Christian Therapists Blog

Find a Christian Counselor

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What To Do When You Are - "H.ungry A.ngry L.onely T.ired"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 1:28 AM

"Self-help" for life's stresses is often full of acronyms and a lot of them are more cute than useful, but this one is a keeper.

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
H.A.L.T.

When you feel irritated or anxious, one — or more — of those four conditions is likely going on, and if not noticed and tended to, they can lead you to very bad places. Explosions at others, self-destructive acts, relapses into addictions.

The beauty of "HALT" is that it reminds us of several things at the same time:
1. To halt before we act out, and reconnect with the God.
2. To tend to our physical and emotional well-being — not just go running around on fumes without eating and sleeping.
3. That these feelings are short lived, and once we see them for what they are and let go of our attachment to them, they lose their power over us.

HALT
Are you anxious or irritated? Are you beginning to attack someone or lose control?
Are you feeling hopeless, or like giving up and returning to an addiction?

1. HALT! Pause — especially if there is an escalating situation. Take a deep breath or count to ten.

2. HUNGRY: Did you eat at the last regular mealtime? Or did you skip it?

3. ANGRY: Is your judgment clouded by anger right now?

4. LONELY: Are you feeling disconnected from other people, whether alone or in a group, but without making an effort to communicate ?

5. TIRED: Did you get enough sleep last night? Many people are so unaccustomed to what enough sleep feels like that this may be new territory. (this is one of the biggest problems in our society right now!)

6.)If you identified with one of these problem areas, if possible, address it.
Eat, nap, calm down, or focus on socializing or helping someone else.

7. If you identified a problem area, but can’t address it right now, focus on being aware . Admit that you are feeling this way and that you let yourself get into a difficult state. Often just this awareness is enough to calm down the situation entirely.

8. Make a habit of spot-checking your self and see if you are really taking care of yourself. Are you getting enough sleep, eating well and regularly, and socializing and helping others?

The common thing with "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired" is that they take us away from conscious and fresh contact with God, which is our natural state. They kick up fear — either an obvious survival fear or a subtle fear that we’re not going to be OK down the road.

Fear is not a thing in itself; fear is the absence of God.
Fear means you’re not trusting that things are as they’re meant to be.
Actually, you’re not trusting God’s plan.

Never FEAR talking to a counselor or Pastoral Counselor when you know that you are not handling anxiety, depression, addictions or the changes that life might be excessively stressing you out with. God prepared them to help others... BE FREE!

Proverbs 13:10
Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

Proverbs 15:22
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.

Mary Lindow MA

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Verbal Abuse and the Power of Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Sunday, August 06, 2017 @ 10:57 PM

Statistics on Domestic Abuse, Boundaries Book by Henry Cloud, killers of a relationship: John Gottman, PhD.

A shocking statistic:

Nearly half of all men and women in the United States experience verbal and emotional abuse throughout their lifetime. Generally, the perpetrator denies the abuse. Mostly it occurs behind closed doors, but it will happen publicly, also. If the abuse is not stopped, it will progress to physical violence.

Verbal abuse is about power and control. It can be subtle and insidious, or hostile and explosive. It may include:
Rationalizing
Pointing Blame
Criticizing
Undermining
Name Calling
Yelling and Screaming
Demanding
Threatening or Withholding, but so much more - the list is long.

John Gottman, PhD. and renowned researcher says the four killers of a relationship are: defending, criticizing, contempt, and stonewalling. The perpetrator persists at any cost. Victims feel caught up in a storm of chaos and become emotionally thrown off balance.

The experience hits you like a bolt of lightning: It comes out of nowhere; you are completely taken by surprise; you feel the shock throughout your mind and body; you are at a loss for words; and, you feel your spirit withering.

Words can be so damaging hey leave scars for a lifetime. However, boundaries give you an opportunity to state your limits. You can learn to use your voice and begin stating your feelings. Just as words can harm you, words, can also help you heal.

Understanding the purpose of healthy boundaries is one of the most powerful tools you will learn. A boundary is merely an assertive statement from the "I" place, informing the other, how you deserve to be treated. It does not point blame, or accuse the other. It's like building a fence around you with a "gate." You create limits. You get to determine who is safe to let in, and who is not. "This is where I begin, and this is where I end."

During my years of counseling I have worked with many men and women who have endured the unhappiness of an unsafe relationship. By the time they come to counseling, they are so verbally beaten down, they are in a state of self-doubt and depression. And now, they question their own self-worth. The reason: Because of fear in the relationship, these women and men have suppressed speaking their true feelings. Over time, they lost their authentic selves.
Harriet Lerner states, "An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self..."

Healthy Boundaries are the key to loving and safe relationships. It is your RIGHT to set clear Boundaries in all relationships.
In the workplace
With your parents
With your intimate partners, and
With your children.
It takes great courage to set a boundary. The more emotionally connected you are to the person, the more courage it takes. In order to establish boundaries, you must - be clear about who you are, what you believe, and what you want. When you are confident of what you want to say, a) gather your courage, b) speak your boundary in direct clear language, c) turn, and walk away. You want to avoid getting into an argument.

A Few Examples of Boundaries
I will not engage in yelling and screaming
I will not be the target of your anger.
If we can speak calmly, I will be willing to continue our conversation.
If this kind of negativity continues, I am going to hang up the phone.

There are physical boundaries everywhere: In our homes and on our highways. When we were growing up our parents taught us boundaries - "Ride your bike on the side walk." "Don't leave the yard." " Be home by ll:00." The word NO is a basic boundary. Two-year old's say it forcefully!!! For their own protection, it is important that our kids learn boundaries at an early age. Our kids need to use their words to express their feelings to peers and/or strangers.

Let's review:
Boundaries are our right.
Boundaries hold us accountable to ourselves.
Boundaries give us an opportunity to separate ourselves from those who act in destructive ways.

If we continually bury our emotions and stifle our words, we lose the thing we strive for the most - our SPIRIT.

"A world without spirit is a wasteland." - Joseph Campbell

Setting boundaries means developing personally and spiritually. The more we love and respect
ourselves, the better we become at setting boundaries.

My hope is that:
WE LISTEN TO OUR HEARTS.
WE SPEAK OUR TRUTH.
WE LIVE AUTHENTICALLY.
WE DARE TO BE HONEST IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS.

Eckhart Tolle states - "Only the truth of who you are will set you free."

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Divorce Recovery Workshop

Thursday, August 03, 2017 @ 6:35 PM

Over 16,000 have attended this Divorce Recovery Workshop since 1981. I have been privileged to be the speaker at it since 2009. The program runs 6 consecutive Thursday nights. Cost is modest because our team of almost 50 men and women volunteer pro bono. Please click on this link to learn more about this wonderful program.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Does Your Relationship Needs Urgent Repair?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 10:25 AM

Relationships can be messy. Many couples get in a negative spiral that has taken them so deeply down that they have lost hope. If you are one of these people, keep reading. This post is especially for you.

I've surveyed hundreds of couples and their most common causes for crisis include difficulties with communication, lack of time, fighting, and loss of connection and affectionate in their relationship. On top of these, many couples are afraid of their partner having an affair or have already been impacted by infidelity. In order to move forward you need to be able to get out of crisis mode, heal from pain and, learn better ways of relating.

One of the things that happen when you are full of negativity and in crisis mode is that your brain gets flooded with chemicals that make it impossible to think clearly and to problem solve. It becomes a defeating circle that gets you into depression, anger, and despair.

The first thing you need to learn is how to take responsibility for your own feelings and be able to calm yourself enough for recovering clarity of mind. That's why you need the guidance of someone that know how to guide you out of crisis so that you can plan your next steps.

Over more than 30 years helping couples, I have helped many relationships get out of crisis and back into a happy heart-connected relationship. Because I get many calls from couples in crisis I decided to create a very special intensive half day program I have called: Urgent Relationship Repair Challenge. You can learn all about my program by clicking the button asking for more information.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sweet Ideas for Making Family Time Special

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

Family time is a great way to create strong family ties. Frequent family activities forge a shared identity, while togetherness builds closeness and develops relationship maturity. Children actually function better in day-to-day life when they feel connected to their family. Here are some tips:

Schedule Regular Family Time – Coordinate calendars blocking out time to schedule this valuable experience and be sure to protect it. Carving out the time is the key to making it happen.

