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Thursday, March 4, 2021

"How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship," by Bernis Riley, Psy.D, LPC-S, Certified EFT Therapist

Thursday, March 4, 2021 @ 9:55 AM

Emotionally Focused Therapy, our therapy model at SoulCare Counseling, is partially based on Attachment Theory (which is actually no longer a theory but a proven science). British psychologist John Bowlby is the father of Attachment Theory going back to his work with separated infants in the 1950’s. He found that a child depends on his or her mother and father or primary caregivers for comfort, soothing, and support. If those needs are met, the child becomes securely attached; if not, the child becomes insecurely attached. Others built on Bowlby’s work, applying it to adult attachment, and found that four attachment styles develop in childhood and most often remain into adulthood.

We know from studies of the brain that we are hard-wired to seek close, supportive, safe, secure, comforting relationships. We need closeness and belonging as much as we need food and water. When our brain perceives that a primary relationship is in danger, it goes into overdrive to save it and triggers the attachment style we learned as children. The problem is that only one attachment style is healthy; the others, ironically, are destructive to the relationship they are employed by the brain to save.

Do You Have An Anxious Attachment Style?
People with an anxious attachment style would say, “You’re good, I’m not good.” They have a negative view of self but a positive view of others, especially their partner. The thought of being alone or separated physically or emotionally from that partner causes great anxiety. They fear abandonment and constantly seek security. As a result, they worry about their partner being as invested in the relationship as they are. They constantly seek their partner’s approval, support, and responsiveness or they experience anxiety. If they perceive that they are not receiving the closeness and support they need, the often become clinging, demanding, or critical, all in subconscious attempts to draw their partner close. In Emotionally Focused Therapy, these are called “pursuers.” The problem with this attachment style is that those who use it experience the very thing the fear, their partner withdraws.

Do You Have An Avoidant Attachment Style?
People with an avoidant attachment style would say, “I’m good, you’re not good.” They have a positive image of self but a low image of others. As a result, they don’t feel that they need a relationship to be happy and fulfilled. They don’t want to depend on others, and they don’t want others to depend on them. They see themselves as strong, independent, self-sufficient types who don’t need the support or approval of others. They identify with the Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, loner-type hero. They tend to be introverts. While they do want physical contact, they don’t feel the need for emotional contact, avoid emotions, and like Spock on “Star Trek” they suppress their emotions. When they are put in a situation with high emotions, they shut down and withdraw or leave. In Emotionally Focused Therapy, they are called “withdrawers.”


Do You Have A Disorganized Attachment Style?
People with a disorganized attachment style say, “I’m good, you’re not good…I’m not good, you’re good.” They shift back and forth in ambiguous, chaotic relationship behaviors. They push people away, then pull them back. They fear getting hurt and therefore avoid strong emotional attachments. They want intimacy and closeness, but at the same time have a hard time trusting and depending on others. They have trouble regulating their emotions. People with this attachment style are usually victims of abuse or trauma.

Do You Have A Secure Attachment Style?
The three attachment styles I just described are all insecure attachment styles. People who have those styles tend to have unhealthy relationships. But people with a secure attachment style are able to have healthy relationships. They say, “I’m good, you’re good.” They have a positive view of themselves and others. So, they have no fears of expressing their emotions. They are glad to depend on their partners, and let their partners depend on them. They are honest, tolerant, and intimate. They thrive in closeness with their partner, but are not anxious when they are separated. They are confident that the relationship is stable and will not be disrupted by the absence. In Emotionally Focused Therapy, we work to help distressed couples move out of insecure attachment styles into a secure attachment style.

CHRISTIAN COUNSELING AND EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY, Mark Riley, M.Div, D.Min

Thursday, March 4, 2021 @ 9:52 AM

Having been a pastor since I was 20, when my wife and I founded SoulCare Counseling in 2007, there was no question but that it would be a Christian counseling center. The only question was, what kind of Christian counseling would SoulCare do? That question might surprise you because most people assume that all Christian counseling is the same: the client shares a problem to which the counselor applies some Bible verses and has prayer. That is one kind of Christian counseling but it’s not the only kind. The fact is, all Christian counseling has similarities but also differences.

While all Christian counselors want to help you change, enter into a caring relationship with you, and have a Christian worldview, they use different counseling methods or models based on what they have found to be effective. The Association of Christian Counselors defines Christian counseling as activities that “seek to help people towards constructive change and growth in any or every aspect of their lives, through a caring relationship and within agreed relational boundaries, carried out by a counselor who has a Christian worldview, values and assumptions…Counselors use different methodologies or models for their counseling depending on their training and what they find to be effective.”

There are two basic approaches to Christian counseling:
• Theology Only. This is often called biblical, or nouthetic, counseling. It uses only the Bible and fits the apply-Scripture-and-pray model described earlier. Its biggest advocate is Jay Adams.
• Theology and Psychology. This is called professional Christian counseling. A professional Christian counselor has training and degrees in counseling/psychology and is committed to biblical theology. James Dobson and Larry Crabb are examples. When it comes to integrating psychology and theology, some counselors attempt to separate them, others mix them like a salad, and still others pick and choose only psychological approaches that are consistent with biblical teachings.

