Individual Counseling

How Turning to God Can Help with Emotional Eating

By |2023-09-21T10:32:14+00:00September 21st, 2023|Eating Disorders, Featured, Individual Counseling|

We all crave something. For some people, it is fame and acknowledgment. For others, it is money and material possessions. Still, other people find that they crave food to fill them through emotional eating. But at the root of these wants, these cravings are a deep need only God can satisfy. Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort when we feel overwhelming emotions. We desperately want to drown out these feelings and thoughts, so we eat foods that give us temporary pleasure. Our brain recognizes that when we consume specific foods like simple carbs and sugar, we do it to relax. In response, the brain’s reward system floods us with chemicals that do just that – help us relax and feel good. But emotional eating cannot replace God in our hearts, nor can it bury unresolved hurts for long without consequences. The hole in your heart needs to be filled by God, not by food. In the Bible, God warns us about overeating. There are several passages about the sin of gluttony, or uncontrollable eating. The Book of Proverbs also points out how overeating something sweet that God gave us to enjoy can make us ill. “If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.” (Proverbs 25:16, NIV). How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103, NIV The writer of Psalm 119 recognizes that honey is a good food as he refers to Scripture as honey, but he also knows that overeating for any reason can make a person sick. What hole in your heart are you trying to fill with food? We often eat to avoid feeling our negative emotions, yet in some cases, we must confront these sensations to begin [...]

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Distracted by Desire: Infidelity and Emotional Affairs

By |2023-08-28T13:24:59+00:00August 28th, 2023|Couples Counseling, Featured, Individual Counseling, Infidelity and Affairs, Marriage Counseling, Relationship Issues|

Statistics concerning divorce rates can be alarming. Most sources report that roughly half of all marriages endure. Among the other fifty percent that end, a lack of commitment and infidelity are cited as top contributors to why many couples part ways. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines infidelity as “the situation in which one partner in a marriage or intimate relationship becomes sexually or emotionally involved with a person other than the partner’s spouse.” While we can respect that description, it is important for believers in Christ to understand that adultery, like other sins, does not originate at the point of a physical or emotional exchange with another human being. Infidelity and the state of an emotional affair, however, begins in the heart (Ephesians 2:3). With unrestricted access, our adversary can influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions. He seeks to gain a foothold in our lives to build a fortress (Ephesians 4:17). For that reason, we need to establish a hedge of prayerful and practical protection around our minds, mates, and marriages. We don’t have to live in fear, but we can be active in saving our marriage before it’s threatened. In the cases where we have been distracted by desire and experienced infidelity or an emotional affair, we can recover to make our marital bond more resilient. There may be many reasons or explanations why we or our spouses sought companionship or intimacy outside of the marriage. These reasons don’t excuse infidelity or an emotional affair. Where there are gaps or unmet needs, we need to be willing to commune with our hearts and face what prompted us to seek fulfillment elsewhere (Psalm 4:4). We must also engage and be present with our spouse in honest, ongoing conversations where we demonstrate an active and compassionate response to one [...]

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Aging in America: Effects of Negative Stereotypes

By |2023-05-01T14:47:02+00:00April 30th, 2023|Aging and Geriatric Issues, Featured, Individual Counseling|

Aging in America can be an intimidating prospect. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, older adults are projected to outnumber children by the year 2034. Despite this evidence of an aging America, the elderly continue to be devalued and stigmatized. Some societies, such as Japan, respect their elderly and hold them in high esteem for their experience and wisdom. Old age is viewed as a normal stage of life and something to enjoy, as opposed to something to fear. In America, however, youth is valued over old age, and the word “old” tends to be a put-down loaded with negative undertones. The elderly are often diminished, subject to age discrimination in the workforce, disrespected, stripped of dignity by being addressed in condescending or patronizing ways, and regarded as unimportant and less worthy of care. Older adults are one of the only stigmatized groups that we all become part of some day. And that’s always struck me as interesting – that we would treat so poorly a group of people that we’re destined to become someday. – William Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology, MSU America is obsessed with youth. People want to look younger and will lie about their age. Media fuels this desire by glorifying youth and beauty, and is one of the main perpetrators of prejudice and bias against the aging in America. Mass media depicts old people as frail, slow, forgetful, less competent, and senile. Ads featuring older people often reinforce these stereotypical images and messages. They perpetuate negative attitudes toward the elderly and what they can and cannot do, or should or should not do, that are out of whack with reality. This leaves many individuals to fear aging in America. They fear not having enough money to meet their basic needs, becoming a burden to [...]