Plan the Activity in Advance – Keep a list of fun ideas that each person in the family contributed and allow the children to alternate picking an activity. Decide in advance how to spend this special family time. It is important to be sure to prepare any supplies you will need ahead of time.

Family TimePlay Together – Families that laugh together share many light-hearted moments that encourage acceptance. Playfulness balances the serious sides of life. Encourage your kids to support each other’s activities and endeavors.

Avoid Plugging In – Resist the urge to turn to electronic devices. Instead, come up with creative ideas that encourage creativity, vision, and sharing.

Pray Together – You have heard the quote “A family that prays together stays together.” Sharing a faith, not only builds similar values and a core belief system from which discussion can emerge, but also promotes healthy relationships.

Keep it Simple – The more complex the project or activity the greater the number of variables that can go wrong. Therefore strive for something simple, easy and fun.

Sweet ideas for making family time special are simple but the challenge is to follow through, regardless of the age of your children your family can start now! If you remember to keep family as your priority, it will help to ensure a happy home.

Author: Robin Rosario
Robin Rosario, MA, LPCS is the Owner, Clinical Director, Clinician Supervisor, and Senior Therapist at Rosario Counseling Robin Rosario& Associates. She has over two and a half decades of experience helping people with positive results, treating Adults, Couples, Adolescents, Children and Families. Rosario Counseling & Associates was birthed from Robin’s heart to see excellent compassionate clinical care for those struggling with emotional pain, mental illness or family issues. Her desire then and now is to inspire hope, courage and restoration in hurting families and individuals who come to her.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

MIND MATTERS - MY BRAIN ON MARRIAGE

Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 10:52 AM

MIND MATTERS
My Brain on Marriage

Last weekend my husband and I went for our “almost” daily walk around the neighborhood. We have a particular route we always follow and on this day our 3 dogs thought it would be beneficial for us to bring them along. My husband had the two smaller dogs which, for the first few blocks, act more like Alaskan sled dogs pulling him down the street as he leans backwards about 40 degrees to keep them from a full run. I had our 70 lbs. well-mannered Weimaraner named Greyson. Since my husband had been nursing an old foot injury, he decided to shorten the regular route and head back to the house. I, of course, had to complete the 1.1-mile route because, if you’ve read my other blogs, I’m OCD and not finishing a task causes me a certain level of anxiety.

He commented to me, as he redirected the 2 little urchins (as we call them) down the alternate path home, that the sky had gotten darker since we left the house and that little bit of thunder you heard could be bringing rain quickly. He suggested that I follow him home via the shorter route. Of course, I didn’t listen.

We parted ways and I began thinking about the clients that I had in store for tomorrow . As I walked down the long back street in our neighborhood, the wind began blowing and the clouds turned into a dark ominous boiling gray mass moving rapidly over me. A few strikes of lightning and claps of thunder later made it evident that my husband was right…again!

As I rounded the corner and headed for home, I still had 3 blocks to go before turning down our street. Four blocks away and across the main road entering our subdivision, I could see a developing blanket of water that began peppering buildings, trees and cars, making them almost obscure under the growing deluge. At this point, there was no rain in our subdivision, only across the main road at the entrance of the subdivision. Do you know that feeling you have when you are trying desperately to reach the open door of a building just before it closes and locks you out? That was my feeling. I was going to get drenched.

What I didn’t know was that my husband had dropped the dogs off at the house and immediately got in his truck and headed out to find me and Greyson. He rounded the corner at our street as the first large drops began slapping the top of my head. By the time he pulled up beside me, my dog was spotted head to tail from the large droplets and I had never been so relieved to see my husband.

He opened the back door of the truck and Greyson jumped in as I hopped into the front seat. As I closed the door, I stared at my husband for a few seconds and said, “I’m so grateful for you, not just for rescuing me from the rain, but for ALL the ways you care for me. “He grinned and said, “That’s what I love to do!”

I relate this little short story not to brag about the fact that I am blessed beyond measure with a great marriage, but to highlight the beauty of spouses that anticipate the needs of their betrothed. Selfless acts relay to the other how much they truly care for them and that their thoughts are constantly filled with that person.

This was not an isolated incident with my husband. He constantly and forever is meeting my needs, even when I don’t think I have a need. He keeps me filled up and never wanting for love, acceptance and security. That’s what I want to convey to my clients – what does it takes to keep a marriage fulfilled to the nth degree? Marriage is an ongoing relationship that needs constant interaction between the spouses to truly fulfill what God intended with this institution. We truly do become one flesh, knowing each other’s thoughts and needs.

Gottman, who has studied relationships extensively, says that we need to always follow what he calls the 5:1 ratio rule. For every single negative interaction, we have with our spouse, it needs to be followed with 5 positive interactions to refill our “love buckets”. Each of us spouses should do a quick check of our marriage from time to time by asking questions like:
• Are we just like ships in the night passing each other?
• Do we have humor, affection and active interest in each other?
• Do we feel a real emotional connection to our spouse?
• Would you count your spouse as your best friend?
• What is our shared meaning together?
• How would I feel and react if I lost my spouse?
• How are we doing on the “first base goals”: trust, love and respect?

If you are not happy with your answers, consider seeing someone experienced with couples counseling to give you tools and ideas to bring you closer to your “ideal relationship.”

As a therapist, many clients come to me looking for a solution to their current problems. Some relationship problems are solvable, but as I explain to everyone most problems are unsolvable, you simply need to learn how to manage your problems. And remember, choosing a partner is “choosing a set of problems” (Gottman). In other words, what Gottman is saying is that it is NOT about solving the perpetual problem, but rather it is the affect that surrounds the discussion of the perpetual problem. Learning to accept “problems” as part of any relationship and having the skills to dialogue about them is key to a productive resolution that does not escalate to anger and disconcertion. Something else important to remember is that romantic relationships and marriage often bring out our own “stuff”. This is good provided we take the opportunity to process our “stuff” and learn to heal as individuals. Often our own “stuff” is what is causing the “couple problems.”

I am grateful to be a therapist and I am also thankful to be a “marriage friendly” couples’ therapist and a member the National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapist, because I know first-hand that having a great marital relationship offers so many benefits. I am not value neutral when it comes to marriage. I believe that marriage is important for our legacy, our community and our society at large.

Rescuing your spouse from an impending deluge, telling your spouse how much your life is better with them in it, knowing how to anticipate your spouse’s needs and genuinely taking care of every aspect of each other’s lives is essential to maintaining and growing a fantastic marriage.
Live Free

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Looking for Happiness in All the Wrong Places"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 @ 3:04 PM

Happiness is a difficult concept for most people. Many see it as a point in one’s life where all the pieces come together and fit, just right. Others look for it in material objects. “When I get that next promotion, new car, IT bag…then I’ll be happy.” For others still, it is very elusive and they may even believe that they have no right to be happy. “Oh, I blew it while I was young, guess I’ll be paying for that mistake for the rest of my life” or “Happiness is just for kids, it doesn’t matter for adults.” I firmly believe that happiness is an essential part of a healthy life. The trick is to understand what you are doing that gets in the way of your own happiness.
The simple truth is that many of us waste valuable time, energy, and mental space on two things: past behaviors that don’t matter anymore and stuff we have no control over. For example, I have worked with a client who carried bitter feelings about his junior high school classmates for over fifty years. This person has convinced himself that everyone else was ‘perfect’ and that since he had acne, he could not make any friends. I am sure that if he were to run into any of his former classmates, he would find more similarities rather than differences. However, he assumes that they all are having ‘perfect’ lives in contrast to him, and he becomes frustrated and angry about his current situation. First of all, whatever happened in junior high school is long gone, and needs to be put to rest. Secondly, there is nothing he can do about the past. He cannot change who he was back then or anyone else’s actions toward him.
So, what is a person to do when they have memories of being hurt or disappointed by others? What if you are the one who caused the hurt and you can’t forget about it? The first step is forgiveness. It’s an old idea, I know, but one that is more needed than ever today. I see many people who let opportunities for happiness slip through their fingers because they are unwillingly to forgive others or believe that they do not deserve forgiveness. It is clear that many of us don’t understand what forgiveness is really about. Recently, I heard a wonderful explanation of how important forgiveness is: having an unforgiving spirit is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. When we hold on to things that damage our very souls, we are only hurting ourselves more. The solution is to learn to let go, rather than continuing to carry the burden of our hurt feelings and disappointments. Letting go is essential, because too many of us are being weighed down by the garbage that we try to stuff down, such as resentment, anger, and sadness. That is like drinking the poison, again and again. It only hurts you. It takes strength to release the pain, not letting it take root in our hearts and souls.

