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Monday, June 10, 2019

Should I Use My Medical Insurance For Counseling?

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 7:12 PM

One of the questions I’m often asked by potential clients is, “Do you take insurance?” I mean, you pay for health insurance for a reason and you want to use it when you can, right? While I don’t participate in direct billing with insurance companies, there are many insurance policies that will reimburse for treatment you’ve received. These are generally known as Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) or Point of Service (POS).

The Seven Myths of Christian Counseling

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 6:53 PM

There are a lot of myths in regards to Christian counseling. Probably the biggest myth is that Christian counseling is about telling people what God wants them to do! Today’s Christian counseling is not about telling you what to do our believe, but rather it’s about exploring how ones faith (Regardless of what that is) impacts their own identity and ultimately their life story.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Understanding The Always-Angry Boss

Friday, June 07, 2019 @ 7:08 PM

Do you know a boss or leader who is super-confrontational? Lacks tact? Sees everything in black or white? Can win the point, but lose the person? Henry Cloud and John Townsend talk about what might be missing in that leader's life

"Randy, a bright financial manager, had achieved much success in his field. As chief financial officer for several companies, he was valued for his ability to forecast a company’s financial needs. But whenever someone questioned his decisions or opposed him in any way, he could get vicious. He had a knack for turning normal conflicts into win-lose confrontations; matters of simple disagreement quickly became adversarial. His basic orientation was 'for' and 'against.' If someone questioned him, he assumed that person was 'against' him, and he began to mobilize his defenses to fight off the 'attack.'

This leader lived by fear rather than by faith. In early childhood he had not had been able to put his mom's love inside. He could not "....write kindness and truth on the tablets of his heart." His heart was too busy fighting an imagined enemy.

"Randy’s pattern of insecurity interfered with his ability to keep a job. He would do well for a while in a company, his strengths shining and the CEO generally pleased with his accomplishments, until his adversarial mode of operation would divide the management team. Lines would be drawn until finally the president would figure out what was going on and let Randy go. Randy’s insecurity came from a lack of basic trust at his core. Without a mother’s love inside, Randy experienced the world as a hostile and dangerous place. His role in this world was to defend himself."

Consequences and hard work can do much to help this person heal and grow. Accountability, anger management, therapy and executive coaching can help him get the love and integrity in his heart along with deep, real friendship where he can bring his real self with it's needs and hurts to a safe place.

Cloud, Henry, Boundaries And Leaders: How To Be Ridiculously In Charge

Cloud, Henry, Townsend, John. The Mom Factor: Dealing with the Mother You Had, Didn't Have, or Still Contend With (p. 30).

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

PTSD: Community Awareness

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 @ 6:14 PM

Alpha Counseling

The public is invited to a free workshop on PTSD. The workshop will be on Thursday June 27, 2019 from 6:00 pm until 8:00pm. Learn from multiple professionals on the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, learn treatment options for PTSD, and learn how you can help. Stand with us and be part of the solution to PTSD!

Alpha Counseling is a safe place in which we encourage our clients to bring their faith into treatment. We treat all mental health and dual diagnosis disorders. We offer an environment of healing, growth, and support. Our highly trained and experienced state licensed counselors are here to help you, and walk with you in discovering solutions in a compassionate and faith driven atmosphere. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your individual, marital, and/or family needs for healing, strength and growth.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Depression Group

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 @ 6:06 PM

Weekly Depression Support Group
Helping build Godly motivation to overcome emotional challenges.

Monday, May 13, 2019

LOVE NEEDS: Discovering Your Top 10 Languages of Loving

Monday, May 13, 2019 @ 1:07 PM

"Love Needs: Discover Your Top 10 Languages of Loving" will help you and your partner take the guesswork out of what "better" really looks like. This book is based on and includes the 30 item "Love Needs Assessment" developed by two skilled therapists, Dr. Mike and Rhonda Garrett. Over 2000 couples were assessed over a six year period to bring this evidence-based questionnaire and guidebook into existence. Every short chapter (30 total) helps the reader learn more about how to give and receive love practically and specifically. Every page is packed with fabulous ideas and tools to help breathe new life into hurting couples and develop a workable plan for maximizing healthy couples. “Love Needs will strengthen the best of marriages . . . Congratulations! You’ve written a winner!”Dr. Henry Oursler, Founder, Bringing Truth to Life, President, LeaderShape“. . . an excellent guide to marital enrichment . . . I would highly commend it to couples and counselors.”Sam R. Williams, PhD, Professor of Counseling,Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC“. . . a resource to share that can breathe new life into hurting couples.” Tim and Joy Downs, Family Life Speaker Team, authors of Fight Fair and One of Us Must Be Crazy“. . . a workable path to a maximum marriage.” Dick Purnell, Cru Staff, author of sixteen Christian books“. . . Well written, easy to read, full of helpful steps.” Sharon May, PhD, Founder of Safe Haven Relationship Center, author of How To Argue so Your Spouse Will Listen“The church and the professional counseling community owe you a big “Thank you”. What a great resource!” Anthony Thomas, LCSW, Executive Director Marriage Menders & Family Counseling, “. . . a spectacular set of tools, wisely applied, that will help any husband and wife.”Paula Rinehart, LCSW, therapist, teacher, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Sex and the Soul of a Woman

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

3 Steps to Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 2:11 PM

3 Steps To Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

I know, you just walked out the door and never want to see this person again. But you will. Your shared family, the kids you love, will make sure of that. So let’s protect the one aspect of your relationship that will remain: Your CoParenting Relationship.
Step 1 Choose the method of divorce that gives you the greatest control and the least conflict.

Many newly separated people don’t realize how many options they have for getting a divorce. Each situation presents its own issues, so consult a well trained lawyer to find the right one for you. In my experience, there are 3 basic ways to get a divorce:

Litigation-the one where a judge sets the timeline, and makes the final decisions and the process is very public. This one includes something called discovery, where everyone competes to be the best and to show the other person as the worst.
Mediation-the parties sit down with a third person [and most of the time their lawyers] and hammer out an agreement. This typically has a time pressure of trying to get it done quickly and can be done at any time during a litigated divorce. Discovery may be a part of this option as well.
Collaborative Divorce-the parties each have a lawyer, and some neutrals like a mental health professional and a financial professional, who work in an interest based negotiation to find the best future for the family. This process gives the parties more control over the final product, their schedule, and their privacy. Discovery is not a part of this option.

As a mental health profession who has worked with divorcing families for 15 years, discovery damages the CoParenting relationship in nearly every case. Avoiding that process can increase your chances of a good CoParenting relationship and a stable agreement.
Step 2 Communicate well.

