Big Zo has a recipe that can give you a better life.
I take that back. Recipe is the wrong word. The truth is there are many recipes for success when it comes to counseling. Every person is in a different “season” in life, and every “season” requires different “ingredients.”
I’m usually pretty sharp when it comes to puns and metaphors, but right now, I have to give the nod to Zo, or more appropriately, to Cowann D. Owens, LCSW. He’s assembled a book in Cooking Up Counseling with the express purpose of demystifying the idea of personal counseling. A long-time professional counselor himself, Owens is a believer that most people could benefit from at least some therapy in their lives, and his book does an excellent job of breaking through the fears around counseling.
Owens began writing the book during a time when mental health issues and especially anxiety were at an all-time high: 2020. Not only was the Covid-19 pandemic putting a strain on men, women, and children around the world, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were also at the forefront of everyone’s mind. People needed help more than ever, and more than ever, they needed someone to convince them it was okay to seek that help.
Cooking up Counseling addresses the societal stigmas about counseling. Yes, family and faith and other natural supports are beneficial, but sometimes expert guidance is still needed. Owens uses the first third of the book to break down the process of seeking help. He gives the reader a bird’s eye view of mental issues and the types of professionals who can assist. He gives guidance to initiating the process of finding a therapist and encourages the reader to advocate for themselves in finding the right “kitchen” where they can start cooking.
Owens doesn’t just want people who need therapy to give it a try. He arms them with common sense and practical advice for making therapy work. Just like a good recipe in the kitchen, you need to put good ingredients in to have a satisfying result come out. To that end, Owens offers practical ways people can better engage in their own therapy to make it work for them.
Early on, Owens stresses that the book is not a guide to better health in and of itself, but a jumping off point for those who could benefit from therapy. Every person is different. Every diagnosis is different. Cooking with Counseling isn’t intended as a treatment in and of itself but a guide for understanding and getting the most out of therapy when needed. Owens uses humor and his love of food to make readers feel safe about seeking the help they may need.
And while Owens also adds he’s no culinary expert in the kitchen but merely a food enthusiast, he did toss in a few appetizing real-life food recipes, just for good measure.
It’s a sure bet some wrestling fans are going to pick this book up expecting it to be just another wrestling book. While Owens mentions his career in the ring, the focus remains solely on sharing the benefits of therapy. My guess is more than a few of those fans will find themselves opened up to the idea by the book’s end. Owens does a remarkable job explaining the hows, the wheres, the when’s, the whos, and especially the whys of seeking counseling. The man known as Big Zo in the ring has taken on few challenges as big as the he tackles in Cooking up Counseling, and the big man handles it like a champ.
You can purchase Cooking Up Counseling on Amazon by clicking here. Wrestling fans can get it from Big Zo in person or at the OVW merchandise stand in Davis Arena.