What kind of counseling do you do?
Becoming--Caring Christian Solutions is a Christian ministry that focuses on spiritual growth. Our approach to counseling is not a medical model, although we use insights from psychology and the social sciences as well as insights from the Bible. In other words, "all truth is God's truth."
We use the word "counseling" as a general term to describe a one-on-one confidential relationship, not as a medical term. We are not implying a mental health service. We have tried to find another word, but the public in general understands an in-depth, one-on-one confidential relationship to be counseling. We prefer the term "private sessions."
Do you believe the Bible is The Word of God?
Yes, but I also acknowledge that the Bible must be interpreted and applied. Obviously, people read the text differently, as evidenced by the many churches and religious groups within Christianity.
My approach is to share my faith with my clients, making reference to the Bible in a way that encourages the freedom to disagree with my reading of the text. Also, rather than being committed to a particular religious group, I often help my clients become aware of the broader history and theological understandings within the Christian faith.
What if I'm not religious?
I believe that the ultimate questions of life are religious questions: Who am I? What am I doing here? What does life mean? Where am I going? We can only answer those questions with a reference to Ultimate Reality (God).
I don't like the idea that some of us are "religious" and some of us are not. For one thing, we are all human, all caught up in the meaning of our existence, trying to make sense out of life, and trying to find resources for living.
Also, "religious" usually means that people dress a certain way, act a certain way, attend religious institutions, or something superficial that can be observed and thus described as "religious."
You may not have a faith, be a part of a religious group, or know much about "religion." You may have doubts about God or about Christianity in general. We will focus on you and work from there. If you allow me to be a part of your life, we will see where it leads us.
An overview of our approach
Starting where you are
You are reading this for a reason. Perhaps you are undergoing a crisis in your life. Maybe you're depressed or suffering from anxiety. Perhaps you are having problems with your marriage or with your child. Maybe you are bored with life, or perhaps even your achievements leave you feeling empty.
In our conversations, we will start where you are.
Giving emotional support
In many cases we have no one to confide in, or we are receiving bad advice. Just talking isn't the answer. We need someone to listen, to try to understand us, to really hear what we are saying.
In that process we know that someone cares, we clarify our feelings and thoughts, and we stop feeling alone. We may begin to find answers as we reflect on and clarify our feelings and thoughts. All of us experience aloneness, and all of us suffer from relationships that are superficial.
Family members are often too close, as are coworkers, employers, and others we must relate to every day. Much advice leaves us feeling more alone. People close to us feel threatened. They tell us not to feel that way, not to think those thoughts, and not to be who we are.
For all these reasons the starting place in our sessions is to get to know you, try to really hear you (and help you hear yourself), and attempt to understand YOU. The emotional support and the clarification that comes often makes a huge difference within itself.
Helping you work through old mental habits
Feelings and thoughts (words and/or mental pictures) are related. While feelings need to be accepted, the thoughts are often distorted. "I can't stand it" can be a powerful thought, but the truth may be that you can stand it.
We will not deny reality. If you have the thought "the house is on fire," the rational thing to do is to check. If the house is on fire, call the fire department. But the thought may not be true, and to act on an irrational thought leads to embarrassment or worse.
In many cases, you can work through distorted thoughts and the powerful negative feeling on your own. In other cases, thoughts and linked emotions are too powerful. We will sort these out together.
Growing in a relationship with God
Once we enter a personal relationship with Christ, the old automatic thoughts and related feelings continue to cause trouble. Spiritual growth involves dismissing the irrational thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts based on the promises of God.
What is the goal?
You will learn methods of staying in touch with your feelings and thoughts (the heart); you will learn how to pray more realistically (being honest with God about what you feel and think); you will learn methods of sorting things out on your own; you will grow in your ability to cope; you will discard old mental habits; and you will learn new mental habits (the essence of spiritual growth).
How much does it cost?
We use the same price structure for online and in office private sessions..
We ask for a donation of $60 per session and adjust the cost ($50, $40, $30, etc. per session) to suit your needs. We simply agree on the donation per session.
Once we agree to work together and on the cost per session, you fill our and sign forms that you mail in.
At that time you send a check or money order for the first month's sessions with the forms. The program is designed around one session per week, four or five sessions a month, depending on the calendar.
What's to keep me from only doing the free session?
What if I change my mind after I start?
I'll return your money for the unused sessions by check.
What's the catch?
I must limit the number of online clients, for each online client is assigned an hour a week of my time just as if they were coming into the office.
Potentially, I can be overwhelmed by the number of requests for free consultations in a given week.
You must print out, fill out, and mail in signed forms with your first payment once we agree to work together.
A spiritual growth, not a mental health ministry
Although our emotional and physical health may improve as we deal with spiritual issues, the emphasis on this ministry is on spiritual growth. We can accept no liability for your physical or mental health.
Appearance and body language often help in understanding another person. Email has limitations.
Minors need a notarized permission of parents or legal guardians
If you are a minor, your parent or legal guardian will need to sign the permission slip in the presence of a notary public who can certify to your identity, the identity of the person signing (parent or legal guardian), your age, and that the person signing has the legal right to do so.
What are the advantages?
You aren't completely, for I must know your identity when you enroll in the program. However, you can use a UserName and to some extent your identity is more protected.
At your convenience
Although I pencil you in my appointment calendar to manage my caseload, you can read, practice the suggestions made, and respond as best fits your schedule.
You have no travel time, no sitting and waiting, and can answer at 3 a.m. if that suits you best.
The fact that you make your donation in advance adds motivation for you to stay on schedule.
Putting your thoughts into words
I have had clients in the past who could express thoughts in writing much better than in conversation.
I won't be grading your grammar and spelling. Also, I won't be polishing my replies as through I were publishing them in an article. So relax about that. The important thing is to communicate.
What about my privacy?
Your emails are sent directly to me and are read only by me.
Becoming does not share any personal information about our clients with anyone unless we are required to by law.
However, you should remember that emails sent to us are no more or less secure than any other email you send.
If you are on an email system (such as at work), you might want to set up a separate email address with yahoo (or some other service that offers free email) so that your private and confidential correspondence cannot be monitored. You can also set up a UserName that will offer a little more privacy.
The forms you fill out
You will be asked to fill out and sign the same forms any client fills out. The forms explain in detail who I am, my training, the limits of confidentiality, and other issues. Online clients are asked to fill out a few more that address specific online issues.
When you proceed past this page, you will be taken to the forms. You can read them in advance. Only print them out and mail them after your free consultation and our agreement to work together.
All this sounds like lots of work
The free consultation isn't. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a free consultation.
Most of the forms are to read and sign, not lots of information to fill in.
If you have any more questions, email me at email@example.com.