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Posts Tagged ‘Counseling’

When you should seek help – 4

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. Exodus 23:2 (NKJV)

Another time Kristen Kansiewicz suggests you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor is when conflict becomes repetitive or escalated.  As she explains, the sad thing is that “too many couples or families wait until things have fallen apart before seeking counseling. Some only go to counseling as a last-ditch effort or to prove that they ‘tried’ to make things work.”

You should not wait until you are at the end of your rope; seek counseling when you notice conflict that is repetitive, cyclical or it is escalating.  When it seems like you continue to argue and fight about the same thing every day for days, weeks, or months on end, it’s time to see a professional who can help you uncover the root of the conflict, teach you new communication strategies, and guide the process of rebuilding trust.

Continual family conflict can develop into such things as depression or anxiety, so it is important to get help before the conflict takes over your emotional life.

Anytime You Just Need to Talk.  Kansiewicz says that “there is no ‘right time’ to go to a professional counselor, and if you are thinking about seeking help it may be a sign that now is a good time to do it.”  We all have those times when we get “stuck” and just need someone to help us see ourselves from a different perspective.  Sometimes friends can help, but sometimes your problems can go beyond what friends can give.  Look for Christian counselors in your area (for instance, the NAD family ministries website has a list around the North American Division.   www.NADfamily.org).  You can also ask your pastor or friends if they know a good therapist.

You don’t have to try to be brave and try to figure things out on your own.  We would be better off by humbly step into the counselor’s office so we can begin to experience healing and freedom once again.

Father God, there are some things I just can’t deal with all by myself.  Help me and guide me to a good counselor who may show me the way toward health and healing.

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When you should seek help – 3

Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor. Micah 4:9 (NKJV)

Kristen Kansiewicz suggests a few more times you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor:

When Tragedy Strikes.  Typically when we experience the death of a loved one or a traumatic incident, we get a lot of support from family, friends, coworkers, and our church family.   We receive cards expressing sympathy, people bring food to our house, and some people offer comforting conversations.  Unfortunately, after some time all these expressions of love and support begin to wane or go away altogether.  Grieving is a normal process and some of us can walk through that dark valley of the shadow of death with the support we have in our lives. Others experience great amounts of pain which goes above and beyond what any family member or friend can provide.

Death is not the only thing that can cause us serious consternation.  Traumatic events can also affect people and it affects different people differently. Some people experience anxiety symptoms right away, while others seem to be more resilient in the first few months after the event but they then experience a sudden wave of flashbacks or thoughts about it.  There are people who bounce back without experiencing any clinical symptoms at all.  Nobody knows why we all respond differently, but anytime you have experienced a traumatic event it is worth talking about it with a professional. Getting support can both help you learn to cope, and it helps your brain to process them into long-term memory.

In speaking about the death of her husband, Ellen White writes, “My husband’s death was a heavy blow to me, more keenly felt because so sudden. As I saw the seal of death upon his countenance, my feelings were almost insupportable. I longed to cry out in my anguish…I sought help and comfort from above, and the promises of God were verified to me. The Lord’s hand sustained me.”[i]  While God sustains us, we can also seek help from professionals.

Father God, sometimes you use others to help us.  In my time of grief and anguish please lead me to those that will help me.

[i] White, E. G.  Life Sketches, 257

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Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

Yesterday we began to talk about when you should seek professional Christian counseling.  When you experience depression is one of those times.  At the other end of the spectrum, mood changes can also come in the form of manic symptoms. These could include such symptoms as unusually elated mood, a lack of need for sleep, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, and poor attention span. Other symptoms are an inflated sense of self (grandiosity), extreme or risky behaviors like driving recklessly or spending excessive amounts of money and over-involvement in multiple tasks at once.

Keep in mind that mood changes can take place at any time of life.  In the United States, depression is one of the most commonly experienced disorders. Short episodes may not be of concern; the key is more than two weeks continuously.

When Anxiety Starts to Take Over.  It’s not unusual for all of us to experience common, everyday worries about work, our kids or financial difficulties. However, “some experience anxiety symptoms that go beyond basic anxious thoughts and move into a full-blown physical anxiety.  This sometimes comes in the form of a sudden panic attack, in which one’s heart is pounding, thoughts are racing, dizziness sets in and palms are sweaty. Keep in mind that while these symptoms are often very scary, they do pass after a period of a few minutes or sometimes up to an hour.” [i]

A counselor can help you learn ways to cope, address any root problems that might exist, and connect you with other resources that could help (such as a support group).  Getting support can help you learn to cope, and talking about your experiences helps your brain to process them into long-term memory.  In some severe cases you may need to take some medication temporarily until the symptoms decrease or disappear altogether.

