Christian Counseling Category

Healing Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: Men and Women

Over the years I have had many patients who knowingly or unknowingly come to my office with the issue of child sexual abuse. One out of every three women and one out of every six men have been abused as a child in our society.

When someone knowingly comes to me with conscious memories of child sexual abuse, it is more important to recognize that the symptoms of it is are what has caused them to seek help. There are many and various symptoms of child sexual abuse. Men and women alike have had their sexuality violated as children; that is it has been opened up in an unnatural way at too young an age. These symptoms vary with the individual, rather than gender. Some develop suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, addictions to alcohol, drugs, or even become sex addicts. Some react in the opposite way, avoiding sex, becoming fanatical about a cult religion to radify their prudish, avoidance. Underneath it all is a sense of shame and poor self-esteem.

Sometimes, promiscuity and addiction t...

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Anxiety and Phobias

Anxiety can be crippling, especially if it is free-floating anxiety, as if you were thrown into a state with no beginning and no end. Pay attention to wha your thoughts are that you were having that may have caused or increased your anxiety. Was there an interaction with a stranger in a store, or with a loved one, that has made you feel negative about yourself? Did you just think of a friend, your mother, father, or a sibling before the anxiety came on or increased?
In psychotherapy I will ask you to notice these things, and more, so that I can help you to discover a pattern of experiences that may be contributing to your anxiety. Over time, you will discover the heretofore unknown causes of your anxiety states.
When the anxiety is overwhelming, we must admit that it is a feeling state that has its roots in fear. I then ask the patient to explore underlying causes of the fear, and what it is about.
If you can pay attention to what has happened recently, or what you were thinking before th...

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What to do when your spouse/partner won't come to counseling with you?

Are you someone who values your relationship and wants a loving and commited soul mate and partnership? You don't want to get divorced and start over or leave your partner, but no matter how many times you bring it up, your partner refuses to go to counseling with you.  Have you heard from well meaning friends or even therapists, "if he or she won't go to therapy with you, then they just aren't committed to the relationship"?  You are not alone, many people have spouses who will not go to couples counseling with them.  So does that mean you are left with the undesirable choices to either tolerate an unpleasant and unsatisfying relationship or make the difficult decision to leave?

The good news is that you CAN make changes to your relationship by attending counseling without your partner.  In my expereince as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in work with couples, I have seen individuals come in who are highly motivated to improve their relati...

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Five Guidelines for Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life

     Many people struggle with finding meaning and purpose in life.  In the following ideas I offer five guidelines for a person struggling in this way. (1) Assess and then figure out what helps you want to live.  Questions like 'what gets me out of bed each day and gets me going?' are an example of how to examine what there is in life that makes life worth living. (2) Explore general resources that aid a person in achieving what he/she is meant to do with his/her life to make sense out of that life.  Various writers study and then describe issues and concerns in relation to purpose and meaning in life; turning to these writers can provide ideas and direction for this search. (3) Seek out professional resources who can aid in this exploration of purpose and meaning.  This experience might include a therapist who is willing to share ideas about how the therapist has gained his/her own purpose and meaning in life.  Often times this type of search with...

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When Bitterness Invades

No one wants to be bitter. It creeps up on us. Bitterness is unforgiveness on steroids. The more we hold onto past hurts the more we become tanked-up on our pain; robbing us of happiness.

Bitterness happens when we hold on to the hurt in an attempt to remind ourselves of the unfairness we’ve experienced with an expectation that someone will save us and return what we’ve lost.

So what can we do to avoid bitterness in the first place or get out from under it if we’re already there?


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Teaching Kids: To Know God

Parents may at times feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of teaching their children about all there is to know about being a human being, no the less about being a Christian. There is teaching “about” and there is teaching “to blindly believe in; two different things.

When they seek guidance on the subject many just feel further swamped. Relatives and friends are often happy to pass on their suggestions, but is that the version of God you truly want to teach your children? When it comes directly from you the parent you’re more aware of your vocabulary and any innuendo being passed on.

The Bible, on the other hand, provides parents not only reliable counsel on what to teach their children but also direction on how to teach them.

Join us as we look at four Bible-based recommendations for parents to teach their children about God.




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Teaching Kids: To Pray

Teaching children to pray is a vital part of familiarizing them to Jesus and strengthening their relationship with God. Christ gave us prayer so we could connect with him directly. Making children comfortable with prayer helps them to understand that God is always close and available.

Part Two in our series on Teaching Kids: To.... Part One featured Teaching Kids: To Know God.

To listen:

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3 Ways to Tackle Anxiety

Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

Everyone worries, but not everyone worries the same way. Everyone worries but not everyone is affected the same way. Some are more affected by events, or external issues or circumstances, some more so by negative thoughts, personal flaws, or wounds old and new. And when things happen in our world and in our community and in our personal lives the worries can pile up. My goal for this vignette is not to provide a way to eradicate all your anxieties, as wonderful as that sounds, for that would be aiming too high for a mere article. However, all of us can feel better if we can reduce the size or the intensity of the pile of worries. And that seems like a reachable and helpful goal.

1. Find a way to get at least some of those swirling thoughts out of your head. You know, the more that you ruminate on your anxieties that it doesn’t help. In fact, they grow, don’t they? They seem to take on a life of their own, as your mind finds ways to add to the possib...

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Wholeness is a Mandate from God

In John 16:33 Jesus declares; "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world." It is obvious that God understands that if we focus our attention on the world and the things in it we will have troubles above and beyond what we can bear. However if we focus on God, He has promised we will overcome the onslaught of the world, gaining victory and wholeness for the journey. I admonish you today to seek God and ultimately gain peace and wholeness.

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The Investigation

One of the saddest rewards of greatness is an individual who will deliberately seek out your flaws, only to avoid someone discovering theirs. This is the nature of leadership bruised by being overweight or the need to over achieve and this sadness goes on in the church. When someone with a legitimate gift and calling comes on the scene and is recognized by the Chief Apostle of the house, CEO of a solid Fortune 500 company, all of a sudden, the elders are nervous, the assistant pastor now needs to investigate your documents and apostolic succession to make sure you are known by someone other than the credentials you hold, and the executive V.P. goes out of his way to misdirect you from any and all meetings, forgetting that you have the pipeline of favor and are well liked by the CFO in charge of a business venture that has been out of reach. For all intended purposes, some of this is truly needed. But when you’re an educated Man\Woman, Rev.Dr./Newly Degreed, Partner in the states m...

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