• Christian Therapist

    Are You A Christian Struggling With Your Mental Health?

    Do you often feel paralyzed and haunted by deep-seated feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and worry? Has a misplaced sense of self, unhealthy boundaries, toxic stress or a poor work-life balance negatively affected your close relationships? Do you suspect the unresolved trauma experienced earlier in life has significantly impacted how you think about yourself, God, others, and the world around you? 

    Although on the outside you appear to be an upstanding person of faith admired and respected by your church community, you live in a state of cognitive dissonance—the way you’re perceived is entirely different than the distress and turmoil you feel inwardly. Perhaps the rigid and unrealistic expectations you place on yourself and others result in ongoing feelings of self-doubt, disappointment, and mistrust. 

    Fearing you would no longer be worthy of love and acceptance if people knew the real you—flawed, sinful, and imperfect—you struggle to be transparent and vulnerable in relationships. This lack of authenticity may lead to feelings of insecurity, low self-worth, isolation, and loneliness.

    You May Be Experiencing A Crisis Of Faith

    Maybe you sense a disconnection with your faith, yet due to shame, you are afraid to seek counsel. Whether you are relatively new to your faith or have been a Christian your entire life, you may no longer agree with the authoritative nature of the Bible. Or maybe you have lost faith as you continue to witness the pain and suffering that permeates the planet. However, because your identity is tied to the church, this lack of belief makes you feel anxious and unsettled.

    We understand that it may be important to you that your therapist share your faith. As therapists who are also Christian, we can empathize with the dilemma of reconciling your faith with mental wellness. The good news is that Christian-based therapy is available to help you navigate the unique challenges you face. 

    Although Mental Health Issues Are Common, Our Faith Is Sometimes A Barrier To Seeking Help

    According to the Mental Health Surveillance Study, “5.56 million Californian adults suffering from mental illness. That amounts to 18 percent of the population.” Although mental health issues are pervasive in our society, many of us Christians are perceived as sacrificial, responsible, and dependable people. Because we’re often more accustomed to helping others than asking for and receiving support, this trait of selflessness can be detrimental to our mental health. 

    We Might Ignore Our Own Needs In The Pursuit Of Helping Others

    When we’re active members or leaders within our church, there may be a false perception that we are strong moral role models who are unerringly enmeshed in our faith. We may feel pressured to live up to rigid unrealistic expectations or to adhere to our beliefs at all times. Moreover, if we are on the payroll to be spiritual, perpetually enthusiastic, and put others’ needs before our own, we may become physically and emotionally exhausted.

    As we internalize this outward pressure, we may feel ashamed of our sins or imperfections, believing that because of our faith in God, we should be holy and transcend human struggles. When we are coping with mental health challenges, we sometimes become deeply ashamed or fearful of being judged. It’s common for us to avoid getting the help we need if we think our faith alone should be able to address our mental health issues or worry that secular therapy won’t align with our Christian values. 

    However, working with a therapist who is a fellow Christian can provide you with a safe place to share your feelings of guilt, shame, worry, and anxiety. Christian counseling offers both men and women a biblical approach to therapy that can improve your overall quality of life.  

    A Christian Therapist Empathizes With Your Experience 

    As a Christian, you likely want to understand the connection between your mental health and your faith and may wonder if therapy will be congruent with your Christian beliefs. As a former pastor and son of a pastor, my practice has developed a therapeutic approach that blends Christian faith with best practices in psychotherapy services. 

    Therapy provides you the opportunity to establish a genuine connection with a like-minded Christian who is also a trained therapist. You will be allowed to speak freely without any fear of judgment or recrimination. By integrating spirituality, biblical wisdom, principles of recovery, and results within a cognitive-behavioral framework, you will work with someone who can pray with you while also empathizing with your struggles.

    What To Expect In Sessions

    Your therapy sessions will be safe, private, confidential, and sacred. We will create a judgment-free zone that respects your hurts, habits, hang-ups, difficulties, failures, and insecurities. By initially conducting a mental health assessment during your first few sessions, together we will collaborate in helping you develop a personalized action plan throughout therapy. Every aspect of your life—including family of origin issues, past trauma, history of substance use, life transitions, your living environment, work-life balance issues, and current stressors—will be explored. 

    As we continue to work together, you will be encouraged to bring your authentic self and real-life situations into each therapy session. By learning what the Bible says about anxiety, depression, and trauma, you will understand how Christian principles are in alignment with evidence-based therapy and be empowered to live a principled life that is consistent with your values and priorities. Christian-based therapy will validate your faith and account for divine intervention in your life and relationships.

    The Modalities We Use

    Our results-oriented approach to counseling emphasizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT will help you adopt an attitude, belief system, thoughts, and behaviors that promote both short and long-term mental health and wellness. 

    Using the cognitive model, you will learn how to “think about your thinking,” becoming aware of negative thought patterns and unhelpful beliefs that contribute to your pain and prevent you from reaching your fullest potential. In addition to exploring issues surrounding your identity, we will work together to help you create a clear and compelling life vision, set healthy boundaries, and cultivate a healthy support system. 

    Working with a Christian therapist will allow you to develop and strengthen internal coping mechanisms and replace unhealthy beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviors that may be stunting your personal growth and development. Aligning your Christian faith with sound psychotherapy makes it possible for you to show up in your life being honest, transparent, and fully known, loved, and accepted by others as your authentic self.

    But You May Wonder Whether A Christian Therapist Is Right For You…

    How will Christian counseling integrate my faith into therapy?

    As a Christian-based practice, our therapists will meet you where you are with a well-integrated approach to psychotherapy. We are trained to validate your experience and be attuned to meeting your needs. For example, if you value an opening or closing prayer in each session or rely on biblical verses as a mindfulness or grounding tool, we will incorporate those practices into your counseling sessions. We may also explore how misunderstandings about core religious beliefs or inaccurate biblical interpretations could be leading to negative thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors.

    Is counseling with a Christian therapist similar to Bible study? 

    Although we may cite scripture or pray together, working with a Christian therapist will be different than meeting with a Bible study, faith-based recovery group, or pastoral counselor. You may have realized the trauma and anxiety you’re experiencing within these forums is beyond the training of a layperson. Although you are grateful for the biblical guidance, internally you may sense a disconnect and require a higher level of care and the type of hands-on counseling that our practice can provide. 

    I’m afraid I will be judged in Christian-based therapy.

    You can save face and trust that as Christian-based therapists, we will not be biased. Judgment should never be part of the therapeutic experience. Rather, as mental health professionals, we are trained to be non-judgmental—it’s a cornerstone of our practice. You can speak freely from your authentic heart and mind without shame or embarrassment. We nurture a faith-based, compassionate, collaborative, and supportive environment. And although your therapist is a fellow Christian, we will never proselytize—it’s your faith journey and you’re responsible for whatever decisions you make. 

    Christian Therapy Offers Healing And Salvation 

    Integrating your deeply held Christian beliefs into your path to emotional healing can be an invaluable part of counseling. If you would like to find out more about working with a Christian therapist, please contact us today.