SoulCare Counseling falls into the last category. All of our counselors are Bible-believing Christians who have either earned or are working on degrees in counseling/psychology and are licensed by the state of Texas. We don’t believe that there is biblical truth and there is scientific truth; there is just truth, and all truth is God’s. Philippians 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” So, we take from psychology that which is true, right, etc., and consistent with Scripture and use it while discarding the rest.

We have found Emotionally Focused Therapy to be one of the most effective and biblically consistent counseling models. Though not a Christian, in the 1980’s Dr. Sue Johnson founded a counseling therapy that is consistent with biblical teachings. When she realized this, Sue worked with EFT trainer and former missionary Kenny Sanderfer to adapt her book Hold Me Tight into Created For Connection, The Hold Me Tight Guide For Christian Couples. It is based on Genesis 2:18 that “It is not good that man should be alone.” God created human beings for connection, so when we become disconnected, conflict and dysfunction arise. The key to resolving conflict is to reconnect through understanding our true needs and feelings, communicating them in a way our partner will receive, and giving/receiving forgiveness and reconciliation creating a safe, secure attachment bond. Christian themes run all through that: humbling oneself, considering the other as more important than self, being honest and speaking truth to one another, forgiveness, reconciliation, love as the bond of unity, to name a few.
Since EFT is based on biblical principles, it works! Imagine that. Studies of EFT over decades have shown that 70-75% of couples who complete EFT move from distress to recovery, and 90% show significant improvements. No other counseling model can make that claim. Biblically consistent and effective. That’s why our Christian counseling center does Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Dumped by God

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 @ 10:47 AM

We have all gone through seasons where we feel despondent and wonder if God is even paying close attention to our situation. We start wondering, “Does he even care? Does he even see what is going on? Is he still there or am I just talking to the ceiling?” Rest assure, God is not far. During these seasons, please know that you are simply being dumped by God.

Allow me to explain. Imagine as a new Christian, you are a little cup. You fell in love with Jesus and you are full of his love and spilling over the sides of the cup. You are just oozing with the Holy Spirit and you are on a spiritual high. Suddenly and frequently without our permission, God takes our little cup and dumps it into a bigger cup. All that love and Holy Spirit giddiness seems to dampen, and we go through a season of feeling alone and empty. We do not know what to do and we feel like the Holy Spirit high is only for baby Christians. Many Christians give up the pursuit of God at this point. However, this is the season where you need to dig your heels in, dive into the Word of God, and deepen your faith. You will find that over time, the new cup you were dumped into is filling up again and will be over-flowing once more.

Then, suddenly and frequently without our permission, God takes our bigger cup and dumps us into a bucket. Again, we feel shallow, empty, alone, and are hungry to be filled by God. We can get angry that he dumped us because we were content in our smaller cup. We may not understand why he dumped us, or why he chose this bucket. We can kick and scream and pitch a fit, but it will not fill the bucket. Only pursuing a relationship with God will adequately fill the current bucket we were dumped into.

God desires us to grow and that is why he loves us enough to dump us. He continues to dump us into bigger and bigger containers. Every time we are dumped by God and we pursue a relationship with him, in order for him to fill the current container we are poured into, we learn more about his character, his love, and his mercy. Any time we are dumped, it indicates that God desires our faith and trust in him to grow. Being dumped by God means that God loves us too much to leave us where we are at, and he desires for us to grow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Illness Can Be the Cure!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 @ 2:31 PM

During my medical school and residency trainings, I used to pray about why my patients were suffering from injuries and diseases. I began to hear their souls tell me why. There were always good reasons. In fact, I slowly realized that their souls were guiding their growth in some way. In this workbook, I share what I have learned from this prayerful soul-listening. Readers learn the language of the soul, so they might come to understand the soul communications in whatever symptoms they or their loved are struggling with. Painful afflictions become loving invitations to become more Christ-like when we learn this language of the soul!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

couples communication workshop

Saturday, February 27, 2021 @ 11:45 AM

The Gender Dance: Communication 101
Relationships are can be complicated at times. No matter how much we love our partners, sometimes we may not see eye to eye with one another. Communication can become tense and we can feel distant from our partners. But all hope is not lost. We can learn strategies to strengthen our relationship and learn to draw near to one another. If you and your partner want to learn skills to improve your relationship – this is the right workshop for you both. We will talk about communication styles, impact of early family dynamics on the current relationship, and discuss strategies you and your partner can use to positively talk about areas you need to talk about without tension.


While we will be talking about topics that can be serious at times, we will also talk about how we can implement fun in relationships. We will talk about tips and tricks to healthy communication, use role plays, and hear from couples about what works and doesn’t work-providing each other with support. We hope you’ll join us for this event.

Registration can be done at https://www.vibrantwoman.me/upcoming-events/
We look forward to you joining us.

Friday, February 26, 2021

I’m depressed. Now what?

Friday, February 26, 2021 @ 4:34 PM

If you were recently diagnosed with depression, or you have been feeling unmotivated, down in the dumps, tired, restless, or sad, you might be wondering what are your options to receive help? Many people don’t know where to start in their healing journey and can feel very overwhelmed with what to choose or do. Getting help doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

First, start by finding a licensed counselor. Registered intern counselors or student counselors can be just as good of an option (and cheaper) because they are typically heavily supervised and lean on well-trained clinicians to help guide them through the therapeutic process. Seek a therapist who shares similar value systems. This is especially important if you are religious and want to incorporate your religious beliefs in your counseling. Discover a counselor you feel comfortable being around. If you are a rape victim, being around a person that reminds you of your perpetrator may not be in your best interest.

