About Therapy

Updating Assumptions

We widely recognize that achieving something meaningful requires hard work. This time-honored directive also applies when developing emotional muscle.

While it’s uncomfortable to leave-behind familiar habits and adjust to healthier behaviors, this doesn’t mean that struggle is necessary.

Utilizing Therapy

Psychotherapy (also referred to as Therapy or Counseling) is an engaging process where emotional challenges are shared and resolved through the consistent interaction with a psychology professional.

People may come into counseling desiring to increase inner-clarity or implement better decision-making. They may want to optimize social connection, develop business prowess, or deepen intimate relationships: Whatever your goal, we can help.

Our Approach

We are interactive and action-oriented clinicians. We utilize in-session exercises and between-session assignments to further assist you in achieving your goals.

Some examples of between-session assignments include self-exploration worksheets, “Do one thing differently” challenges, thought-tracking, and intentional self-care (versus taking care of everyone else’s needs instead of your own).

Therapy unfolds using the integration of several disciplines. We customize a blend of the following tried-and-true approaches to best address your specific needs:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a logic-based, empirical therapy that asserts that it’s not the events in our lives but how we comprehend these events that determine our well-being. In other words, the way we understand a situation triggers how we feel, and then behave.

In a session, we’ll get out a whiteboard to diagram your specific thought-feeling-behavior equation. We’ll then help you recognize your habitual thinking patterns and strategize alternative perspectives that are better suited for the goals you’ve established.

Positive Psychology

Do this: wiggle your fingers. Now take a moment to consider the multitude of cells and electric impulses required for this endeavor. Ponder the very complicated interaction of biochemicals and kinesiology involved – Notice how it all seems so effortless…

Positive Psychology goes far beyond verbalizing affirmations into a mirror. The curative power of this discipline lies in the understanding that we are walking/talking miracles.

We believe individuals achieve contentment once they accept their power – a choice we all have at our fingertips.

Together, we will work to reinforce the already-existing magic of our individual and collective abilities.

Mindfulness Training

Our lives actively unfold from one-moment-to-the-next. Mindfulness practice enhances one’s ability to invoke calm and generate gratitude by non-judgmentally acknowledging this reality.

Mindfulness training is a collection of skillsets for relinquishing our need to control everything around us. Acceptance is one technique within this philosophy, which helps reduce anxiety and depression by setting down struggle associated with any given circumstance. Meditation quiets our emotional associations to past and future – places we can currently do nothing about – and establishes the productive focus of in-the-moment awareness.

Our Style

We are a judgment-free practice: All orientations, spiritual beliefs, and lifestyles are welcome. The Mental Gym has been helping individuals, couples, and families attain and then maintain well-being for over two decades.

We have “heard it all” and are committed and devoted to supporting our clients with the unconditional positive regard and techniques needed to tackle and work through any issue.

Let’s team up and take concrete steps toward fulfilling your potential. Contact either Bill or Nancy to schedule your free 15-minute initial phone consultation.

About Us

Bill met Nancy among a flurry of dogs and children. Both clinicians were doing non-profit work: therapeutically utilizing animals to help kids navigate their emotionally challenging circumstances.

Working well together and sharing similar worldviews and skillsets, Bill invited Nancy to join The Mental Gym in 2017. Bill and Nancy’s similarities, coupled with their life-experience and gender differences, offers clients a variety of counseling options:

Here’s a bit more about each clinician:

Bill Benson, LMFT, LPCC

Why I Do This Work

I was a very active kid – experiencing both the wins and losses of competitive sports. Through these athletic experiences, I learned that succeeding or failing was not necessarily determined by a scoreboard or trophy.

As I matured, I became aware of my inner-dialog: I began measuring my performances by on how present I was – even if this meant not winning every race.

As an aspiring young adult, I lost sight of my adolescent wisdom: I envisioned what society considered award-winning and abruptly changed course. My focus quickly shifted to setting and attaining tougher goals before I could be happy or proud of myself.

This never-ending quest for satisfaction spiraled me toward physical burnout and emotional disillusionment.

Ironically, my disenchantment ultimately solved everything for me: Disheartened, I slowed-down and sought out therapy for the first time. The process dramatically helped me reassess my life, and remember the youthful principles that had once served me so well.

My new goals became purpose-driven, not proving-oriented. I enthusiastically found myself earning an advanced degree in Clinical Psychology.

Schooling completed and licensing accomplished; I opened a small private practice. The Mental Gym became my way to share what I’d learned during my journey into happiness and fulfillment.

Over twenty years later, we’re still helping our clients build better lives through an understanding that well-being is not something we win – it is something we realize from within, and then share with others.

My Work with You

As a Board-certified Psychotherapist, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, I feel fortunate to have the training and experience necessary to assist you in identifying, and then eliminating, whatever stands in the way of your intended goals.

I will work with you to access your true potential, develop your emotional muscle, and cheer you on as you flourish to become the person you were truly meant to be.

Nancy Downey, MS, AMFT

My Passion

Supporting you on your journey of personal transformation is my ultimate passion! As a true believer in the power of change, I genuinely look forward to joining you in meeting your therapeutic goals and witnessing your inner growth.

Specialties: Misguided Mindsets and Couples

I specialize in helping individuals who are struggling with self-defeating thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This misguided mindset often leads to high anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, doubt, fear, and relationships struggles.

Once we establish the origin of these habitual patterns, we will work together to implement a more realistic, accepting, and self-nurturing way of being.

I also love working with couples and understand the importance of validating each partner’s perspective. With an emphasis on emotions, we will sift through the intricate layers that have become the foundation of your relationship in order to identify the areas that need tending to.

From there, we will explore healthy and effective strategies aimed at strengthening your connection.

Even More about Me

I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a therapist. Coming from a big family, it inherently became an interest of mine to not only analyze but to seek to understand human behavior.

I would question, “why do we think, feel and act the ways that we do?” This innate desire to explore these dynamics taught me about compassion and empathy, happiness and sadness, conflict and communication, perception and perspective. These concepts fueled my dream of becoming a therapist even more.

Although life provided me with a few detours along the way, I am happy to say that I am living the life I set out for. I have an amazingly rewarding career in helping others, am happily married and have a small tribe of furry animals that brighten each day.