Some people mistakenly think that they won’t or can’t forgive until the offending party makes some effort. That sounds reasonable, but what if they never say “I’m sorry”? What if the person you hurt you is no longer living? You don’t need to carry that burden any longer. But, you have to be willing to let it go. I teach my clients that forgiveness is for their own benefit, the other person need not be involved. Forgive for you, not for them.
Now, if you are having trouble forgiving yourself for something you have done, think on this: are you putting yourself above Almighty GOD? If He is willing to forgive you, who are you to say “No, I don’t deserve it”? When we look at life from this perspective, it takes a lot of the burden off you and me. Don’t let bitterness and a lack of forgiveness stand in the way of your own happiness. Practice letting go of whatever has been weighing you down. Pour out forgiveness on others and yourself, and you will be closer to finding the secret of happiness in your own life.

Monday, July 10, 2017

An Office To Sub-Lease

Monday, July 10, 2017 @ 12:58 PM

I have recently leased an office located at 173 Sears Avenue, Suite 271 St. Matthews, Kentucky, 40207. There is a another office in the suite that I hope to sub-lease to another counselor. The uninhabited office is currently furnished; however, the furniture can be removed if any interested counselor would like to provide their own furniture. I have signed the required lease with the owner of the building and expect that anyone interested in sub-leasing also sign a lease for at least one year. The fee is set at $300. per month and includes utilities. I use a personal Wi-Fi (jetpack) as that is not included in the rental. Contact me at 502-802-9623 for any additional information.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

How to get FAST, EFFECTIVE RESULTS in Counseling

Thursday, July 06, 2017 @ 2:54 PM

Get the most out of the fewest appointments—for faster and cost-effective results!

Would you like to get faster (and better) results for your issues?

Would you like to spend less money?

There’s an easy, often overlooked way to get faster results. This approach is also more cost-effective, because you will need fewer sessions. It’s a win-win!

Motivation and consistent counseling helps you get the most out of the fewest appointments. And delaying appointments only delays the time before you get the results you want. Clients who are less motivated and prolong treatment by setting excessively long gaps between appointments usually end up needing more appointments overall than they would have needed.

Spreading out treatment with several weeks in between appointments can appear to be cheaper (paying less on a per-month basis). But that only makes it harder to get progress because session time is used on new issues, rather than addressing the root problem. A client who uses such an approach needs more sessions over time, and waits longer before getting the results they want.

--Understanding what counseling actually IS

To get the most out of counseling, it’s absolutely essential to understand what counseling actually IS. Put simply, counseling is effective GUIDANCE to help you SET AND REACH (realistic) GOALS.

The real therapy is what happens BETWEEN sessions, when you apply what you’ve learned in counseling to your life; making better choices, changing your behavior, and improving your relationships.

Making these changes can be challenging, and “backsliding” (returning to your standard, less helpful behaviors) is more likely the longer you wait between sessions.

--Optimal Treatment Plan

In most cases, it is recommended to begin with weekly sessions because this gives the client enough time to start implementing guidance from the session, and less time to backslide. Making positive changes gets the client ready for the next challenge. When a client is busy growing and adjusting to the therapist’s guidance, not only can they avoid backsliding, they can also minimize the risk of developing additional issues.

--Example of why consistency matters

Like counseling, health treatments also require consistency. They’re only cured when a patient follows their doctor’s recommendations—as referenced in this example:

If you’ve taken antibiotics, your doctor (hopefully) made a point to tell you to be consistent in taking your medication until you have completed the treatment. Many doctors report It’s common for patients to stop medication as soon as they start feeling better—but the strongest bad bacteria (the stuff you really want to get rid of) is hanging on, and comes back with a vengeance; this makes the patient sick all over again. (Referenced information: https://blog.oup.com/2011/11/antibiotics/)

In reality, counseling works in a very similar way. It is common for a client (or couple) to come for a session or two, feel better, and stop counseling, only to return a few months later—realizing that they stopped before working on or resolving the root of their issues. When deep, meaningful change has not taken place, the same issue or an issue that arises from the unaddressed root problem appears.

It might seem that the original problem was fixed, but the client (or couple) had only learned to avoid, or tiptoe around that problem. It alleviated the symptom, but not the “disease”.

Change (or more precisely, worrying about making a change) can make change seem painful. This is why it takes time—AND CONSISTENCY—to make a positive, permanent change. This pain often causes clients to cancel or unnecessarily appointments.

As mentioned, delaying appointments only delays the time before you get the results you want. It also allows additional time to develop unhelpful behavioral patterns which can create problems. Like the example with antibiotics—you could end up wiping out only the easiest problems first…but without learning to properly develop healthy behaviors and coping skills, you’re unable to tackle the remaining problems.

So, in short—
Get Motivated!
Get consistent treatment!
Get faster results for the positive, permanent change you need!

If you’re ready to make your happiness a priority, contact CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 for expert counseling—to start living your best life. (http://crossroadsindy.com/contact-us)

Living with OCD

Thursday, July 06, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Some days are better than others and some days are terrible. This is not something I share lightly or even share with pride. It is debilitating and very real. On a day-to-day basis, it interrupts my life. I lose time. I lose sleep. I can perseverate on specific fears. It can result in depression and loss of relationships. It is not easily described, understood or tolerated.

I have fears and anxieties that compel me to act compulsively. These compulsions, I know do not fix any of my anxieties, nor do they take away my fear. On the contrary, they create a more vicious cycle. An internal cycle of obsession fed by compulsion. How would I begin to share this with anyone? How do I describe the symptoms of OCD with not being laughed at or worse yet, believed?

Let me tell you what OCD is and what it isn’t

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder. OCD is a disorder that it is clinically diagnosed when specific criteria is met; when anxiety reaches levels that causes significant deficits in a persons’ life. Usually at the root of OCD is a fear/s that may be connected to real life trauma. The person obsesses on the fear to the point that it causes anxiety and in severe cases panic attacks. From this point, the person creates ways to decrease their anxiety from the fear by creating a ritual/habit/compulsion. Initially, this compulsion seems to bring relief from the anxiety, but it is temporary. The anxiety usually returns, but much stronger and the person needs to engage in the compulsive ritualistic behavior at a much higher frequency. There are some similarities here with drug addiction. The first time someone gets high, they don’t need that much. The longer they do it, the body gets accustomed to the substances, the more they will inevitably need to do to get that same first high.

What OCD is not.

OCD is not something to be proud of. I have heard people talk about how they like cleanliness and things to be organized and they say things like, “I’m pretty sure I have OCD.” And they will say that with a smile on their face, as if living with this disorder is some kind of secret virtue. OCD is not stubbornness and it is not simply wanting things to be a certain way, due to selfishness.

That being said, I frequently am meditating on Romans 12:2, 1 Thess 5:18, 1 Peter 5:7 and 1 Corinthians 10:13

Questions that constantly flow through my head each and every day are:

Rom 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. How do I not be transformed by this world?

1 Thess 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. How do I give thanks in all my circumstances?

1 Peter 5:7 cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. How do I cast all my anxieties on the Lord and what does that look like?

1 Corinth 10:13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. How do I trust God to lead me through temptation?

I share this with the hopes that it may be helpful for those with OCD and for those who do not suffer from this disorder. There is still a responsibility from everyone that is in the midst of suffering to respond in a worshipful way Jesus. For me that looks like regular reading of the Bible so I can understand who God is, what He promises and who he has called me to be. It means going to church to worship Christ. For at least one day a week, I get to take the focus off myself and place it on the one who gave me hope. Finally, I must be in community. In community, there is hope for life, change and love. In my isolation, there is only loneliness and misery and no freedom from OCD.

If you feel this piece would be helpful for others, please pass it on.

Thanks

Christian Bringolf MA LMHC

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Mind Matters - Heart Centered Hypnotherapy

Saturday, July 01, 2017 @ 6:51 PM

My Brain on Heart Centered Hypnotherapy

“Talking gives you great insight, but experiencing gives you great healing.” These words came to me as I prepared to experience Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy for the first time as a client.