Ask your therapist if they will assess you for depression and if they will administer The Beck’s Depression Inventory. This inventory assesses your level of depression and allows the counselor to have a deeper understanding of what your depression looks like.

I cannot emphasize this enough; if you are dealing with depression, a consistent exercise routine must be a part of your daily life. The endorphins released by exercise help combat stress and gives your body a dopamine dump. Dopamine is your happy neurotransmitter.

Drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep. Dehydration can cause many problems including depression. Sleep also affects our ability to deal with stress. The more rested we feel, the higher the chances of fighting off depression.

Talk with your doctor and request a full blood panel to make sure a biological origin is not being overlooked. Being low in Vitamin D or B can cause depressive symptoms. Thyroid issues can also cause symptoms of depression. Having the MTHFR mutation can cause depression, anxiety, ADHD and many other problems. Depression can have a biological origin and requesting the proper bloodwork can help.

If an anti-depressant is recommended, then please consider following through with your doctor’s recommendations. These are not drugs that you can start and stop, or skip a day here or there. These are medications that have a great potential to help, but also a great potential to harm, if not taken properly. Think of an anti-depressant like insulin. In diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin. Likewise, when a person is depressed, your body does not “produce enough” or activates the neurotransmitters properly in order to maintain a healthy balance in the brain. Antidepressants help activate your neurotransmitters to work at their fullest potential.

If being on an antidepressant does not feel like the right option for you, then please seek out a homeopathic doctor or a trained herbalist to help balance your body in a more natural way. There are plenty of herbal remedies available that can positively impact depression levels.

Figuring out how to deal with your depression can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Find someone to talk with and get started on your healing journey.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Good Anxiety? Is there such a thing?

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 @ 12:20 PM

Anxiety is one of the more frequent presenting problems that graces my office. However, is anxiety really bad? Before I answer that, ask yourself one question, what is the purpose of anxiety? (Que the Jeopardy theme music)!

Take a minute to reminisce back to high school or college testing days. The anxiety before the test was choking and all consuming. This anxiety typically pushes a person to study and prepare. In this instant, anxiety did its job. Anxiety’s job is to trigger us to prepare and to be alert. It must feel awful in order to make sure we are preparing adequately and being cautious in our environment. As long as you are still able to move forward in life and obtain your goals, then healthy amounts of anxiety can be a good thing. Breathe through this type of anxiety and exercise to maintain the stress this anxiety is producing. When the stressful event is finished, then thank your anxiety for doing its job and enjoy the benefits the small panic produced.

Now, if anxiety is shutting you down and preventing you from moving forward, there is a larger problem at hand. I will be daring enough to say that a person dealing with “stop all action and shut me down anxiety” isn’t dealing with anxiety, but with fear. Fear and anxiety can feel very similar. Also, not many people want to admit that they struggle with fear. It feels like our pride gets hit deeper when we admit our fears, so many people feel more comfortable with the word anxiety.

However, if you are one of these people who suffer from all-consuming anxiety and it prevents your from moving forward, I want you to ask yourself one question: what are you truly scared of? Change the word anxiety to fear and start facing what the actual fear is. You will find that just rewording your anxiety to fear will give you a different perspective on what is holding your back and now you can start creating courageous solutions to face your fears.

Anxiety does not have to dampen your life, especially if you differentiate whether the anxiety is good anxiety or whether it is fear. Identifying which type of anxiety you are grappling with can make the moment much easier to handle and also free you up to find active solutions.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Hope, Patience, Joy!

Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 2:29 PM

How can you help your children feel hopeful about the future amid pandemic fears, divisive political hostility, and heart-hammering news reports? Romans 12:12 offers three habits that will help you maintain that hope: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Providing a good example of joy, patience, and faithfulness is the first hope-builder for your children because they take their cue from you.

Also, giving your children something to look forward to keeps them at peace in the moment and looking toward the future. Do this by instituting a weekly “Family-Fun,” time. Despite current restrictions and no matter how old or young your kids might be, try this brainstorm-blast every quarter. Get creative. It works like this:
A. Prior to your “blast,” download a list of fun things permitted, available in your area, in-budget, and post it on the fridge.
B. Meet, and encourage everyone to discuss their favorite things to do for your weekly “Family-Fun” time. Ideas will come from the list, and the children can come up with some on their own.
C. Write all suggestions on dry erase, poster, chart paper, or printer paper.
D. Now, give every child (or every family member…your choice) a different colored marker or let each choose a different method of selecting their favorites (underline, circle, box, squiggles).
E. Each person chooses as many “favorites” as s/he likes by circling (with his/her unique color) or by using his/her unique shape (circle, square, underline, box etc).
F. Together, you will review the completed brainstorm plot. Some activities will have zero or one circle and other activities will be circled by everyone.
G. The “fun things” that everyone likes will be evident because THEY will be circled by everyone – notice all of the colors or shapes surrounding them. These will be the first choices to put on the weekly “Family-Fun” time calendar. Work down from there, adding to the calendar for the whole quarter.

Making a game out of finding enjoyable things to do generates hope for tomorrow.
Patience amid chaos? Children struggle with patience just as you do. Sharing the truth with your children about what irritates you, and offering them a safe space to talk about their fears and frustrations builds patience and trust. You might share with them some relaxation techniques, and practice together. Practicing these techniques ensures that you and your children will be able to relax when you find yourself in a situation where you NEED to relax.

Finally, knowing that God has you in His arms gives you hope that your future is safeguarded. Remain faithful by creating a faith fortress. Pray with your children in the morning, building a foundation to their fortress. Draw near to God in the afternoon, establishing the walls; recall three blessings each evening to top off that fortress.

You can help your children and yourself to feel hopeful about the future through Romans 12:12. Start a habit of joy in hope, patience in affliction, and faithfulness in prayer. It’s a good habit that will not only draw you and your children near to God but also keep all of you hopeful and at peace in troubled times and any time.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Quiver of Love

Thursday, February 11, 2021 @ 2:28 PM

Our world paints a picture of love as an explosive, emotional tilt-a-whirl that delights our senses, lifting us to endless heights where we experience unimaginable bliss forever, or drops us to the ground to begin again. This lure, dangled in front of millions of teens, single young adults, and even disillusioned spouses escalates in power at this time of year as eyes, ears, noses, and taste buds turn toward hearts – chocolate hearts, gummy hearts, processed-sugar hearts, and even dancing/singing hearts.

With our senses drowning in sugary pleasure, it is difficult to see the Truth. I’m not talking about the facts about dark chocolate hearts; that they increase serotonin in the brain and gut, thus increasing happiness and strengthening the immune system. Although, that IS a blessing.

The Truth -- direct from God's Word -- talks of love more than five-hundred times. The Bible talks about loving God, loving our spouses, loving our neighbors, loving ourselves, and loving strangers. The Word says that God is love, that Jesus is love. It says that love is respect, and obedience, that love is patience and kindness; love is sacrifice; love is unconditional, uplifting and empowering. Love is enduring, unfailing, and everlasting. We could take a lifetime to fully appreciate love according the Truth of the Bible.

Why not place these God-given truths, these facts about love into our metaphoric love “quiver” to use as relationship ammunition, instead of filling that quiver with anger arrows, bitterness arrows, and nit-pick arrows? We can fill our hearts with an ever-expanding love, an ever-increasing knowledge of love. Let’s take a lifetime to fully appreciate the person we’ve chosen to love forever. The only way to do that is to step outside of our own wants and needs and appreciate the different facets of love, why we love this person, who God made this person to be, what loving this person looks like to God, where God wants us to go with this love.

Face it; all relationships have pinnacles and pits. Instead of giving up when we stumble into a valley, we can draw from one of the five-hundred-PLUS types of LOVE we choose to place in our quiver. Apply that love without waiting for a “return” on our investment. Each new love arrow will redefine, reshape our relationship, and teach us new ways to grow together in Christ.

This is the perfect time to LOVE your spouse, your significant other, your neighbor – not with fancy, expensive gifts. Dig in and learn how to really love in Spirit and Truth. Get out of yourself and into your partner’s skin. You CAN do it.

If you’d like more information on HOW love like this, email me at terri@joshua1nine.com with YES in the subject, and I’ll send you a FREE sample of my, Seven-Day Relationship Blast. It is a guide for couples that will be released for purchase on February 14. You can check out this month’s newsletter by clicking the link below.

Until then, do not give up. Love the Lord; love each other, and “trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:8).

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Unpacking Religious Trauma

Thursday, February 4, 2021 @ 10:09 AM

Willow Counseling

Religious trauma isn’t a formal diagnosis. Instead, it’s a broad and informal term that can refer to both traumas from a religious institution and trauma within the faith community itself.

Such symptoms can include:

-Negative beliefs about self-esteem and self-worth
-Pervasive depression and anxiety
-Loneliness
-Loss of meaning or pleasure in most activities
-Struggles with a social support system and strained family dynamics
-Feeling ‘behind’ on developmental tasks
-A pervasive sense of social awkwardness
-Feeling a lost or missing sense of purpose

Undoubtedly, religion can be a sensitive subject. You may feel ashamed to talk about how you feel. You may blame yourself for not doing something right. Know that these are normal reactions. However, these reactions can lead to unnecessary and extreme suffering- which only perpetuates a cycle of fear, shame, and disappointment.

As therapists, Willow Counseling feels honored to sit and explore the subject of religious trauma with you. Whether you’ve been struggling recently or for many years, we can work together to restore your faith in humanity and hope in life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The REST Approach Workbook

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 7:18 PM

​The REST Approach is a Christian counseling workbook aimed at helping followers of Christ process and heal from psychological distress including anxiety, depression and other symptoms of complex trauma.

Through this scripture-centered interactive workbook, individuals are introduced to a variety of evidence-based psychosomatic treatment interventions such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, guided imagery, prayer-based emotional freedom tapping (EFT), somatic soothing and the "mindfulness what and how skills" of dialectical behavior therapy. In addition, narrative and cognitive-behavioral therapeutic techniques are incorporated to help readers process their thoughts and feelings related to self-awareness and God-awareness (SAGA).

The four components of the REST Approach are embedded in the scripture of Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Rest implies release - letting go. Letting go of tension in our bodies by learning to pause and relax. Letting go of tension in our minds by learning to focus on the things we have control over instead of the things we don’t. Rest also implies a divine exchange. Exchanging your worries for God’s peace. Exchanging your bitterness for God’s love. Exchanging your thoughts for God’s promises.

The REST Approach follows the mnemonic, R - E -S -T: 1) Rest & Repent “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"; 2) Embrace “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart”, 3) Settle “and you will find rest for your souls" and 4) Trust & Testify “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

A Memoir of Spiritual Healing after Adultery: ?The Surrendered Heart

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 7:13 PM

In this remarkable memoir, Christian Psychotherapist, Cherie Burgess shares her story of emotional resilience, spiritual sanctification and renewed hope in marriage. A Memoir of Spiritual Healing After Adultery: The Surrendered Heart is divided into two parts. Part One contains most of the journal entries Cherie wrote to God while she was separated from her husband. The entries highlight the thoughts and feelings she experienced under the spiritual strongholds of adultery, anger, anxiety, betrayal, depression, rejection and suicidal ideation. Cherie shares how the Lord gave her visions, dreams and Bible verses to encourage and edify her through the trial. Part Two focuses on how she was able to grow spiritually and soulfully when she surrendered her heart to the Lord. Cherie felt compelled to write her story so that others would be encouraged to live faithfully focused and free.

From Quicksand to the Mountaintop

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 4:45 PM

“Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don't turn away from me, or I will die” (Psalm 143:7).
When I was trapped in what I called the “quicksand” of depression, I read Psalm 143. I tried to identify with David who was also in a deep state of despair at that time he wrote the Psalm.
Unfortunately, when I was up to my eyeballs in the “quicksand” of depression, I found it impossible to see clearly. What I saw in the Psalm was a healthy (even robust) man, surrounded by people who loved and respected him enough to help him hide from a king. I saw David as a guy, enduring adventure and intrigue. In my self-pitying, nerve-pain-wracked, trapped-in-my-home-prison mind, David's life was a pony ride compared to my lonely life.
Depression shifted my focus inward and the more I looked at ME, the more pain and depression I felt. When I tried to look outside of myself, fear snapped my focus inward. How could I empathize? How could I reach outside of myself when the pain and loneliness, the emptiness consumed me so completely?
How did I escape my prison? I'd like to say that the Lord immediately enabled me to blast my way out, and I’ve never looked back. After all, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I can say that the Lord freed me from my depression, but it took time, it took praise – even when I felt like crying, it took prayer, it took a daily dose of His Word, and it took allowing God to shift my focus from an inward concentration to an outward reach.
Psalm 30:11,12 says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Grabbing hold of this verse, I awoke daily singing praises to the Lord. In fact, when pain awoke me at night (every couple hours), I would put earbuds in, listen to my favorite praise music, and walk laps in my house, belting out songs whether or not I knew all of the words.
Praise eased the heaviness of my heart and shifted my focus upward, away from the pain, away from the loneliness and depression. It allowed me to rise above my circumstances and to actually function amid the shackles of debilitating nerve pain. With daily praise as a springboard, I rose above pain and depression enough to include prayer and Bible reading. Soon, the Lord lifted me out of the “quicksand” of pain and depression, and called me to reach further outside of myself by sharing His love and compassion with other people in pain.
Praise is STILL the foundation of my daily routine. It draws my focus outside of me, away from the distress of chronic pain. Praise reminds me that pain and other trials are temporary; God's love is eternal.
You can rise from the pit -- or quicksand or whatever you call yours – of depression. Here’s how:
• Each time you feel a flood of depression pulling you inward, blast that praise music and sing along until you feel yourself rising above the pain of resentment and depression and outside of yourself.
• Talk to the Lord; pour it out, every thought, feeling; give Him your whole heart. Now, listen. Take at least three full minutes (more if you can) to be still.
• Finally, get out and go. Do whatever the Lord told you to do when you were listening. At first, you might not hear much. If that’s the case, go for a walk, a drive, a bus ride; come back and dig into your Bible.
Eventually, your praise, prayer, listening and the Word will produce results. Press on.
Read more about overcoming the stronghold of depression here:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Navigate Away from Anger

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 8:32 AM

Galatians 6: tells us, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

At first blink, it looks like a caution against anger; "DON'T EVER BE ANGRY YOU NASTY SINNER!" After a couple seconds, though, it looks different. It IS a cautionary statement, but also an acknowledgment that anger is natural. Everyone gets angry; it's what a person does with anger that matters -- to God, to those he loves, and those around her.

I have a client, call him Nathan. He is kind, passionate about his friends and loved ones, a great listener, caring, and giving -- would give the shirt from his own body to help someone in need. Nathan is in jail right now after he tried to help a friend. In the process of trying to rescue his friend from a crack house, his anger reached its boiling point, and he broke the jaw of a "bad guy."

Unfortunately, even though the crack dealer (bad guy) wouldn't dare press charges for fear his occupation would be under scrutiny, the D.A.'s point system determined that a violent crime had been committed, landing my client, Nathan, in jail for six months.

I could tell Nathan to -- "Breathe away your anger and frustration." Just inhale through your nose, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7; exhale through your mouth, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 -- which is a great strategy for high emotions in many cases. Still, when your anger is high, without a foundation of diffusion strategies, it is near impossible to walk away from that emotion.
Am I saying it's okay to "sin" by giving full vent to your anger? You are going to slip because you are human. When you slip, you will pay the consequences, much like my friend, Nathan. In order to keep from ALWAYS giving vent to your anger (or anxiety or fear), you need to lay a foundation of diffusion, humility, and forgiveness.