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Grieving for Good: How Christian Grief Counseling Can Help

By |2023-06-14T19:12:20+00:00January 13th, 2023|Featured, Grief Counseling, Individual Counseling|

Grieving can take many different forms, depending on the person experiencing it and the circumstances surrounding the loss of a loved one, parent, or friend. It has the potential to be debilitating, bringing your life to a grinding halt as you try to make sense of how you feel about the passing of a person who played such a vital role in your life. On the other hand, it may come as a relief and cause for celebration that the person who was dear to you will no longer have to deal with their disease or misery. Complicated grief is a complicated collection of feelings, and it has the potential to throw us off balance and advance the mourning process in ways that we did not anticipate. This might carry on for an infinite amount of time. There is no set time frame for the grieving process; it lasts for as long as we require to go through our emotions and readjust to life without the deceased person in our lives. It may take some time before we can come to grips with the fact that we may have regrets over things that we may have left unsaid, particularly if we had unresolved issues with that person. Honoring those we have lost through grieving. The desire of the people I work with to memorialize their departed loved ones in a meaningful way is something that comes up quite frequently in our conversations. One way that people are often able to achieve closure after the loss of a loved one is by engaging in an activity that is both tangible and significant and that pays honor to the life that was lost. A bereaved person can still honor the memory of a loved one who has passed away by taking [...]

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How to Implement Sabbath in Your Busy Life

By |2023-01-20T20:07:11+00:00January 7th, 2023|Featured, Individual Counseling, Personal Development, Spiritual Development|

Believers hear a lot about the importance of a Sabbath in their lives. In today’s busy world, it can be hard to find the time for the Sabbath, especially if you don’t understand just how helpful it can be. Sabbath goes beyond following a rule outlined in the Bible. It is a principle for wellness and a relationship with God. Even this, however, isn’t enough for many people. The reality is that implementing a Sabbath often feels impossible. But you can make a weekly Sabbath part of your life. But first, you need to understand it. What is Sabbath? The concept many are most familiar with is first introduced early in Genesis when the Bible describes creation. After the Bible describes the creation of the heavens and the earth, night and day, waters and sky, vegetation, sun and moon, sea creatures and birds, land animals, and finally man, all of creation is declared to be good. (Genesis 1) The first six days described are full of life, creation, and work. As we continue, something different happens: By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. – Genesis 2:2-3, NIV This is the first time we see the concept of the Sabbath in the Bible though it isn't called that. It is simply God modeling the rhythm of work and rest. The very first idea of the Sabbath wasn’t introduced with rules dictated by God. It was modeled for us in the work and the rest of God. Since most people are reading translations of the Bible, it can be [...]

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Should I Get Married? Considerations for a Potential Partnership

By |2022-11-16T20:32:47+00:00November 16th, 2022|Featured, Individual Counseling, Premarital Counseling, Relationship Issues|

"Should I get married?" To borrow and paraphrase from a famed literary work, to marry or not to marry, that is the question. Like anything else, the consideration if we should get married, not simply when, is a heart matter to surrender to the Lord. However, that is not always the way that we operate when getting involved with a partner. We experience life’s rites of passage and organically connect with others in the process. Relationships form, but we don’t always ask the question of whether or not marriage is part of God’s plan for our lives. Society normalizes being in a relationship and can regard the unattached single as a novelty. Often, our families and culture socialize us into becoming part of a couple. Though well-intentioned, our loved ones may persist with questions and matchmaking attempts, as if something is deficient when we approach an age or reach an achievement milestone if we are not paired with a permanent partner. These influences filter through our subconscious, informing our emotions, and actions around the consideration of whether to marry or not. Although wise advisors shield us from misguided motives, the counsel of God’s voice speaking through His Word is the most critical response to the question, “Should I get married?” Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14, ESV Should I Get Married? Where to Start One of the first and best steps to take is to reject the pressure to decide on marriage or singleness. God has already planned out each of the days that are written about you, which should be a fact that brings comfort and relief (Psalms 139:16; Philippians 1:6). There are wise principles in His Word to embrace as you consider the [...]

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Scripture About Worry: Finding Hope in God’s Word

By |2022-09-29T06:53:42+00:00September 29th, 2022|Anxiety, Featured, Individual Counseling, Spiritual Development|

Worrying is a normal human reaction caused by uncertainty or fear of things that are beyond one’s control. Most people want to feel like they are in control of their lives or certain aspects of them. Ironically, life by its very nature is uncertain, and for most people, this translates to having one or more things to worry about at any given time. Common things that people worry about include their own or their loved one’s health, finances, employment issues, and relationships. Worry is not just limited to circumstances, but it can extend to things happening in the bigger world around us. The mainstream news adds to the worry list as they expose crime, inflation, rising costs of living, wars, civil unrest in different parts of the world, natural disasters, hunger and famine, and climate change. For the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a significant driver of worry. People were worried about whether they or their loved ones would contract the virus and if they did, whether they would survive it. Healthcare workers were caught between worrying about the welfare of their patients and worrying about their safety in the workplace. People worried about vaccines and whether there would be enough for everyone and whether they were safe to take. People worried about losing their jobs and those that lost their jobs continue to worry about their livelihoods. Given all this, it is easy for one to be consumed by fear which in turn leads to worrying. Does worry change things? There is a famous saying by Erma Bombeck which says, “worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” What this means is, worrying does not prevent bad things from happening. Instead of losing yourself in worry, [...]