Over the past few years as a therapist, I have longed to go deeper with my clients. I have longed to help them heal their deepest wounds and inner self, yet while I have received excellent results from EMDR and other therapies, I felt there might be something else that would get them to a deeper understanding of their authentic self.

But before I go farther, I need to admit something to my readers…I was scared when it came time for my own sessions. I was asking myself, “What will I learn about my sub-conscious?” “How much healing do I still need in spite of years of my own talk therapy?” “Do I really want to know more about myself?” “What if I feel worse afterwards?” After all, I feel healthy and happy just the way I am. But then, a peace came over me and I felt God gently tell me that I can’t ask my clients to do something I was not willing to do myself. That’s when, I went for it, throwing myself on the couch, feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

But before I tell you about my own experience, let me lay to rest a few myths about clinical hypnotherapy. Clinical Hypnotherapy is NOT like stage hypnosis. The myth that someone can control your mind is erroneous. The people chosen for stage hypnosis and asked to “cluck like a chicken” are simply folks that will go along with simple suggestions. They are not doing anything against their will.

The type of hypnotherapy I practice in my office would best be described as intense healing therapy performed while the client is in a subconscious relaxed state of mind. Our feelings and emotions, along with intuition lie in the subconscious part of the brain. The conscious brain only makes up about 10% of our mind and the other 90% is the subconscious. Previously, my clients and I talked through an issue repeatedly, which often led to great insight, but did not necessarily result in healing the inner wounded part.

In spite of all of my research and excitement about this therapy, I still had a few of my colleagues that tried to discourage me by explaining that there is something “dark” about hypnosis. I’m sorry, but that is just not correct about clinical hypnotherapy. The truth is that all of us spend time in a subconscious state every day. An example of this is praying or meditating. Another example is fixating on the road while driving or just focusing our attention on something and not listening to what someone is saying to us. Sound familiar? None of these things are scary or have anything negative associated with them. It is important to note, at anytime you are receiving clinical hypnotherapy, you are able to snap back or “unrelax” yourself at any given moment. Any “suggestions” that might be given to you in a relaxed state can easily be rejected; besides, in clinical hypnotherapy, if suggestions are given, they are client driven.

So, back to my personal clinical hypnotherapy—First, the short version is…I received healing. Secondly, “experiencing the emotions” and not just talking about them, drove the healing process. Finally, the most important aspect is the “heart centered” approach of the therapy.

Without the heart-centered approach to hypnotherapy, you risk opening up your emotions and feelings, being left raw and re-traumatized. This is where therapy gets derailed. A client experiences what we therapists call an “abreaction” which is a fancy way of saying that you feel the same emotions as if the old trauma is happening again. The sad part is, often the client is sent home in this raw emotional state left to sort things out for themselves and feeling abandoned once again.

The gift of Heart Centered Hypnotherapy is that the risk of re-traumatization is mitigated by addressing the abreaction and teaching the client how to be the nurturing person (in that moment) that they so needed at the time of their old trauma.

During my experience, I have witnessed people that have been through severe trauma and after receiving Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy emerge with insight, restoration and unconditional love. While the process is much more detailed than can be explained in a blog, I can tell you one thing; this therapy is life changing for many people, including me.

While this blog has been dedicated to the discussion of trauma, Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy has been proven to help many other distressing symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, unresolved guilt and grief.
Live Free

Friday, June 30, 2017

Georgia Book Promotion/Signing

Friday, June 30, 2017 @ 2:03 PM

Dr. Sharon is doing a book tour in Atlanta Georgia to promote her books:

Weapons for Victory: Memoirs of a Perfect Storm

Christian Divorce Wars: A Biblical View

The Shepherd's Call: A Manual for Pastors and Church Leaders

31 Days of Wholeness: Women's Daily Devotional

Newbies in the Kingdom: Daily Devotional for New Believers

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Obsessive Love Wheel

Friday, June 16, 2017 @ 11:08 PM

Obsessive love is an oxymoron: it’s not about love at all. It is about owning and possessing another person.
Often people confuse an obsession with being in love. When the two are fused, it can lead to volatile, destructive relationships. Obsessive love is the kind of love that leads to murder, rape, stalking, false accusations and suicide among other things. An obsessive love wheel divides this kind of love into stages that can be clearly identified in certain behavioral traits.
The first stage relates to the initial attraction. This is an overwhelming, emotional or physical attraction that ignores any signs of incompatibility and focusses on physical and emotional traits rather than personality characteristics. The Obsessed begins to have magical fantasies about the person, and then signs of controlling, obsessive behavior begin to show.
The next stage is an anxious one, where the obsessed begins to create unrealistic and baseless notions about the other person abandoning you or being unfaithful. This can lead to depression or violent reactions.
The third phase is the stalker or obsessive phase, when the obsessed person may follow the target, continuously call, stop by the office unannounced, drive by and even monitor the targeted one. Obsessive questions are usually a characteristic of this phase.
Finally, the obsessed person enters the destructive phase. This is usually triggered by the targeted one fleeing or leaving. This phase is characterized by depression for the obsessed, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. Obsessive love easily transitions from one phase to the next, even the slightest signs of it should be checked and preventive measures should be taken. An Obsessive Love is not love at all, it is all about control and possession of the targeted one.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Sexual Abuse Recovery Group

Tuesday, June 06, 2017 @ 3:52 PM

Sexual Abuse Recovery Group: Healing the Wounded Heart (by: Dan Allender)

Call for further info: 562-706-4251

Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can profoundly damage a child’s sense of value, mainly by the perpetrator of the abuse, and secondarily by the non-abusive parent who either doesn’t believe the child, or somehow is oblivious to the abuse happening right in their own household. . So often child sexual abuse occurs in families, and in social contexts in which the family knows and trusts the perpetrators. Sometimes children are sexually abused within families in which the non-abusive parent resides mentally in a world of make-believe where no problem exists.

If you have been victimized by emotional incest, physical touch, rape, voyeurism, frotteurism, fondling, inappropriate conversations or non-verbal communication of a sexual nature or in any other way used by a person of more power than you as an object, then these steps will help you overcome the impact of your objectification and emotional hurt. There is no greater injury than being a small child who is used for the sexual gratification of an adult. Following is a list of healthy steps to take in order to heal and recover from sexual abuse:

1. Break your silence. The saying, “you’re as sick as your secrets” definitely applies to childhood sexual abuse. Children and adults who have been subjected to the dishonorable experience of having an adult use them for their sexual gratification, have no desire, ever, to tell anyone of their secret, because of their deep seated feelings of shame and humiliation. However, the only way to heal from this horrendous crime is for the victim to “find her voice.”

2. Journal often about how you have been personally affected by the abuse. List how you were betrayed by those who were supposed to protect you and nurture you. List and describe the different ways you suffered and what you lost because of the abuse. It is important to assess and face the damage in order to heal.

3. Face the Shame. There is great healing to be found in facing the shame your perpetrator put on you; talk about it, and place it off yourself and back on the shoulders of the person responsible for abusing you. Facing your shame and giving it back to your abuser (figuratively) helps you embrace your vulnerability and see yourself in a new light.

4. Grieve your losses. In order to recover from abuse, it is necessary to fully discover and complete the pain caused by your losses. You may feel many losses from being abused, such as, a loss of safety, comfort, innocence, trust, a childhood; a loss of being seen, known, and valued, etc. Think specifically about how your life has been impacted by abuse and write each loss, fully allowing yourself to grieve. Write about how you’ve been betrayed. Share your experience with a safe listening partner.

5. Be Compassionate with yourself. Do not abuse or neglect your value and needs as others have. Learn to talk to yourself with kindness and acceptance. Do not condemn yourself for the past or in the present. Recovery is a lifelong process and developing a constant “inner compassionate companion” will help the rest of your life be a satisfying experience. No longer do you have to be victim to others and to the negative dialogue within your own head. Remind yourself that being abused is not the fault of the victim, for any reason, ever.

Remember that sexual abuse is a form of trauma, and that those who have been affected, suffer with post-traumatic stress. Healing requires patience, understanding, safety, and validation. Therapists helping victims of abuse should offer clients a safe space and presence for facing difficult emotions, and should allow clients to work at their own pace. If a child was abused prior to age six, his memories may be repressed. Never imply that abuse occurred by putting ideas into your client’s mind, just listen to him as he remembers feelings, sensations, hurts, and allow him to talk about events when he’s ready.