Divorce includes a lot of change and stress. During this time, lots of emails, texts and phone calls can become extremely emotional and counterproductive. Read books on communication [I recommend Bill Eddy’s BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns.] Then apply what you learned. Be brief, informative, friendly, and firm when you communicate. Make sure you put dates on the times when you need replies. When you get a communication from your CoParent, don’t just hit reply. Take a bit to breathe and think about the best way to communicate.
Step 3 Maintain a business relationship with your CoParent.

By far, this advice has helped my client’s parents the most. Reminding yourself that you are no longer managing the other parent’s life and emotions changes how you respond to them. Remembering that most communications will be limited to business arrangements of finances, coordinating schedules, and communicating events can help you not become emotional.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Be Angry and Sin Not

Saturday, April 20, 2019 @ 12:51 PM

The Pastor's Place

I once asked God you said "Be angry and sin not." How can I be angry and not sin? Today He answered. Psalm 42 says that you can pour out your heart to Him and He hears us. Whether it's joy or suffering and pain and in particular, anger. So what's in our hearts that God would actually want to hear about it? He already knows we're angry, and why, but there comes a release of it's power when we take it to God and God can help us and teach us His way. Mercy triumphs over.

It's okay to tell God that you're angry and why. This is the pouring out of your soul as David did. If we can learn to trust God with our feelings, knowing He won't get mad at us that breaks the power of the sin of anger. We often don't think about when we're angry but blurt it out like fire. We may have been angry as a child but didn't know how to process it and a parent may not have taught a child how to handle because they didn't know either. But if we take it to God, it's a whole new world.

We can shout, scream, cry through the situation. This brings the release that quenches the bitterness, the unforgiveness. No root of bitterness can spring up if we avoid it by pouring out our heart to God.

The human heart may hold love, but the heart of man is filled with evil of every kind. God isn't surprised by our negative feelings. Expressing our anger at the wrong we endured or are enduring produces character that maybe God thought it the best way to teach us. Suffering brings an anger, or rage. God is above it all and in it all and He never gets tired of our tears. He never grows weary of us coming to Him. It's in our reaching to Him, drawing near to Him that He can extend His mercy and graciousness. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Mercy is forgiveness. We judge when we are angry. If we learn to forgive the offender, we release them from what we feel towards them, in this case, anger. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. It goes beyond words.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Workshop

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 6:20 PM

Alpha Counseling

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month

You are invited to join Alpha Counseling for a discussion regarding taking your first steps to healing from sexual violence. If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual violence, or if you want to take a stand against sexual violence, please attend.

Speakers to include representatives from North Idaho Crisis Center, Post Falls Police Department Victim's Advocate, as well as Dr. Debbie Nunez and John Huffer, LMHC from Alpha Counseling. Participants will be able to write words of inspiration on the healing wall.

There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.

Friday, April 05, 2019

What Does Jesus Want From Me?

Friday, April 05, 2019 @ 12:11 PM

A woman in Atlanta called to tell me she is angry at Jesus because she assumes He wants something from her. Her mother abused her and so did boyfriends. She is also angry at herself for thinking such thoughts but also fearful because she may not provide what Jesus wants from her even though she figures it can’t be bad.  ‘Am I right?’ She asked.  I told her the simple truth:  All Jesus wants from you is to become more like Him. And, you can’t do it on your own, you need the Holy Spirit.  But she then adamantly wants to compare Jesus with her  controlling mother and boyfriends.  I told her there is a difference.  Jesus is not controlling.  ‘Why not? My mother and boyfriends were.’ I told her that Jesus created us with free will. We can freely love Him as well as reject Him (Rev. 3:20).  She liked that. Of course. The Bible is the greatest source for the truth.  

 

Rev. Dr. Craig A. Brewick, Christian Hope Counseling

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Freedom In Forgiveness

Saturday, March 30, 2019 @ 7:18 PM

As we near Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, many of us begin to focus more on forgiveness; forgiveness for self and for others. This can oftentimes be a difficult and confusing action to take.

Many people think that when we forgive we are saying that what someone did to us is OK. We believe that forgiveness is a way of letting someone off the hook for a wrongful act. However, let us not confuse forgiveness with permission. When Christ said in John 8:11, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more,” He did not give permission for sin, but forgiveness. He was differentiating between forgiveness and permission.

You see, forgiveness is not for the person who wronged us, it's for ourselves. When we hold on to resentment, bitterness brews within us. Bitterness is a root that grows in our hearts and can negatively affect other areas of our lives. Bitterness takes us down and steals our joy, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Unforgiveness is like carrying around a backpack filled with rotten potatoes, which weighs us down and prevents us from moving on.

Forgiveness does NOT:
...excuse the one who hurt you or did you wrong.
...mean you re-engage in a relationship with the one who hurt you.
...equal trust. Forgiveness is given. Trust is earned.

Forgiveness IS:
...saying goodbye to bitterness and resentment.
...gaining freedom from pain.
...releasing the beauty of peace and happiness.
...letting go in order to move on.

Forgiveness Is Freedom!

Forgiveness is hard, but is it also possible. If you need help forgiving someone, including yourself, I’m here to help. Living with bitterness and shame is not God’s plan for you. Working with a professional therapist can help you process the wrong that was done to you, help you discover the strength to forgive, let go of shame and guilt, and recapture your joy.

Why should you forgive? Because YOU deserve it!

Gretchen is currently accepting new clients and may be contacted by email at gretchen@anxietytraumatherapy.com or by phone at 619-272-6858 x713

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Fixing Your Blind Spots: How To Become More Self-Aware As A Leader at Home, Church Or Work

Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 12:38 AM

"First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." - Matthew 7:5. Self-awareness can become one of your most powerful tools. Being able to step outside of yourself and see your own junk can be very helpful for leaders and their relationships. Self aware people are largely successful. You can become so self-aware that it becomes neurotic. But this happens in the case where you are judging yourself rather than evaluating what's going on. Here are some ideas to help create more self-awareness as a leader:

1. Invite feedback especially from direct reports. You can use a 360 degree feedback mechanism but it can also help just to have conversations about how you're doing.

2. Pay special attention to how others feel around you. While you don't want to give them too much power, you also want to make sure that you're being sensitive to them while also being independent of their opinion.

3. Ask yourself what you are truly feeling. Get a chart with some feeling words and ask yourself what you're feeling in regards to a situation with your relationships with your associates. 

4. Check your assumptions and your entitlement. These two issues can really get you into difficult situations in relationships in the workplace, home or church.

5. Check out your ideal self or despised self. These two parts can help us understand a lot about what we're thinking and feeling about ourselves.

6. Ask yourself how something happened not just why. Attempt to debrief with yourself and with others exactly how a problem or a success occurred.

7. Understand what you might be afraid of. Know what are real threats or just cues that might be triggering you into anxiety.

8. Shaming yourself will help your heart to hide. Real guilt, as opposed to shame, can be used to learn lessons and make amends.

Be encouraged to take at least one idea here as a first step. Get outside feedback whether that's counseling, coaching, a friend or a mentor and find a small attainable goal.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Black Pearl Blue Hope, Surviving through Mental Illness

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 12:18 PM

L. Nicole Goodman takes the audience on a journey; humbling sharing her world with living with mental health and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis. Her family and friends offer insight and perspective. Through her transparency, she redefines the stereotype making her book and short firm truly inspirational pieces.

Understanding Mental Health: Bipolar, Depression, & Anxiety, The Breakdown

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 12:13 PM

This book is an educational resource that can be used to understand the identities of Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. Each condition’s symptoms are broken down. The material also includes interactive questionnaires, noting sections and offers a guide to understanding different treatment options. The highlight of this book is its ability to not only highlight essential coping skills but its explanation of how-to-apply these skills in day-to-day living.

"This book is a must-have for churches, community agencies, mental health professionals, and households! What I love about this book is that anyone can read it and walk away having a credible information source to begin the process of exploring mental illness and seeking treatment options. Just like we have to know the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, we have to know symptoms of mental illness too!"

-Beatrice Akins, LCSW, LCDCI

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Powerful Play Parenting Group

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 12:06 PM

Powerful Play Parenting Group will start on Monday, March 18th at 7:00 PM. This group will meet every Monday from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. For more information on group, please feel free to go to my website www.CompassionateCounselingLLC.org where you will find a flyer for the group. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Learning to Love Yourself

Thursday, February 07, 2019 @ 12:30 PM

There is something about this picture that speaks to me. I see a person who knows who she is, and can accept herself including her imperfections. What if we could all be that way? What if we could all accept ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally, the way Christ loves us? What if we could quit beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we have made? What if we could stop obsessing over just one bad move we’ve made? What if we can stop judging ourselves and start treating ourselves like we treat our best friend? Can you imagine the positive difference that would make? Not only for us, but also for those around us.

ARE YOU AS KIND TO YOURSELF AS YOU ARE TO OTHERS?

More often than not, we can be exceptionally hard on ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to someone we care about, or even a stranger. Yet, we don’t hesitate to tell ourselves:

“I’m so stupid.”
“How could I have been so dumb.”
“I’m fat.”
“I’m ugly.”
“I’m a failure.”

If this sounds familiar, then maybe you need to start to re-examine how you treat yourself. If you are telling yourself things you wouldn’t say to your best friend, then it’s time to start learning self-compassion. (If you are not familiar with self-compassion, then I recommend you read my earlier blog on self-compassion here.) One of the best ways to begin learning self-compassion is to recognize your judgmental negative self-talk, and start replacing those thoughts with positive or compassionate thoughts, such as:

“I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be. The cross covers my sins and mistakes.”
“I recognize that I am suffering right now.”
“I love the person God created me to be.”
“I make mistakes, and my mistakes don’t define me.”

If you find that you are having trouble telling yourself compassionate thoughts like in the examples above, you may be depressed or at risk of depression. When we walk around with guilt and shame, constantly beating ourselves up, we have an increased risk for depression and/or substance abuse leading to disruption in our relationships, work or school performance, and overall sense of peace and being. That’s when it is time to get help. Through self-compassion, you can learn to let go of your mistakes, learn to forgive yourself, and begin to treat yourself with the same tender kindness you give to your best friend.

*Gretchen is currently accepting new clients. If you are in the San Diego area and are in need of services, please call her for a free 15 minute phone consultation at 619-272-6858 ext 713

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Children long for significance and belonging

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 @ 4:48 PM

What to do?
…an adorable baby,
…a teen with attitude,
…an exhausted working parent
…and a fragile nursing home resident

Have in common?
To start with they are all human. And like all of us they have deep longings for love, security, understanding, significance and belonging. These basic emotional needs [...]

This was first published on Courage Counseling on October 14, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Personality Effects Relationships: Pros and Cons

Monday, January 21, 2019 @ 11:22 AM

Personality Effects Relationships: Pros and Cons
By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
Derived from Tracy Moore's book, Me, You and People in Pew

We have all heard that opposites attract, and rightly so. This is how God made us so that we complete each other to work as one and reflect the image of God, as each human lacks aspects that they need. As we consider Adam and Eve, the first couple of the Bible from the date of creation, we must recall the verbiage of God. Genesis 2:18 God speaks that it is not good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper. The actual word means, a counterpart, an opposite, one that fits him. This not only applies to the physiological differences of male and female; but it also describes the differences of cognition, and even the differences of personality. As we consider Adam, then we see that he most resembles the personality of a Melancholy (an introvert who is most analytical, a perfectionist, organized, loyal, considerate, creative; but also who is given to depression, pessimism, un-forgiveness, insecurity, moodiness, and sometimes critical). He was given the duty to name all animals and woman. Others in scripture who reflects more of the melancholy personality are Solomon and perhaps, Elijah.

Adam blends this with a peacemaking personality ascribed to a Phlegmatic who averts from conflict. Other aspects of this personality includes the positives of humility, adaptability, servant focused, patient, humorous, balanced, faithful, submissive with a negative tendency towards apathy (lack of enthusiasm) internalized emotions and experiences high stress. When Satan came in the image of a serpent and then deceived Eve; note that Adam was not deceived. He was there, he was analyzing, he knew what God had said to them. But, part of this personality is one who is more likely to follow others, and one who dislikes conflict.


Then we consider Eve. She appears to possess more of a Choleric personality (extrovert who often is a leader, driven to achieve, persistent and determined, adventurer, decisive, competitive and bold which often, if in an extreme form-then these would have to deal with pride, controlling tendencies, perfectionism, without much sympathy, tact, and who can be rash and manipulative. An example in scripture who also appear to have this personality is Diotrephes that is found in 3rd John 1:9-10. Paul would also be a candidate to consider for this personality type.

This personality appears to blend with the Sanguine. Sanguine is a life giver; who is more animated, expressive, demonstrative, optimist, excitable and inspiring, cute and bouncy-with a negative tendency to get out of control, overly impulsive, most talkative, quick to speak without listening, forgetful, angry naive, scatter brained, and restless. Some examples of this personality type would be Peter (from scriptures) and Tom Sawyer from a literature example.


Satan used these personality tendencies to entice Eve with power and knowledge and she then became prideful and did eat-then gave the fruit to her husband who ate (although he was not deceived but was following her lead). As we consider the punishment to both we find that God forced Adam to be in a role of a leader which was contrary to his personality, along with labor and the responsibility to be in control and he place Eve under submission onto him to squelch her prideful tendency and gave her pain during childbirth. A fitting punishment for the situation where Adam valued Eve over God and where Eve valued being as wise and powerful as God over God's command. They had everything given to them except only ONE thing but greed and ill-placed allegiance upon their selves instead of to God; caused each to sin against God. Interesting isn't it?

Above, we see the personality types unfold and we see that both the Sanguine and the Choleric are extroverts and that the Melancholy and the Phlegmatic are introverts. People can exhibit one or both of the extroverts or one or both of the introvert personality traits; yet do not exhibit naturally from the total opposites. They learn the opposite and act the opposite during times of trial which will lead to some discomfort due to being out of the comfort zone for the personality that is manifesting. For example, people would assume that I was an extrovert, more of a Choleric due to the many leadership hats that I wear, yet would find it interesting to learn that I actually identify more as a Melancholy with a Phlegmatic blend, and that when in a leader position; there is a continual need to persevere and to work through the anxiety and the discomfort that is experienced outside my personality. I would be under the impression that I operate also from a Choleric personality since necessity requires me to navigate that forum and since I do so with success; but I do so with caution and stress even-though years have dictated my need to be self employed due to my physical health and situations that have arose.

I have found that I can provide leadership and own my business from my personality since it is a position of servitude where I am comfortable, as I attempt to keep the peace which works most of the time to de-escalate the level of stress that I would have otherwise experienced. I married a Choleric personality in my husband who I gladly submit to especially during conflict since he is more at ease taking on the conflicts. Both he and I are analytical and organized yet are different in how we do both. Opposites can make life most interesting as each use their strengths to complete each other. Opposites however that become extreme can also alienate their opposite by then taking their strength to an extreme, attempting to force the other to be outside of their own personality, and then ridiculing the opposite for the very strength that drew each together.


The cute Sanguine becomes a nuisance when he/she talks and forgets, and is impulsive throughout their way through life, throwing caution to the wind. When a Melancholy is wrestling with the need for perfection then the Sanguine would pose a difficult personality. The Sanguine may not comprehend the level of stress and or depression and think that the Melancholy just needs to lighten up. The Phlegmatic may so adapt that they lose oneself to a strong Choleric who is more than willing to be over controlling and who can be unsympathetic. Strengths turn into overly obsessive or compulsive behaviors and emotions become out of balance with fear and anger taking charge with each of these personalities thus causing friction. In addition, when you toss in thought distortions and problems with communication, the two, who were drawn together due to those wonderful opposites, then quickly find themselves pushing each other away. Opposites attract and repel.

Each personality is an awesome personality yet can become toxic and each is not complete alone since several aspects are absent from the comfort level.
Marital or couple problems? Seek a counselor who can administer the Myer-Briggs Assessment of Personality to learn who you are and who they are, and then learn about boundaries and cognitive distortions. With these insights then you can find a place of balance where opposites attract once again which aligns with how we were created.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

A Black Man Protected My Sexuality

Sunday, January 20, 2019 @ 9:29 PM

There is a lie that has inundated our society. It can be insidious at times if we are not aware of it. But, the injustice infuriates me and calls me to action in every way I know how, no matter how small. My reality is starkly in contrast to the lie that society continues to feed us. The lie that Black men are rapists.
The Truth

My truth is so contrary to the overwhelming LIE we've been inundated with for more than a century in the USA. Today, one specific experience has welled up in my chest and I feel compelled to share.
Incident 1

Undergraduate Statistics class was set up so that everyone taking the class attended a large lecture and then we were broken up and assigned to small classes in computer labs to apply our knowledge. By three weeks in to the class, I found myself the target of sexual harassment by another student in the class. He was huge and intimidating. It didn't matter how I dressed, each class got worse. It didn't matter where I sat or who I sat next to or how many friends and alibis I formed, each time he became more daring and belligerent, louder and more vulgar. It got so bad that I got up and left in the middle of class, making eye contact with the TA (Teaching Assistant; a White man) as a cry for help as he stared back, frozen in silence in his chair as I was taunted out of the classroom. I never returned to that lab. The following week I missed, I emailed the TA why I missed and he replied with understanding. I never said anything else to him. All of our assignments were through the lab class and I never turned another one in. I should have failed that class. The TA gave me a 100. This was swept under the rug and handled poorly, rewarding victimization and leaving me powerless.
Incident 2

During the same semester, a large man at church had begun making me feel very uncomfortable and eventually unsafe. He would request several hugs and would hold on way too long and in a ways that I couldn't break free. He would comment about my body and what he wanted. I tried sitting with a friend's parents and he sat right behind us and continued his behavior. I contemplated running out of the church and not returning. I feared he knew my car or would follow me to the parking lot. I Loved this church. It was more important to me than statistics class and I did not want victimization to win and run my life! But, I did not know the right course of action. I tried skipping church and that wasn't for me. I couldn't let such a good thing go; I loved it and it was right where I needed to be. I determined to try something different and decided to set up a meeting with the pastor.
My Expectation

I don't know what I was expecting from the meeting. I was just going to tell him my experience and what I felt; maybe he could pray the target off my back or give me insight into men that would help me keep creepers away. His reaction took me by surprise. He took notes on the man and exactly what made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Let me be clear: my pastor was a Black man. He was not racially ambiguous looking; not tan and not pretending to be anyone other than who he was and still is. Pastor Don Leavell did NOT tell me it was my fault. He did not condemn me, slut shame me, or comment on my clothes. He made a plan and executed it to perfection. He told me I would no longer have to worry about the predator and to keep coming back to church. This pastor, this African American man had a team of trusted men stationed strategically around the church. He told them to watch me and watch the predator. The scary man never spoke to me or touched me again. I do not know the extent of the plan in place and I really don't care. The important part to me was that it worked. I tell this story to tell the truth. A Black man protected my sexuality. An African American man made me feel safe when I was scared. A Black male saw a vulnerable White female and clothed me with fatherly love.
Race Is Not The Issue

Race is not the issue. In the Church, the new race is Christianity. He was my pastor and loved me as part of his flock. It was not until recently that I felt compelled to tell the story through the eyes of race. The lie is that African American men are rapists; it keeps us all down and in shackles. The Truth sets us free. Telling our stories -the truth- counters the lie. Entrusting him was an excellent decision and consequently allowed me to remain, grow, and thrive as a person responding to Jesus with my life.
Now What?

Today, on Martin Luther King Day, remember that there are still some lies about race in American Culture. Amanda Golden de Duke serves as a bilingual christian counselor at Acorn Counseling Education Services. She brings her clarity of sight to all her interactions. Need someone to talk to? Schedule online or call 940-222-8703 x 702.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Beware social media health hazards

Tuesday, January 08, 2019 @ 12:26 PM

Warning. Social media may be hazardous to your health.

The health of your marriage that is.

Start with what Facebook does so well. Connecting you to old friends. When those old friends are ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, high school sweethearts or college heart throbs – reconnecting may be the first step toward a marital crisis. Ditto for texting, e-mails and phone calls.

It all seems so innocent. What could be the harm? [...]

--

This was first published on Courage Counseling on September 22, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Friday, December 28, 2018

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Friday, December 28, 2018 @ 8:56 PM

We humans, like spring flowers and summer gardens, are hardwired for growth. The early decades of life are characterized by luxuriant growth as goals are pursued, ambitions formed and challenges conquered.

Think of the phenomenal growth in a healthy baby’s first year. The transformations as toddlers acquire language and muscle control. The delight as they explore their environment encountering everything from bubbles to butterflies for the first time.

Young children can’t wait to be ‘big kids,’ start school, play soccer, learn to dance. They are voracious learners who relish competence.

Teens count the days to the coveted driver’s license. Soon college with all its challenges and assumed freedom’s beckons.

Young adults are occupied with careers, marriage, family. Daily demands keep you busy, focused, happy. Life is satisfying, rewarding.

And then, perhaps, one day you notice something has changed. [...]

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This was first published on Courage Counseling on September 9, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Broken Fences

Thursday, December 27, 2018 @ 9:06 PM

The Pastor's Place

This scene always reminds me of broken fences and the brokenness of life. We often put up fences to keep people out but in that attempt, we often keep ourselves in. We don't express ourselves in an appropriate moment but let it build up and then take it out on someone who really doesn't deserve it, although they may just trigger it.

Broken fences, broken pieces, broken lives. Jesus fed 5,000 people and it is told that they always had broken pieces left over and they picked them all up. I often wonder what they did with them. But it tells me that even though brokenness is a part of life, Jesus will pick up those broken pieces and do something with them. And you can be sure He does all things well.

The Loneliness of Sin

Thursday, December 27, 2018 @ 8:53 PM

The Pastor's Place

Genesis 4: 3-15

Cain and Abel were the first brothers. Both went to the altar to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s offering, a firstling of his flock. The Bible says God respected Abel and his offering. But Cain did what he shouldn't have done; mainly, he offered something from the ground. God didn't accept the offering or respect Cain. Have you ever wondered why? I believe it was because in just a few short chapters prior to this encounter, God had cursed the ground. Able recognized the significance of giving the first and best. Cain became very angry. Notice that even after The Fall, God still talked with man. He asked Cain why he was so upset. Now, that’s a caring God if you ask me!
God told Cain that sin was waiting at the door and desired to take over in him. Wow! God was trying to teach Cain a lesson but he wasn't listening. He wanted to be resentful, bitter and angry to the point that it led to murder.

Verse 7 shows us that sin will pursue us and run us down if we allow it. We are to conquer the sin in our lives by mastering it. That tells me that sin will keep coming at me until I either give in to it or overcome it.

I often wondered why God asked Cain where his brother, Abel was. Doesn’t God know everything? It reveals that Cain felt no remorse, no guilt for what he’d done by killing Abel. By telling God his punishment was more than he could bear, he shows he wasn’t really convicted about his sin, but only concerned about the consequences of getting caught. It would have told a different story if he had said, “I have sinned against you, God. Please forgive me of this terrible thing I’ve done. Things could have possibly gone much better for Cain.

This passage shows that God still talked with man even after they had sinned and fallen in the Garden. Cain had no sense of guilt because the Law had not yet been given. He had no fear of God. (Romans 5: 12, 13) God still desired to commune with man. It wasn’t until after the Law (the 10 Commandments) was given that sin became evident. God talked with man up until Exodus 20: 18-21 and it was not God’s choice. God NEVER left man. Man chose to leave God.

As a result, Cain was destined to be a vagrant and a wanderer. A vagrant is defined as one who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or livelihood; a person who constitutes a public nuisance. No root, no plans, no future. A fugitive looking for some destination, some quiet haven, a place of safety and satisfaction.

Gen 5: 16 As a result of his conversation with God--and notice, God was trying to help Cain with his anger and sadness, but Cain walked away. He left God’s presence. The loneliest people do not know God’s presence. Those who choose to walk away from God’s help are truly lonely. Separated from God with no hope of their own.

Here are some reasons for Cain’s actions:
1. Unbelief/Disrespect
God had taught Adam and Eve the meaning of a blood sacrifice. They taught it to their children. Cain and Abel both knew the truth. Cain chose to not believe and offer whatever he wanted to offer instead of what God required. In his indifference, he gave an offering of the ground, the ground God had cursed.
2. Hatred
Cain closed the door of communication and killed Abel out of his hatred. He chose not to master his anger and by killing his brother, he let sin master him. It can be so easy to be like Cain.
3. Jealousy
Many of us look at our siblings and feel cheated, rejected, the less favored. This has an effect of children that can last a lifetime. We grow up feeling like everyone else has it better.

The Stages of Sin:

1. Anger. Cain became angry at the rejection of his sacrifice. This led him to start thinking. His countenance fell. He probably felt sorry for himself, too, which fed his anger. Not mastering his anger, he let it lead to murderous proportions and it overcame him. Sin crouched at the door and Cain let it in. Sin will usually crouch or try to hide until you are taken by it. Satan roams the earth looking for someone to devoir.
2. He lied to God
Cain went to talk to his brother, but his true intent was different. Not only did he have unbelief and hatred, but when God asked him “Where’s your brother?” Cain was dishonest and said he didn’t know; he wasn’t his babysitter. Like satan, Cain became a liar and a murderer.
3. He despaired and was lonely. He reacted to feelings. He closed the door on the
Life God wanted for him. (Genesis 4: 13) I believe the anger and the rejection he felt caused Cain to leave the sin unconfessed. Surely he knew God’s grace. Why didn’t he trust God to forgive him? Instead, he blamed God, accusing Him of giving him a sentence greater than the sin.
4. Cain proclaimed his destiny: “I am a wanderer and a fugitive.” Cain became a
farmer. Now he built a city to be rid of loneliness. He introduced manufacturing of tools and weapons of bronze and iron. He introduced human culture and civilization based on human effort. His civilization had broken-down standards. In verses 18 and 19, Cain’s descendant Lamech had two wives. God’s standard is one.
Sin starts with a thought and turns into an action if the thought is entertained.

He settled in a place called Nod, which means wandering. The generational curse of murder began with Cain. In verse 23 Lamech killed two people. Cain built a city, a civilization and a culture without God. He had things and activities but no salvation. Cain was ultimately lonely looking for satisfaction. Sin was at the root of his loneliness. Not all loneliness is from sin. That’s why examining yourself is so important.

Cain built a civilization where people had opportunity and culture, science, even a certain amount of technology, but Cain was still a fugitive and a wanderer because he was unrepentant and without God. Life without God is no life at all here or in eternity. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.

Job also faced loneliness, but this was a different kind of loneliness. (Job 19: 13-15) God will sometimes isolate you to get you to call out to Him. He will remove every distraction in order to become your best friend and it’s only through this separation that people will see change.

Loneliness is a malnourished soul that results from living on substitutes.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reconciliation: Toward Creative Counseling and Education

Friday, December 14, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

This is a book emphasizing conflict (trials) as the dynamic of life, and shows the methods by which reconciliation may be applied to find connections in conflict which lead to growth and maturity. Reconciliation is a Biblical concept expounded by St. Paul in his Epistles, among which is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. This book may be further observed on the Amazon.com browser.

Monday, December 10, 2018

4 Reasons Your Child Misbehaves

Monday, December 10, 2018 @ 2:53 PM

Your child misbehaves severely at their childcare-something is terribly wrong!

Buzz, buzz. You check your phone and realize its happening again. ‘They just called yesterday! Can’t they take care of one 3 year old?’ you think to yourself. But you know, he misbehaves a lot, even for you. Mama Bear is about to take over, but you are still unsure if that is the right tact. You know something isn’t right, and you are ready for it to be fixed-you just don’t know what to do. Swallowing tears of frustration, shame, sorrow, guilt, you wonder if he will be going back tomorrow. Wondering what you are going to do, you square your shoulders, prepare yourself and walk into the building.
What do you do when your child misbehaves?

What could be happening?

1. HALT — Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

This is an acronym that helps to remind me that we all get cranky when our bodies aren’t working right. Talk to those around your child and find out if there is a pattern. Do they have difficulty right before nap? Mid-morning? Right before pick up? Look at their eating habits. It is important to not jump to the next idea until you have really looked at your child’s pattern. Knowing when and how predictably your child misbehaves will let you explore how changes to the environment could help them behave better.
2. Physical Issues

There is good evidence that some behavior issues can be related to how a child experiences the world. Vision and hearing problems, certain allergies, illness, and sensory processing issues can all cause misbehavior. To learn more about sensory processing issues, check out the checklist on sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.com. This is a great site to help you understand these issues. If you prefer a book, find the Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz.
3. Conflict Or Change At Home

Your child’s emotional, physical, and psychological world is based on the foundation of your home. If there is a lot of conflict, chaos, and inconsistency, your child will react to that. Can they count on spending connecting time with a parent? Has there been a big change recently? Involved grandparents become ill, parents separate, siblings are born, dogs die. Even good things can disrupt a child’s world such as a new home, new bedroom, and even a new pet.
4. Abuse/Neglect

As parents, we jump to this often and want to switch childcare or school the minute our child begins to act up. Not all childcare/schools are equal and there is clear evidence that predators target young children. However, most of the time the difficulties with your child do not arise from abuse or neglect. Most of the time, your child simply needs different skills than the teacher already knows or the difference between home and childcare confuses your child. Hurt feelings on the part of a child are difficult to handle. Think about workplaces that were not comfortable but didn’t actually break any rules. Be sensitive to your child’s make-up and carefully evaluate how you feel your childcare or school is handling daily activities. A change in teachers or schedules may be difficult for your child.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Parents: Apply Grace!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 10:26 PM

Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC

This does not mean that parents must look the other way, be the best friend, cater to demands, or to have no limits/rules. Laws are good. Children need laws and law keepers according to Dr. Paul David Tripp, a Christian Psychologist. He speaks of how parents will personalize children's behavior. "How can you do this to me? Look at what I have done for you-yet you do this?" This is often when the guilt trip follows and then parents regret the things stated as they see their broken child. In his book then you would find 14 Christian gospels or principals that parents can apply that will help change their child's heart. One thing is needed before a parent can provide grace. Parents must understand and must have had received God's grace before they can give mercy.

Parents sometimes believe with a delusion that they are able to control a child with laws and consequences but would have to admit that God must be guiding them with their parenting since free will is something that we all possess. We then have to ask how does a parent apply grace as they parent? Children will make foolish and even evil decisions. Rules, boundaries, and consequences that are consistent are helpful but how does one reach the heart and create in their child-a responsible ownership? We think of grace as mercy and forgiveness; love and patience...so do we let our children escape consequences? No, no we do not.

Let's us review how God gives us grace.

First, God has made sure that we have His word that governs all thought and actions, with rules. He provided His son to teach us life's lessons through parables. He shows us his love through his sacrifice and patience; and He warns us as to the dangers (both natural and also with eternity's judgment that will be rendered by Jesus. God also shows us that He is the same and that He will keep His promises; and therefore we must trust that our thoughts and actions must be guarded. When we make bad choices, there are natural consequences that follow which often convict our hearts to change. Sometimes we find ourselves tested and tried-forging strength and perseverance. These are difficult times but we learn that God allows things on earth so as to turn us from evil and foolishness-so that we can have everlasting life with Him since He does not want us to be lost eternally.

As we try to control our own lives, we fail miserably. As we try to outsmart or cheat the consequence-we fail. It is only when we are obedient and repent, when God then will restore and revive us. He is our teacher of a Father who teaches, warns, and does exact punishment if we do not do His will. Our biggest gift of mercy was through His son. Regardless of our walk-we remain His, and He continues to love us-even when He allows us to be pruned or placed into fire so as to purify our heart. These are blessings of insight (instructing and guidance) which aids us to own our choice and actions; and blessings of conviction (our turning from doing wrong.

Some parents of the Bible were horrible role models. Abraham, David, and others made grave mistakes yet who did return to God as they endured their consequence. We see some good role models with Mary and Joseph, Job, and others. Some children turned out well in spite of their parents-and others made huge mistakes even though they had wonderful parents-such as the prodigal son. There is no perfect earthly parent.

As we review God's modeling of a Father-and with the knowledge of positive parenting influence; as well as; how authoritative parenting benefits children-then we may be able to help with how to respond to our wayward children.

Questioning helps the child to discern and to own their choices and actions. What was the attraction of ______________? What were you thinking and feeling as you decided to ________________? What was your motive or goal behind this choice? What was the result of your decision? What may have been a better option? By asking questions, calmly yet firmly-then we are allowing the child to think and to process. How can I as your parent, help you have courage and/or help you discern better next time?

Applying then the consequence reinforces the love and the grace that is consistently saying-I love you enough to stand against things that will hurt you. Parents apply grace with this authority who is true to their word, trustworthy, and consistent. With the application of parenting with love and yet with grace-filled actions then children's hearts can indeed embrace responsible behaviors and learn to process their thoughts. The parent is more of a teacher, a coach, an advocate-as they encourage and grow their child with positive and consistent parenting.

Counselors can assist parents and their children to embrace grace. We can teach how our thoughts can begin a journey of pain or a journey of hope. Christian counselors can add how to parent grace.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Are We Missing the Positive?

Sunday, November 11, 2018 @ 1:22 PM

By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC

In today's culture I often will read something that I believe is a positive post. Someone has done something kind for another; has posted a challenge of their life that they have been overcoming; the economy is growing with many over a million of people now rejoining the work force; that corporations are returning to the USA, that the water is being cleaned up, that the USA is becoming respected abroad once again; and many other similar "good news" that we should be grateful for, praising those who are instrumental in the good actions that are occurring; yet to my dismay-as I read the comments underneath-there will be comments of the contrary. Someone should have done more, or why did they not do something other, or this is a lie, or it is about time, with the focus on anything but the positive. Why do we see the negatives as we ignore the positives? Why do we prioritize anything other than what others are achieving? Did you know that it takes an average of 20 positive actions (comments, behaviors) to undo one negative?

There have been occasions when I made a point to go and visit family, a shut-in, to bring food to the sick; to give a gift, help pay one's debts, invite someone over to my home; visit at the hospital, and/or other acts of simple grace. Yet while within the occasion, the person who I wanted to love or to prioritize would focus on something negative. I called at the wrong time which was not appreciated; I was not dressed to par; they did not like the soup or dish; my house was a mess after I had worked all week; The person used their time pointing out to all of the flowers and gifts sent to them and brought to them-as if disappointed that I only visited; I should have forgiven their omission of not reimbursing me for a loan provided and then also let them keep the apartment or item in default- otherwise I am un-Christian. With these negative reactions and rejection of the grace, I would find myself questioning my worthiness, my gift, and my intent. Why else were they so disgruntled and negative?

With these responses then I have actually asked, "Are you coming to visit me or to assess my house keeping?" I also have to make sure that I am not trapped in a manipulative strategy intended to create shame or guilt as others are working their passive aggressive; or other forms of control. When I know that I am doing good with the right heart and not to feel worthy-then I have to risk such rejections but feel good that I did a selfless thing for someone; feeling positive although others may not receive these gifts well. This mindset takes much effort since I have battle social anxiety disorder and fear rejection automatically. Those who seek some negative motive under good behaviors and those who look for negatives in what was not done-instead of appreciating the heart, the effort, and the person; are missing the positive and therefore losing the blessing intended for them.

I too stand convicted for not appreciating so many blessings that have gone by the wayside due to the frequency, which seemed to drive almost an expectation instead of the realization that this is a gift each time, and that I was owed nothing. Sometimes people compare their lives to others and believe them to be less blessed which results in resentment or covetousness.


As I apply the scientific tools to this issue; I realize the need that seek assistance with a more ancient document which speaks upon grumbling vs. thankfulness. Luke 17:11-19 spoke of 10 lepers (most were Jews, but also there was a Samaritan in the mix). Jews looked down upon the Samaritans as unclean and lost people and therefore this parable is applicable to today's issues of racial tension which not only applies to color, but also; differences of gender, religion, intelligence, physical appearance, special needs, age, and many other populations of differences that some feel are less than their own. As we think of this issue-we can remember other scriptures where the "unlikely person" rose to an occasion and served those who thought themselves better. However, today I wish to consider only the construct of thankfulness and positive thinking.

Ten lepers begged for mercy and Jesus healed them. All but one, walked away without a word of gratitude-but, one did return, a Samaritan; who thanked Jesus. We also read of the approximately 2-3 million Israelites who were freed of bondage and were being brought to the promised land; yet within only a few verses we hear them grumble of their situation (freedom) while on their journey. A story of "The Grumbling Monk" humorously yet also sadly depicts our thinking. He wanted to become a Monk. He was advised that this would be a 3 year task of much sacrifice to which he agreed; and he could only utter 2 words each year of those 3 years. The first year his two words were: bed hard. The second 2 years then he said, food bad; so the third year he said, I quit. He only seems to see the negative instead of the opportunity to listen, to observe, to learn.

Thankfulness takes intentional effort. Psalms 103:2 states for us to forget none of his/her benefits. Other verses that also speak about God's wish for us to be grateful are: Psalms 97:12, 77:12, 95:2, 100:4, and Thessalonians speaks of the need for us to be grateful in everything; and give thanks (the good, and the bad). Some of us mutter, what do I have to be thankful for? Well, let us ponder this question.

We are to be thankful for Christ who died on the cross to forgive us of our sins which is founded in 2 Cor. 9:15. Did you wake this morning? Were you able to see when you opened your eyes? Could you hear the birds singing outside? Did you sleep in a bed within shelter? Did you have at least one meal today? Did you have clothing to wear? Is there anyone who loves you on earth? Are you in fairly good health today? Have you had good health most of your life? Are you able to walk? Reach? Hug? Eat? If so then aren't we blessed? While comparing ourselves to others-are any others worse off than us? Should we be comparing ourselves, or should we be focused on us and helping others who have less than us? God is pleased with our thankfulness (Luke 17:15).

To lift us from anxiety, stress, resentment, bitterness, and other negative moods we must identify the distortions of thoughts and reframe our thoughts to more positive thoughts. Scripture tells us to cultivate a thankful spirit. Therefore in addition to the scientific tools that we would employ in counseling we would also use an adjunction of:
1. Daily prayer the minute that you are waking to thank God for you many blessings.
2. Listing all of your blessings quarterly so as to keep abreast of the new ones you that you find along your journey.
3. Create some project that you can display so that you have visual reminders of those blessings.
4. As a friend to help hold you accountable to thank God and others for their gifts.
5. Visit and serve those who are less fortunate: The widows, the homeless, those in prison, the sick, the poor, the blind, the deaf, the grieving, and other.
6. Be in the Word.
7. Let your self talk include how richly you have been blessed, and sing praise.


If we look for negatives-then we will see the negatives since these are many and difficult to forget. If we seek positives then we must be purposeful and intentional in what we are prioritizing and gleaning from our world. We must challenge our distortion of thought, release the need to manipulate others, and have courage to trust in our heart. Perhaps others will follow our lead as we model a positive resolution.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Premarital Counseling: Before You Say I do

Sunday, October 14, 2018 @ 11:09 PM

Pre-Marital Counseling: “Before You Say I Do”

The most important investment for a couple who are planning to get married is premarital counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). I specialize in couples counseling. Many of the couples I have counseled had perpetual issue beginning before they said, "I do." I do not know how many times people thought that things would be different after the ceremony. When I am counseling couples who are looking to go to the next step in their relationship, marriage, I highly recommend they complete pre-marital counseling.

What Is the Cost?

If you are planning on staying married until death does us part, invest in your marriage by getting professional pre-marital counseling. More is spent on the wedding and divorce, then many are willing to spend on the marriage. A posting on WeddingWire 2018, stated it was too much to pay $950 for six sessions of pre-marital counseling. This person said they would be looking for other counselors whose price is much lower. Many couple’s belief one to two sessions are enough for pre-marital counseling.
According to WeddingWire.com 2018, so far this year the average cost of a wedding is $30,000. This is not including the honeymoon or ring. According to WomanDivoce.com 2018, the cost of a divorce is from $1,500 to $15,000. One would think $30,000 is a lot of money to invest in a wedding. $15,00 for a divorce is half of the cost of an average wedding. According to HRT 2018, the price of premarital counseling is one to two percent of the cost to get married.
As I look at these figures, I am so surprised at the amount and number of people who actually invest in the marriage. HRT 2018 states about forty-four percent of couples who get married consider premarital counseling, and one percent of couples who get remarried consider premarital counseling.

There Are Only Benefits to Premarital Counseling:

1. Enlightens each person on what they are getting. Remember there is no perfect person. As you uncover the different areas listed before, with a clear and informed conscious you can say I          have enough to work with: (please note this is not a complete list)
     a. Marital readiness
     b. Yourself
     c. Stability
     d. How they deal with stress
     e. The in-law/out-law Relationship
     f. Sex
     g. Conflict management
2. Answers question about the relationship and each other, you didn't know to ask
3. You learn the tools for effective communication
4. When there is an area of disagreement, you learn to come to a win-win outcome.
5. It is always a good thing to learn before you say I do, “Is this the right person for you.”

The Investment:

Please note there is no guarantee that your marriage will succeed for a lifetime. However, the percentages of marriages that lasted have invested in premarital counseling are substantial. Start your life together learning what it will take to safeguard your marriage before it starts.
Begin with Premarital Counseling.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What it Takes to Have a Good Relationship

Saturday, September 15, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

In this fast pace digital mindset, many are deluded as to relationships. The need for satisfaction and excitement now as the "I wants" and the run-away impulses seek a quick fix for loneliness and the distorted thought of, "I am worthless if I do not have a babe, partner, date, or mate" prevails. Today one can click on a chat for singles-or click to hook up site; and be in a whirlwind-intimate-experience with a stranger. If cute, or funny, or the right words were said; or the person agreed with some dramatic problem we are stressed over (showing them to me of like-minds) within that chat-then suddenly they are not alone and that rush of adrenalin that is accustomed to via the screens, internet, gaming, and apps; has reinforced the behavior. In these "RELATIONSHIPS" one or both reveal extreme inappropriate and sensitive information to the other; are exposing and allowing themselves to be photographed or touched; may engage in multiple like connections with others with additional quick fixes with all; or suddenly relate to each other as the most wonderful lover and/or mate-with the possessiveness and need to control that a sexual union often provokes as the dynamics of the relationship drastically changes when the vulnerability and intimacy is experienced. One day all is great and the next one or both is smearing the other on social media, blowing up their phones, violating boundaries that were at risk; and threatening violence or suicidal behaviors; with many who are not allowing time and tests to truly know each other, to trust each other, and to be sure the emotions and a healthy dose of discernment are in unity.

Real Relationships Require the Below Levels of friendship with each level taking at least 2-6 months minimum.


1. Acquaintance: Conversations and conduct are appropriate; and no risk to either party. Engaged in public forums (sports, shopping, pool, social media) learning name and general themes, safe information     only. No vulnerability exposed.
2. Familiarity: Conversations and conduct are appropriate; no to low risk; general themes (hobbies, likes/dislikes, music, sports); public meeting. Little vulnerability allowed. May ask for phone number.
3. Friends: People of like interests, trustworthiness of word and deed, kind and compassionate, enjoyment of company, more personal sharing of safe information (family members, pets) and more sensitive information that one would feel safe if exposed-as a test for confidentiality and trust. People are visiting with each other in more private forums and also public-yet are not intimate. They are beginning to see how each reacts to conflicts, sadness, anger, disappointments, the handling of money, if dependable, if responsible for their behaviors and decisions.
4. Best friends: People have shown that they are with higher character of integrity, honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, responsible, are of a good work ethic, are able to discern and advise seeking the wellbeing of each other with the flexibility of allowing the other to be alone to choose their paths. These are mindful of emotional and physical boundaries with empathy. These are not controlling or dependent; and stable emotionally. When with these-one feels safe, secure, and validated-looking forward to each meeting. Conversations are of higher vulnerability and risk to both who are sharing due to the tested trust that is earned. Both see the strengths and weakness of the other yet accepts these. Both seeks growth for each other and gives freely; not seeking their own needs.
5. Only now would two people know each other enough to make a decision as to if they would like to accept the responsibilities that come with an intimate relationship where each is fully vulnerable with the agreement of marriage.

Through this process, a relationship has a foundation on which to stand strongly, and could weather the storms that befall all relationships. Without-the people are two strangers who have no foundation-yet are trying to weather the storms. Time and tests saves one's heart from many hurts.