Launched in 2020, Inspira Counseling Center offers services to both English- and Spanish-speaking clients. Located in West Springfield, owner Luis Torres specializes in cognitive behavior therapy, counseling to treat anxiety and trauma, career counseling, and mindfulness-based therapies.
Torres is a licensed, mental health counselor, who was recruited from Puerto Rico by a local clinic that needed counselors for Spanish-speaking people, bringing him to Massachusetts in 2016. “I had no idea how big the Spanish-speaking population was in the area and how many people needed help until I arrived,” says Torres. Realizing that he could make a significant difference in the lives of people in the Spanish-speaking community, he decided to stay and open his own practice.
The name of the clinic derives from Torres’ experience as a therapist. He uses his skills to help clients shift their mindsets. “Inspira is the Spanish word for inspire. I believe that overcoming a difficult stage in our life is possible,” he says. “To help others find that spark that inspires change is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my role as a therapist.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and More
A viable alternative for people who feel more comfortable talking about their issues in Spanish, Torres understands the struggles of the Spanish-speaking community and knows how to help. That’s why he offers a wide range of approaches to mental health counseling and treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy.
“In a nutshell, we could say that cognitive behavioral therapy is based upon the idea that how you think determines how you feel and how you behave,” says Torres. He breaks down the processes that lead to behaviors into four steps. “First, something happens. It could be anything. Next, you have thoughts about what has just occurred. Third, you experience emotions based on your thoughts. Finally, you respond to your thoughts and feelings with behaviors.”
- Using the cognitive model, Torres helps clients learn how to identify these patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Eventually, they come to understand how thoughts shape feelings, as well as the significant impact this has on their lives. “Once you become aware of your own irrational thoughts, you will learn to change them,” he says. In this way, thoughts that can lead to depression, anxiety, and anger are replaced with alternatives. “Finally, you will be in control of how you feel.”
Through cognitive behavioral therapy, Torres helps clients acquire skills and tools that yield long-term results. They can tackle problems more effectively going forward. “Cognitive behavioral therapy helps us understand how we think, and the role our thoughts play in how we behave,” he says. “We get to be in the driver’s seat of our actions instead of going along for the ride.”
Torres helps clients to identify the things that make them feel bad, anxious, and scared and break these negative cycles. Focusing on the here and now, clients become able to identify, and challenge, negative thinking patterns and the emotions connected to them. When they can change the way they think and feel about situations, clients can change their behaviors, as well. “A cognitive behavioral therapist will not tell you what to do – they’ll work with you to find solutions to your current difficulties,” says Torres.
Taking the First Step
Torres understands that reaching out for help can be difficult, so he understands the importance of facilitating a smooth intake process that ensures clients benefit from every experience at Inspira Counseling Center. “The initial appointment pretty much looks like a conversation where we begin to look at the different pieces of a puzzle we will be putting together as a team,” he says.
With a master’s degree in mental health counseling, Torres became a licensed clinician by meeting the requirements of the state of Massachusetts, which includes experience, continuing education, and the successful completion of the examination. He notes that finding the right fit between therapist and client is important. “In the boxing world, there is an old saying that ‘styles make fights,’ meaning that the best results happen when there is a good styles matchup,” he says.
To explore services available or make an appointment, contact Inspira Counseling Center.