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Monday, February 19, 2024

Trauma and NET, TFT, and EMDR: Is mind-body work helpful?

Monday, February 19, 2024 @ 1:36 PM

Trauma and NET, TFT, and EMDR: Is mind-body work helpful?

Trauma happens to everyone. It’s more than stress because the effects are lingering and tend to show up when you are stressed. You experienced something as being life-threatening, deeply distressing or disturbing. Sometimes it is brought on by others stories. Trauma effects could be as serious as PTSD or as mild as over-reacting to people or circumstances. 

What is EMDR? 

A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. For more information look up EMDR on the American Psychological Association website here.

What is NET? 

Neuro Emotional Technique uses the meridian system for healthcare, i.e. muscle testing (chiropractors) and acupuncture. For more information look up NET on the NIH National Library of Medicine website here.

What is TFT?

The client is tapping with their fingers at meridian points on the upper body and hands. Thought Field Therapy, unlike the one size fits all EFT, is specific to emotions. For more information look up Thought Field Therapy on the NIH National Library of Medicine website here and here.

What kind of mind-body work helps?

When your therapist tells you of a technique to use at home such as tapping, practice it when you’re feeling anxiety triggered by a past trauma. These things help and the evidence is not all anecdotal. Evidence-based research has been done on EMDR. Do your research looking at peer-reviewed journals or reliable sources. 

Do more of what works for you. For some people it is acupuncture, for others it’s yoga. It could be breathing techniques, tapping or body scans. There are meditation and relaxation exercises available on YouTube or phone apps such as Insight Timer. 

Can mind-body work (energy psychology) be used by Christians?

Whether you can benefit from this therapy depends on what you and your therapist believe about who God is and what a relationship with God is like.

Some people are using a Christian mind-body protocol called Splankna for trauma therapy. This therapy uses EFT, NET and TFT tools. There have been more than 3000 people trained in Splankna in the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, China, Uganda, and Germany in the last 25 years. Practitioners can be found in private practices, churches or faith-based organizations.

Don’t rush into mind-body work if you’re feeling a check in your spirit. Just talk to God about it and clear it with Him. Doubts mean you may need more information. If you and your therapist believe that mind-body work is a New Age practice that is based on pagan beliefs, then this is not the right therapy for you. For links to more information click below to the original article.

If you're ready for a change, call 720-577-5985 to book a free consult.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Faith Is All You Need

Saturday, February 17, 2024 @ 1:24 PM

I know there are times in our life when we feel like the weight of our problems and struggles are so difficult and overwhelming, that sometimes we actually become paralyzed by them. But the good news is that we don't have to be crippled, or stuck in that place. Even when it feels like you've lost all hope, strength, and motivation, there is light calling you out of the darkness. You may not see it, but it's there. The light is in you, and all around you. That light of hope, strength, and victory is always ready and available for God's children. Through prayer, it's there for the asking.

What is wonderful and amazing, is that God loves you so much, that even when you've lost all strength, and have pretty much given up on yourself and your life, God hasn't given up on you, and never will. And if you are at a point where your struggles and trials have left you completely exhausted, and barely breathing, there is no need to feel discouraged. Because God will, rest assured, carry you through during the times that you are unable to carry yourself.

I know that it may be hard for some of you to see that and believe that right now. And I understand, because I've been there, too. I've been in seasons of great pain, darkness, and discouragement. But I can promise you that it doesn't have to be like that forever, and that God will get you to the other side, to a place of joy, peace, and healing. All you need to do, is lean on God, and trust Him to work all things together for your good, which He has promised in His Word. Allow seeds of faith to take root, and they will blossom.

This is an excerpt from my book called "Words of Wisdom" by Katte Schleif, which was my maiden name.

The Photo is by Alex Shute on Unsplash

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

When Faith And Trauma Collide by Dr. Karen Stallings

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 @ 2:03 PM

When Faith and Trauma Collide," is a self-help workbook of applicable practices that can help anyone overcome the traumas in their life. Dr. Karen Stallings has penned a practical and biblically-based profound guide of "what to do," when one's "faith" is tested during the most difficult times of their lives. Due to the fact, that no-one is exempt from experiencing trauma this book is a gem of information. It will help everyone who reads it to survive the head-on collisions of their faith and traumatic experiences.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Nurturing Your Sensitivity: A Guide to HSP Self-Care

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 @ 6:20 PM

As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining balance and well-being in a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore effective self-care strategies tailored specifically for HSPs, empowering you to embrace your sensitivity and thrive.

Understanding HSP Self-Care:
Self-care for Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) involves nurturing your unique needs and sensitivities to promote mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By incorporating self-care practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate resilience and thrive in a world that may sometimes feel chaotic or overstimulating.

Recognizing the Importance of HSP Self-Care:
Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity, especially for HSPs who may be more prone to feeling overwhelmed by external stimuli and intense emotions. Prioritizing self-care allows you to recharge, set boundaries, and honor your sensitivity as a valuable aspect of your identity.

Creating a Self-Care Routine for HSPs:

Mindful Awareness: Practice mindfulness to cultivate present-moment awareness and reduce overwhelm. Take time each day to engage in activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindful walking.

Sensory Management: Manage sensory input by creating environments that support your comfort and well-being. Invest in noise-canceling headphones, dim lighting, and comfortable textures to minimize sensory overload.

Boundaries and Assertiveness: Set clear boundaries to protect your energy and prioritize your needs. Learn to assertively communicate your limits and say no to activities or commitments that feel draining or overwhelming.

Emotional Regulation: Develop strategies for managing intense emotions and preventing emotional burnout. Practice self-compassion, journaling, or seeking support from trusted friends or a therapist.

Nature Connection: Connect with nature to recharge and find solace in the natural world. Spend time outdoors, go for walks in green spaces, or engage in activities such as gardening or hiking.

Creative Expression: Harness your creativity as a form of self-expression and self-care. Engage in artistic pursuits such as painting, writing, or playing music to channel your emotions and cultivate joy.

Social Support: Cultivate supportive relationships with understanding friends, family members, or fellow HSPs. Surround yourself with people who validate and appreciate your sensitivity, offering empathy and encouragement.

Physical Well-Being: Prioritize your physical health by engaging in regular exercise, nourishing your body with nutritious foods, and prioritizing adequate rest and sleep.

Mindful Technology Use: Set boundaries around technology use to prevent digital overwhelm. Schedule regular breaks from screens, establish tech-free zones in your home, and limit exposure to negative news or social media.

Reflection and Self-Discovery: Take time for introspection and self-discovery to deepen your understanding of your sensitivity and personal needs. Journaling, self-reflection exercises, and therapy can aid in this process of self-awareness and growth.

Conclusion:
Prioritizing self-care is essential for nurturing your sensitivity and thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). By incorporating mindful awareness, sensory management, emotional regulation, and connection with nature and creativity into your daily routine, you can honor your unique needs and cultivate resilience in a world that may sometimes feel overwhelming. Remember that self-care is not selfish but necessary for sustaining your well-being and embracing your sensitivity as a valuable aspect of your identity.

Navigating Relationship Challenges with Therapy

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 @ 4:12 PM

The voyage of love and partnership is one of life's most profound adventures, filled with the potential for great joy and significant challenges. As I stand today, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional, I trace back the roots of my expertise not only to my professional endeavors but also to my personal life story, which is rich with lessons and growth.

In 1995, a young woman of 22, grappling with deep-seated daddy issues, I entered into a relationship that was destined to redefine my life. Jim, a man who had weathered the storm of a previous marriage and was navigating the complexities of being a father to three children, became my partner in this unpredictable journey of life.

As Jim's second wife, I stepped into a role that was entirely new to me. With an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education in my toolkit, I was grateful for the knowledge it provided, for it allowed me to avoid some pitfalls in my role as a bonus mom – a role I embraced wholeheartedly despite the steep learning curve and lack of healthy relationship models in my own upbringing.

Growing up, my notions of love and relationships were shaped by street wisdom and the fictional happily-ever-afters portrayed on television. In hindsight, I can see how Disney's portrayals, while magical, also set many of us up for disappointment by creating expectations that real-life relationships rarely meet. I won't even talk about the steady diet of telenovelas that I was exposed to at a very young age and my own addiction to daytime soaps in high school.

My marriage with Jim, which has now spanned over two decades, stands as a testament to the power of commitment, the potential for transformation through therapy, and the guiding light of faith. It's a story that has unfolded with its share of trials and triumphs, teaching us both the value of hard work, understanding, and unwavering dedication to one another. I also know that at any minute that can change walking through valleys of broken relationships with loved ones and clients. We each have our own narratives that have shaped the way we see our relationships.

Come read the rest of the article on my website at https://www.throughthevalleytherapy.com/post/navigating-relationship-challenges-with-therapy

Spirituality Among Americans

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 @ 3:32 PM

A recent Pew Research survey showed that having a spiritual sense of self was widely identified even though, or especially, if they did not think of themselves as religious. Highlights from this survey are listed below:

- 83% of all U.S. adults believe people have a soul or spirit in addition to their physical body.
- 81% say there is something spiritual beyond the natural world, even if we cannot see it.
- 74% say there are some things that science cannot possibly explain.
- 45% say they have had a sudden feeling of connection with something from beyond this world.
- 38% say they have had a strong feeling that someone who has passed away was communicating
with them from beyond this world.
-30% say they have personally encountered a spirit or unseen spiritual force.

Overall, 70% of U.S. adults can be considered “spiritual” in some way, because they think of themselves as spiritual people or say spirituality is very important in their lives.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Overthinking? Here’s How to Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Monday, February 5, 2024 @ 10:56 AM

For some, the feeling of an overcrowded brain will be all too familiar. It usually happens when you’re trapped in a pattern of overthinking. Read more at https://encompasscounselingmichigan.com/overthinking-heres-how-to-get-out-of-your-head-and-into-your-body/

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Are there Practical Benefits to Premarital Therapy?

Sunday, February 4, 2024 @ 12:25 PM

There continues to be considerable debate as to whether there are practical benefits to premarital/remarital counseling. The question further arises as to if premarital/remarital counseling is effective. According to Wright (1992), the institution of marriage is the closest bond that can develop between two people. That said, as many couples progress towards marriage perceptions and expectations as to what constitutes marriage varies considerably. In this regard, Wright (1992) contends that, “Unrealistic expectations and fantasies create a gulf between the partners and cause disappointments” (p. 11). Fawcett, Hawkins, Blanchard and Carroll (2010) contend that promoting healthy marriages and relationships now engages greater attention from principal stakeholders and requires considerable commitment and resources. A 2006 household survey conducted reported that “premarital education is significantly correlated to higher levels of marital quality, lower levels of marital conflict, and lower divorce rates” (Stanley, Amato, Johnson, & Markham, 2006, p. 232). The findings derived from this 2006 study lend support to the theory that premarital counseling may be effective (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20-21).

