Dr. Benson's Theory of Change

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Theory of Change

I believe Change happens in a 3-phase process that is always in constant movement and never fully completed.  This three-phase process is

1.    Awareness
2.    Acceptance
3.    Action
Each of these phases are met with emotions such as grief, anger, fear, peace, relief, and joy.

Psychodynamic therapy, self-psychology, ego state therapy and object relations theory all believe that the therapeutic alliance is of center importance to create a space of safety for healing and repair to occur.  The therapeutic relationship is a platform to understand how people interact within their close relationships based on the interaction with the therapist.  The therapeutic relationship also acts as part of the “repair” process for the client.  The clinicians’ boundaries create a safe place for vulnerability to take place with the client.  The therapeutic alliance assists in breaking false belief systems that have become entrenched from an individual’s formative years.  This process lays the groundwork for new experiences and new beliefs about oneself and the world to form. Transference in the therapeutic relationship can help a client understand how past experiences are affecting the development and health of current relationships.

I believe that most distresses in one’s life are related to previous/early life experiences that resulted in false belief systems regarding oneself and the world.   These belief systems

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have resulted in the development of defense mechanisms that I believe are reacking havoc in an individual’s current life, blocking an individual from feeling at peace with themselves (intrapersonal)  and their relationships with others (interpersonal).  Connecting the emotional themes are an intrigal part of an individual’s growth.  Breaking old tapes, breaking through distortions and repairing the disruptions that occurred through the therapeutic relationship is how healing evolves.  It takes awareness and acceptance of the awareness’s that are made in order to break through distortions in current life.  This typically requires individuals to go through cycles of rage, grief and depression as they take the action necessary to achieve change. The goal of change is to attain peace within oneself through self-actualization.  To self-actualize it to realize one’s fulfillment of talents and potentialities. I often say, it’s one thing to poses the “logic” of your history and what happened and how it “might be” affecting you.  It’s when we know it, feel it, connect to it, believe it, and own that individuals begin the necessary grieving that must take place for repair, healing and change to take root.

Through addressing the issues from the past that are affecting their present by feeling and processing the grief and anger, giving language to the feelings, allows an individual to break through distortions that are affecting their present lives and create newer, healthier ways of viewing and perceiving the world.  This process also requires the individual to accept and acknowledge that they are responsible for their self-care, needs, wants, and desires.  Admitting that the depths of the pain and anger they experience “now,” is from pain that was experienced before.  This allows an individual to self-activate and take on the role of their very own caregiver and move into an emotional state of maturity that was not yet actualized.  This paves the pathway for healthier more fulfilling relationships with self and others.


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