Council of Counselors: Porn Lies / Difficult Ex-Spouse / Loneliness & Addiction / Happy Couples / Confirmation Bias

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

8 Lies to Reject in Overcoming Lust and Pornography by Chuck Lawless

I’ve seen [pornography] destroy far too many families and ministries. I greatly appreciate the ministries and resources now available to help people work toward freedom. At the same time, here are some falsehoods I’ve heard for winning this battle:

Dealing with a Difficult Ex-Spouse: 10 Tips to Help You Cope by Ron Deal

Wouldn’t it be nice if adults could remember that parenting is not about them, and that it is about the children? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the pain of the broken personal relationships of the past could be kept separate from the practical parental concerns of the present. Wouldn’t it be nice…  Yes, it would. But sometimes people aren’t nice. Dealing with a difficult ex-spouse can be very discouraging and defeating. Yet, we are called to continue trying to pursue good, to “turn the other cheek”, and “walk the extra mile.” Hopefully the following tips can aid you in your efforts to cope—because it’s all about the children.

On Loneliness and Addictive Technology by Philip Lorish

All too often, what is sacrificed at the altars of “work” and “family” is friendship (and sleep). In the process of reporting the piece, Baker comes to realize that he is, in fact, “a textbook case of the silent majority of middle-aged men who won’t admit they’re starved for friendship, even if all signs point to the contrary.” In seeking to remedy this situation, Baker comes to the conclusion that “built-in regularity” is crucial. It is not enough to admit to being lonely, or even to form ad hoc relationships around shared interests. What is required is something like “Wednesday Night,” a simple friendship-sustaining practice that Baker learns from a local man named Ozzy. For years, Ozzy and his friends got together on Wednesday nights, without an agenda and with any number of activities in mind.

8 Things The Happiest Couples Do Every Morning by Kelsey Borresen

Mornings can feel frantic with everyone trying to get out of bed and out the door on schedule. But making time ― even just a few minutes! ― to connect with your partner before the chaos of the day sets in can make a big difference in your relationship. Here’s what the happiest couples do daily.

Are You a Confirmation Bias Christian? by Jared Wilson

Confirmation bias – The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

  • If this subject interests you, consider the resources listed in the “What I’m Reading” section below.

What I’m Reading

deceptive mind(Actually, this time I’m listening to) Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills by Steven Novella, M.D. What should you think? Who should you believe? Could you be deceiving yourself? These are questions that all critical thinkers of any age must constantly ask themselves. There is no more important skill in today’s world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in a way that is both effective and responsible. Critical thinking transforms you from a passive member of society into an active participant in the ideas and issues of the day. It empowers you to better understand nearly every single aspect of everyday life, from health and nutrition to science and technology to philosophical and spiritual belief systems.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

lewis on judgement

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Has Your Marriage Been Impacted by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 4 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

True Betrayal – Step Four

True Betrayal: Step 4 from Equip on Vimeo.

False Love – Step Four

False Love: Step 4 from Equip on Vimeo.

Pre-Marital Mentoring FAQs: What if the couple comes into the program late (close to their wedding)?

This post is one in a series of frequently asked questions by those who use the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series as part of their church’s pre-marital program. The responses are written as we use them at the Summit Church. Your church may need to tweak the responses in order to better fit your ministry context.

  • What if the couple comes into the program late (close to their wedding)?
  • What if we think they need to meet with a more experienced counselor? What if we think they do not need to get married… at least not in the time frame they’ve set?
  • What if we’re uncomfortable talking about [blank] or don’t feel like we do a good job with [blank]?
  • What should we know about pre-marital couples (just in case we forgot what this season of life was like)?
  • Are there articles or books I need to be reading?
  • What if we learn the couple is living together?