There are numerous approaches employed in premarital counseling. One such interesting paradigm is solution-focused premarital counseling. According to Murray and Murray (2004), “Solution-focused therapy is a brief therapy approach that emphasizes clients’ strengths and attempts to produce desirable solutions to clients’ presenting problems” (p. 350). This specific approach takes on relevance because of the rapidity with which contemporary culture continues to undergo change. Solution-focused premarital counseling may also considered to be an effective option by some scholars as a result of: (a) its constructivist and postmodern paradigm, (b) its emphasis on clients’ perception of truth and (c) clients’ interpretations of their personal life experiences, interpersonal relationships coupled with their personal goals and aspirations ( Murray & Murray, 2004). At the corpus of the effectiveness of solution-focused premarital counseling is: (a) clients’ recognition that change is needed and (b) clients’ commitment to work with their therapist to implement mutually agreeable and sustainable change. “The solution-oriented theoretical framework provides a foundation for expanding the delivery of premarital counseling programs to engaged couples” (p. 356).

Is premarital counseling an effective tool for couples who are about to get married for the first time? Can it be equally effective for others reconsidering marriage after having experienced a failed marriage or failed marriages? In another meta-analytic study, consisting of 14 studies spanning four decades, Lucier-Greer and Adler-Baeder (2012) concluded that couple and relationship education “(CRE) programs that target participants in stepfamilies, both married and nonmarried, are modestly effective in influencing overall participant functioning as well as specific target outcomes, including family functioning and parenting, and appear worthy of support” (p. 765). In other words, there is some level of evidenced-based support to suggests that remarital counseling may also be well supported with the appropriate and meticulously conceptualized educational and/or enrichment programs.

The dynamic of stepfamilies introduced above connotes that some couples may be considered at higher risks for marital problems in the future than others. If this postulation is in fact true, the question arises as to what may be some of the other contributory factors that put some couples at higher marital risks. In an Australian study conducted by Halford, O’Donnell, Lizzio, and Wilson, (2006), 374 newly married couples were tested for the hypothesis that: “religious service attendance, income, age, education, female parental divorce, male parental aggression, cohabitation before marriage, forming a stepfamily, relationship aggression, or low relationship satisfaction predicts attendance at marriage education” (p. 161). Attendance to premarital education programs was reliably associated with attendance to religious services and not cohabiting before marriage, “but not reliably associated with the risk factors” (p. 161). There was also a “lack of reliable association of education attendance with relationship aggression and/or satisfaction or negative family-of origin experiences” (p. 162). In addition, this study reported that, “income, education, age, prior marriage, and forming a step-family were not reliably related to attendance” (p. 162). The study also revealed that many non-religious couples were not aware that premarital education was a resource available to them and that strategic marketing should be employed to heighten mainstream population awareness.

There are obvious complexities, attending variables and nuances associated with both premarital and remarital counseling. As such, I posit that there is a need for ongoing research to explore a plethora of relevant variables. Some of the evaluating factors that may affect couple and relationship study outcomes include: (a) the context of the study’s setting, (b) ethnicity, (c) economic status, (d) family functionality, and (e) parenting styles just to mention a few. Given the liberal marital approaches that continue to evolve in today’s postmodern culture, additional considerations should also be examined such as: (a) how many marriages has each individual been involved in prior to embarking on an educational program, (b) are the individuals cohabiting or are they living apart, (c) if married, at what stage of the marriage are the couple prepared to engage in a CRE program (Lucier-Greer & Adler-Baeder, 2012). In summary, there is empirical data which suggest that couple and relationship programs in various contexts have met with favorable outcomes, yet there remains a need for research that incorporates additional contextual diversity. Lucier-Greer and Adler-Baeder (2012) succinctly surmise this perspective noting that, “quality research designs framed with an ecocultural lens using control groups and long-term follow-up procedures are needed” (p. 766).

References

Fawcett, E. B., Hawkins, A. J., Blanchard, V. L., & Carroll, J. S. (2010). Do premarital education programs work? A meta-analytic study. Family Relations, 59(3), 232-239. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00598.x
Halford, W. K., O’Donnell, C., Lizzio, A., & Wilson, K. L. (2006). Do couples at high risk of relationship problems attend premarriage education? Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 160-163. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.20.1.160
Lucier-Greer, M. & Adler-Baeder, F. (2012). Does couple and relationship education work for individuals in stepfamilies? A meta-analytic study. Family Relations, 61(5), 756-769. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3279.2012.00728.x
Murray, C. E. & Murray, T. L. (2004). Solution-focused premarital counseling: Helping couples build a vision for their marriage. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(3), 349-358. Retrieved from Psy Articles
Stanley, S. M., Amato, P. R., Johnson, C. A. & Markham, H. J. (2006). Premarital education, marital quality, and marital stability: Findings from a large, random household survey. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 117-126. Retrieved from https://doi.org/ 10.1037/0893-3200.20.1.117
Wright, H. N. (1992). The premarital counseling handbook. Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Discerning Between Spiritual Warfare and Mental Health

Thursday, February 1, 2024 @ 8:41 AM

I have heard a variety of approaches to how to resolve issues for life’s problems based on whether they are mental health problems or if they are considered spiritual problems.

Note: I am going to assume that most readers have an understanding of what the Bible says regarding spiritual warfare. If you are unfamiliar a list of Bible passages can be found at the end of the post.

Some people say that mental health problems and spiritual problems are distinctly separate issues. Mental health problems require therapy and/or medication, while spiritual problems require prayer and spiritual discipline.

Others say that there is no such thing as mental health problems. They believe that mental health problems are problems that arise from unrepentant sin and have been mislabeled as mental health.

I don’t think that viewing issues as exclusively mental health or exclusively spiritual represent the entirety of what we see happening in the world. I think there is an overlap between spiritual warfare and mental health problems, and that it is difficult, if not impossible to make clear distinctions between the two. For example, if we were to define the source of the problem based on which “treatment” provided the best outcome; there are people who testify that they were freed from alcoholism through prayer alone, there are those who have overcome alcohol addiction using a mental health approach and there are those who recovered through prayer, spiritual and mental health support (a combination).

Since mental health and spiritual support are both able to assist people in healing, we should learn when it is best to use each approach, but when possible, an interdisciplinary approach can be very useful. First, mental health approaches are often very compatible with a Biblical approach to the same issue. For example, CBT techniques that involve replacing distorted thoughts with more reasonable thoughts are compatible with Bible verses that talk about renewing our mind with the truth of scripture. If we use scripture to help us challenge false beliefs then we are able to connect the spiritual with mental health.

Mental Health Approaches Through a Spiritual Lens

Any mental health approach that can be used in a way that is consistent with scripture should be used when it is appropriate to do so. Mental health approaches, specifically the ones that help us challenge and change sinful thoughts and behaviors can be useful no matter what the person is dealing with, these techniques are not exclusive to mental health problems.

For example, someone could use the three column technique from CBT to help them identify false beliefs and replace them with more Biblical ones. In this technique the person creates three columns. The first column is for situations, the second for feelings and the third for thoughts. This technique can be very useful for distinguishing between thoughts and feelings. This allows people to see how their thoughts impact their emotions and can create more meaningful change when false beliefs are identified and replaced.

Taking medication to help with a mental health problem can be a useful tool to assist your brain in forming more positive approaches to your problem. For someone who takes anti-anxiety medication, they can also use scripture to help renew their mind and reduce their anxiety. This combination can create better results since the focus on scripture reinforces the changes in the brain made by medication and the medication reinforces the relief provided through encouraging scripture.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

The seminary that I attend recommends that if someone is dealing with a spiritual affliction that they should see: (1) a Christian counselor to help them change sinful behaviors and thoughts, (2) a spiritual director to help them with their relationship with God, and (3) seek deliverance prayer.

Using these three approaches benefits the Christian by strengthening their faith and to guard against a return of spiritual attacks that is mentioned in Luke 11:14-28.

Could this be spiritual?

I have had conversations with Christians who are skeptical of spiritual warfare. Some say that they think Biblical passages reflect a poor understanding of mental health and they didn’t know how to explain it. I find this unsatisfying, because even if you assume that Jesus was only healing people, when the Bible speaks of demons causing people to scream when they leave, this seems to suggest something else. If this was a straight forward healing, why did it involve screaming?

I’ve also spoken to people who believe that spiritual warfare occurs only in places like Africa, but not in North America or places that are primarily Christian. I wonder if this is simply a statement made from a lack of experience. I and others I know have seen manifestations of demonic activity in Canada and the US. I have been witness to people being thrown to the ground, shaking and involuntary screaming that was relieved through prayer.

Any problem that has become repetitive and difficult to break could have a spiritual basis. Things such as anxiety and grief can be the result of a spiritual attack. I was once telling a friend a story of an unpleasant experience I had and he began to weep. I was shocked because he was in tears over something that I myself was not upset about. I prayed that he would be filled with a spirit of joy and he stopped crying and became calm. If you see some odd or out of place behavior it doesn’t hurt to stop and pray, “Lord, what shall I do? How should I pray?”

What to do if a problem could have a spiritual basis?

My recommendation is very simple. Pray the positive: healing, peace, joy, patience, freedom, life, etc. Whether or not a problem is specifically spiritual or not it can still be improved by prayer that focuses on the positive.

From people I have spoken to who lead spiritual deliverance ministries, there are two ways demonic spirits can be removed from a person; one is through specific prayer for them to be removed, the other is through being filled with God’s spirit so that the demonic spirit has no choice but to leave. Trying to cast out a spirit will only work if there is a demonic spirit and even the disciples had difficulty casting out some spirits. When we pray for the positive then God is able to act in ways we cannot see or understand.

Acts 19:13-16 describes the experience of men who came under spiritual attack when they were praying against demonic spirits. Spiritual warfare appears to be quite complex and certain approaches carry less risk than others.

Suicide: Demonic spirit or Mental Health problem?

From my observation, I think there is one exception to the idea that a mental health problem could be a spiritual or mental health problem. I think when it comes to suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and actions it is 100% mental health AND 100% spiritual. Any time I have been in the presence of a person who recently or subsequently made a suicide attempt I discerned the presence of a demonic spirit. If someone you know is suicidal they should seek mental health AND spiritual support as quickly as possible.

Scriptures that I would recommend for people experiencing suicidal thoughts are the ones about God’s love, forgiveness, mercy and blessing towards us. Other helpful topics are verses about purpose, healing, and transformation.

For additional support you can book a consult here. https://www.incrementalhealthtips.com/

Liz Millican is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada. She has a master of divinity in Clinical Counseling from Tyndale University, a private Christian University.

Scripture References

Exodus 20:4-6; 34:6-7 Generational punishment for sin and blessing for obedience.

Matthew 8:16-34 Jesus heals people of illnesses, casts our demons, calms the storm and casts demons into animals.

Matthew 9:27-34 Jesus heals the blind and mute.

Matthew 17:14-21 Casting out demons requires faith and some disciples were unable to do it.

Mark 1:21-34 Spirits manifest physically in people.

Contrast: Mark 1:40-45 Jesus heals a man of leprosy without mention of spirits, suggesting some sickness is not spiritually caused, but still able to be healed.

Mark 6:13 [NIV] They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. (Healing of sick seem somewhat separated from those with demons.)

Mark 16:9 Mary Magdalene had been freed from seven demons.

Luke 4:31-37 Man thrown on the ground by a spirit.

Luke 8:26-39 Many spirits can make someone strong and “out of their mind.”

