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When Anger Separates Family Members

Here’s How to Reconnect

Do you have a family member you no longer see or talk to? It could be a brother, sister, grown child, cousin, parent, in-law, aunt or uncle. Maybe it was something he/she said or something you did, but no matter the cause, there is a sense of loss.  Read more

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Marriage Counselors

Three Dangers in Marriage Counseling

#2   The Counselor is not Confident 

Why is this important?  Because you need someone who is not only competent but also someone who is confident.

1.  Confident in Themselves

Obviously, you don’t want to seek a counselor that is filled with conceit, but confident enough to speak directly to each of the participants and call people out when necessary.  Some counselors agree with everything to pacify or not upset the couple.  You sit there for fifty-five minutes and  basically the counselor listens and ask questions,  but they don’t give advice. Really? Clients are paying counselors to help them identify and resolve conflict.

I’ve heard couples repeatedly tell me, they tried counseling but their counselor would make impractical statements, “Well, I see your point” or “Hmmmm, that’s a good idea.”  I have several couples whom have tremendous issues with  borderline personality disorder. Understanding this illness takes certified medical professionals and a trained, certified counselor who is confident and specializes in identifying the root cause that has manifested into the personality disorder.

For example, in my practice, I see men that may be extremely manipulative, and the women may react with an explosive behavior.  In other cases,  a husband could be passive and let his wife do whatever she wants, even if he doesn’t approve, he agrees to keep the peace in the family. I have a few women that are extremely frustrated with their husbands apathetic approach and lack of leadership, because of their narcissistic behavior and the need for everything to be all about them. Once, I had a client that played and wrestled with his wife when they were first married, to his surprise, she would turn into “Mr. Hyde” and became someone he didn’t recognize. After much mental abuse, years later they learned of her mental illness and the dual personalities that surfaced when she felt threatened. It took medical doctors, prescriptions and professional counseling to help the two of them identify the origin of her pain and help them heal from the past wounds. Without confidence in my specialty of counseling, I could have caused more harm and empty the bank book.

The outcome of counseling is having a professional that will name the action for what it is and spell it out. Someone who will provide advice and tell you when your behavior is right or wrong.  You are entrusting them to provide a safe place for the two of you to talk and be expose your vulnerability.  Your looking for a professional that is confident and willing to step in when one is hurting. It’s like a football game. How long would it last if the five “officials” simply nodded their heads and said, “Well that was a good play.” Couples need to be flagged from time to time and a counselor who is confident will do this.

2.  Confident in God’s Spirit

Find a counselor that is confident in God’s Spirit.  Jesus gave us another Comforter just like Himself.  This Spirit is described as a Wonderful Counselor.  In my practice, I pray with my couples as we begin so that God may send His Spirit to lead us into Truth and again as we close so His Spirit will give them Freedom.

Confidence in the Spirit means to place my trust in Him and rely on Him. As a confident counselor, I will show you keys to God’s principles and give you tools and scripture to keep you accountable as you walk daily with Him every day.  I ask for you to journal daily because every single person indwelt by God’s Spirit, will begin to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to them. This helps us both see where you’re at in your walk, what progress or back steps are taking place.  I can see what you need and when you need it. Every week, I experience the amazing miracle of Father’s Heart being poured out in someone’s life in a way that causes me to be in awe of Father’s Grace. I had one experience with a women who was struggling with several trials all at once. I had been praying for her during the week. At our next session, I asked her to open in prayer, and she cried her heart out with the exact prayers God had laid on my heart that week. What makes prayer and God’s Spirit in our lives so special is when we begin to hear on their own from the Shepherd Who loves us deeply.

3.  Confident in Your Future

When I meet couples, I see them through the eyes of Father’s Heart.  I see them as they can and will be.  It was Michael Angelo who quoted when asked, “How did you create David?” He simply replied, “I waited till I saw David in the rock and then cut away everything that wasn’t David.”

What a superb answer!  I know with great confidence where a couple can go.  I have walked many trails with many hurting couples.  I have seen the hazards and the shadows, the valley’s, the mountains and the still waters.  I KNOW where Jesus will lead us if the couple will allow God’s Spirit to take control and entrust their pain in my confidence. I have sat opposite ends with marriage couples who proclaim, “We can’t make it one more week, you’re our last shot.”

So confidently, we trust the Lord, run the race with endurance and go to work cutting away everything that doesn’t look like David. Working on the differences that separate your marriage and keep you from living in unity like God designed you to be.  Communication, conflict, temperaments, languages all become tools to chisel away. Horizontal living is not of Christ, but plugging into Christ we get charged and learn to live a future life Vertically with Him.

I am confidence in Him and in those that are willing to walk through the rough days ahead. In my practice, couples will look to me with my hand on the tiller of their boat and hear my voice, “We can do this,” “We will make it,” “We will work it out,” “Be patient, God’s not finished.”

Get a good coach.  Someone who is Competent, and Confident.

