Category: Individual Treatment

Wholehearted

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA

Have you ever ventured out or thought what it might mean to get your heart back?

That question usually stirs up one of two immediate reactions:

  1. Wow! How great would that be? or
  2. What do you mean? I never lost my heart!

The first is usually from men or women who have experienced pain in their lives and realize that they have never really fully recovered. Those pains can take many forms, but often include wounding moments experienced after our fathers or mothers, friends, coaches, or teachers made us feel diminished. As we experience a sense of betrayal by someone we admire and trust, we can often begin to cope in ways that we believe are helpful but that in fact simply mask the underlying vulnerability. Some of us forget about these deep, painful life paper cuts or bone-chilling slices as we get older, then are surprised when we over-react to a moment or seemingly small event.

The truth, however, is that those pains remain with us and they impact the way we relate to others. We may limit the effort we put into relationships for fear of being hurt, or we may hide behind a facade to project a brave or happy face. Others will become extremely outgoing or extremely shy. No matter how we arrange our outward appearance, there is nearly always something that lives just beneath the surface, whether it’s fear, shame, guilt, anger, or sadness, that is all-too-easily provoked.

Now, the second reaction usually comes from those who have the deepest wounds and therefore feel they need the boldest facades. Unfortunately, the same is still true for those men and women. There still seems to be this easily-provoked emotion just under the surface.

The treatment, or the goal of therapy, in either case is “wholeheartedness” – “getting your heart back.”

What does that look like? It’s a basic exchange… trade in the pain for healing. If each wounding moment we’ve experienced is stored in a proverbial basement within our hearts, then we have to get into that basement, take each sealed box down, look at the contents, expose the hurt, and determine what treatment is best (with the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and then exchange that hurt for God’s healing power.

Sounds easy, right? It is… and yet it’s not. To even begin takes courage. There is work involved, and it’s hard work. There may even be additional pain involved, but usually this is the good kind (if you believe there is such a thing). It’s the kind of pain that comes when you know Jesus is the one exposing the wound so that he can then bring healing. The most beautiful thing about it all is that when Jesus brings the healing, we know we are truly healed. We truly get our hearts back… we become more and more wholehearted. More who God created us to be.

Are you still dealing with hurts from your past? Are you putting forth a brave or happy face even though you know there is something just under the surface? If you have boxes stored in your basement that you need help exchanging — if you want to get your heart back so that you can live freely — call us at LifeCare Counseling & Coaching.

When a Man Feels Lost, Step I is to Grab the Map

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA

We often see clients struggling with anger, sadness, stress at work or at home and even with violent outbursts toward others. There is a common thread shared among so many of them, especially when the clients are men. Many, many times, men say, “I feel lost” or “Something is missing” or “I just don’t know who I am.” This lostness or lack of identity is a very real concern, and with more men growing up without positive male role models in their lives, it is no wonder they struggle to identify who they are, who they need to be, and especially who they are meant to be.

As Christian counselors, we believe we KNOW who we are, and we know who these men are, too. Scripture tells us that we as men are all Beloved sons of Almighty God, and women are all Beloved daughters. This is true of ALL men, believers or not. The trouble is, many men do not know, or perhaps they do not believe, that this is true. Even Christian men struggle with this.

There are Christian men who believe that their identity lies in God, that they are beloved Sons, and this is critical. What we believe matters and it matters very much, but if men have never experienced the love of a good father, never experienced belovedness, they may struggle with their identity and with expressing themselves in loving ways.

As counselors who walk alongside men who are struggling with their identities and therefore struggling in their lives as sons, brothers, friends, husbands, and fathers, we want to first address the current behaviors by helping men deal with their anger, sadness, stress, or outbursts. But most important, we want men to know who they are and to begin to experience who they are so that they can then become who they are meant to be—wholehearted men, beloved sons, loving husbands, and amazing fathers, free from their previous struggles. This can be a wonderful journey, and the destination is definitely worth the effort.

When Christmas isn’t Merry

This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, give gifts, and enjoy friends and family. It can be a wonderful time, but for some it’s a depressing time.

Today, I was playing tennis with a group and overhead a discussion by a couple of women from the other team. One of the women had been married for 25 years, but recently separated from her husband and was facing Christmas and New Year’s alone. Her friend was inviting her to spend time with them. A great idea!

Special times of the year are times when depression can be worst as we face losses. One family just lost their daughter, another a parent or spouse.

We can help by being sensitive to these people and making sure they are included in our activities. Allow them to talk about their losses and encourage them to remember the good times. Ask them to show you pictures or tell you stories.

Don’t tell them not to be sad or to cheer up. It doesn’t help and simply makes them feel worse that they can’t do what you asked.

Scripture can be a comfort as we think of our loses. Recently, I have been remembering the fellowship we have in Christ suffering when we suffer. Ironically, suffering is a gift because it draws us closer to Christ and allows us to identify with him. We receive His comfort as we suffer so that we can share Him with others.

I talked with two different men this week who had both lost grown sons this year. Both of these sons were lost tragically in the prime of their life due to illness. How do you console men who have lost their sons? All I could do was remind them that God had lost his only son as well. He understands and shares their pain.

I pray that you have a joyous Christmas, and that you will also love those you know who aren’t having such a Merry Christmas.

Christian Counseling

At LifeCare Counseling and Coaching, professional therapy and faith intersect comfortably. Indeed, Christ heals all sorrows. The Grace of God is undeniable and incontrovertible. Yet, sometimes people are overcome by the afflictions of the world. In those times, there’s no shame in turning to community for support. The sad news is that some may feel embarrassed and/or ashamed and choose to suffer a growing illness in silence. In those cases, it may be essential for Christians to seek counseling from a professional counselor outside of their church. The priority, of course, is to encourage healing and ensure excellent care.

LifeCare Counseling and Coaching is comprised of fully licensed, Christ-centered counselors. Professional family and marriage counselors and psychologists help clients set goals and connect spiritual growth with life. We also have a psychiatrist here for those situations where the brain’s chemistry needs a nudge in order to find the right balance. All of us have additional and complementary education as Christian counselors. Some of us even have additional degrees in theology.

We adhere and are held accountable to the rigorous standards imposed on licensed practices, we are able to accept insurance, and we are certified Christian counselors. What’s more, we work tirelessly to honor your church’s traditions, and we work are happy to team with your pastor if you wish.

If you have any need to refer a member to a counseling service, we certainly pray you will feel invited to seek us out. We are here to serve you, pray with and for you, your family and your neighbors, and carefully serve, respect, and protect everyone who comes to us.

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