When individuals are in therapy, learning to talk about their experiences and feelings, they will most likely have dreams, which are in effect, the mind’s effort at working through the deep feelings. Encourage your client to discuss his dreams, noting that dreams are metaphors. Have him personalize what each object in the dream signifies metaphorically.

Help clients realize that their healing is not dependent on confronting their abusers, but that healing, really is a matter of coming to terms with the abuse internally. Many times, confronting abusers can be very invalidating and counterproductive for victims of abuse. Remind clients that all abusers (especially sexual predators) are master manipulators, and when confronted will tend to do some strategy to minimize, project, deny, or otherwise invalidate the victim’s position. It is better for the victim to just adopt a policy of “no contact” with their abuser and if a confrontation is needed, then have it done merely on paper and read to a therapist.

The more all of the feelings with the abuse are processed by the victim, the more thoroughly the trauma is worked through and felt to completion. There will come a day when the victim will no longer need to process her feelings and she will realize she has been set free. Over time, the negative feelings and thoughts of abuse will dissipate, and not due to repression, but rather due to facing them and feeling their impact in the safe presence of a good therapist or other listening partner.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Should Christians ever seek professional counseling?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 @ 5:18 PM

In the Christian faith, we like to label the dos and don’ts in life as black and white. While scripture is very clear on many practices, some are left up to individual decision and personal conviction.

Through the years, multiple (and even some oppositional) views have emerged on whether or not those of the Christian faith should ever seek or accept professional counseling.
Popular Christian Views on Professional Counseling

1. On one end of the spectrum are those who fully embrace professional counseling and the concepts of psychology. They view it as a science and believe psychological practices hold validity as part of modern medicine.

2. On the other end are those who feel professional counseling is based on secular concepts and therefore is anti-Christian by nature. Subsequently, they believe it should be avoided. This group often prescribes prayer and scripture reading as the only medicine needed to resolve personal issues.

3. Between these two extremes are a wide range of other approaches including, but not limited to: Christian Counseling, Biblical Counseling, Nouthetic Counseling, Theophostic Prayer, and a host of other healing modalities.

Monday, May 29, 2017

My New Digs!

Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 10:44 PM

I am excited to have you join me as I start on a new adventure of opening my own Psychotherapy office located in River Oaks Tower at 3730 Kirby Dr. Ste #800 Houston, Texas.

The decision to move was not an easy one. Leaving old friends and colleagues, buying new furniture, organizing my new office, opening bank accounts, and disturbing my clients’ routines has caused more than a little anxiety. (Anyone know a therapist?). However, my new digs are located within the offices of Premiere Educational and Assessment Services (PEAS). PEAS is an organization which tests and evaluates individuals for ADD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and learning disabilities, among other therapeutic needs.

My new colleagues hold different licenses from mine and consist of Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Ph.D.’s. The synergy between us will be beneficial for my clients and my LPC and LCDC licenses will be an addition to their clinical resources.

Houston is a big, wonderful and high-energy city. It is proud to be named of the friendliest multi-cultural cities in the nation and I feel blessed to be called to help its residents. We all know this environment can have the downside for predisposing us to stress, anxiety, trauma, etc. that impacts our lives daily.

With specialty training in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and soon to be certified in clinical hypnotherapy, I am qualified to help you with many stresses that cause mental unwellness. Dually licensed in addiction, I stand ready to customize a plan that will help you understand why you “abuse” in the first place and help you find the motivation to heal. As a survivor of OCD myself, I am uniquely qualified to help you understand and recover from things like intrusive thoughts, anxiety and depression.

My office is inviting, warm and thoughtfully arranged for your comfort. From the incredible view of our city, to the aromatherapy, to the oversized comfortable couch, we will begin a peaceful, healing process.

Let’s learn to live free together.

Blessings, Therapist Renee.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

When the Church fails to help Abuse Victims

Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 1:57 AM

Please note that this article addresses women who are abuse victims. While I realize that men can also be victims of abuse, my focus is on women for the sake of simplicity. Anyone who is abused, male or female, should be cautious about the advice they receive for handling the problem.

It is so sad when a person struggling with an abusive relationship, seeks help from clergy or Christian friends, only to be told that they need to “try harder,” or “be the bigger person,” or “overlook an offense,” or “forgive,” or “turn the other cheek,” etc. When a person, particularly a woman, seeks help from the church for domestic violence, addiction, pornography issues, or emotional neglect and abuse problems in her marriage, so often the church gives pat answers, throws a few verses at the problem, promises to pray for her, and/or sends her on her way.

Oftentimes, the pastor or an elder or some sort of lay counselor in the church may step in and offer Christian counseling to the couple, only to offer the same type of pat answers and short-term solutions as mentioned above. Be very careful and forewarned if you are struggling with severe spousal difficulties and you seek help from the Church. Realize that incompetency can exist in the Church just as often as it can occur within secular sources.

My advice for Christian women seeking real help for serious marital problems is to be very circumspect with the type of help she receives. More often than not, I have heard of complete ineptitude on the part of the Church. In fact, the Church has been known to actually hurt a victimized woman by:

* minimizing the abuse;

* reinforcing the manipulative husband’s tactics by not holding him accountable or minimizing
what he does to cause damage in the relationship;

* invalidating the woman’s feelings, causing her even further victimization;

* blaming her and telling her to try harder to not “cause her brother to stumble,” i.e. that she is
somehow responsible for his behavior;

* by telling her to submit and that God would hold him accountable for his poor behavior and
that she just needs to trust God more;

* telling her to pray more often, keep her mouth shut, be more meek, hold her tongue more
often, etc.

The damage caused to a woman receiving this type of advice in an abusive or addictive marriage will only cause an increase in poor behavior because now the husband has been further emboldened to continue in his unsavory ways, unchecked, while the woman feels completely demoralized and helpless.

The types of assistance the church needs to give a woman seeking help for serious marital issues should be firm, direct, truth-seeking, validating, and grace-filled. When a person seeks counsel from their church, they are looking for spiritual help.

Many times people feel pretty desperate by the time they are willing to actually go to a pastor and ask for help. It takes a lot to just get the words out of one’s mouth, particularly with matters of a personal and private nature. The last thing a woman needs to receive from a church leader is minimization and invalidation of the seriousness of her situation.

If a woman is being sinned against and she is looking for pastoral help, then the best approach the pastor can take is to apply accountability to the husband and provide support to the wife.

When a pastor treats an abusive husband as if his abusive or addictive behavior is no big deal and is partially the wife’s responsibility, then the pastor has actually contributed to the abusive behavior; enabled it; and most likely helped it to increase.

A woman who is trying to get help for herself may end up having to be her own best advocate.

My advice for a woman in an abusive or addictive relationship is as follows:

• Seek help from people who are trained in the area that you are dealing with.

• Trust your internal “instincts” about the advice you are receiving.

• A good counselor will validate you and reflect back to you your input to the point that you
feel understood.

• Always remember that you are not responsible for another person’s behaviors, choices, or
character.

• Ask the person you are seeking counsel from what their background is and philosophy is for
dealing with abuse and addiction problems in families.

• Understand that you do not need to be nicer when dealing with an abuser or addict, you
need to set boundaries – for yourself. What will or will you no longer tolerate?

• If at first you don’t succeed in finding good counsel for your situation, keep trying until you
do. A good counselor will speak truth and will not cause you to feel confused or invalidated.
A good counselor will show empathy and understanding and will have a definite plan of
action to resolve your problem.

• Be aware that often couples counseling will not work with abusers. Abusers are master
manipulators and will most likely manipulate the counselor. This can happen both in the
Church and in secular settings.

• Remember, you cannot change anyone but yourself.

Written by: Dr. Sharie Stines, Therapist, La Mirada, CA

HOPE FOR THE CHRISTIAN IN RECOVERY

Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 1:45 AM

Are you a Christian struggling to overcome an addiction, abuse issue, the effects of a dysfunctional family, or some other stronghold in your life that keeps you personally ensnared? If you find yourself questioning God and wondering where he is during these trying times, then this article is written for you. Sometimes Christians falsely believe that their Christian life follows a formula. If I do a supposedly good thing, then God will bless me. If I try really really hard to be a good person then God will reward me.

