific difficult situations and successfully coping with them. This technique is especially helpful with clients dealing with phobias, anxiety and avoidant behavior.
Clients may be asked to keep a journal of problematic thoughts, feelings or behaviors. By keeping such a record and discussing it with the therapist, clients gain a new understanding of their personal challenges. The journal is helpful in planning new ways of thinking and acting that can be practiced between sessions.
Cognitive behavioral therapists often ask their clients to do customized assignments between sessions. Therapists and clients discuss the objectives and potential obstacles that may emerge between sessions related to these assignments. This work is always challenging but realistic for every client depending on their circumstance. The more clients engage in this process the greater chance for success.
The therapist and client make a list of behaviors that they would like to change. These are ranked in order from easiest to most difficult regarding the difficulty in implementing these new behaviors. A plan is created together and clients move up the “ladder” as they accomplish each task on the hierarchy.
The therapist and client practice dealing with difficult social interactions by taking turns playing out the various roles. The client and therapist might, for example, practice asking someone out on a date or discussing a difficult situation with a boss.
A structured system of rewards are established that will help clients move toward their goals. This technique increases motivation, productivity and a sense of accomplishment.
Specialties: PsychotherapyClient Focus: Children's Health
, Men's Health
, Women's HealthHealth Conditions: Addiction
, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder