Counseling for India

September 1, 2014

Suresh 1A selfless gentleman with tremendous power to change the lives of other people presents a picture you have to experience to appreciate. I have recently met such a man. Suresh Bolem came from India to study counseling at Dallas Seminary. In a strange country (that would be us), responsible for a wife and two children, he seeks ways to make personal counseling accessible to those who have neither the money nor the time to take advantage of its benefits. I will be working with Suresh as he completes his 3,000 hours of supervised counseling experience required to get his LPC (Licenses Professional Counselor). But it won’t be all about what I can provide for him. I will be learning from him about the Indian culture in preparation for my teaching counseling to the Asian Christian Academy in January 2016. In the meantime, he needs financial support, job opportunities in the counseling field, and more connections with people in this professional community. Read his story below and see what you can do to support him.

 

I am Suresh E Bolem, a recent graduate of Masters in Biblical Counseling at DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary). My life and times are swamped with God’s grace, loaded and stamped with God’s mercy. Like Paul I say, “Whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me…” Like David I say, “Who am I Lord, what is my family that you should have brought me to this point?”

I was born in a Hindu family where multi-gods worship was ruled. Our forefathers were affluent and their income would put them distinctly in the middle class bracket. I chose to become a follower of Jesus Christ when He visited me in a special way. The world calls me a convert to Christianity. I have no problems with that, though I see my faith more as a relationship with God through Jesus Christ than as a religion. I am fiercely proud of my national identity as an Indian and I am completely at peace with my cultural identity as a Hindu. I met my wife Swarna in 1999 and we were blessed with two children (Bhuvan Tej & Nitin Tej).

I remember my faith encounter with God, it was a simple affair no miracles, no angels visiting. All I did was utter a deep human cry out to the creator God and His only son Christ Jesus. The encounter that I had shall not even attempt to understand, rationalize or explain. I simply accept Him who gave His life as a ransom for me. It is my faith. It is what I choose to believe.

It was my Mom, who was my inspiration behind my choice to serve the Lord. My mother, who used to go around the known families in our village sharing her testimony and good news about Jesus, was the inspiration for me to choose this path in my child-hood. It happened unknowingly but God out of His Sovereign-will designed my path to be His instrument.

When I accepted Jesus and repented my sins, I felt that something from another world came upon me and I knew I was totally a different person. My life took a different turn indeed a peculiar turn but a beautiful turn with Jesus in it that day in February 1998. I have experienced real joy and peace in my life through Him. The very moment I gave my life to the Lord, the meaning of God’s call into the ministry became clear to me. The reason I could understand God’s call was because I was now in right relationship with Him through Christ Jesus, the Son of God. I, then, had dedicated myself to the service of living God. Life has been wonderful as I’ve found the secret of its success thru Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

I started my M. Div., course in Southern Asia Bible College (an Assemblies of God School), Bangalore, India (in 2000), where I’ve began experiencing empowerment and infilling of the Holy Spirit. The next three years I lapped up God’s Word in a systematic form, hungrily. God used all my teachers to shape my life and ministry. During weekends, in those three years, I had a privilege to be a part of pastoral ministry at Whitehouse AG Telugu Church in Bangalore, India.

My first fulltime ministry assignment was with the Maranatha Veda Patasala (Bible School) in Hyderabad India, the year being 2003. I was called to be Bible Teacher for the Maranatha Bible School where I served as an academic dean for 3 years. I also served as an associate Pastor in Maranatha Visvasa Samajam (a Faith Community Church) in Hyderabad, where I used to lead the worship and also taught in the men fellowship. I lead a group of students to the weekend ministry, almost all parts of the state (Andhra Pradesh), for personal evangelism and preaching in open-air meetings, youth camps and conventions of churches. It helped me to understand different cultures and also got an opportunity to preach the gospel in different platforms.

I also wrote articles for Maranatha Messenger a Telugu monthly magazine, which sharpens my thoughts. Pastor Moses Choudary (Founder of Maranatha Visvasa Samajam), one of my spiritual mentors, trained me in the essentials of Christian writings. After three years of ministry with them, it became clear to me that my ministry would not be just teaching in a Bible School. So I moved out to pioneer a church and joined CBN-India an international organization for counseling ministry in the year 2006 to support the newly started church. This is entirely different and new ministry to me. God shown me people in different problems and placed me there to encourage the discouraged and despised, build the families and console the broken hearted, set captives free and to share the love of Christ. I’ve seen and observed the impact of the counseling ministry in and through the lives of the people.

God used me at different platforms of His service. It was counseling ministry that I have found God working underneath to transform the lives of the people in need. Without any counseling educational background God used me to touch many lives and that encouraged me to complete my Masters in Biblical Counseling at DTS recently.

Hope Counseling Initiative (HCI) at Colleyville Assemblies of God church is now providing mental health services and parental education by extending their service and reaching out to financially disadvantaged families, individuals including teens. Counseling is a very important service or tool used to help people to rise above their hurts and live a fulfilling life.  As a part of this service provider I see two major hurdles that have not been addressed so far. One of the common and major hindrances is COST in reaching out to people who need psychological services and counseling. On an ongoing basis many are unable to afford the growing industry cost starting between $80 – $300 per hour for counseling and psychological services. Second major hindrance for people unable to go through the help of counseling is TIME. In my limited time of experience, I have noticed people who could afford, are still unable to go for counseling due to the time factor. Before they can go for initial evaluation session they have to wait for more than a week or sometimes even several months. Addressing both the hindrances of TIME and COST for counseling and psychological services we have come up with the plan of attending to the families need beginning with the contribution from $5 per session based on house hold income and family size and we try our best in making appointments as early as possible (the main initial focus would be at Mid Cities in Dallas – DFW Metroplex). With all this said our plans will only be fruitful when you partner with HCI by supporting us financially. HCI relies on the generosity of those who understand the importance of counseling and willing to provide help to financially disadvantaged individuals and families. Without any hesitation I can say your support really does change people’s lives. I have witnessed and have been a part of change every single day and I encourage you to join HCI in changing people’s lives through your generosity.

 

I and my family [wife Swarna and Two boys Bhuvan Tej (13) and Nitin Tej (10)] are very thankful and looking forward for your partnership. I thank my God who inspires His people to extend their support to us that helping us funding to fulfill the task ahead of me. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your Christ-like kindness towards this ministry. Without your support it wouldn’t be possible to take such a challenging task forward to touch many lives. I pray that God would bless you and yours with thirty fold, sixty-fold and hundred-fold of blessings!

Suresh Family


Intimacy in Your Marriage: Could Your Marriage Use A Little More?

January 21, 2014
Lorie Ammon

Lorie Ammon

Imagine how inspiring it could be to meet someone whose approach is creative and innovative but grounded in the basics.  Lorie Ammon is such a person.  She takes you back to the basics of building intimacy in marriage.  But she does it in a group setting, yet without embarrassing anyone.  Her educational approach equips everyone with what they need to know.  Then she challenges everyone to practice in the privacy of their home.  She has found material to use that helps you make relevant application of biblical principles, yet it’s not a “Bible study” per se.  It’s about how you do it.  I supervise Lorie and can testify that she walks what she talks as is apparent in her own marriage.  Could you marriage use a shot of increased intimacy?  Consider what she has written:

Sitting in a circle together with several couples participating in the newest marriage program, I found myself feeling distressed by the continued struggle in the group.  One husband epitomized the struggle.  A bright and good-looking man with a loving and attractive wife, beautiful children, and a successful business had figured out all the major issues in life save one.  In a heartfelt and exasperated tone he commented, “I never thought married life would be so hard.”   I empathized with his struggle but I felt disheartened that our group had not brought him any hope.  The image of my friend’s beleaguered face never left me as I pursued training as a professional counselor.  As a new LPC intern, I was determined to help couples navigate toward a genuine loving bond, having had the experience in my own marriage that ‘happily ever after’ is not born from commitment alone but from vulnerable sharing of emotional needs.  With this predilection my supervisor wisely affirmed my direction to pursue training in Emotionally-focused Couple Therapy.  That was a year ago, and I can say it has been a satisfying investment with consistently fruitful results in 7 out of 10 couples I have had the privileged of working alongside.  What was missing to help the husband in our group setting was understanding how to find the way back toward emotional closeness with his wife.  I believe now this is the hard part, the pain people get into when they cannot reach their partner to restore a loving connection.  Just as the infant cries for nourishment, so too, our hearts scream for connection.

Emotionally-focused Couple Therapy (EFT) has de-mystified my own experience in marriage by explaining the ruptures in emotional connection though the lens of Attachment Theory. Over fifty years ago, John Bowlby introduced this Attachment theory to the British Psychoanalytical Society in London with little receptivity. However, today it has been described as the dominant approach to understanding early social development in infants based on the secure emotional attachments they form to familiar caregivers, especially if the adults are sensitive and responsive to the child’s communications.  The embrace of attachment theory to EFT was brought together by the research of Dr. Sue Johnson, the author of Emotionally-focused Therapy.   EFT proposes and rightly, I believe, that the need for secure emotional attachment never disappears but evolves in the adult as a drive for a secure emotional bond with a partner.   This attachment need is met by the interactions with a partner that convey a belief that they will respond when you call, that you matter to him or her, that you are cherished, and that he or she will respond to your emotional needs.  This hard-wired need for emotional responsiveness from significant others is originally visible in the way a mother lovingly gazes at her baby, and yet again in the interaction of new couple who stare lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Marital IntimacyWe all can remember how our relationships began with that exhilarating feeling of intense closeness to our partners.  Our attachments are so powerful that our brains code them as “safety.”  But our attention can wane as life happens.  Any perceived distance or separation in our close relationships is interpreted as danger because losing the connection to a love done jeopardizes our sense of security.  This experience of distance sets off an alarm in our amygdala—the fear center of the brain, shutting off our prefrontal cortex that negotiates our safe emotional closeness again.  A primal fear is set off, once the amygdala is activated, and we react without reason but instinctual action.  This fight-or-flight response is what Sue Johnson says occurs in relationships where people are either angry with one another or are withdrawing in response to a perceived challenge to their sense of attachment.  This is a normal response of attachment when we lose contact with each other.  Problems arise by how we react after a time of disconnection, setting the relationship off in a downward spiral. Most couple difficulties can be traced to one or both not feeling the “safety.”  The spiraling down leads to inappropriate attempts to elicit the reassurance that the other is really there for them.  When the trouble in a relationship can be understood as being trapped in this cycle, we can begin to address the normal drive for attachment. The attachment drives ask questions such as, “Are you there for me?” “Can I count on you?” and “If I call, will you come?”  EFT explains how attachment needs get distorted and misinterpreted, leaving each partner without a connection.  How can they get out of this trap and reconnect?

The first step over of the dis-connection is to be aware of the trap that perpetuates emotional distance.  Once a couple can identify they are trapped in a pattern of arguing and distancing they can   agree to step out of the trap.  With a dose of empathic understanding about their attachment needs, couples can take a leap of faith toward vulnerable sharing and reach toward each other for re-connection.  This hope in reaching for emotional closeness is that their partner will be there and respond with a welcomed reconnection

Convinced by EFT’s demonstrated success, I will be initiating the first Emotionally- Focused Couples Groups in North Texas.  After extensive training from the leaders in EFT from Houston to Chicago, I want to benefit Big D with a proven successful couple’s therapy.  Being zealous for couples to experience emotional closeness, I have united my group psychotherapy training from the American Group Psychotherapy Association with EFT, to offer the first EFT group counseling setting for relationship enhancement.  Couples groups are forming to build “Conversations for Connection” that will join for 8 weekly sessions.  Each group meeting will be based on the Seven Conversations of Connection*:

1)    Recognizing Demon Dialogues – First, couples identify common emotional reactions that lead to negative cycles in order to step out of them.

2)    Finding the Raw Spots – Next, each partner learns to look beyond immediate, impulsive reactions to discover the vulnerable feelings under the negative cycles.

3)    Revisiting a Rocky Moment – This conversation develops a safe platform for de-escalating conflict, repairing disconnections, and building emotional security.

4)    Hold Me Tight – Now the partners can move into being more accessible, emotionally responsive, and deeply engaged to strengthen and protect their emotional connection.

5)    Forgiving Injuries – Old emotional hurts can block intimacy and a secure connection. Knowing how to identify these injuries and offer and accept forgiveness empowers couples to strengthen their bonds.

6)    Bonding Through Sex and Touch – Here, couples learn more about how emotional connection enhances physical connection, which in turn creates deeper emotional connection – the best kind of cycle.

7)    Keeping Your Love Alive – The last conversation in the program builds on the understanding that a love relationship is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection; it helps couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining that connection.

Hold Me Tight Book Cover*Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Emotion Focused Therapy is now research proven to be the leading theory for couple’s therapy.

This Group format will demonstrate conversations for connection to help unravel the mystery of love and see what helps couples strengthen their emotional bond with one another.  We will explore building more trust and safety with each other.  Often this leads couples to find a way to problem solve without arguing, and stand up for themselves without being defensive. You can learn what drives the repetitive negative pattern you get caught in, what you and your partner really need from each other, and how to have conversations that create lasting change and connection.

The group setting will involve sharing of ideas, and viewing real video clips of genuine  couples demonstrating conversations for connection that unravel the mystery of  what helps couples strengthen their emotional bond with one another. It is always up to you whether or not to speak up in the large group setting, for some, having the chance to share with others enhances their experience.  You will have practice exercises with your partner (privately) to improve relationship skills.  You are encouraged to read Hold Me Tight before the workshop. This book has been endorsed by leading researchers and authors in the marriage and relationship field.  Couples of all backgrounds, and stages of life are welcome.

Contact Information: Lorie Ammon at (817)405-9127 or email lorie@graceadvocates.com.   The cost for the group meetings will be $400 per couple for the entire eight 90 minute sessions.   Each group is limited to only 5 Couples to insure a maximal group experience.

 

 


Turn Your Deepest Pain into Your Greatest Gain

September 16, 2013

ChapelOur natural reaction to pain and suffering is to avoid it.  Failing that, we seek ways to restore comfort and control.  Seldom do we realize  that something “good” can come from the “bad” things in our life.  I appreciated the opportunity to talk in our DTS chapel service about the overarching good that can be at work in the midst of our suffering.  Click on the photo above to watch the 20-minute video.

While preparing for this talk, I came across an excellent new book, Why, O God?, which provides more extensive insights on suffering.    For Bookexample, Dr. Mark Bailey’s chapter lists 50 examples of the sufferings of Christ prior to his final week that we call his Passion.  In two other chapters, Joni Eareckson Tada writes about what she has learned from her life as a quadriplegic.  Greg Hatteburg writes about how he deals with his wife’s MS.  Several chapters show what the Bible has to say about suffering, in the Pentateuch, in the Gospels, in Paul’s writings, etc.

If you’re suffering, this book addresses questions that could bring you encouragement.  If you’re not suffering, it can prepare you mentally and spiritually for its inevitability.


Counselor to Missionaries

August 19, 2013

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“Oh, what a need for what you’re planning to do!”  That’s the typical response I hear when someone learns of an exciting new ministry I’m starting.  Technically it’s part of member care,  (Member Care is the ongoing preparation and taking care of missionaries for strong personal lives and effective ministries.)   Not that member care hasn’t already been going on, but it’s new to me.  The question I have is why aren’t there more counselors doing what I’m doing?  When I put it together in the form of a job description, I begin to understand why not.