Sometimes it appears to those walking “in righteousness” that the people who couldn’t care less about God seem to get all the breaks, money, children, good relationships, nice homes, nice jobs, or whatever it is we keep praying for and never seem to obtain. We start doubting the existence of God altogether because life is not following our preconceived formula of how life should work.

It may seem like a rude awakening for us, mere mortals, but God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). What we deem valuable, God may find irrelevant. While we keep looking for temporary comfort, reprieve from pain, human accolades, or some other lesser ideal, God is working on our hearts. Perhaps our strongholds serve a purpose in our lives that God has set up, and he uses these weaknesses for his ends. Remember the Apostle Paul who prayed three times for God to remove a “thorn in his flesh,” and God said, “no, my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

Recovery requires grace. It is essential that you develop grace for yourself, learning to forgive yourself for being weak, for failing, for messing up, for causing problems, for not getting it right. You may never get “it” 100% right and you need to give yourself grace no matter what. What is grace? Grace is bigger than mercy. While mercy reduces the punishment we must face for our insurrections, grace eliminates punishment altogether. Grace involves forgiveness and more.
According to the Old Testament, grace means deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity; it also involves daily wisdom, preservation and forgiveness. In the New Testament, grace means salvation in Christ.

On a human level, we can only give ourselves grace to a limited degree. We do this by taking ourselves “off the hook.” We don’t require ourselves to be any more than we are. I think we assume that somehow we’re supposed to be able to do so much more than is realistic or even necessary.

One verse that I find very helpful to keep myself in a proper perspective is, 1 Peter 2:25, which reminds us that we are all like sheep, have gone astray, and need a shepherd. We cannot do recovery without the great shepherd. We are best served by taking our recovery out of our hands and surrendering our lives to God, asking him to take the lead.
For those struggling with some serious recovery issues, who can’t seem to stop smoking, using, enabling, being abused, abusing, etc., help and wisdom can be found in Scripture. For the Christian, God’s word has power. God gave us his word to provide us with the “food” we need for our souls, to sustain us.

Written by: Dr. Sharie Stines, Therapist, La Mirada, CA

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Steps to Successful Therapy - Psalm 23 "The Lord is My Shepherd".

Saturday, May 06, 2017 @ 8:23 PM

Find a Qualified Therapist
Choosing a therapist can be confusing. If possible, getting a personal referral is ideal, but if not, look for the best fit for your particular need - someone who is licensed and specializes in your particular area of need. Credentials to look for are: LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor; NCC, National Certified Counselor; LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Commit to be Honest in Therapy
Your therapist can only help if she has the facts. The more she knows about you, the better she can help. Be willing to share openly and offer as much information as you know. Your therapist understands the difficulty in expressing deep hurts; however, she specifically was chosen to guide, encourage, support and understand all that you are going through, and wants to help. The therapist is trained to ask questions, use her insight and professional training to gather the data and make an informed diagnosis based on all of the information collected in the sessions.

Sessions are structured to alleviate any immediate symptoms that are adversely affecting you,
to gather a complete family and medical history, to hear your goals in therapy. If you are uncertain, we can mutually collaborate on what those goals for you might be. Your honesty and openness is essential for us to work together as a team, to ensure a strong therapeutic relationship and offer you the best help possible.

Confidentiality
Everything that you discuss with your therapist is strictly confidential and cannot be shared with anyone, unless you give your permission by signing an authorization to release information.

Make a Commitment to the Process
In therapy you will discover self awareness: awareness of your physical and emotional self, and also awareness of the language you use. Our words effect our thoughts and behaviors. Your therapist may ask you to journal or to complete certain worksheets at home. These tools are necessary to complete the therapeutic process and encourage your ability toward healing, self-discovery, growth and change. You will inevitably gain from participating in the counseling experience.

An Environment of Safety
My goal is to provide a warm, safe, and non-judgmental space for you to feel comfortable being yourself. Feel free to be YOU. Laugh, cry, say what you want to say, be as uninhibited as possible. Our relationship becomes sort of like a dance; sometimes I lead and you follow; and other times, you lead and I follow. Our conversations are strictly private and confidential. Keep in mind that God is the great counselor and I act only as His instrument. Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path."

Psalm 100 "MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD.....SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS"

Go in Peace.
written by Veronica A. Zinkham, LPC
May 6, 2017

Mind Matter - My Personal Journey with OCD

Saturday, May 06, 2017 @ 11:56 AM

My personal journey with OCD, in the form of intrusive thoughts, began when I was only 11 years old. These thoughts would get “stuck” in my head and would play over and over again. This became increasingly stressful. My temporary solution was to go through my own personal ritual which made things better for awhile. This was not a permanent solution and the thoughts always resurfaced. At this age, I had no idea how to verbalize the mental pain I was in and I didn’t want people to think I was “crazy”, so I suffered in silence. I noticed that these thoughts would occur more often during times of stress or when I was fatigued.

I was told one time by a well-meaning therapist that I should just avoid getting under stress. Really? What universe was she from? As everyone knows, that’s easier said than done if not impossible. Now I know that advice like “live a healthy lifestyle” didn’t work, as I was a committed bodybuilder who practiced very healthy eating, exercise and other healthy principles. Additionally, advice such as trying to “control” unwanted thoughts only ended up backfiring. In fact, popular “coping strategies” I was so eagerly given did little to help me. The truth is that coping skills stop working even though helpful at first. I tried many other recommended solutions, but in time, these too failed to control the unwanted thoughts adequately.

Fast-forward many years, I now have a somewhat symptom free life. And now when these unwanted thoughts raise their ugly head, I am well prepared for what to do. I feel my suffering has made me more uniquely qualified to help my own clients with this disorder. I start by helping them understand that intrusive thoughts are quite common among people. Often times they immediately begin to feel better when they learn that these “sticky thoughts” are through no fault, personality detect or mental illness of their own.

Now you know why as a therapist I have taken a personal interest in helping people find the solutions that I wish I had found at a young age. The right customized solution that really helps in changing the way the brain works can make all the difference in how one feels. The therapies that I have found work best with my clients are EMDR, exposure therapy and a customizable plan based on their particular symptom set. Finding a therapist that uses the latest evidence based treatment is paramount in getting on the road to recovery. How do I know? Because I truly get it!

Finally, I’m always adding to my repertoire of evidenced based treatment. In July, I will become certified in hypnotherapy and look forward to offering this to clients. Live Free!

Renee Trimble, MS, LPC Intern, LCDC
Founder Free Indeed Therapy

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Woman's Bible Therapy Group

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 8:45 PM

The women of the Bible experienced many different events – from bravery in a man’s world to enduring unimaginable hardship - all while living in a time period that was radically different from ours. Yet, every one of these women share our human condition.
What can we learn from Jochebed’s boldness, Deborah’s ability to actively listen, Jael’s assertiveness, Jephthah’s Daughter’s sacrifice, or from Dinah’s rape? How can we make personal application of those lessons? The focus of this group is to discover the lessons the extraordinary women of the Bible teach us, to make personal reflection of those lessons, and to make life changes by walking them out through application of therapeutic interventions such as, psychoeducation, healthy coping skills, spiritual disciplines, and journaling.

DATES:
Beginning: Thursday, July 27, 2017
Ending: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Cost: $25 per session (9 sessions)
Seating is limited – Reserve your seat today.

LOCATION:
2425 N. Courtenay Parkway, Suite 9
Merritt Island, FL 32953

You can PURCHASE the BOOK from Amazon:
Women of the Bible: Heroines and the Lessons They Can Still Teach Us
ISBN-10: 1618933671
ISBN-13: 978-1618933676

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Melissa K. Weedman, MA, MHC, BCCC @ (321) 543-3833

Friday, April 07, 2017

Bullet Journaling

Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

We’ve all been there: you make plans with the best of intentions, even putting them into the calendar on your phone, and you insist that you won’t forget. The day comes around, you are sitting at home and get a message from your friend asking where you are, and you panic. How could you have forgotten?

In this digital age, it can seem like our technology is a foolproof method for remembering. We have apps to do anything and everything, and doing anything analog just seems needlessly cumbersome and time-consuming. Yet, we also find ourselves forgetting appointments, feeling unprepared for the day, and not accomplishing what we planned. This is because there is less intentionality in typing something into your phone or computer versus writing it down. Your mind isn’t forced to really think about what it is doing because typing is so quick. The note, appointment, or whatever else you may store digitally is forgotten as soon as it is typed. All of these lapses in our day-to-day memory can leave us feeling mentally taxed, far too busy, and anxious for the days ahead.