Luke 9:37-43 Demon causes screaming, foaming and throws the person to the ground.

Luke 11:14-28 Pray and obey God to avoid demonic attacks from returning.

Acts 16:16-18 Paul waited several days before casting a spirit out of a fortune teller who was annoying them.

Acts 19:13-16 Stronger demonic spirits can attack someone who tries to cast them out.

Ephesian 6:10-18 Put on the armor of God and be prepared for spiritual warfare.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Elijah House Training

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 @ 4:21 PM

Experience True Heart Healing AND Learn to Help Others Do the Same.We know how it feels to endlessly search for what leads to true transformation, only to come up empty. Whether you are a pastor, ministry leader, or simply someone who wants to find freedom and pay it forward, there is HOPE!

This Elijah House training has helped hundreds of thousands around the world experience freedom. Whether it be depression, anxiety, broken marriages, or whatever it is that needs healing, we've seen God break through time and time again.

This is a 12 virtual week class with small group participation at the end of each lesson

Click below to learn more about how you can register.

How To Silence Your Inner Critic

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 @ 3:14 PM

Resouling Therapy

Whether we are feeling anxious, depressed, a perfectionist, or not, we all have an inner critic residing within us. For some, our inner critic talks all the time and so loud that other thoughts can’t be heard or considered.

Here’s three strategies on how to silence your inner critic.

1) REMOVE THE WORD "SHOULD" YOUR INNTER CRITIC TELLS YOU
A common way our inner critic talks to us is by using the word “should”: “I should be able to handle this.” “I should be a better husband.” “I should have written a better email.” “I should be more outgoing.” “I should call my mother, spend more time with my kids, and know what my spouse needs from me (…without telling me)”

Sounds crazy, right? When we hear it from a different source we recognize it as absurd. It’s easier to be a source of encouragement for others to silence their inner critic. But we struggle to silence our own.

These “shoulds” try to convince us we have not met some arbitrary standard, telling us “You’ve missed the mark!” “You’ve failed!” “You’re not wanted here!” A really powerful inner critic goes beyond criticizing our behaviors to sending us the message: “You are not acceptable.” “You’re not good enough.” “You are a failure.” These messages criticize our being.

Take “should” out and replace it with “want to.”

“I want to be able to handle this.” “I want to be a better husband.” “I want to send professional emails and succeed.” “I want to be more outgoing.” “I want to be there for my family.”

Now stop for 10 seconds and allow yourself to feel the difference.

Did you notice it? It feels relieving, doesn’t it? Even hopeful in a way.

The “should“ statements have a finality to them with a judgment of “FAILED!” “REJECT!” The “want to” statements awake our own desires that is within us to motivate, give us hope, and help us make a plan.

Reminding ourselves of our “want to” allows us to see the good within! The “I should be a better husband” statement wouldn’t be so deadly if we didn’t desire that. It stings because I want to be a better husband.

It’s our inner desires that gives the “should” statements their deadly power.

After rewording a “should” statement to: “I want to write effective emails,” imagine how much easier it is to go to your boss and tell her you’d like to learn and grow. You are now freer to ask for her assistance rather than sit in her office feeling the weight of “I failed, I should have written my email like she would.”

2) REMOVE THE WORDS "SHOULD NOT" YOUR INNER CRITIC TELLS YOU
Geez… our inner critic isn’t very creative! It just uses the same word, but now in its opposite form.

When you hear in your head: “You shouldn’t be so sensitive.” “You shouldn’t have said that to your roommate.” “You should not feel angry.’ “You should not still be hurt by what happened so long ago,” our inner critic is condemning ourself as weak and not good-enough, not measuring up.

Take the “should not” out and replace it with “wish”.

Hear the difference with these statements: “I wish I wasn’t so sensitive.” “I wish I didn’t say that to my roommate.” “I wish I didn’t feel angry.” You get the picture.

Stop again and allow yourself to feel the difference of the “wish” vs “should not” statements.

Utilizing “wish” allows us to notice where we are without the judgment that “should not” gives, preventing us from noticing what’s going on within.

The revised “wish” statements provide space to hear (what we may think is) the ugly truth of ourself and move forward to problem solve.

Let’s explore the statement: “I wish I wasn’t so sensitive.”

With this new perspective I’m in a better position to consider other ways of seeing the situation. Perhaps being as sensitive as I am in the moment, isn’t the only way to feel about it. I’m able to acknowledge my feelings (I’m feeling sensitive.) and my uncertainty that it’s the only response to have (I’m not sure I have good reason to be as sensitive as I am.).

I can remind myself of the positives that are true, or check-in with others. I might take into consideration other ways to interpret the situation. I may want to wait to see how I feel about it tomorrow instead of choosing to act now.

3) ADD A REINFORCEMENT AGAINST THE "SHOULD NOT" BELIEFS
In our new “wish” statements we can add the phrase: “yet I am.”

The inner criticism can evolve from: “I shouldn’t be so angry!” to “I wish I wasn’t so angry, yet I am.”

This reinforces the ability to tell ourself: “This is what I’m feeling at this time. It may not be pretty. It’s not ideal, It’s not where I want to stay, but I am here. I might need some time to be able to feel differently later. ”

Now it easier to make amends in our relationships with others. We are acknowledging this isn’t my ideal self, it’s not how I prefer to have handle it, I want others to know that. We could tell our friend, “Right now I’m too mad to listen to you, I wish I could talk to you about it right now, but I’ll need some time.”

One of my first bosses shared with me what he often tells himself: “I will not should on myself today.” This was his reminder to fight against his inner critic that caused him to feel anxious somedays, and it helped him deal with depression other days. It also help him to not beat himself up the days he was frantically trying to prove he could be perfect.

Don’t should on yourself today. Or anytime. I encourage you to implement these new strategies of using “want to,” “wish,” and “yet I am” to silence your inner critic and then enjoy the results! You’ll find it so much easier to move forward in relationships and in making plans to improve your situation.

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Great Commission

Friday, January 19, 2024 @ 7:45 PM

When you hear the term "great commission" in the context of the Bible, what do you think of? The first four books of the New Testament are narratives written about the life of Jesus. Jesus gave his followers specific instructions about continuing his ministry when he left the earth. Christ's Great Commission is described similarly by Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24. People commonly focus on evangelizing and discipleship to categorize the activities described by the Great Commission. "Go and make disciples of all nations, ... teaching ..." (Matthew 28:19-20).
John's gospel narrative is very different from the other three in many ways, and particularly in describing the Great Commission. John records the same event thus, "Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” John 20:21-23. His view of evangelism and discipleship takes on an inside out perspective. John describes the Great Commision as continually receiving God’s forgiveness for our frequent sins, and teach others to do the same.

Centering on Forgiveness

In contrast to the other three, John describes the Great Commission as a lifestyle of modeling forgiveness. Understanding and practicing forgiveness is central to the Christian faith, however, too few Christians make it a central part of their lives. In my book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart, I discuss some of the consequences of this deficiency including relational conflict, mental health problems, and lower quality of life. For many, instead of fulfilling the Great Commission of representing Christ's forgiveness to the world, they fall to what I would call the Great Omission neglecting the role of forgiveness in their faith.
A common omission is failing to allow God to be the Lord and final Judge of people and circumstances in our lives. In becoming a Christian, the conversion experience includes recognizing the need for a Savior (Jesus) and receiving God's forgiveness into a new birth. At that point forgiveness is not finished, but it only begins. The forgiveness received from God by a believer (at conversion) is now to be given to others. The initial surrendering to God grows into an on-going relationship that involves deeper surrender and should involve greater capacity to forgive and be forgiven. That is the subject matter of my book mentioned above, and further amplified in a more recent book called PACE to Peace: Finding Inner Rest in a World of Unrest .

Surrendering to God

One of the simplest definitions of forgiveness I've discovered is surrendering to God the right to judge. Offense is a common and unavoidable part of life. At one point or another, we all offend, and we all become offended. In a particular incident, we may find ourselves on one side of an offense or the other, the guilty one, or the guilty one's subject. When we are on the guilty side of an offense, desiring to be forgiven may come to our thoughts more quickly than when we are offended with our thoughts first turning to trying to find someone else to blame for the hurt we may feel.
Sometimes guilt is difficult to ascribe to one party or another. Pre-judgments, mis-judgments, and critical-judgments make it even harder, but surrender is always an essential element of forgiveness. Surrendering your right to judge doesn't mean you are surrendering your rights for justice to be served. God is a perfect Judge, executing perfect justice and perfect mercy simultaneously (see chapter 3 of Escaping the Pain of Offense for an explanation). That’s why he is the Judge, and we are not.
When you surrender to God the final rights of judgment, it puts your heart in a condition to focus on a hopeful future instead of a hopeless past. For both the offender and the one offended, a journey of redemption is possible.

Ministry of Reconciliation

For a Christian, forgiveness is not an option but a mandate. Another theme I unpack in my books is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. In many cases, forgiveness sets the stage for reconciliation. The New Testament Apostle Paul describes the Christian life as a "ministry of reconciliation." He says, "And he {Jesus} died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. ...  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors ..." (2 Corinthians 5:15-20).
First, let me comment on the phrase "the old is gone, the new is here." Some interpret this to mean Jesus has accomplished forgiveness of sins, and therefore the practice of forgiveness is no longer necessary. Yes, Jesus has completed the work of forgiveness by dying on the Cross and being resurrected to dwell with the Father. No, it does not mean our part is done. Surrendering our hearts to Jesus in a conversion experience is only the beginning of the journey in forgiveness. Jesus uses the illustration of occupying a house to show how our life with Him progresses. In buying a house we receive the legal title and deed, but we still may have to paint, hang curtains, move furniture, and make it a home. Even after habitation, some rooms may need work and remain "projects" for some time. So too, in our hearts, our understanding and practice of forgiveness must continue on a path of cooperation with God to make our being a more inhabitable dwelling for his presence, and useful tool in His hand for the ministry of reconciliation.
A second thing to note is "he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." Both being reconciled to God through Jesus, and being reconciled to one another as human beings reinforces John's perspective of the Great Commission. If Christ followers aren't modeling forgiveness and reconciliation, who will? The symbol of the cross gives us a picture of the vertical and horizontal connection of relationships. As we receive God's forgiveness to restore our relationship with Him (vertically reconciled), He empowers us to forgive and reconcile with fellow human beings (horizontal reconciliation), and help some find their own relationship with God restored and freed to help others as well. This is the eternal purpose and perspective for our lifespan on earth.

Shame

Guilt for sin has traditionally been recognized as the main thing standing in the way of this reconciliation. I have recently come to view shame as an even greater hindrance. Guilt and shame are two different problems. While guilt links a person to their behavior, shame attacks the person for who they are. Guilt focuses on the "doing," while shame focuses on the "being." Guilt says, "I did a bad thing." Shame says, "I am bad." Guilty actions can be amended with restitution, but pronouncing shame condemns irreparably.
Whether true guilt is present or not, shaming oneself may result in self-condemnation, self-bitterness, and self-rejection. Shame creates condemning judgments, magnifies feelings of low self-worth, and separates our heart and mind from God as the master Designer of our being and the loving Father relationship he desires for us.
God never shames his sons and daughters. When you feel shame it is not from God. Shame tells you that you are not worthy of receiving God's forgiveness (as an offender). When you are on the other side of forgiveness as the one offended, shame tells you the offender is not worthy of your forgiveness or God's forgiveness.

