How Does the Mentally STRONG Method Work?
Cristi Bundukamara, Ed.D, PMHNP, designed the Mentally STRONG Method and approach to therapy based on the well-researched and evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Using this methodology as the foundation, along with over 20 years of clinical experience and personal experiences, Dr. Bundukamara (Dr. B) used these skills on herself as she battled with the unimaginable loss of her son, who passed in 2005. Not only did Dr. B have to contend with the grief of losing a child to DRPLA, but she also had to endure when her husband and daughter were given the same diagnosis, all while caring for her adopted children, who were dealing with their own trauma, reactive attachment disorder, and PTSD. Given these circumstances, depression seemed a normal reaction to all the influences in her life at the time, but this was not the first time that Dr. B had experienced depression.
Creating the Mentally STRONG Method
At age 12, Dr. B had her first experience with depression. She continued battling depression throughout the years, seeking the help she recommends now for others – therapy, medication, and inpatient services when needed. While learning how to handle depression on your own through the framework of the Mentally STRONG Method is possible, when starting your mental health journey, it may be best to seek a partnership with a professional.
On Dr. B’s 10-year journey of trying to work on her mental health, she came up with the core tenets of the Mentally STRONG Method: think, organize, and choose. If you see a counselor at the Mentally STRONG clinic, you will be taught this methodology, aided in your healing process, and learn how to handle life in a way that will make you Mentally STRONG.
Think. Organize. Choose.
Let’s dive deeper into the three actions that comprise the Mentally STRONG Method to better understand how they fit together. The first part is to think – think through your problems in a healthy way giving you more insight into your actions and responses. Insightful thinking is more constructive as opposed to purely ruminating on your issues. Ruminating causes a negative loop that perpetuates a cycle of self-doubt and shame. You first use a thought map to identify the central thought or feeling that you are experiencing or want to work through. Then, we give you an organization system for these thoughts, this helps you categorize your thoughts into ten different categories. See this as a metaphorical filing cabinet where you organize the mental pieces of your story. Finally, this process allows you to identify patterns of thoughts and behaviors that can help you choose to make healthier decisions. Think, organize, choose.
There is an overarching element to these three actions that help bring them into focus – and that is your vision. A vision is a dream with a plan. What does mental health look like to you? What does a fulfilling life include? These are parts of your vision – a goal to work towards while working through the Mentally STRONG Method and a guiding principle for you when making choices. It is essential to understand that a personal vision is not a static image of happiness somewhere far off in the future but a mutable set of goals that change as we progress through healing.
For instance, a client first starting the Mentally STRONG Method may have a vision of mental wellness where they are no longer controlled by their anxiety at work. Once achieved, or if circumstances change, that vision may evolve into learning to let the anxiety go elsewhere, being more confident in their decisions, thoughts, and feelings. Dr. B shared a vision of being a loving wife to her husband, but that vision had to change with the circumstances as he became disabled, and she had to be more of a caregiver and help him with his limitations. She still has a vision of being the loving wife she wants, but it has changed a bit, and she makes decisions based on her current circumstances and that new vision.
Learn the Mentally STRONG Method
There are several options if you would like to learn more about the Mentally STRONG Method and the tools included.
We invite you to visit our office and learn more about our counseling and methodology. To book a consultation, please call or text us at (719) 493-9555 or use the link below:
We also offer an eight-hour class – an all-day event that will help instruct you on the Mentally STRONG Method, help you learn to use the tools included, and start your mental health journey. You can learn more about future classes below.