Take stock of your life for a moment. Think about what you dreamed for yourself as a young man, and how that dream developed over time. Now think about where you are today: is this what you wanted? Are you satisfied with your career? Do you feel fulfilled in your relationships? If you feel like you’re not the man you want to be, you are not alone. Fortunately, Christian counseling offers an excellent space to learn and to grow in your development as a confident yet sensitive man in today’s world.
Sadly, our culture does not encourage men to speak openly about their struggles and challenges. For that reason, one of the most common issues facing men today is silence: we often do not feel that we can acknowledge our weaknesses and pain before others. Men, like women, can struggle with eating disorders or abuse; yet, unlike women, we are told to be strong and bury our pain. Counseling can be a wonderful place to find a voice for yourself in all your complexity as a man in today’s world.
The standards of ‘masculinity’ can place a lot of weight on men today: being a man means that you are strong, confident, handsome, and successful in your work and relationships. When we change ourselves to meet these unrealistic expectations, we can become caught up in unhealthy habits and ways of being that betray our authentic selves. This only adds problems to your life and makes true intimacy with others difficult.
At Seattle Christian Counseling, we are interested in helping men discern how to be Godly leaders. What does it mean to be a Christian man in a world where masculinity is so often identified with power and success? How do we learn to be loving husbands and devoted fathers? How can we be role models for the next generation of Christian men? Learning how to be a prayerful man in a world marked by hyper-sexuality, violence, and apathy is a lifelong process that takes patience and strength.
In any given year, depending on demographics, about 5-12 percent of the population will experience an episode of major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Depression, as described as a major depressive episode, can be an overwhelming experience. Over a life span, around 20 percent of the population will experience a mood disorder (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.). This means that many people you know are living with depression, and possibly in silence.
With so many people affected, it poses the question, “Where does all of this come from?” It’s a question psychologists have been asking for decades. While we have some idea of the answer, it is more complex than straightforward and the answer looks different for each person suffering from depression.
First of all, let’s define our terms here. When we say depression, this can mean a few different things. Did you know that under the classification of Major Depressive Disorder (the hallmark depression diagnosis), there are 14 different codes (sort of more specific diagnoses) that therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can use? These look at different aspects of depression such as its tendency to cycle (or not), severity of the disorder, and whether or not psychotic symptoms are accompanying it. These all share in common the presence of a major depressive episode for a period of at least two weeks, which includes a depressed mood or lack of motivation.
Another form of depression is dysthymia,...Read More
When we are traumatized at an early age (and most of us are in one form or another), one of the most obvious and prevalent defensive structures we use to survive is disconnection from our bodies. This is the mind walling itself off from the experience of trauma to prevent being overwhelmed. When the mind is overwhelmed, it stops functioning.
If you are reading and understanding this, whatever you have suffered, it means your defensive and family or social support structures were sufficient to allow you to become emotionally formed. This disconnection from our bodies becomes important when we start to wonder about anxiety, because the first place we notice anxiety is in our bodies.
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines anxiety as “a state of intense apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation, often to a degree that normal physical and psychological functioning is disrupted.”
Symptoms may include but are not limited to:
The body and mind store trauma as a defense mechanism. When something is damaging, the brain takes automatic steps to remember and avoid the damage in the future, in essence wiring the trauma into the brain. This is the essence of PTSD; a soldier experiences the trauma of combat, and now when he (or she) hears a car backfire, he breaks out in a cold sweat and his...Read More
I was recently speaking at an event for marriage and family therapy students and emerging professionals. It was the kind of event where students could meet others in the field who have gone in a variety of different directions and ask any questions they might have.
Some students asked about the various job opportunities available, some about how to handle the emotional stress. One question directed towards me, though, stood out. As I had been hosting the event, I previously introduced myself multiple times and touched on my own line of work. Besides working at Seattle Christian Counseling, I work in a community mental health setting, working mostly with people with substance abuse issues. The question brought to me inquired about my language, “people with substance abuse issues.”
“I noticed you never said you work with alcoholics or addicts. Why is that? Is there something that’s changing about the language in the field?” the current student asked me.
See, she is currently a chemical dependency professional branching out into the marriage and family therapy field. Her experience has been working with addicts and alcoholics, and that’s how she has always referred to the people with whom she worked.
She asked me about the use of my “person first” language, which cued me off that she already had some further understanding about where I was coming from. I went on to explain that whether for chemical dependency issues, or for mental health issues (another topic for...Read More