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Living with OCD: Types and Treatment Options

By |2023-09-20T11:27:25+00:00September 14th, 2022|Featured, Individual Counseling, OCD|

Do you feel like everything must be in order, so you don’t panic? Is your main reason for cleaning your house based on the fear of germs? This doesn’t mean you are one of the millions of people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Over the years we have become flippant about the use of the term OCD. This mental health issue is not something to take lightly as it affects so much of daily life. However, you don’t need to feel like you are alone in your struggle with OCD, since many people struggle with symptoms of OCD in their everyday life. What is OCD? Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a result of decreasing anxiety to certain triggers. These triggers can be various thoughts, places, actions, or words that create anxiety due to an experience in the past. Whatever the cause, OCD is not just peculiar behavior. It can be complex and sometimes hard to diagnose. These obsessive-compulsive behaviors can have a huge impact on the daily life of someone who has been diagnosed with OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health issue. It requires a medical diagnosis. When a person is obsessive, he or she experiences intruding or repetitive thoughts or urges that can create stress. The compulsion aspect is when a person is repetitive in a particular action or ritual. A person with OCD may exhibit one or both of these behaviors. Learning to recognize these patterns in behavior is key to understanding how to function with OCD. Main Dimensions or Types of OCD There are four main categories, called dimensions, of OCD. A person may be classified in one or more of these types of obsession or compulsion. These occur over time and rarely change. It is how a person tends to live based on beliefs due to [...]

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Combatting Anxiety with 7 Bible Verses About Fear

By |2023-07-07T08:39:57+00:00July 28th, 2022|Anxiety, Featured, Individual Counseling, Spiritual Development|

We are all afraid of something. Whether it be fear of the future, the unknown, illness, loss, or even what others think of us, anxiety is an inevitable part of life. In 2020 Chapman University surveyed a group of 1,035 adults in the United States to better understand the fears of the average American at that time. The survey results showed that the following circumstances are what they most commonly feared: Corrupt government officials at 79.6% People they love dying at 58.5% A loved one contracting COVID19 at 58% Widespread civil unrest at 56.5% A pandemic or major epidemic Economic collapse at 54.8% Pollution of oceans, rivers, and lakes at 50.8% Biological warfare at 49.3% Just looking at the above list, there must be a fear we each relate to. Fear is a natural part of life and is an emotion that can help protect us from harm. But when we allow fear to rule our lives and become chronic, that’s when it might be time to reevaluate. In today’s blog, we are going to explore the positive side of fear, chronic fear and its effects, Bible verses about fear and what the Word of God has to say on the subject, and two simple ways to battle fear with faith. The Positive Side of Anxiety We tend to think that being afraid makes us weak. But actually, feeling fear is completely natural and can even save our lives. The positive side of fear is often overlooked as we try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and fight them in our own strength. But what if we chose to let the fear in a little, sit with it for a minute, as we held it up to the light of God’s loving presence? Maybe acknowledging what we fear [...]

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Overcoming Depression: Learning How to Manage It and Remain in Control

By |2023-09-20T11:30:51+00:00July 6th, 2022|Depression, Featured, Individual Counseling|

Everyone has a bad day now and then, but depression can make every day a bad day. Depression feels like a hopeless loop of endless negative thoughts that sap your vitality and your motivation and can make the very thought of doing something that you know could help you feel better to seem too exhausting or impossible.It can be so debilitating that it becomes physically disabling. Even simple things like walking around the block or picking up the phone to call a friend may feel like more than you can handle. This makes overcoming depression much more difficult. “[Depression] essentially hijacks the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain that enables us to use logic and think clearly, and shapes our thoughts and worldviews to be incredibly negative and hopeless.” – Max Maisel, Ph.D. Although you can’t just will yourself to snap out of depression, there are ways to break through it. The following are some positive things you can do that will help boost your mood and increase your energy. Do as many of them as you can each day. If you are consistent and keep on keeping on even when you don’t feel motivated or in the mood to do so, it will get easier and you will, in time, feel the heavy cloud of depression start to lift, and feel happier, healthier, and more hopeful to boot. It may be difficult at first, but difficult does not mean impossible. Just take that first step. Overcoming depression one baby step at a time Find small ways to be of service to others. Doing something for someone, being a volunteer, brightening someone’s day by giving them a compliment, or even just smiling and being kind can all boost your mood and be of help in overcoming depression. Care [...]

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