Keep Jesus’ promise before you, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28, 29)

Father God, help me quiet my anxious heart.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Times-You-Should-See-a-Counselor/

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When you should seek help – 1

For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Isaiah 41:28 (NKJV)

As Kristen Kansiewicz[i] writes, “emotional problems can be complicated, and it is sometimes hard to know when you need to seek professional help.  Too often, we wait for problems to resolve on their own, or we minimize symptoms of mental illness, trying to conquer them through prayer or willpower. In many churches, there is a stigma that comes with seeing a counselor. For too many, entering a therapist’s office feels like an admission of failure.”

When we have a fever that doesn’t go away, or a part of our body hurts badly, or we have some symptoms that somethings is not right with our digestion we go to the doctor.  We’re not embarrassed or ashamed; we do it in order to feel better and enjoy good health.  Going to see a professional Christian counselor simply means you are seeking emotional support for something beyond your control.  There are many things that are simply beyond our control; for instance, brain functioning, relationship complications, or a tragedy.  What you can control is the steps you take to become well again. Kansiewicz suggests there are at least five times you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor:

When your mood changes for more than two weeks.  Our mood may change for a few hours or even for a few days; however, if it persists for at least two weeks it could be a symptom of a depressive or manic episode.  Sometimes we use the word “depression” to mean we are discouraged or deeply sad.  As Kansiewicz explains, “Depression is characterized by sadness, loss of interest in most activities, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not enough), and unusual changes in weight. Other symptoms include restlessness, difficulty with concentration, and wishes for death or thoughts of suicide.”  Of course, anyone actively thinking about suicide should go to their local emergency room right away or call the National Suicide Prevention Line at (800) 273-8255.”  We will continue with these issues for the next few days.

Father God, help me to find help a good counselor when I need help.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Times-You-Should-See-a-Counselor/

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Help for Those who Need it

Scripture: When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Matthew 9:12 (NKJV)

Observation: Jesus spoke the words in today’s text after He was criticized for calling Matthew, the tax collector, to be one of His disciples. It is not as if the rest of the disciples were perfect – far from it. However, in the eyes of the Jewish people of that time, tax collector, or publicans, were among the most hated of all people. These men worked for the Roman government, often exacting more than their due. These were Jewish people exploiting their own people for their own benefit and for the benefit of the occupying rulers, the hateful Romans. No wonder people where shocked that Jesus would call one of them to be His disciples.
Jesus, on the other hand, did not see any distinction between a “heavy sinner” and a “light sinner.” All need His grace and His salvation equally. It is often those who see or recognize their need of a Savior who are in the greatest danger of losing their chance at eternal life.

Application: Often couples don’t seek help for their marital difficulties until it is either too late or almost too late. It is no sin to look for help for your relationship anymore than it is to go to a doctor when we notice symptoms of health problems. Here are nine warning signs your family may not be able to solve its own problems and therefore may need to go for help to a professional:
1. You Go over the Same Issues Again and Again with No Resolution or Closure.
The constant cycle of repeating arguments about the same problems is a clear sign things aren’t working and you need help. The reason issues are repeated is because you aren’t presenting information that is being heard, received, or accepted.

2. Your Networking Is Not Working.
Every attempt at reasonable conversation fails and ends with shouting, disregard, or someone walking out of the room with no-closure or resolution.

3. There Is Physical and/or Emotional Abuse.
There is no way you should allow this behavior to continue without getting help and finding safety. Physical, emotional, and verbal abuse should not be tolerated.

4. You Pretend to Respect a Family Member Whom You Do Not Really Respect.
This is an indication of a serious problem. One dysfunctional family member rules the rest of the family, usually by fear.

5. You’re Afraid to Say Certain Things in Your Family.
When you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings and thoughts without being demeaned, criticized, or bullied, something is terribly wrong.

6. You Deny, Excuse, or Choose to Ignore the Signs of Problems Such as Drug or Alcohol Abuse.
Substance abuse is an indication of greater problems than simple emotional distress or fatigue. A key issue is when family members excuse the behavior saying, “They can stop anytime; they’re not addicted.” This is the height of denial, and a key indicator that help is needed.

7. You Have a Recurring Wish That You Were out of Your Family or Had Never Come into it at All.
This kind of negative daydreaming is a result of much deeper problems that need professional help. All of us have occasional wishes we weren’t in a family or marriage, but when it becomes a daily obsession there should be deeper consideration as to its reason and impact.

8. No One Admits a Problem, Yet Everyone Knows it Exists.
Some people think that it is an admission of failure to admit that there’s a problem. This avoidance can be fatal to a marriage or family.

9. You Ignore or Excuse Signs of Bad Behavior in a Family Member.
Bullying, giving orders, pulling rank, verbal abuse, arrogance, and indifference to the feelings of others are signs of this malady.

Prayer: Father, help us to recognize when we need help before it’s to late to save our family or our marriage, but help us to not just recognize we help but to seek it.

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