 

Member care requires a lot of travel.

I will be taking 4-6 trips a year to various places in the world.  I like to travel and I love to get to know people in the areas where they live and work.  The trips will not include all the comforts of home but I will experience how a lot of different people manage.

 

Member care requires a lot of counseling experience.

After 37+ years of counseling, I feel pretty comfortable helping people express their concerns.  I can listen non-judgmentally while discerning deeper issues.  People who are struggling don’t need as much advise or criticism as they need encouragement and clarification of issues.  They need to see how their behaviors impact others as well as how others impact them.   Generally speaking, we tend to evaluate others on the basis of their behaviors while we evaluate ourselves on the basis of our intentions.  What a wonderful opportunity to put my experience to work in the challenging situations involving individuals, couples and groups in conflict overseas where they are feeling stressed and alone.

 

Member care requires cross-cultural flexibility.

Having taught cross-cultural counseling and providing counseling in several different countries, I’ve discovered that a lot of things that we assume to be true here in the US do no fit in other cultures.  When I was in Zanzibar, for example, I discovered that there is no word for “depression” in Swahili.  It turns out that in their interwoven corporate society, they don’t experience depression like we do.  They help each other out of their down times.  We tend to push our rugged individualism beyond the limits of our abilities to cope.  Some places respond to stories, some to small group interaction, while others to applied Bible passages.    This leads to a fourth requirement that tends to filter out a lot of people.

 

Member care requires a deep knowledge of Scripture plus training in counseling. 

What a blessing it’s been for me over the years to see the ideas taken from my PhD in counseling turn into applications of Bible truths that I learned while getting my ThM in New Testament studies at Dallas Seminary.  The Bible is truth, but sometimes it’s hard for us to understand how to apply it.  Psychology seeks to apply principles in a practical way, but isn’t always anchored in truth.  How exciting to see the truth of God show itself in cross-cultural, practical and trans-historical timeless ways.

 

Member care requires submission to the authority and structure of a mission organization.

East-West Ministries, International has been so gracious to make a place for me among their missionaries so I can work on a team.  The job that needs to be accomplished is too big for one person or a small group.  East-West Ministries has missionaries in 40 countries and their vision calls for adding 200 more missionaries in the next five years!  That will require a lot of screening, training, developing, supporting and encouraging.  My first assignment may be to train counselors in China.

 

Member care takes a lot of money.

As a missionary, I’ll need to raise financial support, both one-time gifts and regular monthly contributions to pay for one-month’s living expenses (I cut back my Dallas Seminary contract to only 11 months) and for all the trips plus administrative expenses.   Will you consider committing to a monthly contribution?  All contributions are tax-deductible.

To contribute on-line, click here.  East-West has made it very easy.

I would very much appreciate your support in this important endeavor, both in the form of prayer and finances, however large of small.  Many, many missionaries don’t make it for more than a few years because their adjustments are more than they can bear.  My hope is that my encouragement and perspective will strengthen them in continuing with the Lord’s work.

 

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To Africa to Train Pastors in Effective Counseling

June 18, 2012

Leaving for Tanzania in 2-1/2 weeks.  In addition to teaching pastors how to meet their people’s needs through counseling, I’m preparing a men’s retreat and two Sunday sermons for an English-speaking church.   Here are some of the details.  Still needing additional financial contributions to meet expense, so if you feel moved, please send to East-West Ministries (see bottom of letter below).

 


Helping Teenage Cutters

June 15, 2012

When I look around the community for good people doing good things, I need look no further that to one of my previous Interns, Kristine Newton.  She brings her maturity and competence to the counseling room to help, among other situations, teens who are cutters.   If you are one of these teenagers or if you know one, you would do well to read this article.  I asked Kristine to write something to help us understand what’s going on that drives this behavior and also what can be done to help the teen move from despair to a more mature contentment.  Need help?  Call Kristine.  She’s good.

It seemed like a normal night, their teenage daughter, Alice had come home and said good night. She seemed safe and happy; Mom and Dad were relieved and began to watch TV.  Less than ten minutes later, Alice came down the stairs, face flushed, tears in her eyes and blood gushing down her arm. While her parents were relaxing, Alice had gone to her room and slashed her arm. She had been cutting secretly for over six months, but tonight she used a box cutter and didn’t realize how sharp the blade was. The cut was so deep it required a trip to the ER and six stitches. Alice’s parents were in shock, what in the world had she done to herself and why?!!

It is estimated that one of every 200 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 in the United States engages in self-harm of some kind; of those 70% cut themselves. When families come to my office, the scene normally plays out like this.

Two very anxious parents and one scowling teenager enter the room and sit across from me. The adolescent informs me, “I will not talk to you or to them!”  They either deny the cutting is serious or state that their parents are being overly dramatic. “After all,” the teen says, “It’s not that big of a deal; cutting just makes me feel better.”

“Makes you feel better?!! That is ridiculous!” the parents exclaim.  With desperation, the parents turn and give me a look that begs me to talk some sense into their teen immediately.

The weird thing is . . . the teen is at least partially right. Cutting is a coping mechanism that “works” for some people.  Scientists have studied the issue, and believe cutting creates a temporary high, similar to the way adrenaline works.  For most of us, this does not make sense.  How in the world can hurting yourself make you feel better?  Like other unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol, outsiders can easily see the dangers, but the person engaged in it cannot.  Cutting is deceptive, destructive, and can be addictive; even though for a time, it helps relieve tension, reduce numbness and/or create a distraction from stressful life events.

While cutting may appear to “work” for the person using it, like drugs and alcohol, it leaves a bitter aftertaste, and is a dangerous illusion. Cutting can lead to unplanned medical expenses, trips to the ER and, infections which sometimes cause life-long health problems. At minimum cutting leaves unattractive physical scars, and never gets to the root of the issue. Emotionally and relationally, people engaged in cutting end up isolated from others, filled with deep shame and self-hatred, and develop incredibly effective skills at hiding reality from those closest to them.

It is important to note that while cutting may look and feel like a suicide attempt, or a cry for attention most times it is not.  This surprises most of us.  Many people who engage in cutting are not attempting to kill themselves; they see cutting as a way to deal with their pain, so that they can keep on living. While cutting is not often a suicide attempt, it can be a precursor to it, and those who engage in cutting are more prone to attempt suicide in the future.  Sometimes like our teenager Alice in the first paragraph, the cutting may lead to an accidental cutting that is much more serious than intended – even accidental suicide.

To help us understand some of the reasons why a person might cut, there are several characteristics that seem common. Most cutters have experienced more than their fair share of pain.  Many have been sexually abused, grown up with family members who have drug and/or alcohol addictions, or have experienced an extraordinary trauma in their lives. When we actually begin to hear their stories, it is often a wonder to us that they are still alive, and it is understandable that they are struggling.

A second characteristic is that they often feel they have become a burden to others, they feel isolated, and thus tend to deal with their problems without outside help or advice.  They believe others are sick of listening to them, don’t understand them and can’t or won’t help them. Therefore, rather than ask others, they take on the pain themselves and engage in self harm.  One client who ended up in the emergency room said, “I didn’t want to kill myself.  But I didn’t want to burden my mom anymore by telling her I was down, again!  I thought I could cut myself and deal with it that way.  But the cut was a lot deeper than I intended. Now I am so mad at myself, I was attempting to take care of myself, but now I have created more drama and cost my parents even more money because of the hospital bill.”

A final characteristic is cutters are very passionate, sensitive individuals who feel their emotions in vivid Technicolor.  God has given them a unique personality and emotional framework that has very sensitive receptors to the soft side of life.  Many times those who struggle with cutting are fun to be with, exciting to share struggles with, and often very compassionate with others. This places them on a very steep roller coaster ride. The highs are very high and the lows are almost intolerable! The downside: pain they feel at a high level and don’t know how to deal with it. They may try to tell someone they are hurting, but are blown off because others don’t experience the issue at the same intensity.