Honestly, this is unfortunately common. This is why we put the “red flag” screening in the evaluation discussed at the end of the first session (more will be said about this in the next question). We cannot be a social engineer; forcing couples to do things in an ideal fashion. We can provide excellent comprehensive (both in term of content and relationship) pre-marital preparation. We can make this resource known throughout our church and community so that more couples enter our pre-marital program early in their engagement. Our advisement to you with couples who enter the mentoring relationship late in their engagement is:

  1. Remain positive and upbeat about being a part of this season in their life.
  2. Screen for red flags in the first meeting (if significant problems are found, see the next question).
  3. If no red flags are found, stay on the normal schedule (meeting on somewhere between a 2-5 week interval).
  4. Allow the post-wedding meetings to cover the subjects that were not addressed before the wedding.

Council of Counselors: Redemptive Leadership / Preaching & Personality / Singleness / Parenting Teens / 3 Relational Keys

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Authority and Vulnerability: 2 Necessary Ingredients for Redemptive Leadership by Phil Monroe

What I liked about Sherwood’s part of the talk is that he describes a process he takes pastors through as they examine ministry failures. Which choice do they tend to make and why? Of the 129 he has taken through this process, 55% chose the path of power and control (exploitation), 29% chose to withdraw, and 16% chose to remain in ministry but disillusioned and wounded.

Preaching and Personality by Gary Millar

Some people are more interesting to listen to than others. I’m sorry, but it’s true, and it’s now out there. Some people make me sit on the edge of my seat, and others have the gift of encouraging me to slide back as far as I can go. So what makes the difference? What makes a talk engaging rather than sleep-inducing? Some people have written books about this, but even the very best of these leave something out. Yes, we can make sure that our language is arresting, and our structure clear, and our application rich and our biblical theology compelling—but there is another factor which is slightly harder to address. It’s the personality factor.

Pastoring Singles by 9Marks

20 articles on ministry and singleness from the journal of 9Marks.

10 Fun Things to Do with Your Teens by All Pro Dad

I love teenagers. For fifteen years I spent week after week creating nights of fun activities for teens. A few things I observed about teenagers is they love to laugh, play, experience adventure, and be heard. If you can create an experience that includes at least one of these you will be off and running. When you create an experience that includes all four you will make a bonding moment, and, potentially, a life-long memory.

  • For one of my favorite books on parenting that does not get the attention I think it deserve, see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Three Qualities that Improve Every Relationship by Ken Sande @ RW360

My best co-workers thrived because of three key character qualities. The disappointing ones struggled because they lacked the very same qualities. I’ve noticed an identical dynamic in friendships, marriages and ministries, all of which either thrived or withered to the degree that people cultivated humility, teachability and flexibility.

What I’m Reading

everyday talkEveryday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children by John Younts. The most important conversations you will have with your kids will be in the context of everyday life. In ‘Everyday Talk, ‘ author John Younts explains how to use ordinary conversations to talk to your kids about God and his world. You?ll be delighted by his clear, practical insight and biblical wisdom. Buy this book and read it. But don’t stop there?put it into practice. Your children will thank you!

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

parenting

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Marriage Impacted by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 3 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

True Betrayal – Step Three

True Betrayal: Step 3 from Equip on Vimeo.

False Love – Step Three

False Love: Step 3 from Equip on Vimeo.

For the “Sexual Sin Journal” from click here: Sexual Sin Journal

Follow Up Resources for a Sermon on Headship and Submission

This post is meant to offer guidance to common “what now” or “but what about” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon “God’s Laboratories: Ephesians 5:21-6:9,” preached at The Summit Church Saturday-Sunday March 18-19, 2017.

In this post, I want to provide resources that address three subjects that are often points of confusion or concern based on the teaching of Ephesians 5:21-33:

  1. Christian Marriage is More Than Gender Roles
  2. “How” Is More Important than “Who” in Marital Decision Making
  3. How to Address the Abuse of Gender Roles

love-incorruptible-series-header

Christian Marriage is More Than Gender Roles

In the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations seminar, I provide a job description for a Christian husband (PDF) and wife (PDF). When you compare these two job descriptions what should jump out at you is that 3 of the 4 sections are exactly the same, with the exception of the gender pronouns; only the fourth section is unique between husband and wife. Here is the outline for these job descriptions.

1. Character: Qualities required of every Christian which provide the foundation for a flourishing marriage. This section allows both husband and wife to examine how they are evidencing a balanced expression of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24), cautioning against both the aggressive and passive distortion of each character quality.

  • Big Idea: We all have weaknesses and shortcomings. Either we will be pro-actively honest about these with our spouse or re-actively defensive when our spouse is hurt or disappointed by them.

2. Friendship: Expectations of a Christian in all relationships. This section takes 10 “one another” commands of the New Testament and asks both husband and wife to consider their strength, their weakness, and what is most important to their spouse for each one.

  • Big Idea: Marriage should be the example, not the exception, to the marks of Christian friendship.

3. Functionality: Mutual responsibilities of a husband and wife towards one another in marriage. This would look at the paragraph that introduces Paul’s most famous writing on marriage roles – Ephesians 5:15-21 – which concludes with the description “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” These responsibilities of the job description look at the components of married life that are shared and do not contain any biblical precedent for gender preference.

  • Big Idea: Most of the functional responsibilities that make a marriage work should be delegated based upon the skills, interests, and availability of each spouse; meaning there is no biblical “his” and “hers” list of household chores.

4. Gender Specific: Unique roles of husband and wife. This section looks at the unique roles that God assigns to the husband and wife in marriage.

  • Big Idea: The more faithfully and skillfully a husband and wife are fulfilling their shared roles in sections 1-3, the better they will know one another and the more they will enjoy the unique roles of section 4.

Video segments 4-6 in the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations seminar walk through these job descriptions.

“How” Is More Important than “Who” in Marital Decision Making

Too often the debate over headship causes us to miss more functionally-important questions like: (a) How do we do a better job of cultivating consensus so that headship is needed less often? and (b) When headship is needed in the decision making of a family, how is it utilized so that trust increases, instead of decreases, in the marriage?

In the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making seminar, I provide guidelines for how to approach consensus decision making (PDF) and headship-submission decision making (PDF) in marriage.

The focus in each of these resources is to help couples identify the values and lifestyle that allow for good decision making. Too often we neglect the lifestyle practices of good decision making and allow too many important decisions to be made in crunch-time moments. Whether a couple adheres to biblical gender roles or not, allowing too many decisions to be time-pressed will result in a low level of marital satisfaction.

  • Big Idea: Obedience in the area of gender roles does not make up for obedience in the area of life management.

Video segments 4 and 5 in the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making seminar walk through these two decision making processes.

Husbands – lead your families well by initiating important conversations about how you will approach important decisions and the life systems that need to be in place in order to make big decisions well.

  • Big Idea: Leadership doesn’t mean having all the answers. It does mean initiating the important conversations.

How to Address the Abuse of Gender Roles

Every good thing God created gets affected and distorted by sin. Marriage and gender roles are no different. The Christian response to these distortions is not to abandon God’s teaching, but to seek to restore what God intended (material above) and respond wisely when those distortions are damaging to ourselves or those we love (material below).

Below is a list of resources that address different aspects of how to respond to abusive relationships.

For the various counseling options available from these materials visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

If this is an area you want to grow, I would invite you to attend one or more of the upcoming Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminars. Dates, times, location, and RSVP are provided at this link.

If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Marriage” post which address other facets of this subject.

Council of Counselors: Authoritarian Parenting / Single Parenting / Unhealthy Friends / Effective Therapists? / Fun Marriage Questions

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

10 Signs You May be an Authoritarian Parent by  Amy Morin, LCSW

Authoritarian parenting is one of the four main parenting styles recognized by researchers. It’s characterized by rigid rules and high demands. Authoritarian parents have high standards and can be highly critical when those standards aren’t met. They also tend to offer less emotional warmth compared to authoritative parents. Read on to find out if you exhibit any of the characteristics of an authoritarian parent.

Single Parents: Is Your Church Meeting Their Unique Needs? by Linda Jacobs

Regarding Single & Parenting, Angela Thomas says, “I think this program is so powerful for the church for several reasons: it meets an immediate need of the single parents who are already attending your church and also the needs of their single friends whom they invite. So not only do you meet the needs of your body, but you have the opportunity to reach out to the community, to those who are hurting and wounded and truly don’t have any other place to turn to find answers for how to be a single parent.”

7 Trademarks Of An Unhealthy Friendship by Paul Tripp

Begin you start reading, let me warn you: it will be very tempting for you to identify a friend or former friend who can be characterized by these trademarks. The Bible surely sympathizes with, and provides comfort for, those who have suffered in relationships. No one understands the hurt caused by poor friends more than Jesus Christ! However, the point of this passage is for us to examine our own hearts, not convict others. As you read, fire your inner defense lawyer and ask the Lord to show you areas of personal weakness in your relationships.

  • See the “What I’m Reading” section below for a great book on friendship.

What Are the Essential Qualities of Effective Therapists? by Kenneth Miller, Ph.D.

Good therapists, like all helpful listeners, seem to possess a particular set of attributes, the same set of common factors that explain why most forms of therapy are about equally effective. It’s simply not clear whether graduate schools, which focus so heavily on specific theoretical models and their related techniques, are actually training students in the qualities that seem most critical to effective therapy. And that raises an even more fundamental question: Can these common factors actually be taught? To what extent are they personality attributes rather than teachable skills? Can graduate school really make students more empathic, enhance their interpersonal skills, or increase their tolerance for intense emotions? Are good therapists already effective helpers before they get to graduate school?

25 Fun Questions To Ask Your Spouse by Casey and Meygan at Marriage365

We call them open ended questions. The point here is that you talk, laugh, dream and learn more about each other. Some questions are silly while others really get you thinking about some possible big life decisions. Either way, pull these out on your next date night or after the kids go to bed and spend time connecting.

What I’m Reading

friendshipThe Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship by Jonathan Holmes. Friendship: it’s one of the simplest of human relationships in comparison to marriage or family relationships, yet it’s one of the least understood and practiced. For all of our progress in making connections through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, people are consistently experiencing loneliness and growing disenchanted with the whole notion of friendship.

Could it be that our understanding of friendship has been more informed by pop culture and social media, and less informed by the vision of friendship offered in Scripture? Is it possible that friendship exists for a greater purpose than merely our enjoyment and comfort? Does real friendship involve more than just hanging out on a weekend, participating in a book club, or hitting the golf course together? These questions and more are answered in this book.

Biblical friendship is deep, honest, pure, transparent, and liberating. It is also attainable. Dig into this book, and learn how your friendships can embody this amazing and wonderful reality.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

cyber church

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Marriage Impact by Pornography or Adultery? Help for Both Spouses: Video Tandem 2 of 9

When sexual sin impacts a marriage there is often a great deal of confusion exacerbated by shame. A couple is not sure what to do and is embarrassed to ask for help. The result is often either passivity (pretending everything is okay or that things will get better without help) or reactivity (taking a bold action with little sense of purpose or intent to follow through). The False Love and True Betrayal series are meant to provide couples with guidance for these difficult times.

These two, complementing seminars are each comprised of 9 steps and are meant to supplement a mentoring or counseling relationship. The presentation material is longer for the earlier steps than it is for the latter steps for two reasons. First, the early steps are the time of greatest confusion and, therefore, require more guidance. Second, once a solid foundation is laid for restoration the latter steps become more self-evident.

These materials are meant to guide a couple through the marital restoration phase — taking a marriage that is broken or in crisis and getting back to basic working order.

The Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series is meant to guide a couple through the marital enrichment phase — taking a marriage that is in basic working order and refining it to be increasingly, mutually satisfying. Often it is a misunderstanding between restoration and enrichment that derails a couples sincere efforts at marital reconciliation after the discovery of sexual sin.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

True Betrayal – Step Two

True Betrayal: Step 2 from Equip on Vimeo.

For the “Evaluation – Condition of Marriage Before Sexual Sin” assessment click here: Evaluation – Condition of Marriage Before Sexual Sin

False Love – Step Two

False Love: Step 2 from Equip on Vimeo.

For the “How to Talk to Children When Sexual Sin Affects the Family” appendix click here: Appendix Talking to Children When Sexual Sin Affects the Family

5 Types of Mental Health Professionals: Title, Education, and Purpose

mentalhealthprofessional-300x281The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recognizes at least five areas of independent professional practice for the diagnosis and treatment of Mental Health issues. While NAMI’s recognition of professional Mental Health Practitioners may not be exhaustive, it is perhaps the most concise and descriptive of Mental Health services provided by different disciplines. It can be helpful for churches to be aware of the education and primary purposes of each type of mental health professional.

  1. Psychiatrist – Psychiatrists are physicians with either a doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) degree, who also has at least four additional years of specialized study and training in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are licensed as physicians to practice medicine by individual states. “Board Certified” psychiatrists have passed the national examination administered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Psychiatrists provide medical and psychiatric evaluations, treat psychiatric disorders, provide psychotherapy (in some cases) and prescribe and monitor medications. There are several subspecialty boards in psychiatry including child and adolescent, forensic, and addictions.
  2. Psychologist Psychologists have has a doctoral degree (Ph.D., Psy.D.) in clinical, counseling, or Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine. Psychologists are also licensed by individual states to practice psychology, and in many states, are licensed as Health Service Providers. They can provide psychological testing, diagnostic evaluations, treat emotional and behavioral problems and mental disorders, and provide a variety of psychotherapeutic techniques. Psychologists usually attend a four or five year graduate program with a year of internship followed by a one year postdoctoral period of supervision prior to licensure. There is also a National Board/Council of Health Service Providers in Psychology that requires psychologists to provide two years of documented supervision post-licensure in particular areas of specialty.
  3. Social Worker – Social workers have either a bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.S. or B.S.W.), a master’s degree (M.A., M.S., M.S.W. or M.S.S.W), or doctoral degree (D.S.W. or Ph.D.). In most states, social workers take an examination to be licensed to practice social work (L.C.S.W. or L.I.C.S.W.), and the type of license depends on their level of education and practice experience. Social workers provide a range of services based on their level of training and certification. Typically a bachelor’s level social worker provides case management, inpatient discharge planning services, placement services and a variety of other daily living needs services for individuals. Master’s level social workers can provide this level of services but are also able to provide assessment and treatment of psychiatric illnesses including psychotherapy.
  4. Licensed Professional Counselors – Licensed professional counselors have a master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.) in psychology, counseling or other mental health related fields (some may hold doctorates) and typically have two years of supervised post-graduate experience. They may provide services that include assessment and diagnosis of mental health conditions as well as providing individual, family or group therapy. They are licensed by individual states and may also be certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors.
  5. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) – The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is a professional association of therapists who conduct marriage and family therapy. A graduate degree plus post graduate supervision by an approved supervisor is required for licensure. LMFT’s are licensed by individual states.

Many individuals choose to seek pastoral counseling from a local church or parachurch ministries. Individuals in these ministry settings may or may not carry the credentials listed above; often they will have training from a seminary or a certification in a ministry-based counseling model. This would be the type of counseling I provide and is represented by the resources from this site. It is important for you to know the credentials your counselor does or does not carry and the implications this may have for the care you receive. Here are several FAQ’s about…

  1. How would the counseling provided by a formal pastoral counselor compare to a licensed counselor?
  2. How do I find a good match in a counselor for my needs?
  3. How do I find a good counselor in [name of city]?
  4. How do I know if my life struggle merits counseling?
  5. What can I do to place myself in the best position to benefit from counseling?

