Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Biblical Counseling

Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling depends upon the Holy Spirit to relate God’s inspired truth about people, problems, and solutions to human suffering (through the Christian soul care arts of sustaining and healing) and to human sin (through the Christian spiritual direction arts of reconciling and guiding) to empower people to exalt and enjoy God and to love others (Matthew 22:35-40) by cultivating conformity to Christ and communion with Christ and the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today's Quote

"If you can't talk about it, its already out of control. Hiding a hangup only intensifies it." - Rick Warren

Friday, July 24, 2009

Landing a New Job

Developing a strategy can help you focus your search and, ideally, help you overcome that sense of desperation. Also, consider these other mistakes to avoid when job-hunting:
  1. Relying solely on ads and online job sites. Jobs often are not advertised, and the only way to find them is by networking. Many employers prefer not to advertise on the Internet. They prefer to fill vacancies in more personal ways. Job hunters who go on the Internet, typically only 10% or less are successful. That means finding and contacting companies that can use your skills. Find a live human being there that you can connect to so you're not just another resume coming in the door. Contact that person via email or telephone, and say, for instance, "I understand you're in the process of rolling out a new product. I would like to talk to you about how I can support you in this." Also send your resume and a letter "packed with reasons for them to want to talk to you." At small to mid-size firms, try simply walking in the door, resume in hand -- but keep in mind that not all employers appreciate this. Get yourself looking professional. Walk into reception. "I understand you posted an ad for this. I know it said to email the resume. I personally wanted to drop one off." It shows tremendous initiative to be able to do that. It sets you apart from 90% of job seekers out there, and it gets your resume to the top of the pile in hardcopy. Still, at a larger company, you'll likely need to find somebody to drop off your resume for you. In that case, your network, as well as online sites can be invaluable for making connections.
  2. Don't make your resume a list of activities. Job seekers often think their resume is for listing "everything I've ever done in my life." Don't do this. This is a marketing vehicle. This is your company brochure. It's your brand statement. It's got to tell your story. Focus on detailing your achievements, not listing what you've done. Quantify your successes, whether in dollars or time saved for your previous company, or in customers retained. Also, your resume should be tailored to fit the company's job description so it catches the eye of the person doing the initial resume sorting. Also, your resume's story should parallel what you say in the interview. More resume rules: Two pages maximum, and no colored paper or cute graphics. If you drop off your resume, use a slightly heavier paper so it stands out from the stack the company printed out from emails.
  3. Don't go to the interview unprepared. If the company recently made an acquisition or unveiled a new product, you need to know, and be able to speak intelligently about the company's needs and culture. Companies loved to be loved, just as much as individuals. Another way to prepare: Come up with two or three messages you want to get across to hiring managers. Again, tailor these to match the job description. Why? More than one person is going to have to approve hiring you. If you've presented a coherent story about your achievements and how they fit the job's requirements, you're more likely to be considered as a contender.
  4. Don't confuse "networking" with asking for work. Networking is about developing relationships. Contact people you know to ask for advice; don't ask for work. Tap their expertise about their industry and company, and what advice they have for you on the job hunt. Also, don't ask chance acquaintances for a reference, but tap them for information on their firm's hiring process, its culture and even the name and number of the person doing the hiring. Networking is developing relationships that may not have an immediate payoff tomorrow but certainly in the long run are very helpful.
  5. Don't treat support staff poorly. Sixty-one percent of executives said they considered their assistant's opinion important when evaluating job candidates. No matter how stressed you get, keep in mind that if you're not as nice to the front desk person as you could be, that information always gets back.
  6. Failing to tap resources. Many college career offices offer their services to alumni of all ages. Also, search for local nonprofit and for-profit career-counseling agencies. Along with networking opportunities, support groups can help job seekers maintain a positive attitude.

Finally, while you're job-hunting, consider volunteering or taking a class at a local college. The experience will keep you connected and may lead to achievements that will serve you well on your resume.

[By Andrea Coombes, MarketWatch]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Depression Recognizing the Emotional Symptoms

Common symptoms of depression can make work and daily life almost impossible. Depression can skew your view of the world, making everything seem hopeless. Depression can make you feel utterly alone.