So what do you do if like the parents in the opening story, you have discovered someone you care about is cutting? Here are six suggestions.

1.  Trust.  Trust that God loves your loved one even more than you do! He loves to shine light in dark places so that He can bring restoration. Trust in His power, loving-kindness and timing to do what He has promised in your life and your loved one’s life.

2.  Don’t Panic.  My guess is that like the parents above, you would be a bit freaked out. That is normal. Don’t be shocked by your reaction.  It is very important to deal with the problem, but do so calmly and not in a panic. Remember, cutting is usually not a suicide attempt, but it is often a cry for help. Your panic could encourage more hiding, aloneness, and be a precursor to more not less cutting.

3.  Communicate love and care. Tell your loved one that you care about them, that you want to be supportive and that you want to see them get help. Do not scold, rebuke, or preach at this point, simply and clearly let them know you are in their corner and cannot be run away!

4.  Find a therapist.  I recommend finding a good therapist for your loved one. A therapist who is experienced in working with cutters is best. Therapy is often necessary not only to teach the cutter new coping skills, but also to work through the trauma that is at the root of cutting. Therapy also helps to educate the cutter of their sensitive emotional nature so they may see it as a blessing, not a curse, and to teach them to use that gift properly and well. If you are the parent, you should attend sessions as well. This is beneficial. It helps the cutter feel supported, and it will also help you. I know this may sound scary, but the therapist can not only help you know how to best deal with your situation, but also work through any doubts you may be having about your parenting skills.

5.  You find a therapist. Dealing with a cutter presents unique challenges; seek a counselor who can help you learn to react to your sensitive loved one in a new and godly way. Even if your loved one will not go to therapy, you should go! Therapy can help you deal with the situation when the person you care about does not want to change.

6.  Be a friend.  This is a time where your loved one really needs a healthy relationship. Listen when they need to talk, open the door to deeper issues, but don’t try to pound down the door. Make sure that you that you remember how to have fun with them! Don’t treat them like a project or a problem. And be patient. This behavior has usually occurred in secret for some time, a few sessions with a therapist will not make it go away. Like addictions, there may be periods of sobriety and then some relapse.

Kristine Newton, MA, LPC works with adolescents and adults at Heritage Counseling and Consulting, in the Park Cities area of Dallas. Through her earlier work at Heartlight Ministries, an inpatient rehab center for teens, and Metrocare Services, she has extensive experience working with adolescents and adults who have engaged in self harm.  To contact her, call 214.363.2345


Good Counseling Comes to the Broader Community

May 8, 2012

Good counseling costs a lot of money.   But not always, thanks to Dr. Michael Leach.  He has opened Richland Oaks Counseling Center right in the middle of a multicultural area and commits to providing services that are

     accessible,

     effective

     and culturally responsive for all who participate.

Right across the street from Richland College near Abrams Road and Walnut St., “ROCC” provides easy access.

How does he do it?  First, he focuses on social justice rather than making a lot of money for himself.  That’s the kind of guy he is.  A highly trained and skilled therapist and educator himself, he opts to supervise doctoral students and master’s level students from Argosy University and other graduate schools in the Dallas area.

He holds to a vision of a community in which staff, clients and various community organizations join in supporting persons with mental health needs so that all persons have the opportunity, including the necessary services and supports, to participate, with dignity, in the life of the community, with its freedoms, responsibilities, rewards, and consequences.

So, here’s a good man doing a good thing in the community.  How can you benefit from this service?  Give them a call at 469-619-7622.  Check out their Facebook page by clicking here .  Then, give them a try.  Some cynics say about counseling, “What you want, you can’t afford and what you can afford, you don’t want.”  Here’s a refreshing exception.