What if I were to propose a simple solution? The “Bullet Journal” is an analog system for planning and organizing your life. Now, you may be tempted to tune out because you’ve tried physical planners before and never lasted more than a few months at best, but hear me out. The bullet journal is essentially a do-it-yourself planner/journal/notebook. All you need to make one is a notebook and a pen. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive because you can make your bullet journal whatever and however you want. You can plan out your schedule, but you can also plan trips, make lists of ideas or books to read, make sketches, set goals, and track habits and emotions! This blog will cover the foundations of starting your bullet journal, with ideas and examples.

The main concept behind bullet journaling is the idea of “rapid logging,” or making quick notes, in order to avoid getting bogged down by the task of journaling or planning. As you can see, I have included some examples of “spreads” or pages as I prefer to do them in my own bullet journal, but they can look like whatever would be most helpful to you. Usually there is a little bit of trial and error throughout the process of bullet journaling, and you will eventually find out what works for you! There is a plethora of inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs such as bohoberry.com, and the official bullet journal website: bulletjournal.com.

To read the entire article from our therapist, Laura Lanier, go to the website listed on this blog.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

feeling Stuck?

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 @ 4:42 PM

I often hear my clients say they feel "stuck". This of course can mean a number of things, some of which may include, feeling afraid, sad, angry, lonely or lost. Like being lost in the forest, with no sense of direction, no clear path to follow, and no exit signs, it can feel overwhelming and very scary. Feeling this way over a period of time is exhausting and so you freeze or get "stuck".
There are many ways we can lose our way or get stuck in life. Sometimes we lose our way because we stopped paying attention to our own inner warning signs to either "slow down", "turn around" or "walk away". Sometimes we find ourselves lost in another person's overgrown and chaotic life, and by focusing so much on how to help them find their way though their mess we never realize how far we wondered off our own path. Sometimes our focus gets blurred by the hurts from the past, the pressures of the present and worries about tomorrow. We lose our way because we are not watching where we are going. We are distracted.
I have found that offering my clients a way to see themselves for an outside perspective can be most helpful. It is like stepping out of the painting of your life and looking back at it from outside the frame. This way, together the client and I can better pinpoint where they may have left their path and then determine the best ways to slowly and carefully make their way back. As a fellow sojourner, I too have wandered and lost my way. I have come to realize that having a trusted fellow traveler as a companion can be the greatest comfort of all. This is one of the reasons I love being a professional counselor. To be able to walk alongside someone and encourage or support their transformation is a gift many have given me. What a privileged to share this sacred journey. Make the choice to call and ask for help today. Your path to new life is waiting!

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Key to Overcoming Pornography Addiction? Get to the Root.

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 5:38 PM

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

It is difficult watching men who have been struggling for years to get themselves free of pornography. I remember going through the challenge of erasing porn from my life and the feelings of frustration and hopelessness each time I failed. Today, as a Christian counselor I get the opportunity to walk with men as they take up the battle against pornography and it’s heartbreaking to hear their stories of endless attempts to get sober only to succumb to temptation over and over again.

“I have tried everything that has been asked of me in the past,” said Larry. “The Internet security, support groups, accountability partners, you name it and I have done it. And don’t get me wrong, they certainly help for a while but it never fails as time goes on the same hurtful feelings start coming back and I find myself using once again. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing but put a band-aid over my sexual addiction. It stops the acting out until it falls off.”

As Larry spoke I knew right away what he was struggling with in his quest to be porn free. He had never gotten to the root of his sexual addiction problem. You see, at the heart of all addictions is emotional pain. Addictive behaviors are used in an attempt to conceal the hurt we feel by serving as a distraction. And they do an excellent job at keeping our emotional pain in check – for a brief time. But once the “high” of our addiction has worn off, we find ourselves right back where we started.

Now you may be saying to yourself “I don’t feel any emotional pain. I use pornography simply because I like it.” This is not unusual. What that means is you have done an excellent job in suppressing troubling emotions. In fact, you may have a difficult time in expressing any emotion beyond anger, happiness or sadness. But lying at the core of your addiction is a rationale for why you abuse sex. And that is exactly what you’re doing – abusing sex.

The emotional pain that leads to sexual addictions can take on many different forms. Over the years I have identified numerous reasons men abuse sex including: an overwhelming need for affirmation; a sense of entitlement; the need for control; the hunger for attention; feelings of weakness; inability to emotionally engage; early sexual stimulation or abuse; and a stress buster. It is not uncommon for men to deal with two or more of these emotional troubles.

Behavior modification has its place in treating sexual addictions and is extremely valuable. But a key to freeing yourself from abusing sex is learning to identify and manage your emotional pain. And that requires getting to the root.

Look for Eddie Capparucci's new book entitled "The Making of a Sex Addict: 9 Reasons Why Men Abuse Sex due out in late 2017.

3 Reasons Why Your Might Need Pornography Counseling

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 5:33 PM

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to men who say “yeah, I look at porn but I don’t think I have a problem”. To them, pornography and masturbation are something all men do and it’s not a big deal. What they fail to understand is they're engaging in pornography is damaging to others as well as themselves. So how do you know if you have a serious porn problem that requires professional help? Here are just three examples.

1. Your wife says she's upset and you still use.
If you are getting pushback from your spouse about your pornography use and you continue to use it knowing the pain it causes you need to see a counselor. It is obvious your need and desire for pornography and masturbation are clouding your ability to see and address her emotional pain. “If she’s upset with porn that’s her problem, not mine,” is something I have heard on numerous occasions from men attempting to justify their actions. Nice attitude to have toward someone you supposedly love. A professional counselor will help you get out of your own head and focus more on addressing the pain your wife feels. Be advise if find yourself in this position your marriage may be in serious trouble.

2. You would rather spend time with porn than people.
If your predominant thoughts when at work, school, or church are centered on pornography; or you find yourself preferring to sit home and watch porn rather than be with friends and family then you need help from a professional counselor. Obsessive sexual thoughts centered on porn images captured by your brain, or an anxiousness in wanting to get to your next opportunity to view porn are key issues that can be addressed with the help of a competent mental health professional. Whether you are aware of it or not your obsession with pornography is crippling your ability to emotionally connect with others, which will result in missing numerous opportunities that would bring you a sense of joy and fulfillment.

3. Porn/masturbation is hampering your sex life.
It is not unusual for men who engage in chronic pornography/masturbation to suffer from various sexual dysfunctions including: erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and leaky erections. Some men must engage in sexual fantasy by replaying pornographic images in their mind in order to become and stay aroused when having sex with their partner. Chronic pornography use also has been proven to have a negative impact on the brain through the above normal increase of dopamine that is released when viewing. Over time, the brain suffers damage that is similar to that of someone who abuses drugs.

A certified sexual addiction counselor can help in the process of rebooting the brain, while assisting you in learning how to remove pornography from your life.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

What does the BIble say about being "Offended?".

Sunday, April 02, 2017 @ 11:19 AM

In todays world there are many things that can cause us to take offense. Friends, family members and even people we don't know sometimes say things or do things that can cause us to feel insulted and even hurt. Sometimes people are just careless with their words and they say the first thing that comes to mind, while others may use words as weapons and in a deliberate attempt to hurt us and to see what our reactiion will be. Either way in the end we walk away offended.

With that said I think its fair to say that at one time or another in some way or form we have all been offended by others. Hurtful words, sarcastic remarks, and even a dirty look can offend us. So how can we get past what someone said, or what someone did so that we can move on and forgive and forget? I will tell you how. We can choose not to get offended. Although it does sound easier said than done, when we realize the amount of strength and power we give to the offense we would probably think twice about allowing our offended feelings to ever creep up on us again. When we let what others say or what they do effect us, we are giving them control over us. God loves us. He wants our eyes to stay fixed on Him. He wants us to be more concerned with Him and less concerned with what others say and do.

In an effort to change our outlook on how not to be offended, we need to realize a few things; the first and most important is to remember who's you are; Your a child of the most high God. We should all be standing in His strength. We should look to the Lord for the answers to the questions we have regarding how to handle 'life's issues" and other situations that we all will come across living in this crazy world. No worldly situation is too big or too small for God to address in the Bible and in the case of being "offended" there is no exception. God addresses "feelings of being offended" in the Bible and here is what scripture says about being offended;

Proverbs 19:11 says;
"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."