But you're not. Major depression affects about 14 million American adults or about 6.7% of the population 18 or older in any given year. And the good news is a lot of treatments work to reduce depression symptoms, and some experts claim depression can be "cured" as well. This guide will help you recognize the symptoms of depression and learn how to treat them.

You may already know some of the emotional and psychological effects of depression. They include:
  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or numb. These feelings are with you most of the day, every day.
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. You might no longer bother with hobbies that you used to love. You might not like being around friends. You might lose interest in sex.
  • Irritability or anxiety. You might be short-tempered and find it hard to relax.
  • Trouble making decisions. Depression can make it hard to think clearly or concentrate. Making a simple choice can seem overwhelming.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless. These feelings are often exaggerated or inappropriate to the situation. You might feel guilty for things that aren't your fault or that you have no control over. Or you may feel intense guilt for minor mistakes.
  • Thoughts of death and suicide. The types of thoughts vary. Some people wish that they were dead, feeling that the world would be better off without them. Others make very explicit plans to hurt themselves.

Start receiving treatment today. Call or email the Relationship Clinic.

[WebMD, 2008, reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 03, 2008]

Pastoral Counseling in Fort Payne, Alabama

The Relationship Clinic in Fort Payne, Alabama offers Pastoral Counseling along with marriage and family therapy. Dr. Don G. Brock, a pastor of 25 years, and an experienced clinical counselor, is available by appointment.

Pastoral counseling moves beyond the support or encouragement a religious community can offer, by providing psychologically sound therapy that weaves in the religious and spiritual dimension. It is interesting to note that not only is this a time of increased emphasis on therapy, but also a time of increased interest in spirituality. Combining these two areas in a person’s life in helpful and healing ways is what pastoral counselors do.

We affirm as a moral imperative that the American people, without exception, must have access to quality health care. That imperative refers not only to mental health resources, but also the quality of services.

Start feeling better today. Call or email the Relationship Clinic.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't Yell

Men that yell at women (and/or hit a woman) are pathetic wusses! It is absolutely inexcusable!

There is NO WAY a man can say he is loving his wife as Christ loved the church and also yell at his bride (see Ephesians 5:25-27 ... she’s supposed to be washed with our words – not tarnished with them! When she walks away she should do so without wrinkle or stain or blemish–period!)

And men, sometimes we yell when we don’t think we are yelling. When you first begin to raise your voice, communication will suffer.

Relationships require negotiations or resolution of conflicts. There is no question about whether a husband and wife will have conflict. The only question is how they will respond to conflict.

The process of conflict resolution demands that the couple exhibit certain communication skills. In order to resolve a conflict, each person must be both willing and able to carefully listen to the other person. Each person must strive to understand the position of the other. Also, each person -- after gaining an understanding of the other person's position -- must carefully consider that position. If this method is not used in communication, there may be manipulation, force, or other negative measures being used to attempt to resolve conflicts.

The process of conflict resolution also demands emotional maturity on the part of both individuals. Improper emotional expression will undoubtedly result in the breakdown of the conflict resolution process. Improper emoting can include a number of things such as: excessive yelling, screaming, or other exhibitions that may stop the resolution process early or threaten the other person into an agreement they do not wish to make; or crying and other non-aggressive emotions that may stop the resolution process early. Such behaviors are often used to shift the resolution in favor of the individual using these emotions. Any emotional expression that attempts to force or manipulate a resolution is never appropriate. Emotions that are used to control, intimidate, or hurt are also damaging to the resolution process.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Five Components of a Healthy Marriage