Judgments

This shaming often disguises itself in some form of critical judgment. When you are tempted to think of someone as a jerk, loser, or good-for-nothing (usually as a result of hurt feelings), you must surrender to God the right to judge that person (including self) or situation, and repent for any falsehoods believed and wrongful actions you may have already taken. Our bad reactions toward other people are often rooted in the shame residing in our own inner person. Reconciling our relationship with Father God must include identifying the shame we carry by allowing God to show us where it may be hidden, and surrendering it into His care.
God is looking for followers who will allow the Son Jesus to carry the offenses of this world for them. Our world is a broken place to live. We cannot escape offense, but we can escape the pain of offense. The distinguishing mark of a Christian in this world should be to view offense as an opportunity for God's love to pierce the power of offense, and allow His Son Jesus to redeem the offenses one by one in our lives. Forgiveness is God's idea and plan to accomplish his purpose for his people. Facing offense head on may cause some temporary pain. Allowing yourself to feel the pain, affords you an opportunity to experience God in a more meaningful way. Knowing God more intimately can never be a bad thing. We must practice receiving God's love in greater measure so we can give his gift of love to others as part of the great commission. We must grow in our capacity to receive God's love and become the person he intends for us to be. His love grows in our hearts when our judgments are surrendered to him.

Applying Forgiveness

It's time the Church takes this Great Commission seriously and deals with her offenses. The brokenness offense causes is evident all around us. Why can't we admit offense for what it is? Have we adopted a "religiously correct" speech similar to "political correctness." I like to think, for example, of what would happen if instead of using the term "church split" we would call it a "garbage heap of unresolved offenses." Much of what we call "disunity," may in reality be, a lack of willingness to work through offenses. Much of out relational problems and separations are connected to a root of bitterness and lack of forgiveness (see Hebrews 12:15).
Granted, there are many other real problems contributing to our proneness to offense such as unhealthy perspectives of conflict, lack of communication, and lack of trust and trustworthiness. But the greatest impact to be made on our corporate offenses is for each individual to examine his own heart in honesty and humility before God to expose and correct offense as the Great Commission mandates. This also fulfills the vision of the ancient Psalmist who wrote, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm 119:16; KJV). We all want peace of mind and heart, but it comes with conditions. These are not overbearing, but conditions for which our loving Father stands with open arms ready to receive our participation.
When someone offends you, you must be careful not to confuse their guilty behavior with shaming the person (or persons). Condemning judgment toward God, yourself, or other people must be recognized as a chief enemy of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Taking Action

Think of someone you believe has judged or offended you. Are you willing to release judgment of the person(s) who has done you wrong? Whether intentionally or unintentionally on the other person's part, the grip of the pain is in your power to release. Are you willing to surrender it to God right now for his judgment? I guarantee this will be the most freeing thing you can do. I can make this guarantee because I try to practice this regularly, and I help many other people do the same. In doing so you are fulfilling the Great Commission and helping to prepare others for finding their guilt and shame surrendered to God.
The Great Commission is to forgive. The Great Commission is to receive God’s forgiveness and give it away. The Great Commission is to continually accept Christ’s forgiveness for ours sins, and disciple others in the same.
I leave you with an exhortation to stop what you are doing right now amf read Psalm 32. May your journey be filled with Psalm 32 blessings! Here’s one place to find Psalm 32: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+32&version=NIV

Note: For more on how to understand and practice forgiveness see some of my other articles posted on the blog site. I welcome your feedback and an opportunity to discuss this topic further with your study or prayer group. Please contact me to talk in person or make online connection.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Marriage Enrichment Event - West Georgia

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 @ 10:29 PM

I'll Always Kiss You Goodnight - Marriage Enrichment Experience

A marriage enrichment event for couples in a creative, informative and engaging setting.
This is a one-day event with five sessions. (Breakfast and Lunch included)

For details and registration visit www.AlwaysKissYouGoodnight.com

Saturday, January 13, 2024

15 Natural Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression

Saturday, January 13, 2024 @ 3:59 PM

Welcoming a new life into the world is incredible, but it can also bring about significant mental health challenges. Research shows that about 20% of women experience postpartum depression, otherwise known as, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) after childbirth.

While conventional treatments such as therapy and medication are widely available and effective, many new moms are turning to natural remedies to complement these other approaches.


Understanding Postpartum Depression:

Postpartum depression is a form of clinical depression that affects women after childbirth.

It's not a sign of weakness or a character flaw; rather, it's a complex interplay of hormonal, emotional, and environmental factors.

Common symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as changes in sleep and appetite.

Recognizing and addressing these symptoms is crucial for the well-being of both mom and baby.


15 Tips: Natural Treatment for Postpartum Depression

1. Nutritional Support:

A well-balanced diet is crucial for mental health, and this holds true for postpartum depression.

Nutrient-rich foods can positively impact mood and energy levels.

Omega-3 fatty acids, have been linked to improved mental health.

Additionally, incorporating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables ensures a diverse range of nutrients necessary for overall well-being.

Example:

Incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods into your daily meals.

For breakfast, try a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh berries and a handful of walnuts. Include fatty fish like salmon in your lunch or dinner for a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

Snack on sliced apples and almond butter for a satisfying and nutritious option.

2. Mindful Eating:

Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues.

Eating nutritious meals in a calm environment contributes to overall well-being.

Example:

During meals, focus on the flavors and textures of each bite.

Put away your phone, sit in a quiet space, and focus on eating your food slowly.

Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, allowing yourself to stop eating when satisfied rather than finishing everything on your plate.

3. Hydration:

Staying hydrated is essential for physical and mental health.

Ensure an adequate intake of water throughout the day to support overall well-being.

Example:

Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day.

Flavor water with slices of cucumber or a splash of citrus for a fun twist.

Staying well-hydrated supports overall physical and mental well-being.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation:

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep-breathing exercises, can be powerful tools for managing postpartum depression.

These techniques help moms cultivate awareness of their thoughts and emotions, promoting a sense of calm and centeredness.

Apps and online resources make it easier for new mothers to incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine.

Example:

Dedicate 10 minutes each morning to a mindfulness or meditation practice.

Use a guided meditation app or online resource to help you get started.

This daily ritual can create a positive and centered mindset for the day ahead.

5. Physical Activity:

Exercise has been consistently linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression.

Engaging in gentle exercises like yoga or walking can be particularly beneficial for postpartum moms.

Physical activity releases endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers, providing a natural and accessible way to combat depressive symptoms.

Example:

Incorporate a gentle exercise routine into your week, such as prenatal yoga or a daily walk in a nearby park.

Enlist a friend or family member to join you for added support and motivation.

The release of endorphins through physical activity can significantly uplift your mood.

6. Alone Time:

Schedule regular alone time to recharge.

Whether it's a few minutes of quiet time or a longer break, having time for oneself is crucial.

Example:

Set aside 15 minutes throughout the day for quiet alone time.

This could be spent reading a book, practicing deep breathing, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee in a peaceful environment.

Taking moments for yourself throughout the day is crucial for recharging and maintaining emotional balance.

7. Creative Outlets:

Engage in creative activities like diamond art, crocheting, painting, or music as a form of self-expression.

These outlets can provide a sense of accomplishment and joy.

Example:

Engage in creative activities like painting, drawing, or playing a musical instrument.

Joining a local art class or music group can provide a structured and supportive environment for self-expression.

8. Acupuncture:

Traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, has gained popularity as a complementary treatment for postpartum depression.

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, stimulating energy flow and promoting a sense of balance.

Some women report reduced symptoms and improved well-being after incorporating acupuncture into their postpartum care.

Example:

Explore acupuncture as part of your postpartum care. Schedule sessions with a qualified acupuncturist who specializes in women's health.

Many women report reduced stress and improved emotional well-being after incorporating acupuncture into their routine.

9. Social Support:

Emotional support from friends, family, or support groups is invaluable in the postpartum period.

Sharing experiences with others who understand the challenges of motherhood can provide a sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation.

Strong social connections are crucial for mental health and can be considered a natural and essential aspect of postpartum care.

Example:

Join a postpartum support group where you can connect with other mothers facing similar challenges.

Share your experiences, listen to theirs, and build a network of understanding and supportive relationships.

10. Massage Therapy:

Massage therapy, especially designed for the prenatal and postpartum period, can provide physical and emotional relief.

Massage helps relax muscles, reduce stress hormones, and promote the release of endorphins, contributing to an improved mood and overall well-being.

Example:

Treat yourself to a postpartum massage designed to address the specific needs of new mothers.

Many spas and wellness centers offer specialized massage services that focus on relaxation and relieving tension in the muscles.

11. Radical Acceptance:

Embracing radical acceptance involves acknowledging and accepting one's emotions without judgment.

By allowing oneself to experience and validate the range of emotions that come with postpartum depression, mothers can move towards a place of self-compassion and understanding.

Example:

When feelings of guilt or self-judgment arise, practice radical acceptance by acknowledging these emotions without judgment.

Remind yourself that these feelings are valid, and allow yourself the grace to experience and learn from them.

12. Cognitive Challenging:

Cognitive-behavioral techniques can be valuable for challenging negative thought patterns associated with postpartum depression.

Working with a therapist, mothers can learn to reframe unhelpful thoughts, fostering a more positive mindset.

Example: Identify a negative thought related to postpartum depression and challenge it.

For instance, if you catch yourself thinking, "I'm not a good enough mother," reframe it to, "I am doing my best, and it's okay to seek support when needed.

13. Prayer and Spiritual Connection:

Prayer and attending church services can offer peace and a sense of connection to God.

Spiritual practices can provide comfort and hope during mental health struggles.

Example:

Set aside time for prayer and make an effort to attend church services even though it is hard to get out of the house with little ones.

14. Journaling:

Expressive writing can be a therapeutic outlet for processing emotions.

Keeping a journal allows new moms to reflect on their experiences, track their emotional journey, and identify patterns that may contribute to postpartum depression.

Example:

Dedicate a few minutes each evening to journaling your thoughts and emotions.

Reflect on the positive moments, challenges, and any patterns you observe.

This practice can provide clarity and serve as a therapeutic outlet.

15. Creating a Dopamine Menu:

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

Creating a "dopamine menu" involves listing activities that bring joy and satisfaction.

Engaging in these activities regularly can help boost mood and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Example:

Develop a list of activities that bring you joy and satisfaction.

This could include taking a warm bath, listening to your favorite music, or spending quality time with loved ones.

Schedule these activities regularly to boost your mood and create a sense of accomplishment.


Conclusion:

Postpartum depression is a multifaceted challenge that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment.

While conventional therapies are essential, integrating natural treatments into the care plan can offer additional support for mothers experiencing postpartum depression.

Holistic approaches that address nutrition, mindfulness, physical activity, and social support, along with specific strategies like prenatal massage therapy, radical acceptance, cognitive challenging, support groups, prayer, journaling, and a dopamine menu, contribute to a more balanced and nurturing postpartum experience.

It's important for women facing postpartum depression to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan that considers both conventional and natural approaches.

By embracing a holistic perspective and incorporating a variety of supportive strategies, we can better support and empower new moms as they navigate the complex journey of postpartum recovery.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Forget Vision Boards: Embrace the Faith and Wellness Annual Board for Hope, Purpose and Mental Health #LiberationLunes (Through the Valley Therapy's New Blog)

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 @ 3:41 PM

In a world teeming with challenges and opportunities, the pursuit of holistic well-being, encompassing mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions, takes center stage. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional dedicated to fostering well-rounded wellness, I've developed a powerful tool that weaves together faith and psychological insights to cultivate hope, purpose, and enhanced mental health – the Faith and Wellness Annual Board. This article not only introduces this transformative tool but also delves into my personal journey of its creation.



My Personal Journey:

I vividly recall the days when I, like many, sought to "manifest" my desires and goals through the creation of vision boards. While some aspects of my life did indeed materialize, I soon realized that the absence of a spiritual foundation led to an unhealthy sense of self-importance. It inadvertently nurtured a selfish and narcissistic perspective, exacerbating my struggles with depression and anxiety.....


For the rest of the article, please visit my website.

Building and Maintaining Strong Relationships

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 @ 3:37 PM

Hello everyone!

🌟 Interested in enhancing your understanding of relationships? Whether you're single, married, divorced, or widowed, we've got something special for you! 🌟

Join us for an insightful panel discussion featuring clinical relationship professionals who are ready to share their therapeutic expertise. 🤝 This event is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insights into building and maintaining healthy relationships.

🗓️ Date: February 10th, 2024
🕒 Time: 10am to 12pm
📍 Location: Grace Church, DFB

🚨 Registration is required, and spaces are limited, so don't wait too long to secure your spot! Simply click on the link below to register and leave a question for our moderator to ask the experts during the panel discussion:
🔗 [Registration Link]: [https://www.gracechurchsfl.com/mentalwellness]

This event promises to be informative, engaging, and an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights into the dynamics of relationships. Don't miss out!
See you there! 👥🗨️ #Relationships #TherapeuticInsights #HealthyConnections

Hurting Hearts Restored - Healing the Roots that Bind

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 @ 2:56 PM

Uproot. Replant. Thrive

Breaking free from the past and into the abundant life of Jesus

Get to the root!

Fear, betrayal, rejection, anger, unforgiveness, addictions, unhealthy relationships, and relationship conflict are just some of the real-life struggles facing God’s children today.

Our churches are filled with believers who love Jesus but are often overwhelmed and weighed down, bound up and defeated by life’s issues. So many are unable to live a truly abundant life in Christ and run the Christian race with endurance. These beloved brethren have this in common—they are painfully unaware that the untended roots from the past are creating issues in the present and are preventing them from thriving in the fullness of God.

God’s children are in desperate need of practical, step-by-step, biblical solutions. Hurting Hearts Restored offers that hand of help. Written according to God’s powerful Word and inspired by the promptings of The Holy Spirit, this book is intended to lead you into God’s unending love and grace—to His perfect plan for you—life more abundantly! Filled with easily understood explanations, examples, journal questions, and real-life stories, Hurting Hearts Restored will walk you through the healing process — a journey with Jesus into the depth of your heart where change happens, page-by-page, with all the resources you need to get to the roots that bind.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Découvrir les Cartes de Thérapie : Votre Chemin vers l'Autonomie et la Connaissance de Soi

Sunday, January 7, 2024 @ 12:18 PM

Découvrir les Cartes de Thérapie : Votre Chemin vers l'Autonomie et la Connaissance de Soi

Introduction :
Dans un monde où le stress, l'anxiété, le manque d'estime de soi et la faible estime de soi obscurcissent souvent notre esprit, trouver des outils pour naviguer dans les complexités de la vie est essentiel. Les cartes de thérapie, une ressource belle et inspirante, gagnent en reconnaissance comme un moyen puissant d'améliorer notre bien-être émotionnel. Dans ce blog, nous allons vous dévoiler le monde des cartes de thérapie, explorer comment elles peuvent vous autonomiser dans votre voyage vers la connaissance de soi et la croissance personnelle.

Qu'est-ce que les Cartes de Thérapie ?
Les cartes de thérapie, également connues sous le nom de cartes d'auto-assistance ou de cartes d'affirmations, sont un ensemble de cartes magnifiquement conçues qui offrent des conseils, de l'inspiration et du soutien aux personnes en quête de développement personnel, de guérison émotionnelle et d'autonomisation. Ces cartes couvrent un large éventail de sujets, de la gestion de l'anxiété et de la dépression à l'augmentation de l'estime de soi et à la promotion de l'amour-propre.

Le Pouvoir de la Visualisation :
Chaque carte de thérapie contient généralement un message court, une question ou une affirmation. Le pouvoir de ces cartes réside dans leur capacité à stimuler la pensée positive et à aider les personnes à visualiser un avenir plus radieux. En se concentrant sur une seule carte, vous pouvez rediriger vos pensées, changer votre perspective et cultiver une vision plus optimiste.

Naviguer les Défis de la Vie :
La vie est pleine de défis, et les cartes de thérapie offrent une manière structurée de les aborder. Que vous soyez aux prises avec l'anxiété, que vous fassiez face à un deuil ou que vous cherchiez à éclaircir le but de votre vie, les cartes de thérapie peuvent fournir des idées précieuses et des stratégies d'adaptation. Ces cartes agissent comme un compagnon de soutien dans votre voyage pour surmonter les obstacles et trouver une force intérieure.

Augmenter l'Estime de Soi et la Confiance :
Un des plus grands avantages des cartes de thérapie est leur capacité à augmenter l'estime de soi et la confiance. Elles encouragent les personnes à réfléchir sur leurs qualités positives et leurs forces, les aidant à reconnaître leur valeur et leur potentiel. L'utilisation régulière des cartes de thérapie peut conduire à une image de soi plus positive et un plus grand sentiment de sécurité en soi.

Cultiver l'Amour de Soi et la Compassion :
Beaucoup de cartes de thérapie se concentrent sur l'amour de soi et la compassion envers soi-même, en promouvant l'idée que nous devons nous traiter avec la même gentillesse et le même soin que nous offrons aux autres. Ces cartes guident doucement les individus vers l'acceptation de leurs imperfections, la reconnaissance de leurs réalisations et la promotion d'un profond amour de soi.

Se Connecter avec sa Sagesse Intérieure :
Les cartes de thérapie encouragent souvent les utilisateurs à se connecter avec leur sagesse intérieure ou leur intuition. Elles vous invitent à avoir confiance en vos instincts, à écouter votre voix intérieure et à prendre des décisions en accord avec vos désirs véritables. Ces cartes servent de rappel que vous possédez les réponses et les solutions en vous.

Options Multilingues :
Les cartes de thérapie sont disponibles dans plusieurs langues, les rendant accessibles à un public mondial. Que vous soyez à l'aise avec l'anglais, l'espagnol, le français ou une autre langue, vous pouvez trouver des cartes de thérapie qui vous parlent.

Conclusion :
Dans un monde rempli d'incertitudes, les cartes de thérapie offrent une lueur d'espoir, d'inspiration et d'autonomisation. Elles sont un outil polyvalent qui peut vous aider à affronter les

Français:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ9K1DC?ref=myi_title_dp

English Cards:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09K4HFR5P?ref=myi_title_dp

Spanish Card:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ77JRG?ref=myi_title_dp

www.empoweredlifecounseling.com

Descubriendo las Tarjetas de Terapia: Tu Camino hacia el Empoderamiento y el Autoconocimiento

Sunday, January 7, 2024 @ 12:12 PM

Introducción:
En un mundo donde el estrés, la ansiedad y la falta de autoestima a menudo nublan nuestras mentes, encontrar herramientas para navegar las complejidades de la vida es esencial. Las tarjetas de terapia, un recurso hermoso e inspirador, están ganando reconocimiento como una forma poderosa de mejorar nuestro bienestar emocional. En este blog, vamos a desvelar el mundo de las tarjetas de terapia, explorando cómo pueden empoderarte en tu viaje de autoconocimiento y crecimiento personal.

¿Qué Son las Tarjetas de Terapia Del Dr. Remy Nelson?
Las tarjetas de terapia, también conocidas como tarjetas de autoayuda o tarjetas de afirmaciones, son un conjunto de tarjetas bellamente diseñadas que brindan orientación, inspiración y apoyo a personas que buscan crecimiento personal, sanación emocional y empoderamiento. Estas tarjetas abarcan una amplia gama de temas, desde el manejo de la ansiedad y la depresión hasta el aumento de la autoestima y el fomento del amor propio.

El Poder de la Visualización:
Cada tarjeta de terapia generalmente contiene un breve mensaje, una pregunta o una afirmación. El poder de estas tarjetas radica en su capacidad para estimular el pensamiento positivo y ayudar a las personas a visualizar un futuro más brillante. Al centrarse en una sola tarjeta, puedes redirigir tus pensamientos, cambiar tu perspectiva y cultivar una visión más optimista.

Navegando los Desafíos de la Vida:
La vida está llena de desafíos, y las tarjetas de terapia ofrecen una forma estructurada de abordarlos. Ya sea que estés lidiando con la ansiedad, enfrentando el duelo o buscando claridad en el propósito de tu vida, las tarjetas de terapia pueden proporcionar ideas valiosas y estrategias de afrontamiento. Estas tarjetas actúan como un compañero de apoyo en tu viaje para superar obstáculos y encontrar fuerza interior.

Aumentando la Autoestima y la Confianza:
Uno de los mayores beneficios de las tarjetas de terapia es su capacidad para aumentar la autoestima y la confianza. Fomentan a las personas a reflexionar sobre sus cualidades positivas y fortalezas, ayudándoles a reconocer su valía y potencial. El uso regular de las tarjetas de terapia puede llevar a una imagen de uno mismo más positiva y un mayor sentido de seguridad en sí mismo.

Cultivando el Amor Propio y la Compasión:
Muchas tarjetas de terapia se centran en el amor propio y la autocompasión, promoviendo la idea de que debemos tratarnos con la misma amabilidad y cuidado que ofrecemos a los demás. Estas tarjetas guían suavemente a las personas hacia la aceptación de sus imperfecciones, el reconocimiento de sus logros y el fomento de un profundo amor propio.

Conectar con tu Sabiduría Interior:
Las tarjetas de terapia a menudo animan a los usuarios a conectar con su sabiduría interior o intuición. Te invitan a confiar en tus instintos, escuchar tu voz interior y tomar decisiones alineadas con tus deseos verdaderos. Estas tarjetas sirven como un recordatorio de que posees las respuestas y soluciones dentro de ti.

Opciones Multilingües:
Las tarjetas de terapia vienen en varios idiomas, lo que las hace accesibles para una audiencia global. Ya te sientas cómodo con el inglés, español, francés u otro idioma, puedes encontrar tarjetas de terapia que resuenen contigo.