God blesses us when we do the right thing. That means when someone does offend us and we hold our tongue instead of returning insult for insult , or when we just walk away without a word after someone deliberately offends us, God blesses us. Don't give in to others who try to manipulate circumstances to get to you.

James 1:19 says;

"Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

James 1:19 is saying that getting angry is foolish. Think about the energy that is put into getting angry and then think about the result of the anger you feel toward the situation. Did any amount of that anger fix the situation? Anger is a waste of time. Whats done is done, anger won't change anything but, prayer will. Would it not be better to say a prayer asking your Heavenly Father for strength and for wisdom during this time?

2 Corinthians 12:10 says;

"For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

When we turn our eyes to the Lord and look to please Him only, we can stand strong in the face of adversity.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Hope

Saturday, April 01, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

Hope

Mark 5:4 , 15 " ...No one was strong enough to subdue him...When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind;

Have you ever been in a place where you felt like this? Where there seemed to be no solution, no help to be found, your situation was dire because no one had what it took to change the circumstances or those involved including you?

I think we all have been in that place, are there now, or might be heading into it. At these times we often feel alone, afraid, anxious and powerless. Add the self inflicted sense of false guilt because " Christians shouldn't feel this way" or the harsh, legalistic shaming from others that tells us "you need to have more faith..." Or perhaps worse, just neglect and a sense of rejection, and you have a recipe for hopelessness. The Enemy seems to like to use these tactics of our own inner critic, others, and top it of with the resulting isolation from the body, or the pack so to speak. Have you ever watched the nature shows where you see the Lion or the Wolves hunting? Have you noticed that they seem to target those animals that have become separated from the herd? Folks we are sitting ducks when we isolate. It leaves room for all the above. Remember scripture tells us " ...yet we are not unaware of his schemes." Yet when we hurt, we forget and cannot see, that's when we really need one another.

Here is the key, looking back at Mark 5, the man possessed had no hope, as he could not be helped, bound or even caught so someone could try to help. He was out in a desolate, lonely place ....separated. But Jesus....The words jumped off the page at me today that there was one who just so happened to land in that place where he was. Do you think that was an accident? Jesus could and did subdue and bind the Enemy, He also in that process, restored the man to life, broke his isolation and exile, and told him to tell, others how much God had done for him. Wow!! So what in life is overwhelming you, keeping you apart? Have you become hopeless of change or restoration? Run to Him, He has the power, grace and mercy not only to overcome the Enemy, but to heal, restore, and lead you to healthy, life giving relationships in the body.

Recommended reading:

Safe People Cloud & Townsend
Safest Place on Earth. Dr Larry Crabb
He Loves Me Wayne Jacobsen

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hypnosis vs. Therapy: What's the Difference?

Friday, March 31, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

Hypnosis vs. Therapy: What's the Difference?


10:10 Clinical Director Ara Trembly has written a detailed comparison of the two modalities for The Hypnosis Examiner. You may access the article at:
http://www.qissagebodysystems.org/hypnotherapy/newsletter/Volume%201%20Special%20Edition.pdf.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Seeing Red: How to keep anger from hijacking your brain

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

Fuming. Seething. Steaming. Powerful language to describe an equally powerful emotion. Anger is a natural reaction to perceived threats, stress or injustice, but can feel overwhelming. Here’s what’s technically happening behind the scenes when you get mad: The amygdala sounds an alarm triggering the adrenal glands to release catecholamines dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline through the veins of your body. When adrenaline reaches your heart, it beats faster and more vigorously, causing blood to be pumped 3 times as fast, preparing you for action. You begin breathing faster, your stomach tightens and your muscles begin feeling tense.

So, how do we keep anger from hijacking our brains?

Anger is not inherently good or bad. It's designed to protect us and others from harm. It also has some benefits, like increasing our confidence and decisiveness as well as motivating ourselves and others to act. Anger becomes a problem if it is felt too intensely or frequently as it has damaging effects on your health. Chronic anger changes the structure of your brain, leading to greater reactivity and perpetuating the anger experience. Anger is also problematic if it is expressed ineffectively as it can hurt others, damage the quality of relationships and lead to losing friends, loved ones and jobs. Reacting in anger can also put you and others at risk of physical harm and leave you feeling remorse and shame.

So, how do we keep anger from hijacking our brains?

Perhaps you already know you have a problem with anger. You say you’ll change, but when push comes to shove, you fall back into the same trap. You’re not alone. Anger is a powerful emotion you don’t want to underestimate, so let’s face it, you’re going to need a plan. The steps below will help you create an individualized plan for disrupting anger before it costs you. I’d recommend detailing your plan in a note on your phone so its readily available. Before you get started creating your plan, define the problem you want to overcome and your intended goal. Then you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your plan. For instance,

“Problem: I yell at my kids and wife when I get mad.
Goal: Speak to my family in a calm, respectful tone, even when I feel angry".


Step 1: Know your triggers
A trigger is any stimulus that leads to intense emotion or problematic behaviors. Triggers vary from person to person and are often based on your values and personal history. Imagine carrying a weapon and not knowing what sets it off. That could be dangerous, right? The same is true with emotions. If you want to react well when you get mad, you will need to become aware of what sets you off. Knowing your triggers increases your ability to prepare to cope when these events occur.

Figuring out your triggers may not come naturally to you, but there is a trick: keep an anger log. After you lose your cool, note the date, time, what was going on around you, things people said/did, thoughts you had, emotions you felt and physiological sensations before you got mad (headaches, etc). After tracking these for a couple of weeks, you will begin to notice some common themes. These are your triggers. I’ll post some common triggers soon to give you some clues on what to look for.

Step 2: Acknowledge that you are angry in the moment

Regaining control once you're infuriated is a formidable task. However, most people don’t actually become enraged instantly. Typically our anger escalates gradually, but many people aren’t aware of their mild to moderate emotion. Being unaware of mild to moderate emotions puts you at risk for losing control. Work to notice the physiological signs of anger before its at its peak. Spend some time slowing down when you are angry to label your emotion and notice what it feels like. Observe the changes in your body, the increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, sweaty palms, tension in fists, etc. Scientific research demonstrates that naming your emotion can shift your brain into a more rational state and that mindful awareness of emotion increases our emotional control.

Step 3: Use effective strategies for reducing your anger level
When you are angry, you can take steps to feel calm again. Once you notice a trigger feeling of anger, it's important to make time to practice using techniques that keep anger at a manageable level. The angrier you are, the harder it will be to effectively use these skills in the moment so try practicing when you are only mildly annoyed, gradually using the skills at a higher levels of anger. The primary goal is to bring the physiological arousal down, which is typically best accomplished through relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing. Deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing means breathing in slowly and deeply through your nose, filling up your diaphragm (muscle between your chest and abdomen) for about 10 seconds and then slowly releasing the air out through your mouth for another 10 seconds. (Note: Avoid using any mood-altering substances that might cause you more problems in the future.)


Step 4: Evaluate & Revise Your Plan
After trying out your plan, evaluate how effective it was at reaching your intended goal. You may be tempted to skip this step, but it’s crucial for measuring what actually works and what doesn’t. If it worked, note what worked. If it didn’t work, try to diagnose what went wrong. Did you stick to your plan, following each of the steps? Do you need more time to practice using the skill? Use your evaluations to revise your plan. Keep working the plan and revising until you have a solid plan that works!

Anger can be very complex and this plan may not fully address all of the underlying causes of your anger. If your anger is upsetting or costing you significantly, counseling can help you overcome it. Anger is very treatable. Call Amanda Berge to discuss treatment options. (224) 633-3319

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kindness in Our Marriage

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

By Waymon and Charla Hinson

Kindness in marriage? What is it? How does it get shown? We have wondered about these questions and have enjoyed the discussion and hopefully our marriage will be stronger as a result. Since the earliest of days of our marriage, we have been a highly ritualized couple. We have been intentional about these matters. From the earliest days of our 47 years of marriage to each other, we have created rituals, or patterns, around daily events as well as celebrations that signify to each other that those things matter and that we within the circle of those behaviors matter uniquely to each other....