If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Mental Illness and Medication” or “Favorite Posts on the Church and Counseling” posts which address other facets of this subject.

Council of Counselors: Bulimia Stereotype / Parenting & Eating Disorders / Stepfamily Math / Nuerology & Gratitude / Broken Trust

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Stereotypes die hard: What happens when you’re bulimic, but not thin enough for anyone to notice? by 

A lot of people don’t think a chubby girl can have an eating disorder. The pervasive stereotype in our culture of someone suffering from an eating disorder is that of a tiny, emaciated girl who thinks she is fat but is really withering away. But it’s so much more complicated. As Giardino’s case shows, it’s possible for a person to suffer from disordered eating and to have an unhealthy obsession with their weight, while still technically being what’s considered a “normal” weight.

Walking with Your Child through an Eating Disorder by 

The day I learned my daughter was battling bulimia, we were together in the car—an increasingly rare experience since she’d gotten her license the month before. I was excited to have her in my front seat again, because “car time” is when we have our best conversations. This day would be no different. Yet what followed was a conversation I never expected.

  • For a book that helps you relate to the experience of living with an eating disorder see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Stepfamily Math (Podcast) by Ron Deal of FamilyLife Blended

A family of five has about 20 relationships to manage but what about a stepfamily of five? Well, add the ex-spouses, their new partners and their children and a stepfamily of five has 210 relationships to manage. Then there is the confused identity multiplier. The stepdad has one idea of his role, his wife has a second, his stepchildren, biological child and his wife’s ex-husband have others. That calculates to 420 relationships. No wonder stepfamilies are tired. Don’t worry we’ve got your back.

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett

A lot of so-called “positive psychology” can seem a bit flaky, especially if you’re the sort of person disinclined to respond well to an admonition to “look on the bright side.” But positive psychologists have published some interesting findings, and one of the more robust ones is that feeling grateful is very good for you. Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often linger well after the exercises are finished.

After Cheating: Restoring Relationship Trust by Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Infidelity (cheating) is the breaking of trust that occurs when you deliberately keep intimate, meaningful secrets from your primary romantic partner. I developed this definition because it focuses not on specific sexual behaviors, but on what ultimately matters most to a betrayed partner—the loss of relationship trust. That is the crux of infidelity, and that is what must be repaired if cheaters hope to salvage a deeply damaged primary relationship. In fact, after more than 25 years as a therapist specializing in sex and intimacy issues, I can state unequivocally that the process of healing a relationship damaged by infidelity begins and ends with the restoration of trust. Moreover, to repair relationship trust cheaters must not only come clean—in a general way, and preferably with guidance provided by an experienced couple’s counselor—about what they have done (i.e., the cheating), they must become rigorously honest about all other aspects of their life both in the moment and moving forward.

What I’m Reading

Life Without EDLife Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schaefer. Jenni had been in an abusive relationship with Ed [Eating Disorder] for far too long. He controlled Jenni’s life, distorted her self-image, and tried to physically harm her throughout their long affair. Then, in therapy, Jenni learned to treat her eating disorder as a relationship, not a condition. By thinking of her eating disorder as a unique personality separate from her own, Jenni was able to break up with Ed once and for all.

Inspiring, compassionate, and filled with practical exercises to help you break up with your own personal E.D., Life Without Ed provides hope to the millions of people plagued by eating disorders. Beginning with Jenni’s “divorce” from Ed, this supportive, lifesaving book combines a patient’s insights and experiences with a therapist’s prescriptions for success to help you live a healthier, happier life without Ed.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

kempis

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

I can’t unsee this.