Conclusión:
En un mundo lleno de incertidumbres, las tarjetas de terapia ofrecen una luz de esperanza, inspiración y empoderamiento. Son una herramienta versátil que puede ayudarte a enfrentar los desafíos de la vida con valentía y optimismo, aumentar tu autoestima y conectarte con tu sabiduría interior. Ya sea que estés en un viaje de autoconocimiento, enfrentando la ansiedad o simplemente buscando inspiración diaria, las tarjetas de terapia pueden ser tu guía luminosa.

Considera agregar las tarjetas de terapia a tu rutina diaria y observa cómo transforman gradualmente tu perspectiva y te empoderan para llevar una vida más plena. Ha llegado el momento de descubrir el potencial que hay en ti, una tarjeta a la vez.

Español:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ77JRG?ref=myi_title_dp

English Cards Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09K4HFR5P?ref=myi_title_dp

French Cards Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ9K1DC?ref=myi_title_dp
www.empoweredlifecounseling.com

Unveiling Therapy Cards: Your Path to Empowerment and Self-Discovery

Sunday, January 7, 2024 @ 12:03 PM

Introduction:
In a world where stress, anxiety, and self-doubt often cloud our minds, finding tools to navigate the complexities of life is essential. Therapy cards, a beautiful and inspiring resource, are gaining recognition as a powerful way to enhance our emotional well-being. In this blog, we'll unveil the world of therapy cards, exploring how they can empower you on your journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

What Are Dr. Nelson's Therapy Cards?
Dr. Nelson's Therapy Cards, also known as self-help cards or affirmation cards, are a set of beautifully designed cards that provide guidance, inspiration, and support for individuals seeking personal growth, emotional healing, and empowerment. These cards cover a wide range of topics, from managing anxiety and depression to improving self-esteem and fostering self-love.

The Power of Visualization:
Each therapy card typically contains a brief message and an affirmation. The power of these cards lies in their ability to stimulate positive thinking and help individuals visualize a brighter future. By focusing on a single card, you can redirect your thoughts, shift your perspective, and cultivate a more optimistic outlook.

Navigating Life's Challenges:
Life is filled with challenges, and therapy cards offer a structured way to address them. Whether you're struggling with anxiety, coping with grief, or seeking clarity on your life's purpose, therapy cards can provide valuable insights and coping strategies. These cards act as a supportive companion on your journey to overcoming obstacles and finding inner strength.

Boosting Self-Esteem and Confidence:
One of the most significant benefits of therapy cards is their ability to boost self-esteem and confidence. They encourage individuals to reflect on their positive qualities and strengths, helping them recognize their worth and potential. Regular use of therapy cards can lead to a more positive self-image and a greater sense of self-assuredness.

Cultivating Self-Love and Compassion:
Many therapy cards focus on self-love and self-compassion, promoting the idea that we should treat ourselves with the same kindness and care we offer to others. These cards gently guide individuals toward embracing their imperfections, acknowledging their achievements, and nurturing a deeper sense of self-love.

Connecting with Your Inner Wisdom:
Therapy cards often encourage users to connect with their inner wisdom or intuition. They invite you to trust your instincts, listen to your inner voice, and make choices aligned with your true desires. These cards serve as a reminder that you possess the answers and solutions within you.

Multilingual Options:
Therapy cards come in various languages, making them accessible to a global audience. Whether you're comfortable with English, Spanish, French, or another language, you can find therapy cards that resonate with you.

Conclusion:
In a world filled with uncertainties, therapy cards offer a ray of hope, inspiration, and self-empowerment. They are a versatile tool that can help you face life's challenges with courage and optimism, boost your self-esteem, and connect with your inner wisdom. Whether you're on a journey of self-discovery, dealing with anxiety, or simply seeking daily inspiration, therapy cards can be your guiding light.

Consider adding therapy cards to your daily routine and watch how they gradually transform your perspective and empower you to lead a more fulfilling life. It's time to unveil the potential within you, one card at a time.

Family Development

Sunday, January 7, 2024 @ 11:29 AM

The Concept of Family Development

The concept of family development has been expanded to include: (a) an elaboration on various components of marriage, (b) an evaluation of the dynamics of sibling relationships, (c) an exploration of parenting including the variables influencing decisions whether or not to have children, (d) an examination of some stressors and strains that may contribute conflict in family life, (e) a definition of elements adolescence versus young adulthood and (f) an analysis of special familial issues including intimacy with God. According to McGoldrick, Preto and Carter (2016) marriage has manifold components including economics, emotional connection, power struggles, the establishment of boundaries, sexuality, childrearing, and role definition. At its corpus, marriage entails negotiating many issues that were previously developed from individual worldviews (McGoldrick et al, 2016). Sibling constellations may contribute positively or negatively to the health of marital relationships ((McGoldrick et al, 2016). “Other than the spouse relationship, perhaps no other relationship in life entails the same level of intimacy as that of siblings” (Garland, 2012, p. 180).
Parenting in today’s postmodern culture may also present moral and ethical dilemmas from a biblical perspective regarding “respect for the sanctity of human life” (Kostenberger & Jones, 2010, p. 131). As such, decisions as to whether the use of specific forms of reproductive technology violate God’s Word, should be the bedrock of Christian’s decisions. Regarding a couple’s desire to have children, adoption may represent a viable option (Kostenberger & Jones, 2010). In addition, intentionally developing stress management skills such as coping and problem solving may provide viable familial options geared to achieve effective anger management (Balswick & Balswick, 2014). Balswick and Balswick (2014) recommend “three basic constructive approaches: fair fighting, conflict resolution, and conflict management” (p. 256). The transition from adolescents to adulthood may represent significant challenges for both parents and children. Empowering and engaging adolescents in positive activities, showing them love, understanding, connectedness and support may provide a healthy transition to adulthood (Balswick & Balswick, 2014; McGoldrick et al, 2016). The readings on Contextual Family Therapy and Experiential Family Therapy as models for family development provided many keen insights. I posit that the humanistic underpinnings of Experiential Family Therapy and synonymous with the Gospel. In addition, the nuance of mutual respect rings home profoundly as it relates the pivotal constructs to family development. In conclusion, Yarhouse and Sells (2017) succinctly capture its essence here, “Mutual respect and regard [sic] is essential for the working of a family and essential in the process of therapy” (p. 181).

References
Balswick J. O. & Balswick J. K. (2014). The family: A Christian perspective of the contemporary home. (4th ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic
Garland, D. R. (2012). Family ministry: A comprehensive guide. (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press
Kostenberger, A. J. & Jones, D. W. (2010). God, marriage, and family: Rebuilding the biblical foundation. (2nd ed.). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
McGoldrick, M., Preto, N. G. & Carter, B. (2016). The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives. (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
Yarhouse, M. A. & Sells, J. N. (2017). Family therapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Let's Talk about Sex: Male Sexuality: Myths and Misconceptions

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 @ 6:44 PM

Despite sex often being a topic of public discussion many myths about sex still persist. Let's delve into each of these myths about male sexuality:

Sex should always be spontaneous and effortless:

Myth: There's a common misconception that sex should always happen spontaneously and effortlessly, fueled by passion and desire at any given moment.

Reality: In reality, sexual desire and arousal can be influenced by various factors, including stress, fatigue, and emotional well-being. It's essential to recognize that planning and communication are integral parts of a healthy sexual relationship. Scheduled or planned intimacy can be just as satisfying and can provide a sense of anticipation and connection.

It’s all about penetration:

Myth: Another prevailing myth is that sexual activity centers solely around penetration and that this is the primary source of pleasure for men.

Reality: Sexuality is diverse, and pleasure can be derived from various activities, not limited to penetration. Communication and exploration of each other's desires and preferences are crucial. Focusing on mutual satisfaction and pleasure, rather than adhering to specific acts, can enhance the overall sexual experience. Foreplay is important for men and women.

If an erection isn’t maintained until orgasm, then you have erectile dysfunction:

Myth: There is a misconception that any deviation from the stereotypical progression of sexual activity, such as maintaining an erection until orgasm, indicates erectile dysfunction.

Reality: Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition that involves persistent difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection. However, occasional fluctuations in sexual response are normal. Stress, fatigue, anxiety, or relationship issues can contribute to these variations. It's important to distinguish between occasional challenges and a medical condition, and seeking professional advice can provide clarity and potential solutions.

Stress of exhaustion can prevent erections by moving blood flow away from extremities. As a result the decrease in blood flow can render an erection temporarily impossible.

Men are always in the mood, and if they aren’t aroused by looking at their partner, then he is no longer attracted:

Myth: A pervasive myth suggests that men are always ready for sexual activity, and any lack of immediate arousal indicates a decline in attraction.

Reality: Sexual desire can fluctuate for various reasons, and it's not solely determined by physical attraction. Emotional connection, stress, health, and overall well-being play significant roles. Communicating openly about desires, addressing any underlying issues, and understanding that occasional changes in libido are normal are vital aspects of a healthy sexual relationship. Foreplay for men can be an important part of increasing arousal in order to sustain an erection for intercourse.

In conclusion, debunking these myths is crucial for fostering a more realistic and open understanding of male sexuality. Recognizing the diversity and complexity of sexual experiences can lead to better communication, increased intimacy, and overall improved sexual well-being for individuals and couples alike.

A live stream on the topic of sex will be available on Feb 10th, 2024 9:30 am EST: https://youtube.com/live/38Umhxdrfho?feature=share

Understanding Grief: A Comprehensive Exploration of the Emotional Landscape

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 @ 5:10 PM

Grief is a universal human experience that arises in response to loss, encompassing a range of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This paper delves into the multifaceted nature of grief, examining its psychological, social, and cultural dimensions. By exploring the various theories and models of grief and the factors influencing the grieving process, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of this complex phenomenon. Additionally, the paper addresses coping mechanisms, interventions, and the potential for growth that can emerge from the grieving experience.
Grief is a natural and intricate response to loss, affecting individuals in profound ways. This paper seeks to elucidate the multifaceted nature of grief by examining its psychological, social, and cultural aspects. Understanding grief is essential for individuals navigating the process and mental health professionals, researchers, and society.
Grief can stem from various types of loss, including death, relationship dissolution, job loss, or health deterioration. The emotional response to these losses is not uniform, and the intensity and duration of grief can vary widely.
This section explores prominent models and theories that attempt to elucidate the grieving process. The Kübler-Ross model, the Dual Process Model, and the Tasks of Mourning model are among those examined. By delving into these frameworks, we gain insight into the stages and tasks that individuals commonly experience during grief.
Grief has profound psychological implications, influencing cognitive processes, emotional experiences, and behavioral patterns. This section investigates the impact of grief on mental health, including common symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and complicated grief.
Social and cultural contexts play a significant role in shaping how individuals express and cope with grief. This section explores the influence of societal norms, rituals, and expectations on the grieving process. Additionally, it considers the role of support networks and community in facilitating or hindering the grieving journey.
Individuals employ various coping mechanisms to navigate grief, ranging from seeking social support to engaging in therapeutic interventions. This section explores adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies and examines evidence-based interventions to facilitate healing.
While grief is often associated with pain and suffering, individuals can also experience personal growth and resilience. This section explores the concept of post-traumatic growth and the potential for positive transformation that can emerge from the grieving process.
In conclusion, grief is a complex and multifaceted experience that extends beyond the emotional pain of loss. By understanding the psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of grief, we can develop more effective support systems and interventions to help individuals navigate this universal aspect of the human experience. Further research is needed to deepen our understanding and improve the quality of care for those experiencing grief.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Prone to Wander

Sunday, December 31, 2023 @ 5:07 PM

One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I love the poetic lament of a one who seeks God fervently, but is deeply aware of his/her own sin. My favorite lyric from the hymn is “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.”