Winners use Coaches

Dr.J

 

Good & Bad Marriage Counselors #1

Three Dangers of Marriage Counseling

#1 The Counselor is not trained 

IT wasn’t long ago that a very credentialed professor from the University of Minnesota wrote an article on “Why Therapy can be Hazardous to your Marital Health”. Being a marriage therapist and mentor his title jerked my attention. He was sounding an alarm to couples about bad counselors. He states, “You’d be interested to know that, according to a national survey, 80 percent of all private practice therapists in the United States say they do marital therapy and only 12 percent of them are in a profession that requires only one course or any supervised experience. Only marriage and family therapy as a profession requires any coursework or supervised clinical experience in marital or couples therapy. So most people who say they’re doing this work picked it up on the side or not at all.”

I frequently experience this in my own practice. I’ll hear opening comments as, “Well, we’ve been to see four counselors and you’re number five.” It’s  a ‘buyer beware’ market, as is the choice of any coach. You can’t use a successful NFL coach to teach intricacies for a successful girls Olympic gymnastics. In the same way, we need to be watchful as to who we choose as a counselor.

I teach people to interview their counselor.

  • What training have you had? Get an idea of what they have done to learn, train, and improve themselves.
  • What strategy will you use? See if they even have a strategy, a plan, a format they follow because it tells you they are prepared.
  • What courses have you taught? Many of us teach seminars and it is a good way to check areas of competency.
  • What Biblical principles will you hold to?
  • What is your view on accountability?
  • What is your success rate with couples? Ask others about their experience with a certain counselor. Get recommendations
  • What do you do on a daily basis to walk with God?

Actually the first questions are great and they tell me much, but if you are a Christian and you believe in Biblical Guidance, then that last question is the deal breaker. If they don’t have a walk with God then what and how will they teach you?

I see so much of this in counselors. They think if they understand one concept they are experts in multiple areas. I have a lot of training and experience in Dysfunctional Family Origin, Attachment, Early Teen Development and Marriage Counseling, but when it comes to Drug and Alcohol or Addiction therapy, I’m in the back seat. I listen attentively to what they say and marvel at their expertise, but I wouldn’t coach in their specialty field.

For myself, I live, eat, and sleep in the areas God has called me to. If you are going to undergo heart surgery would you want someone who can’t stop thinking about your surgery or someone who can’t wait to get on the golf course?

I remember seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana Jones, famed adventurer and archaeologist acquires a diary that holds clues and a map to find the mysterious Holy Grail. Upon retrieving his father in Nazi territory, the rescue mission turns into a race to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis. It boils down to a final moment. They have passed the tests and found the cave where a 900 year old knight guards the water of eternal life. Before them is a table of cups, the guardians asks, “Which cup will you choose?” The Nazi runs forward to grab the most beautiful gold challis. Drinking the fountain water, he steps back in a grin…. Then changes from a smile, screams, his face melts, and he explodes. It’s pretty graphic. In the quiet that follows the shock of this man being reduced to a pile of dust, the guardian knight says matter of factly (which makes it ever more hilarious) “He chose poorly.”

Well duh… what do you think?

But bottom line life can be full of poor decisions, so do your homework and choose wisely; the choice is yours. Winners use Winning Coaches.

Lean Together in 2015

Scripture: Psalm 9:9 -11 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you”.
Thought: About 10 years ago, I stopped making “New Year Resolutions” because they never worked for me and never lasted past January, that’s if I was good. So instead, I started asking God to teach me about His character; the Fruit of His Spirit. (1 Corinthians 13) My New Year resolution was to be more Christ minded. I would take one word that describes Jesus and ask God to give me strength to PUT HIM FIRST. Last year I asked my Father God to show me what His Love really is. Prior to this prayer, I had so many expectations and disappointments when I tried unconditional love on my own, but when I trusted God to show me His love, I was putting Him First daily. This year my resolution prayer is for me to learn how to love God unconditionally. He showed me His love first and now I want to learn to love Him like He loves me. Following Christ is not easy; in fact this prayer is scary to me but I hold onto God’s promise that he will not abandon me. I relate this kind of love, giving and receiving to the only I kind of love I have humanly learned, and this is with my husband. I have no fear of sharing my failures with him. We lean together as we committed in our wedding vows. We lean together with Our Heavenly Father to take over and show of His way to the truth and life; both personally and in our marriage.
Action: A promise to a new beginning. God promises to redeem all events of our lives for our good if we look to Him. Romans 8:28. Love covers it all. The daily stresses on marriages, the most difficult situations and decisions. Put God First and make Him the source of your love. Hand in hand you can face the best and the worst that life offers. Lean together with your spouse in 2015 and watch the transformation God is going to do in fulfillment of His promise to you.
Prayer: Lord, it’s not about me. I pray that you will guard me against temptation and situations that can kill my marriage. Please give me courage and strength to lean together with you in 2015. Remind me to Put You First in every morning.