WHAT TO DO?
This means praying for humility DAILY; practicing "belly-breathing" so that it is THERE when you need it; memorizing Bible verses (so they are “hidden in your heart”); start with verses on forgiveness, peace, and humility.

When you build a strong foundation of peace, forgiveness, and humility, then you will be able to call on your "tools" to ward off and to diffuse those STRONG emotions. You can't expect to use a tool with which you have never practiced. Right?

Practice this daily: prayer, memorization, and BREATHING. With that foundation firmly in place, you can implement what I call the F.U.N. strategy...it is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy method for diffusing anger. In short, F = FREEZE; U = USE your belly breathing; N = NAVIGATE away from the source of your anger.

Check out my course on Freedom from Anger (Link below) to learn more about F.U.N. In the meantime, build a fortress of peace in Christ daily. Awake every morning to prayer and a devotion and/or Bible reading. Break up your day -- maybe at lunchtime -- by meditating on a Bible verse, an affirmation, or an uplifting podcast. Finish your day by recalling two or three things that went well; write them down in a gratitude journal. Thus, you are building a foundation in the morning, walls of peace to surround, you around noon, and a covering of gratitude every evening. You will find this fortress of peace a great beginning on your way to FREEDOM from anger. God's blessings to you!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Stillness...

Thursday, January 7, 2021 @ 6:48 PM

“be still and know…”

Psalm 46:10

I opened a book today and the is what fell out.

It makes me think about myself and the world around me today. Nobody wants to be still. Sure, it is a good idea in theory and we all say we are working as hard as we can to have the luxury to be still, but really, are we prepared when we finally have a moment? The answer I see is a resounding no.

What I see is a world that is covered in fear. Fear causes us to compulsively move faster because if we slow down, if we are still, we have time to really think of the things that keep us up at night; the Coronavirus, our kids health and wellness, our bills, the next presidential election, immigration, what am I going to make for dinner… as women we are concerned with both the large and small details of life.
mozambican-women-singing-farming-iniciative-by-shannon-wild-004.adapt.1900.1.jpg
A priest once told me that for years his habit was to wake up and watch the news because he felt that it was part of his commitment to serve. He wanted to know what was happening around the world to be informed and aware of all the suffering. Recently, due to logistics he was unable to do this and said that what he found was liberating. All that information was distracting him from the connections and care he could foster right in his backyard community. He now pays more attention to what is in front of him, focusing on helping those closest to him.

In Africa, there is a word Ubuntu. It means I am, because you are. When a neighbor has no food another neighbor provides, it is their way of life. In this country we have spent too much time separating ourselves. We take pride in our ability to be independent. We forget that we are a community that is connected by the same feelings, fears and world around us. If we could remember this tremendous connection maybe we would not feel so isolated and separate, even as our neighbors live a stones throw away.

Paying closer attention to our communities around us, our need for each other, allows us to start trusting. We need to know that not only our husbands and partners have our back but that our friends, families, neighbors, our church and our government have our back too as we have theirs in return. Fostering a trust in the community around us allows space for life to grow and expand. Expanding our ability to be a better mothers, wives, friends and humans. We could start to let go of our unrelenting fear.

Today I am going to bring flowers to a friend I have not seen in a long time, just to say hi. I want her to know that I have her back though we have not seen each other for a while. Today, my prayer is that we can all think a little about what we can do to foster connection in the communities around us. We are all living in the same spaces. We need each other and our separateness is not helpful in defining us. I am because you are…

Let us take better care of the ones around us.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Career Coaching group for young adults

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 @ 6:04 PM

Kerin Groves, PhD

Young adults in transition need support. Are you in school but worried about graduating? Have you already finished school and are wondering what to do next? Are you exasperated with job hunting? Do you wonder if you made a mistake? Are you fearful you'll never find what's right for you? Future planning and job searching is stressful, and you need focus, discipline, positive attitude, support, and self-confidence. We have just the crew for you! Dr. Kerin Groves, a professional Career Coach in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, hosts this weekly online career coaching group, just for young adults like you. It's a place to connect with your peers online every week to discuss, explore, complain (just a little), strategize, and encourage each other, plus fill your tank with advice and direction from a professional. Plan now to spend your Hump Day with us (Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm Central Time).

Breathe Through Anxiety

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 @ 4:03 PM

Just breathe.
Inhale...exhale.
Deep breaths; you can do it.

Sounds easy…but what if the pain, pressure, anger, depression, and/or anxiety is so intense that it feels like a gorilla crushing your chest, pinning you -- immovable.

Breathe...just breathe.