I don’t know that there’s ever been a truer lyric written that expresses how I feel toward my tendency to wander. When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I was walking through the mall with my mom and older brother. One of the first stores we walked by was a toy store. We were very poor and I didn’t have a ton of toys at home. I remember loving Care Bears and Cabbage Patch kids. A lady at our church made me a homemade Care Bear. It was not the same. At any rate, we stopped for a moment to watch this toy dog do somersaults at the toy store. I was enamored. This battery powered pup flipped and flipped and barked. It was pretty cool. I am not sure how much time passed, but by the time I looked up, my mom and brother were long gone. I ran toward the center of the mall screaming for my mom and crying. I didn’t intentionally stay back and leave her side. I would never have done that. I was a super obedient child. And yet, here I was, with no clue where my mom was. I wasn’t even sure which store she was there to visit. I knew the mall well, and found my way to the information center in the middle. I sat there sobbing, fearing the worst. She’s left me here and now I am going to be shipped off to a foster home or orphanage like Annie the orphan. Perhaps that’s a little melodramatic, but I was definitely a fatalist in my younger years. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I could see my mom approaching. I felt awful. I felt like this was my fault. I was sure I would be in trouble.


We tend to get caught up in the stuff right in front of us and allow our communion with God to get farther and farther from us. I’m a “good” person. I’m a “smart” person. I do the “right” things. It is easy to go about my business and look as if I am walking closely with God. It is easy to start a journey with Him, close enough to hear His whisper “we’re going this way now, follow closely” and then at some point, I see something spectacular. I have to pause and enjoy this, take it in. Slowly, as God continues to move, I am still stuck, maybe even wandering further toward the shiny sparkly distracting objects. By the time I realize how much time has passed, I feel the distance between us. I feel how far I’ve wandered.


I love the Bible, because there is a commonality among all humans in that we tend to be foolish and we tend to behave pretty similarly as every human before us. The patriarchs (fathers of Judaism – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) are no exception, especially in their tendency to wander. Often when we learn about the patriarchs in the Old Testament as kids in Sunday School, we are given the impression that these are super faithful men that we should emulate. We aren’t often taught about their humanness, or their failings. That’s unfortunate. It can make faithful following of God seem unattainable.


Recently, I was reading the account of Abraham to my boys and was struck (again) with how repeatedly Abraham wanders off course and forgets what he has been told by God. Early on in the narrative of Abram/Abraham (God changes his name when He establishes His covenant with him), Abram and his wife Sarai/ Sarah travel to Egypt to avoid a famine (Ge 12). Sarai is a beautiful woman and Abram decides it’s probably better if people think she’s his sister so they don’t kill him to take his wife. So, he tells his wife “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you” (Ge 12:13). She does. Pharaoh notices her and “takes her into his house.” This is colloquial for Sarai became one of his concubines. God had plans for Sarai and Abram, so He struck Pharaoh and his house with a plague. Pharoah kicked Abram and Sarai to the curb after rebuking Abram for lying about his wife. Abram goes on to spend some time with Lot, receive God’s covenant that he will be the father of a great nation, circumcises himself and all of the males in his household, has a son long after his wife’s ability to bear children, but only after he and his wife try to “help” God by having Abe conceive an heir with his wife’s maidservant. Then after Sodom is destroyed by God, Abraham settles in the Negev, where he once again decides that he needs to save his own skin by sacrificing the truth and his wife. He tells the king of Gerar, Abimelech, that Sarah is his sister. The king takes Sarah as his wife. God didn’t use plagues this time, he gave Abimelech a dream, revealing the true nature of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship. Abimelech is unhappy with Abraham, rebukes him and sends him on his way.


Abraham’s son Isaac would do the same thing with his wife Rebekah, saying she was his sister to keep himself safe. When danger presents itself and fear sets in, Abraham has trouble seeing how God is going to work it out. He’ll just help God. I mean, it’s not like God has spared any miracle or blessing on Abraham, so why does Abe feel like God needs his help? Why is it so easy to wander from the truth, from communion with God, from God’s promises for us and spin a web of our own design?


We do the same thing don’t we? As a single woman in the church, I had very little faith I’d find a man who loved Jesus like I did but wasn’t super socially awkward or strange. I blame church singles groups for my lack of hope. I was always trying to help God out when it came to finding me a husband. I wandered far off in the toy store of singleness in an attempt to make sure that His promises to me were fulfilled. “Don’t worry God. I got you. I’ll find him…” It didn’t look like very far when I started, but by the time I turned around, I was no longer walking in His path. As a result, I’m sure I missed a lot of what He would have liked to have shown me and I know I failed to rest in the assurance of His faithfulness to me.


As a married woman, I often tried to “help God” with my husband. So many things that he just needed a little help with. My voice is so much more effective than the Holy Spirit’s. I mean, I’m sure with just a little more “encouragement” (nagging) my husband will want to go to the 6:30am men’s group, lead a Bible Study and volunteer as an Usher. (That’s what being the spiritual leader of our home means, right?) Nope. Sister, if this is what you’re doing…begging your husband to be the spiritual leader so that you feel permission to follow God in a certain way. Stop. Just follow your Jesus. Your husband has his own journey with Jesus. You can’t make that happen. Get out of the way. Let them have their own journey just like you need to have your own.


God helped me see that He is a much better Father to my husband than I am, and that the more I focus on my walk with Him, and less on my husband’s, the more my husband can focus on Jesus and the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need my help. He is the “Helper.”


But, sometimes we wander big, don’t we? Sometimes we take big steps way off course and find ourselves in a pit. We look around and all we see is the space. The space between where we went off course and where we find ourselves now. The space between us and God. The silence in that space is often times painful. We long for His voice and often feel unheard and untended to. Maybe you’ve been in that space, in that pit, maybe you’re there now and someone has told you that that space is your sin and you need to repent…that God is far from you because of your sin.


Paul tells us in Romans 4 that it was Abraham’s faith that made him righteous before God, not his good works (clearly). Sister, Brother, friend – God is not near to you because you are really good at being good. God is not far from you because you didn’t obey the rules. Every time you sin, Jesus does not climb back up on that tree and die again for these new sins you’ve committed. All sin, for all time, is paid for – once and for all. You are covered in the blood and your faith has been credited to you as righteousness. God does not flee from you when you sin.


If you are saved, the practice of repentance isn’t for absolution, it is for your sanctification. Repent. Turn around, find your way back to Him. Move in the direction of His voice. If you don’t hear it, go to the last place you did hear it. Do this not because if you don’t He will abandon you, but because life is better with Him, on His path in His way...because it is the cry of our heart to be close to Him and walk with Him. And frankly, it is what He longs for also. He gave His life for it.

If you are feeling far from God, if you’re experiencing what feels like His silence, I’d invite you to close your eyes. Imagine the most peaceful place you can find in your mind. I envision a forest filled with cedars and pines, moss hanging from the branches, a stream off in the distance. The air is crisp and wet. The ground soft with rotting leaves and moss beneath my feet. Where is your calm place? The beach? A mountaintop? The desert? Find that place. Close your eyes. Imagine the smells, the sights, the sounds...activate all of your senses as you build this place in your imagination. Take a few deep breaths. Now, find a place to sit. Invite Jesus to this place. Can you envision Jesus? Are you willing to invite Him to sit with you in this place? If it’s been a while and feels hard, I’m sure He understands. He’s gentle. He doesn’t force Himself. What do you need to say to Him? What do you want Him to know? Take a few moments, say the words, cry the tears. And now, listen. Spend some time in this space. Even if it’s quite, just notice the tenderness of God.


You, beloved, are so precious. You have been pursued and held close to His heart. He has never been more than a breath away. Nothing you have done or could do would ever cause Him to abandon you.


“Jesus sought me when a stranger

Wandering from the fold of God

He to rescue me from danger

Interposed His precious blood…

Oh, to grace how great a debtor

Daily I'm constrained to be

Let Thy goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee”

-Come Thou Fount

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Self-Taught Christian Anxiety Management Course

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 @ 3:36 AM

10 Full counseling sessions-step by step
Self-Taught Christian Anxiety Management Course

This structured and comprehensive self-taught Christian anxiety management course is designed to guide you through a transformative journey, incorporating Biblical principles into each session.
The used approach aims to empower you with a range of coping skills, self-awareness, and a personalized plan for managing anxiety in various aspects of life.
Remember to approach each self-homework assignment with an open heart and a willingness to learn and grow in your faith journey. If you encounter challenges or have questions, consider seeking guidance from a Christian Counselor.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Descubre el Bienestar Integral: Tarjetas de Terapia del Dr. Remy Nelson para Afrontar y Aliviar el Dolor Emocional, Mental y Espiritual

Sunday, December 3, 2023 @ 8:36 AM

Las Tarjetas de Terapia del Dr. Remy Nelson son herramientas poderosas diseñadas para ofrecer apoyo emocional y guía en el proceso de enfrentar y aliviar el dolor. Las tarjetas están diseñadas para ayudar a manejar el dolor emocional, psicológico y espiritual. Aquí hay algunas maneras en que las Tarjetas de Terapia pueden ser de ayuda en el proceso de lidiar con el dolor:

Afrontamiento Emocional:
Las tarjetas contienen mensajes y afirmaciones que pueden brindar consuelo y apoyo emocional. Pueden ayudar a cambiar la perspectiva sobre el dolor, fomentar la resiliencia y proporcionar recordatorios positivos para enfrentar los desafíos con una mentalidad más fuerte.

Mindfulness y Relajación:
Las Tarjetas de Terapia pueden ser utilizadas en prácticas de mindfulness y meditación. Al enfocarse en las afirmaciones y mensajes positivos de las tarjetas durante la meditación, se puede lograr un estado de relajación que contribuya a reducir la percepción del dolor.

Reflexión y Autoexploración:
Las tarjetas invitan a la reflexión y autoexploración, permitiendo a quienes las utilizan explorar sus pensamientos y sentimientos con respecto al dolor. Este proceso puede ayudar a comprender mejor la naturaleza del dolor y a encontrar maneras más saludables de abordarlo.

Empoderamiento Personal:
Al utilizar las Tarjetas de Terapia, las personas pueden sentirse empoderadas al tener herramientas que les permitan enfrentar el dolor de manera proactiva. Las afirmaciones positivas pueden fortalecer la mentalidad y cultivar una sensación de control sobre la experiencia del dolor.

Apoyo en Sesiones Terapéuticas:
Los profesionales de la salud mental, como terapeutas y consejeros, pueden incorporar las Tarjetas de Terapia en sus sesiones para proporcionar apoyo adicional a aquellos que enfrentan el dolor. Las tarjetas pueden servir como punto de partida para discusiones terapéuticas y estrategias de afrontamiento.

