therapy/counseling


Excerpt from When Therapy Isn’t Enough:

Due to the dysfunction in the family I grew up in, I entered adulthood with many emotional and spiritual wounds, destructive habits and crippling hang-ups, most of which were outside my awareness. I began a healing process in my early adulthood even though I did not have a clear idea of what needed to be healed.

… the first step in my healing process was engaging in psychotherapy…Psychotherapy helped me to change on the outside; my inside, however, remained untouched for a very long time. Without consciously realizing it, I accepted this as normal, assuming I had reached the end of the healing process.

While still in therapy I added secular recovery (ACOA ALANON) to my healing process. Secular recovery taught me that I was not alone. I learned firsthand that other people had life experiences similar to mine and had similar feelings to mine.

In 2003 I stumbled upon Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-Step recovery program, and that has made all the difference for me. Through working a program that continually pointed me toward Jesus, I learned how to access his healing power. My childhood wounds were finally healed—not coped with but healed. My habits are being broken one by one, and my crippling hang-ups have evaporated. They have been replaced with faith and trust in my Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625861117/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531867727&sr=1-2&keywords=When+Therapy+Isn%27t+Enough

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Dedication, When Therapy Isn’t Enough: “To individuals carrying emotional and spiritual wounds. The words in this book, both my words and the words of others, are written to you and for you. Words are powerful. They can hurt or they can heal. They can entertain, encourage, criticize or fill any one of numerous other functions. The words in this book are meant to be healing words, helping words. They are written in the sincere hope that they will help you make sense of your experiences, encourage you, challenge you and comfort you.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625861117/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531867727&sr=1-2&keywords=When+Therapy+Isn%27t+Enough

My new book is now available on amazon. For those who are interested, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625861117/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531867727&sr=1-2&keywords=When+Therapy+Isn%27t+Enough

As I have journeyed through life I have had different purposes for different seasons of my life.

When I was a senior in high school I took a psychology course. I was fascinated by the concept that there are reasons why people do what they do and feel what they feel. This course was the beginning of a lifelong desire to understand what makes people tick. I subsequently majored in psychology in college, went to graduate school where I earned a master’s degree in clinical social work, and embarked on a career as a psychotherapist. I also engaged in therapy myself as a client to understand what made me tick.

The desire to understand what makes people tick grew into a passion for helping people live healthy, happy lives emotionally and relationally. When God called me to lead a Celebrate Recovery ministry in August 2003, I was given another avenue through which to help people heal the hurts, habits, and hang-ups which impeded them from living the lives they were created to live.

In July 2014 God narrowed this passion to focus on women. He lit a fire in my heart to help his daughters be set free from the belief systems and practices that tell them they are second-class citizens, and stop them from being who God created them to be. I put form to this passion and calling by writing When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream. In this book I focus on how the Christian Church has contributed to maintaining gender inequality in the United States. I hope that the men and women who read it will be encouraged to swim upstream against gender inequality wherever they either see it happening to others or experience it themselves. I finished this manuscript about one month ago. The publishing process will begin in January.

I don’t know what else God may want me to do. I don’t need to know right now. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that he will let me know what he wants me to do. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

turn turn turn the byrds lyrics

Did you know it is possible to become addicted to behavior?

It is important to understand that, just as we can manipulate our moods by ingesting substances from the outside, we can also manipulate our moods by becoming intoxicated with our own internal chemicals, set off by behavior. We can become addicted to behaviors that set off certain internal chemicals. One of the behaviors we can become addicted to is taking care of or helping others.

Some of the signs of an addiction to taking care of others are: doing something we really don’t want to do, i.e. saying yes when we want to say no; doing something for someone that he/she is capable of doing and should be doing for him or herself; meeting people’s needs without being asked; speaking for another person; solving people’s problems for them; fixing people’s feelings; doing other’s thinking for them; experiencing people’s consequences for them; doing more than our fair share of work; consistently giving more than we receive in a particular situation or relationship.

People who are addicted to taking care of others don’t just care for others; they breed dependence. Caretakers need dependent people around, so if there aren’t any dependent people handy a dedicated caretaker will find some. So the real question isn’t “Why do they act like that?” the real question is “Why do I find myself in the same predicament over and over?”

Personal experience: At the beginning of my career as a mental health professional I was driven by a desperate need to “fix” my clients. I believed that the only way my worth and value as a therapist and as a person was measured was if my clients “got better.” Further, I believed that my clients’ progress in therapy was entirely on my shoulders. These two beliefs combined drove me to take responsibility for my clients’ mental health and progress in therapy. The result of this, of course, was that my clients did everything but “get better,” due to my failure to give them the responsibility for their own mental health. By taking that responsibility on myself, I enabled them to stay dysfunctional. Then, of course, the more dysfunctional they stayed, the harder I worked, which meant they stayed dysfunctional.

Lessons I learned: 1. I did not create their problems and I could not fix them; 2. I had to tolerate feelings of powerlessness and not act off them; 3. I had to detach from the outcome; 4. My responsibility was to bring the best I had to each session, and my “best” differed from day to day; and 5. If I was working harder than they were at solving their problems I was taking responsibility for them.

Once I truly understood and embraced my addiction to taking care of and helping others I began my recovery from same. I then started to truly help people rather than enable them to stay stuck in their dysfunctional behavior patterns.

I was recently talking with a young woman who was physically, sexually and psychologically abused as a child. I said something about trusting God. Her immediate, and angry, response was “Why should I trust God, he didn’t protect me as a child!”

Now that’s a tough question. My reply to her was “I don’t know what to say to that. I need to think about it.”

Twenty four hours later I remembered a Celebrate Recovery teaching on this very issue and sent her the following message: “Don’t be mad at God for what your parents did. He gave us all free will. If he took away your parents’ free will He would have to take it away from all of us.” I haven’t heard from her since. I hope she’s chewing on this.

This past weekend I was a vendor at The Pink Event, a women’s expo in Baltimore. A woman who was looking at my books asked me what my ministry is about. That started me thinking about the need to boil my ministry down to its core. I then came up with the following purpose statement: Isn’t Enough Ministries exists to help individuals overcome the following obstacles to becoming who God created them to be: unhealed hurts, destructive habits, and crippling hang-ups; religion instead of relationship; the stained glass ceiling; and refusal to wait on God.

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