  1. Attention: The very first sign that you were falling in love was that you noticed that someone was paying attention to you – and you started to pay attention to that someone. Do you remember how much attention you paid your mate before you were married? You wrote notes. You made phone calls. You spent hours talking together. You sent cards. You bought flowers. You brought gifts. You said over and over again, “You have my total and undivided attention.”What happened after you got married? Instead of saying, “I'll get that for you,” we started saying, “Get it yourself!” We became complacent in our relationship and took one another for granted. But if you’re going to rekindle the romance, you’ve got to make time for each other and pay attention to each other. If you don’t, you’re headed for trouble.
  2. Affirmation: The quickest way to put spark back into your marriage is to start focusing on your spouse’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Give encouragement to each other. Keep strengthening each other.” Everybody wants to be admired, appreciated, and looked up to. We fall in love with people who admire us. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s so true. “Treat your husband like a king and he will treat you like a queen.” Very simple yet profound. We tend to become what others expect of us. Verbalize your love for your spouse every day. If you will verbalize your love, you will begin to feel that love you once had.
  3. Affection: Remember how affectionate you and your spouse were during your courting days? In fact, you can always tell who the unmarried couples are. They can’t keep their hands off each other. Unfortunately, after the wedding, the touching and tenderness stop in so many marriages. All marriages need large amounts of hugging, kissing, caressing, and other forms of non-sexual touch. Ephesians 5:19 (Amplified) says, “Husbands ... be affectionate!” It is a command. Husbands, if you’re not doing this, you’re sinning. Some say, “I'm just not naturally affectionate.” So what? Change! It’s not in your genes. You learned the behavior from your background. You can learn to be affectionate.
  4. Adventure: Most marriages are dull. Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, “Enjoy life with your wife.” I’ve read that the number one cause of affairs is boredom. Are you fun to live with? You had adventure when you were romancing your spouse. But you’ve probably lost that sense of adventure. Everything is predictable. Predictability kills a marriage. Unfortunately, most of us define fun as what you do after you’ve got all your work finished. But you never get all your work finished! The work is never done. Even after you retire, you still have got work to do. As a result, you don’t have any fun in your marriage – and you wonder why the feelings have died. You need at least one date a week. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be at night. (Kay and I have done them on Monday mornings.) But regardless, do something you like to do together. And do it without the kids. Schedule it – every week – so you can’t back out when your schedule gets tight.
  5. Accordance (spiritual oneness): The key to fellowship with your mate is for both of you to live in God’s presence. When you and your wife are both committed to Christ and what he’s doing in the world, you’ll be naturally drawn together. Spiritual unity enhances romance. I ended up proposing to Kay while we were praying together. I felt so close to her – our hearts were knit together – that I figured we might as well join our lives together. Prayer joins you together. And then there is the natural desire to show physical affection, physical oneness, when you are spiritually one. God wants you to have oneness. Romance was God’s idea. The Bible says two shall become one – intellectually, emotionally, physically, recreationally, and spiritually. When you are only having oneness in three of those areas, your marriage isn’t fully what God wants it to be. But when you and your spouse connect in all five areas, that’s when you find real, honest oneness. Do you and your spouse pray together? Do you do ministry together? Do you share what God is doing in your life with your spouse, and visa-versa? Make those things a part of your time together, and romance will return.

[by Rick Warren]

Common Questions

Q: If someone goes to therapy, does it mean that he or she is “crazy” or headed for a breakdown?
A: If anything, going to therapy simply shows that someone is being an active participant in creating positive change in his or her life.

Q: How can a therapist help me if they don’t share my background or experiences?
A: The therapist's training and experience allow them to bring curiosity and compassion to whatever experience you may have. Although the forms of human experience are limitless, basic feeling states like confusion, anger, fear, grief and shame are universal.

Q: Can I afford therapy?
A: The Relationship Clinic standard fee is $80 for a 50 minute session. An important part of affording therapy is the conscious effort to prioritize self-care and adjust one’s budget accordingly. If you have a particularly limited income, we will attempt to work with you to negotiate a fee that you can afford based on your combined gross income.

Q: What’s the difference between talking to a therapist and talking to a friend?
A: Our role goes beyond just listening or giving advice. Our work together will offer you a therapeutic environment and treatment approach based on years of experience and training in the art and science of psychological healing and growth.

Q: Are you going to push me to open up or do things that I’m not comfortable doing?
A: One of the unique aspects of therapy is that it is a time and space created just for you. This means that we will attempt to meet and honor your needs and limitations, go at a pace that works for you and respond to your feedback. Your growth requires safety and challenge.

Q: How long will I need to be in therapy?
A: Our aim is to assist you in accessing and developing your own coping strategies and answers. On an ongoing basis, we will evaluate progress made towards meeting your treatment goals and your readiness to step out of therapy.