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Monday, September 26, 2022

Brain Retraining or How-to Renew Your Mind

Monday, September 26, 2022 @ 8:01 PM

Renewing Your Mind

Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Illness, Traumatic Memories, Poverty, and Stubborn Weight are in complete opposition to God and His will for your life. “Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul (your mind and emotions) is prospering. (3 John 1:2 TPT)

If you want to be transformed emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially, you've got to do your part and renew your mind. How? By taking every thought, emotion, and belief captive, retraining them to obey Jesus Christ. This is how we renew our minds! (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5)

In this book, you will understand exactly:
How to dismantle your emotional and mental defenses against trusting God’s blessings are for you.
How to demolish every deceptive fantasy of thought and imagination that opposes God’s blessings for you.
How to get breakthrough from every arrogant attitude and false belief that defies the true knowledge of God’s love for you.
How-to capture every thought and retrain it so it obeys Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

I want to teach you exactly how to get out of your own way. Consider how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, who were their own stumbling blocks.” (Hebrews 12:3a)

Brain Retrain is for anyone who wants to experience the life of power, joy, abundance, and love that God intended for us through our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is for anyone willing to exchange their self-limiting patterns of thoughts, beliefs, and behavior for new responses that create, and allow you to receive abundance in every area of life. It’s for people like you and me who are excited about replacing negative and disempowering beliefs with those that are not only positive but rooted in Truth! It’s for those who want to experience every promise we’ve read in the Word of God. It’s for those who want to feel loved, valued, protected, blessed, and then inspired to act on that wisdom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What are some benefits of seeing a counselor?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 @ 12:38 PM

What happens during an Assessment Session.

An empathetic ear…
Reaching out to a counselor can be a very scary thing for most of us. I mean, “I’m going to unload all of my troubles and fears to this complete stranger?!!” It can feel very overwhelming.

The reality is, we don’t know, what we don’t know. Removing some of that mystery may make things easier for the client. (I, personally use the term client, because the image of a patient is not very empowering.) Therefore, I want to walk you through an Intake Session.

Remember that every counselor is going to have their own methods, this is simply what I do.

After you first reach out to me expressing an interest in having a first session, I reply with the following 2 assignments for you to do:

Before we meet, I would like you to do these two assignments and send them to me. You can keep them very simple if you like:

First; I would like you to draw up a baseball diamond and name the most pressing presenting problem(s) in your life at home plate (at the bottom of the page). As you move to the pitcher’s mound (Center), name other problems that are also serious, but not as urgent. As you move along the bases (Counter-clockwise at 3, 12 and 9), name other issues in your life that you want to work on. Finally, in the outfield (at the very top), name other issues that are not as pressing~ more like they’re on the “back-burner” that you would like to address someday in the future. If baseball is a foreign concept, then just make a list and that’ll be fine.

Second; Write down 10 goals~ what you want to achieve in your life between now and when you turn 75. Begin each one of them with: I want to … Do your best, but don’t worry if you don’t have 10 at this time. Send the assignments to me before the session. Thank you.

The first exercise examines the past and the second one examines the future. We will also look at issues of “self-care” during the first session. Change is painful~ but it is necessary to go through the pain of change.

So we begin our first session. I tend to prefer meeting via Skype video. I explain that everything discussed is covered by Canadian Confidentiality Laws. We also discuss fees and how we deal with sudden cancelations, etc.

So we begin with either questions they may have, or the two assignments, or their own story beginning in childhood, growing up. That is up to the client to decide. In the beginning, I’m mostly listening, posing the odd question for clarification. I explain that I am here to assess, and not to judge. My focus as an inter-faith pastoral counselor is on both mystery and grace. The pastoral side looks at the power of stories in religious or secular literature that touch us, that we resonate with.

After 30 minutes, I inform them that their free block of time has run out. They may elect to continue, and we turn on the “meter” or they may elect to end the session. If they end it, I try and ascertain if they might want to set up an appointment another time, or not. If not, that is fine. I only ask that if they found the session helpful, that they might refer me to others. If they do wish to have a session in the near future, then let me know when would be best. (It does not need to be written down in stone at this time.)

Finally, how I and a few other fellow counselors are different than more traditional therapists.

First, I am very eclectic in my approach and methodology.

Second, When possible, I let the client decide how long the session will be. Typically it will end at a half-hour mark, but they decide when they are finished. It’s not always ideal, but we do what we can. (I have had very long sessions with certain clients…they have found it to be beneficial.)

Third, like many therapists, I offer a “sliding scale”. If a person cannot afford to pay the full fee, we will come to an agreement on a lower fee. I do not do “free therapy”, I think that is most unhelpful. A client needs to feel that s/he is giving and receiving something from the work they are doing.

Counseling is hard work. There is much pain. Journeying together is a healing art. I hope that you have found this to be helpful in taking the first step in getting in touch. Remember, there is hope!


by Yvon Malenfant | Medium

Monday, September 19, 2022

“I” Versus “We” In A Healthy Relationship

Monday, September 19, 2022 @ 6:31 PM

Most people have a pretty well-developed sense of self before they enter a romantic relationship. Christians in particular have a strong sense of identity based upon the foundation of their faith. This is valuable in entering a relationship because a strong sense of identity and a balanced ego are fundamental to personal mental health and well-being. Bu then, after you enter a relationship, another process begins: your sense of self evolves, whether you often stop to reflect on the change or not.

After a divorce or the death of a partner, people are often struck by the effect of the loss on their personal identity. This often happens because people had not realized just how much their sense of self had evolved. For example, therapists illustrate the point by asking someone to imagine their identity before entering a romantic relationship as a circle — and their partner’s identity as a similar, separate circle. As their relationship develops, the circles begin to overlap one another. This is the development of a sense of identity as a couple. After a divorce or death of a partner, the now lone partner is often struck by another loss: the loss of their identity as a couple.

How much the circles should overlap, so to speak, is a matter that deserves reflection. If you think of the extremes, it’s fair to say that two people in a healthy relationship should not retain two completely separate individual identities without creating a shared identity as a couple. Likewise, it’s fair to say that people should not completely lose their identities as individuals.

Which brings up a vital, related question: What’s a healthy balance between independence and interdependence in a relationship? Completely retaining your independence has its drawbacks. That’s especially true if the partners are out of sync — if one person is overly dependent while the other is overly independent. On the flip side, interdependence is sometimes negatively but unfairly described as “co-dependence,” which as a concept is almost intuitively negative.

To understand the balance, it might help to start by considering what a healthy balance of dependency and independence might look like. Healthy dependency in a relation means sharing with your partner your most private sorrows, doubts and fears — and depending on them to respect your feelings. And that just might require more courage than many people might imagine. Obviously, it’s a tough balancing act. But if you reflect long on hard on your own sense of self in a relationship, and invite your partner in on your reflections, you may be delighted with the reward.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Grief and Loss

Wednesday, September 7, 2022 @ 8:41 PM

Troublesome conditions and much loss were created by the recent pandemic of coronavirus outbreak. An even larger problem now looms a pandemic of grief. I’m not talking about the obvious grief associated with mourning the loss of a loved one who dies. I’m talking about the grief caused by more generalized losses. These may include sudden illness, public safety, home safety, necessities of life (food and shelter), physical health, life routines, peace of mind, emotional security, employment, business ownership, trust in people, privacy, social interaction, faith in science, faith in God, self-image, self-worth, and a host of identity issues and beliefs questioning who we are and where we’re going. There is no shortage of loss these days. I used to think of grief in terms of mourning the death of someone in close relationship, but have learned that grief applies to all types of losses and hurts. For loss to be recovered (large and small losses alike), loss must be grieved.

Grieving Relieves Pain

When things feel so out of control, as in these times, how should we respond? As a Christian, the obvious answer is to turn to God. But in our human condition, what does that look like? We see in the Bible that Jesus bears our grief and carries our sorrows for us (see Isaiah 53:1-6). Jesus came to redeem us from our sin and to bear the pain of the consequences of sin in our world. Although Jesus accomplished this work for us, it is often very difficult for us as individuals to surrender to His way of working it out in our humanity. Processing grief can be hard work, but it is essential for our wellbeing. Grief is something everyone is going through in the aftermath of pandemic, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

Necessary Adjustments

Grief is the process of engaging loss, making adjustments, and recovering new hope for meeting life’s needs. Let’s briefly consider these three elements.
First, consider your losses. Identify them, and make a list. Name not only the tangible losses like job, finances, school, time, health, disruptions in relationship (parent, spouse, siblings, child, close friend), too much or too little personal space etc., but also name the intangible (emotional) losses that go with each tangible loss. Intangible losses may be things like confidence or competence level, sense of safety or security, degree of peace of mind, personal dignity, self-capability, sense of control, beliefs about God, other people, or self, trust in people or institutions, and self-worth and values issues. Making this list may sound like a goofy idea, but it will have a huge payoff in the long run. If you don’t name, you don’t know what to reclaim. There’s no recovery without discovery. It’s that simple. An exercise in naming losses requires some time alone and free from distractions. It can be emotionally draining, so take a break if you feel overwhelmed.
With a written list, you now have something to return to as you go through making adjustments which is the core work of grief. Making adjustments involves stepping through at least four phases of re-orienting yourself to life. As many counselors do, when I explain grief, I usually draw an inverted bell-shaped curve on a blank sheet of paper. The curve slopes downward on the left side, and back up on the right.

Phasing Through

Beginning on the left (slope of disorientation), the first, initial impact phase is the shock of it all, likely including some numbness, denial, and maybe even some erratic emotional reactions. The brain mercifully withholds the realization of the full impact of the event in order to survive and push ahead.
In the second phase, wrestling with reality, is where the anger and fear may kick in with searching for answers, and sometimes some panic feelings with an incident of higher impact. This phase may include some searching for answers to what would’a, should’a, could’a happened to avoid such a thing. As reality sets in, anger towards self, others, or God is common. Fear of deeper loss may threaten your security. Fear of losing life as you have known it may dim your outlook of the future.
A third phase, dealing with the pain, is at the bottom of the curve. This Is where the feeling and emotions need to be identified and worked through to resolution. Things like guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, loneliness, abandonment, powerlessness, depression, and confusion are normal responses and felt in varying degrees by different people. Resolving to a tolerable degree of pain may take time--hours, days, months, and years for deeper losses. Time periods for grieving losses are also unique to the individual.
This process is much too involved to completely describe here, but an important key is to permit yourself to feel. That might sound strange, but most of us have been taught to ignore, deny, or minimize, as much as possible, the emotional part of our being. Dumbing down emotions without first discovering the message they are trying to relay to us, is a perilous mistake. Be honest with yourself and name the feelings and emotions. This is the phase of grieving where many people get stuck. Even if you give up (intentionally or unintentionally) on grief, grief will never give up on you. Grief is real. If not processed through, it can haunt you the rest of your life. If the unpleasant emotion is too hard to work through, seek out a good counselor to help you to recovery.
Recovery is on the way when you can start to look back and see your quality of life returning in a positive direction to what it was before the loss. Recovery is a process of re-organizing your life and finding new hope for the future. This is the upward slope on the curve mentioned above. After job loss, for example, a person may develop a new skill, or discover a hidden talent that helps them find a more suitable job than their previous employment. Recovery is being able to say, “If I hadn’t lost my job, I wouldn’t be in a better place today.” Things like new skills, new relationships, new beliefs, and ways of seeing things around you, all provide hope. Hope is what keeps us going.

The Journey

The journey isn’t always a smooth ride neatly progressing through the phases. There may be some degree of victory, and then another reminder, negative event, anniversary date, or trigger that raises more concerns or things to process. Re-processing is not to be considered a setback, but growth. Growing involves periods of stretching.
As believers in Christ, our true hope is in the Lord, as our Bible tells us. God is at the center of this entire process and as we walk with Jesus, he transforms our heart along the way. The inner person healing journey is very similar to working through grief. New understanding and practice of forgiveness is often a part of this. Refer to my various blog articles for more on pursuing transformation and sanctification.
The process of grieving losses described above can be as reflective and prayerful as you choose to make it. The greater the seriousness you give it, the greater the potential blessing God has for you on the recovery side. Grief can be viewed as a gift to give us an invitation to press into God to know him more, and be known by him.

Stress Relief

Whether you cooperate with God or not, in response to loss, there is one more thing to consider. Unresolved grief produces high levels of toxic stress. When this stress becomes intolerable, very unhealthy things occur. One of three scenarios is likely--victim, survivor, or rescuer. A victim interprets life from a poverty mindset and acts out by rejecting (victimizing) self or others. A survivor stuffs the pain, and appears to have survived with a decent level of functionality, but losing control remains a threat. A rescuer turns to unwittingly helping others out of their pain to compensate for their own lack of pain processing. Examining ourselves to see where we may have tendencies of victim, survivor, or rescuer can make us aware of unprocessed pain.
Although I’ve barely scratched the surface of this topic, please do give it serious consideration. If you are struggling, you are not strange. If your feelings are not what you would like them to be, you are not beyond hope. New life is within reach. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Reach out to someone you trust today. If you want someone to pray with or discuss this more, give me a call. If I can be of help to your group (online or in person, please call. I have helped many people through this process, and I have my own grief to process as well.
My prayer is that we are willing to do the hard work of grieving losses, to become more resilient and better prepared to help as help is needed in our communities.

Note: Sometimes accumulated losses (many losses in a short period of time) can have a similar affect as a traumatic event. Trauma complicates this process and puts you at greater risk of doing harm. If you are having lingering thoughts of suicide or hurting someone else, call an emergency hotline immediately.

Father Wound, Father Blessing II

Wednesday, September 7, 2022 @ 7:57 PM

There are many types of fathers and combinations of types that affect us still even today.This list can tell us a lot about our lives and relationships in the here and now.

The workaholic father: you don’t see this dad very much as a child. he believes that his family it’s best served by him working all the time. Sometimes this is how he expresses his love. But as King Solomon says, “Better is open rebuke than love that has concealed.” Frankly he is using work as a way of avoiding hard emotions. so, vulnerability with mom and closeness to his kids is something that doesn’t really happen. Unfortunately, he is modeling poor behavior for leaders and future workers

The silent father: Absent in spirit and in actions, this father lacks the ability to express thoughts or feelings with the mom and or children. Beyond what is standard in his culture this father lacks most expressions of any connection or love.

The alcoholic father: Alcohol and or drugs have taken over this man’s life. perhaps passive or perhaps aggressive, this father is irresponsible to his spouse and to his kids.

The abusive father: Using physical or verbal violence this dad tends to abuse his power or his children controlling them and helping them feel fearful and insecure.

The idealized father: Perhaps with image management or even absence this dad creates a fantasy for the children that misleads them into thinking that he’s all good.
The tyrannical father. Much like the abusive father, this dad frequently has personality characteristics that helped him act controlling and hostile towards the children and or mother. He has high desire to control

The seductive father: “Seductive” refers to a set of behaviors that do not include molestation. The key feature of a seductive father is that he has ill-defined personal boundaries—both his own and those of others. He exhibits a higher degree of intimacy toward people, especially his children, than they are comfortable with, or that matches the relationship, and often expects the same in return. In many ways, the seductive father is too open with his nurturing feelings.

The competitive father. This dad cannot let his children win and he sees them as competition and consistently one down from him even as they grow into adults. He is hyper masculine and inside very insecure.

The triangulating or fusing father: This dad redirects emotions and thoughts meant for the mother to one or more of the children. these thoughts or emotions can be negative or positive or some combination of the two. Children usually get mad or confused when they observe this in their relationship with their parents. Sometimes he invites the children into the middle of the relationship with his spouse or sometimes even his own parents.

The Good- Enough father. This is the father that does just about everything right. He’s not perfect but he’s faithful and the children know that he’s trying hard. He is a servant leader while holding his children accountable with good boundaries and lots of grace. He understands what developmental stage his children are in and acts accordingly.

The Doubly Dangerous Father.
Some people experience an abusive father where they must eject the father object. They are deprived of the presence of the healthy, supportive father who should have been there, but they also sustained the damage inflicted by the abusive father who was there. Thus they experienced fathers that were absent with additional consequences besides.

The Physically Abusive Father: Driven by rage, alcohol, or drugs or all three this father uses physical discipline way above what is needed.

The Molesting Father: With poor generational and sexual boundaries this father takes out his relational and sexual desires on the child instead of the spouse.

The Terrorizing Father: Possibly addicted to rage and sometimes physically abusive, this father terrorizes his children and uses fear to control them.

The Weak Father: Low boundaries, weak leadership and a one up-one down relationship with the mother creates a father that seems powerless and ineffectual.

Now put the word leader, boss or manager where the word father is. I guarantee you this will tell you a lot about your own leaders as well as about yourself as a leader. Many of us are leaders by default: we are parents! Before that we were followers as children. We modeled and internalized how our parents led. All of us bring our parents and families of origin to our workplace as well as to our families of present. We bring our script and expectations (positive and negative) to our relationships and unconsciously try to play out our script with people.

The Father Wound and Blessing: Imago Work. Write a letter to your father with your non dominant hand telling him what you missed and needed as a child. You do not have to send this letter but you may find that it will tell you a lot about your relationship with your boss, with your spouse, your kids and how you see God. Mentoring coaching counseling as well as discipleship and accountability will do much to help you work on issues with your father. See Making Peace With Your Father by Dave Stoop