Emotions carry power. They empower you for good or break you when given control. Annabelle’s anxiety over her adult children is so intense that she experiences panic attacks when her son doesn't call every day.
John says that his children, "are a gift from God. He entrusted them to me during their formative years; I love them enough to allow them to make the good choices I know they can make – even if I don’t agree with those choices." John says that he dodges anxiety, first by trusting in God’s sovereignty, but also by realizing that worry is not useful. He says, “Anxiety does nothing to change the choices my children make or to make their situations any different.”
So, how do you STOP powerful emotions like anxiety, panic, even pain when they are already IN control? "Belly breathing" will diffuse the "fight or flight" mechanism that has taken control and caused the panic attack or even the escalating pain wracking your body. Please practice this process BEFORE a panic attack or strong emotional experience. Try practicing it daily. Here is how:
• Start by getting as comfortable as possible.
• Inhale through your nose, pressing shoulders down, expanding your belly, counting to 7 in your mind as you breathe.
• Exhale through your mouth, compressing your belly, counting to 11 in your mind as you breathe.
• Repeat this 4 times at first and increase to 8 as you get comfortable with the process.
Once your emotions have leveled off (fight or flight has subsided) take the focus OFF of the "trigger," or whatever has escalated your emotions. Go for a walk, bike ride, swim; read a book; use imagery to picture a better outcome; concentrate on every word of a favorite Scripture passage, for example Philippians 4:6,7 " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." It’s nearly impossible for anxiety to escalate while meditating on a peaceful passage. If your mind tries to scoot back to the source of your anxiety – and it will – don’t panic; gently bring it back to the verse, or move on to a new technique. No matter what you do, though. . . .

don't forget to BREATHE!

You can find more tips for freedom from anxiety at https://joshua1nine.com/

Monday, December 14, 2020

Women's Zoom Process/Support Group

Monday, December 14, 2020 @ 2:47 PM

Women’s Small Group: Looking Beneath the Iceberg of Anxiety & Stress (Zoom call: 1 hour/week for 5 weeks) beginning in January. Look on www.transformativewellness.com under Scheduling for sign up!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Why We Hide-New book by counselor/author Mark Brandes

Monday, November 30, 2020 @ 12:16 PM

Mark Brandes-MABC

God created Adam and Eve to walk with Him naked, and He never intended for them to feel guilt and shame. Unfortunately, when Satan appealed to the pride in the hearts of the first man and woman, they responded in disobedience to God’s command. In doing that, Adam and Eve plunged all future generations into lives often filled with sin, guilt and shame.

Shame is Satan’s most powerful tool in keeping Christians at a distance from God, and he relishes every opportunity to disable the spiritual engine of our lives using that tool. Guilt and shame cause believers to hide their primary weaknesses from each other, and in theory, away from God. God’s desire is for believers to find refuge in Him, confessing their sin, and partnering with Him to pursue the good works He has planned for them.

Christians have largely ignored the encouragement of God written in James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” We have ignored emphasizing confession to one another because of our shame and fear of rejection.

Why We Hide encourages believers to dig deep into their soul to find their hidden idols, and will step the believer though the process of confession and restoration. Designed as a resource for biblical counseling and group conversations, believers who desire to live a much more effective life for Christ will find Why We Hide to be an excellent starting place for that journey.

You can access an excerpt from Why We Hide at https://www.markbrandes.com/why-we-hide.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Art of Couple's Therapy

Monday, November 23, 2020 @ 7:44 PM

When intense emotional hurt happens in your romantic relationship, the tendency is to emotionally and sometimes physically distance yourself from your partner while desiring to be understood and comforted by them at the same time. However, this is contrary to the healthy communication strategies that are taught in couple’s therapy. The goal is for partner’s to learn to attune & become contributors to the healing process of one another. Learning how to effectively care for your significant other & to receive care from your partner simultaneously, is the beautiful dance that is taught through this work…

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Bee Hive

Monday, November 9, 2020 @ 11:58 PM

The Bee Hive is a place where we reflect on Christianity, the Christian life, the church, and our culture with thoughtful and "gracious words" that are sweet "to the soul" and bring "health to the body" (Proverbs 16:24).

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Introduction to Bridges Christian Counseling

Sunday, October 25, 2020 @ 1:55 AM

In this video, I explain why I started my therapy practice, and why I landed on the name of Bridges Christian Counseling. Subscribe to my Youtube channel for more “Walk and Talk with Katina” videos!

https://youtu.be/U-zOJbZsWZo

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Walking Alone

Saturday, October 17, 2020 @ 12:58 AM

In 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 the Apostle Paul lays it out that if a person can do it, then they should remain single and celibate; and if not, then it is better to marry. Many people feel a sense of aloneness when they do not have a romantic partner, and then that still, small voice in the back of their mind reminds them of scripts they've heard in the past: "You're not good enough," and "no one will love you." They begin to focus on the need for a romantic partner and the longing and lonely feeling begins to grow.

We were never meant to be alone, God created us to live in relationship. He created us to live in relationship to him and to other humans. He instructed us to fellowship together. In all his devine wisdom he led us into relationships with each other, even with his encouragement in Matthew 18:20 he is calling us to be together.

Our longing for romantic connection is holy. He instilled that longing within us, but when that longing over-powers all the other beautiful qualities in ourselves, our friendships, and the other relationships in our lives it because a distraction the enemy uses to pull us farther from the vision God has of us and for us.

Sometimes, learning to heal those wounds left by those internal scripts or the pain from past relationships or family life can help draw you closer to God. There is less distraction.

When you are feeling like you're not enough or that you're broken in regards to romantic relationships, please pray, read your Bible, remind yourselves of the gifts of relationship that God has placed in your lives, and seek wise counsel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Therapeutic Drumming

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 @ 5:47 PM

Life is an ebb and flow of rhythms; from sounding deafening at times to soothing and everything in between. When we are “out of rhythm”, our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health can suffer. Through repetition in beats, drumming awakens every part of the brain to become synchronized and can help revive our internal rhythmic state’s equilibrium.

