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.
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
Although the idea of codependency is a popular and often derogatory concept used in our self-help and pop culture society, it represents a real conceptualization of struggle and pain for a lot of people, especially those in committed relationships.
Just as in most cases with emotional, psychological, and mental health problems, Christians and people of faith can and often do struggle with the prospect and reality of codependency in their marriages, committed relationships, and often in their relationships with children and parents.
As a Christian counselor, I work with many people who often get stuck in their relationships because of codependent learnings, leanings, and/or characteristics. In the counseling relationship, we will work to understand, develop awareness, and help see a new way or path to relating with others.
Codependency refers to pain caused by the sufferings we encountered during our childhood, but becomes expressed in adulthood, leading to a higher chance of compulsive/addictive behavior and relationship problems. Codependency can be attributed to specific feelings and behaviors that result in an aversive relationship that is full of self-loathing and self-sacrificial behaviors.
The condition leaves you at a point where your life is miserable and something to endure instead of enjoy. As a result, you find yourself dreading each day and hoping it passes as quickly as possible while hinging your relief on other people’s lives.
In therapy, we will work through many of these feelings and some of the following...Read More
We all experience periods of sadness from time to time but clinical depression is not just a passing mood – it is falling into a funk that refuses to go away. In this case, is coping with depression even possible?
Depressed people report having feelings of despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, and their depression tends to worsen when they attempt to shake it off. Their self-esteem suffers and their view of themselves is extremely negative. They lose interest in things and the world around them. What they once counted as pleasurable (i.e., sports, hobbies, taking walks, etc.) is no longer is enjoyed. They experience a loss of hope for anything to change for the better.
Physical symptoms (i.e., changes in appetite, sleep, energy levels) are associated with becoming listless, lethargic, and apathetic. People with severe depression are often plagued by death wishes, suicidal thoughts, and/or psychotic symptoms (i.e. paranoid or grandiose delusions and/or visual/auditory hallucinations.) Also, other adverse physiological effects are common (i.e. psychomotor agitation and constipation) and other various health issues. Needless to say, depressed people have great difficulty functioning at home, work, school, and/or church.
Major depression is by far the most common psychiatric disorder in the United States. Healthline reports that the diagnoses are growing at an alarming rate. This source claims that “states with higher rates of depression also show high rates of other negative health outcomes individuals suffering from depression are more likely to be unemployed or recently divorced.”
It is estimated that depression affects at least 10-12% of...Read More