Conexión Espiritual:
Para aquellos que buscan apoyo espiritual, las Tarjetas de Terapia también abordan la dimensión espiritual del dolor. Pueden ayudar a encontrar consuelo a través de afirmaciones que resuenen con las creencias espirituales individuales y fomentar una conexión más profunda con la espiritualidad.

En resumen, las Tarjetas de Terapia del Dr. Remy Nelson pueden ser aliadas valiosas en el proceso de gestionar y aliviar el dolor al abordar no solo sus aspectos físicos, sino también los emocionales, mentales y espirituales. Ofrecen un enfoque integral que busca fortalecer la resiliencia y fomentar el bienestar en medio de los desafíos del dolor.

Tarjetas de Terapia
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ77JRG?ref=myi_title_dp

Therapy Cards: Nurturing Well-being Through Dr. Remy Nelson's Therapeutic Wisdom

Sunday, December 3, 2023 @ 8:23 AM

Introduction:
Welcome to the transformative world of Dr. Remy Nelson’s Therapy Cards - an exquisite collection of Cartes de Thérapie and Tarjetas de Terapia designed to guide you on a profound journey toward mental well-being. Immerse yourself in the power of therapeutic affirmations and messages carefully crafted to address anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and the common struggle of not feeling good enough. With 64 unique cards in each deck, these cards are your daily companions on the path to healing.

Unlocking the Power of Therapy Cards:
Dr. Remy Nelson's Therapy Cards are not just flashcards; they are gateways to self-discovery and resilience. Integrate them seamlessly into your daily routine – draw a card in the morning, afternoon, and just before bedtime. Contemplate the messages, meditate, pray, and repeat the affirmations to set the tone for your day and promote better mental health.

Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Rituals for Improved Well-being:

Prioritizing Mental Health: Cultivate a habit of focusing on thoughts and feelings that align with better mental health.
Self-Care with Therapy Cards: Internalize the messages, practice affirmations throughout the day, and witness the positive transformation in your overall well-being.
Targeting Specific Mental Health Challenges:
In a world that rarely pauses, Dr. Remy Nelson’s Therapy Cards offer a sanctuary for mental health. Individuals, therapists, counselors, psychologists, and social workers can harness the power of these cards to address specific challenges and therapy goals.

Empowering Group Therapy Sessions:
Therapists can utilize Therapy Cards in group settings, fostering a sense of community and support. Encourage reflections on card topics to facilitate behavioral changes and a shared journey toward healing.

Art, Journaling, and Creative Expression:
Unleash the artistic and journaling potential of Therapy Cards. Express your thoughts creatively - draw, write, and use colors to symbolize the progression of challenges from their worst to resolution.

Mindfulness and Meditation:
Integrate Therapy Cards into mindfulness practices. Read a card, meditate, relax, and let go. Allow the therapeutic wisdom to guide you to a state of profound mindfulness.

Family and Children's Well-being:
Therapy Cards transcend individual use. Families can embrace the therapeutic journey together, using the cards to foster coping mechanisms, navigate emotions, and strengthen bonds.

Embark on a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and well-being with Dr. Remy Nelson’s Therapy Cards. Illuminate your path to inner harmony and make every day a step toward a healthier, more vibrant life.

Therapy Cards
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09K4HFR5P?ref=myi_title_dp

Cartes de Thérapie
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ9K1DC?ref=myi_title_dp

Tarjetas de Teerapia
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ77JRG?ref=myi_title_dp

Monday, November 20, 2023

Compassionate Gender Dysphoria Therapy

Monday, November 20, 2023 @ 1:04 PM

I’m a Registered Psychotherapist specializing in Gender Dysphoria. In recent years, the prevalence rate of gender dysphoria, especially in young children, has significantly increased. Understandably, this increase has presented new challenges in caring for and educating children.

As this has been an issue of increasing concern within my professional practice, I now am making available a free video resource and other services that may be beneficial to parents, caretakers, and educators. I have put together a recording which provides some background information on Gender Dysphoria.

While one presentation is not enough to explain everything it provides some understanding on how protocols around gender transition have changed recently and over time. This is a field that is rapidly developing and has seen drastic change over the last 10 years. If you have any questions, please let me know. You can find the video at the following link. https://youtu.be/wK3jZ5fCpRg

Sunday, November 19, 2023

When Busy is Bad

Sunday, November 19, 2023 @ 5:23 PM

We’re all busy. We have deadlines, expectations, and places to be. Busy isn’t bad. Busy can often be a sign of a healthy life being well lived. It’s inevitable we’ll have times where we’re busier than at other times. These busy days or seasons don’t have to derail our spiritual focus or hinder our walk with Christ.

Solomon reminded, “Keep your eyes focused on what is right and look straight ahead to what is good” (Proverbs 4:25), and Paul encouraged, “My eyes are on the crown. I want to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

We have such a gift of perspective, friends. Because of Jesus, our purpose is clear, our daily tasks that often keep us busy can take on new meaning. But even with an overall spiritual outlook on life, we’re bound to find ourselves in situations where busyness derails our focus. If you find yourself busy, and also feeling anxious or exhausted, the busyness in your life may have become problematic.

Busyness can become problematic when we use it as
· An excuse for not prioritizing the most important areas of our lives.
· A badge of honor worn with pride, reminding us of our worth.
· A way to numb our uncomfortable feelings.
· An armor we wear to avoid experiencing the pain of life.

There are two common ways this can happen:
1. If you have a hard time saying no, or difficulty recognizing your own capacity, you may routinely take on more than you can handle. This can set you up to feel overwhelmed and incompetent.
2. If you’re afraid you’ll miss out on opportunities to connect with others and nourish relationships, you may tend to overcommit yourself. What you’re looking for is connection, but the over-commitment can have the opposite effect and may create a sense of loneliness and isolation.

If either one of these scenarios sound familiar, try taking an honest assessment of how you’re spending your time. Then, ask yourself these two questions:
1. “Am I able to be fully engaged and present in every activity of which I find myself a part?” If the answer is “No”, that may be your cue to reevaluate your commitments.
2. “Do I feel connected and happy after spending time in a specific activity?” If you feel sad or lonely or overwhelmed, you again may find it helpful to reevaluate your busy schedule.

Try these ideas to help you refocus and reduce overwhelm from busyness:
• Schedule in some “white space” on your calendar this week. We’re more likely to do the things
we plan for, so plan for unscheduled blocks of time.
• Look for natural ways to group similar tasks. Batching tasks prevents us from having to “switch
gears” as often and therefore saves time. It allows us to prevent additional time setting up for
similar tasks and improves focus.
• Make lists and keep your “To Do’s” somewhere besides your brain. Your day may be busy, but
your mind doesn’t have to be cluttered!

Being busy, active, and about the work God has set out for you to do individually, and as a part of the body of Christ is good. Allowing yourself to become so busy that your purpose feels muddled, however, can be a sign to slow down, allow yourself to reassess and rest. I love how author Mark Buchanan puts it, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”

Friday, November 10, 2023

Filling a Half-empty Glass

Friday, November 10, 2023 @ 9:44 AM

Do you view your glass as half empty or half full? Trying times can challenge us to rethink our expectations, values, and goals. Read this story of a gifted writer who lost virtually everything – to the point that his glass was nearly empty, and how he refilled his glass with faith.

John felt devastated when his father died weeks before his planned wedding. Lost forever was the opportunity to clink a champagne glass full of hope with his beloved Dad. Struggling with depression, John sought psychiatric care and started taking a common antidepressant. Despite a postponement, the wedding events resembled a Greek tragedy as John's depressive symptoms worsened to the point that the couple canceled their long-awaited honeymoon.

The Glass Half Empty
During the first weeks of marriage, John's psychiatrist ignored his complaints of confusion and agitation until he became delusional. Days after starting antipsychotic medication, he became more disoriented as he reported symptoms of blurred vision and flashing lights in his peripheral vision. His primary doctor and ophthalmologist dismissed his physical complaints as psychotic delusions. Desperate to please his boss, he worked for a week in this condition. On his last day at work, his new bride found him in the parking lot outside his office, kneeling on the cold December pavement and staring into his car, mumbling incoherently.

The next day, John's wife brought him to a local hospital emergency room, where he was admitted to the psychiatric unit. Branding him with the diagnosis of "schizoaffective disorder" (chronically depressed and psychotic), the hospital psychiatrist dosed him heavily with powerful antipsychotic medications. The hospital staff discharged John a week later in far worse condition than when he entered, with the dire predictions that he would never drive or work again. Too confused to sign his name to a check, drive, read, or write a coherent sentence, John reluctantly resigned from his full-time writing job of 25 years.

The Glass Shatters
In the following weeks, John lost virtually everything in his life – his friends, purpose, standing in the community, financial security, adequate health insurance, and identity. Even his outpatient psychologist and psychiatrist abruptly abandoned him shortly after he lost his means to pay their fees. His few brief social encounters reeked of awkward silences in his presence and judging whispers when he went outside to smoke, his only reprieve from his horror. Some people even criticized him for smoking, being lazy, or not "getting over" his problems. No question, his new trials tested his new marriage. In the throes of intense grief, he withdrew from the world." My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night, but I find no rest." (Psalm 22: 1-2)

The Glass Half Full
John’s wife set up a GoFundMe page to solicit funds to pay his hospital bill. Donations offered mainly by relatives and the local Lions Club enabled John to pay his immediate medical bills.

After a period of mourning, John sought effective treatment. With the help of an inspired neurologist, John learned that he suffered a stroke, probably during the last week at his job. Finally, a glimmer of hope sparkled as he learned he could recover with occupational therapy. John reconnected with the few supportive people willing to hold conversations with him.

He practiced speaking several hours weekly with his trusted life coach, a new therapist, a cousin, and his chiropractor's receptionist. He practiced reading aloud and driving daily with his wife. He enrolled in a drawing and writing class at the local community college. With much encouragement from his writing teacher, he even started writing again. Soon, he felt ready to pursue part-time or volunteer work. Now, he could imagine his glass becoming half full. "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Refilling the Glass
After many community members ignored or refused his offers of volunteer service, John eventually landed a part-time job scrubbing pots and pans at a nursing home in a neighboring town. Soon, he delivered meals to nursing home residents in their rooms. They welcomed the opportunity to talk with him, even briefly. In time, his social skills improved enough to work at a neighboring town's health club facility. Following a demoralizing experience as a freelance writer, he gave up on writing and pursued rigorous training to become a licensed insurance producer. Upon passing his exams, he found an entry-level job working for a kind insurance agent in a neighboring town. His confidence grew. "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

With loving encouragement from his Dad's older sister, John risked another attempt at writing – a part-time position at his old job. The community members who previously shunned him grew impressed with his recovered talents. As his skills improved, John landed two more prominent writing gigs and a full-time sales job with health insurance benefits. Finally, with the help of supportive people, John started to recoup the losses he suffered to the point where his glass overflowed with hope. "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)

Dear Lord, please grant us the sensitivity and compassion to offer our friendship and support to everyone who struggles with behavioral health challenges. Amen.

Author: Jessica Loftus, Ph.D.
Image is under license from Shutterstock.com