Come join in a unique therapeutic way to deal with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, grief and more. Throughout Scripture, music was used as a way to pour our heart out to God, to enjoy festivities or commemorate a loved one. Music is a beautiful gift God has given us and I am excited to exploring how it can be transformational in the healing process!

Please see the attachment for more information and how to register.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Infertility Therapeutic Group Counseling

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 1:08 PM

I am starting up another therapeutic group revolving around Infertility. Men & Women are allowed to join and will be expected to attend all sessions. Sessions will be held for 10 consecutive weeks, every Tuesday evening from 7-8:30 PM via teletherapy. Each week will build off of information learned and discussed in the previous week.

This therapeutic group's intention is to reduce the negative symptoms and perceptions surrounding their infertility journey. If you are tired of feeling alone or depressed by your infertility journey, this group is for you.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Understanding Mental Strongholds - Part 1

Monday, September 14, 2020 @ 12:14 PM

Life Renewal

Understanding Mental Strongholds

God has provided us with every necessary tool to effectively tear down mental strongholds, but first we must understand what a stronghold is and how it can be removed. Our salvation experience is the first stage in God’s plan for our lives.

His goal is to remold our soul, mind, will, and emotions -- into the image of Jesus Christ. We will be transformed into His character and power if we cooperate with Him. It is important that we understand that our spirits were made perfect upon salvation, but what God deposited there must be moved into our body and soul areas.

We must recognize that God is in a continual process of working within us until the day of His great appearing. Bible truths must manifest in our body, mind, will, and emotions. To reveal Jesus in us, we must pull down strongholds and demolish and remove our old ways of thinking. Spiritual warfare is a battle against anything that sets itself up against the truth, hindering us in God. That is why we must destroy every stronghold, first in ourselves, and then in other people through intercession.

The Scripture says “First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
Luke 6:42 (NIV)

We win the war one life at a time, and we must begin with ourselves. We are effective when we are healthy in God, then we can pluck others from the grasp of the enemy. Strongholds cloud our discernment and make it difficult to see clearly. These strongholds form a firewall between our spirit, and our body and soul. A firewall is used as a barrier to prevent a fire from spreading. The fire within us is the Holy Spirit.

“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:3-4 (NIV)

“Do not put out the Spirit's fire;” 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (NIV)

“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29 (NKJV)

A stronghold acts as a firewall, holding back the contents of what God deposited in our spirit at the moment of salvation. All truth, faith, fruits, and gifts of the Spirit are accessible to us when we remove the strongholds. When we pursue God and His truth, the firewall comes down a piece at a time and the block is removed.

The power of the Holy Spirit can then flow from the spirit into our body and soul. We must be willing to let God search us and tear down every stronghold. We destroy strongholds by identifying thinking patterns, belief systems, attitudes, and motives that stand opposed to God’s truth and replace them with the Word of God. In counseling this is the work of identifying cognitive distortions, faulty core beliefs and reframing them to agree with God. All of our emotions and behaviors proceed from these patterns of thought.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

This is not a request but a command. It is our ongoing process of sanctification – being set apart for God’s purpose. Consider your thought processes and ask God to reveal your mental strongholds and help you to tear them down so that you can align yourself with the Word of God with every thought and action. You will see the fruit of this in your emotional and relational life. God’s strength is sufficient to do this when we make the choice. Invite Him to lead you in this ongoing process today. I can expediate this process by teaching you the 'how to' tools to accomplish this task.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Podcast

Thursday, August 27, 2020 @ 11:46 PM

Empowered to Empower you Podcast is about all things Jesus Christ, Mental Health and anything to help people be the best version of themselves. This podcast can be found on 8 different platforms including but not limited to Itunes, Podbean, Spotify, Google, etc.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Choices Matter

Saturday, August 15, 2020 @ 5:07 PM

“Nothing happens until something moves.”
― Albert Einstein

So he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother's womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man." When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. Judges 16:17-21 (NIV)

God provided Samson with supernatural strength. Samson’s hair, though seemingly the source of his strength, was only symbolic, his strength came from God. Samson had the tools necessary to overcome, but he chose not to use them. There is an important lesson to learn from the Samson narrative; the essential tools are readily available for our continued use. Being outside in the rain with a raised and open umbrella, will keep one dry. On the contrary, being outside in the rain with a closed umbrella will cause one to get wet (Tony Evans, GridIron Men’s Conference, 2019). God has freely provided every tool that we will ever need in order to serve, honor and glorify him. Use the tools…

“Nothing happens until the condition is met”
Rev. Lewis H Temple III.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Love is the Answer - Dr. Cheryl Meier -Deep Spiritual and Psychological Teaching Video

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 @ 1:56 PM

This is like 4+ “sessions” of therapy wrapped into a teaching I created for small church groups—that I’ve made available on my YouTube Channel. ( DrCherylMeier on Youtube) Enjoy! Feel free to subscribe! I teach many of my teachings now out in nature and they are very accessible to people of all faiths.


https://youtu.be/9y192esv-o8

Monday, August 3, 2020

Meditation and the Bible

Monday, August 3, 2020 @ 12:20 PM

Elisha S Lee, CTCC

Join me as I discuss Meditation and the Bible. We're taking back what the enemy has tried to steal from the church.

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/elishaslee/2020/08/03/the-art-of-meditation