Welcome to the Christian Counseling Center

Feeling stuck? Now is the time to resolve your trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, grief, and pain so that you can move forward into a promising, beautiful future. You can develop better insight into your emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and past, combined with practical tools to help you meet everyday challenges.

I can help you discover and meet your goals
I can help you discover and meet your goals

 I offer a collaborative, individualized approach to helping you “unstick” through the chapters of your life.We’ll use highly effective approaches such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Cogntive-Behavorial Therapy (CBT), Spiritual principles, PREPARE/ENRICH and more. Clients often achieve results and find relief within just a few sessions.

CBT

Are you feeling overwhelmed by grief? My extensive background in Hospice bereavement has prepared me well, seeing clients through life after death of a loved one, divorce, relocation, or job loss. I’m also certified in PREPARE/ENRICH, one of the most effective approaches to relationship improvement and premarital counseling.

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Clients respond well to my warmth, positive attitude, knowledge and therapeutic humor, and it would be my privilege to walk this journey with you! My goal is to become an ally in the process of understanding and change, to educate, and to listen, all in a trusted environment.

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Life can be tough. Is it time for help?

One Minute Book Review – Or, How Emotions Can Be Wackadoodle

Emotions can feel pretty wackadoodle sometimes, can’t they?  (Wackadoodle isn’t a clinical psychology term, but you get my drift.)  In one day, we can feel a range from frustration to regret to joy to peace to discombobulation.  Or in one hour.  Either way, it’s a lot to process through, feeling all the feels.

Here’s the good news:

  1. God gave you those emotions for a very specific purpose … and it’s a simple one.  The feels exist as indicators.  The ‘positive’ emotions (happiness, contentment, satisfaction, etc.) inform us that whatever we’re doing, we should probably continue.  The ‘tough’ emotions (anger, disgust, envy, sadness) means that it could be time to change something up.
  2. Emotions can be lassoed when they are out of control. Really, you have control.  We also have thought processes to help us through the emotions.  God talks instructs us to have everything in balance (Ecclesiastes 7:18 … ‘The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”)  Thankfully, He gave us both feels and brains so that we are better equipped in both “continue it” and “change it” circumstances.

So, how does this all lead to a book review?  If you’re feeling like your emotions have been a bit too wackadoodle lately, check out Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.   What I love most about Lysa is her honesty with her own struggles, her sense of humor about the craziness of life, and how God speaks through her writing with a healthy dose of truth and grace.   (Get the companion devotional, too, for maximum impact.) Excellent info here to help you understand and express emotions, so that you can truly experience the fullness of life.

Lessons from a canine

Every time the mailman drives by in his little square rollerskate of a vehicle,  my dog Obie barks his fool head off.  Every.  Single. Time.

While I want to tell him to chill it – after all, the mailman has not once broken into our home and made off with the bag of dog treats – there’s also a few admirable qualities in his dedication to defending the household.  I think we can all learn something from this lovingly fierce canine.

First – Obie is intentionally consistent in his job.  Not one opportunity goes by where Obie thinks, “Eh, I’m too tired/stressed out/ busy to bark.”   Each time, he shows up 100%.

Second – Nothing prevents Obie from going about his business.   Can you imagine how effective we’d all be if we didn’t allow negative thoughts, negative people, or challenging circumstances from getting in the way?  Yeah – as effective as hearing the mailman drop the box and do a fast-walk down the drive way (sorry, guy).

Third – He’s got deep dedication to the purpose.  Everything else is ignored in the name of defending his territory.  The cat could be eating Obie’s food.  A treat in exchange for quiet could be offered.  A squirrel could run by in the living room.  Nope, not taking the bait.  Obie’s not into multi-tasking, as he knows those are just distractions from the task.   If we could only be so focused on our goals.

The next time you hear a bark, think to yourself: how am I intentional today? Am I allowing anything to get in the way? And, is my focus where it needs to be?    Simple questions from a persistent pup.

Bibliowhat? What is Bibliotherapy?

Did you know there’s an actual word to describe using books as part of therapy?  Yup, it’s called “bibliotherapy”.

Many of you may know that I spent 10 years as a librarian, previous to beginning my career as a counselor.  (It’s ok to insert “nerd joke” here.  I love libraries and the funky smell of old books and I’m not afraid to admit it).

Anyway… back to bibliotherapy, which I use frequently as part of the healing/moving forward/creating new insight process of therapy.  Here’s what it means, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

“the use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy”

 

Simple, right?  Well, where do you start?  Usually, when meeting with a client, I’ll start them off with a good article to read and think about, then transition to asking them to read a book.  We only have an hour to talk, but clients can still be working hard throughout the week on achieving their counseling goals.

Reading books is one way of continuing the good work we start in the counseling room!

Next up:  recommendations of book titles that are near and dear to my therapist’s heart.

How do you describe your grief?

In the years that I’ve born witness to others’ grief, I have found one common factor: everyone needs a way to describe it in order to walk through it. Oftentimes, the description serves as a guide, an ear-marker, a meaning-maker along the road of reconciling the loss.

Here are a few poignant ways I’ve heard it described:

“An ocean or a wave of emotions”

“Like being on a rollercoaster – each turn brings something different”

“Standing in a tunnel, while seeing a small light of hope – and praying it’s not the oncoming train!”

“A long, hard uphill climb without ropes”

In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis wrote the following after the death of his beloved wife. It is perhaps one of the most lyrical, accurate descriptors of the grief experience:

“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.”

He continues on to describe his sorrow in terms that helped him understand it:

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

“The death of a beloved is an amputation.”

Does your grief feel sudden, like the removal of a limb?  Do the emotions feel out of control, like riding a roller coaster?  Or does it feel like the sharp edges are softening as time goes by?  These descriptors help us assign sense to a loss that at many times feels senseless. We struggle against the enormity of the loss, and so we find we must put the experience into something we know.  Descriptions of grief provide the structure, that tells us what to expect, where to go next, and how to best get there.  How would you describe your grief?