1. Q: Can you tell me about Footsteps to Freedom Counseling Ministry and What I can expect when I come to counseling?
A: Footsteps to Freedom Counseling Ministry (FTFCM) is an independent Christian Counseling Ministry geared towards helping individuals find greater emotional healing and spiritual freedom. I offer my services to individual adults at this time. I also offer sozo/deep inner healing/deliverance ministry for those seeking greater spiritual freedom.
If you are new to counseling, it may seem a little daunting at first; you may not know what to expect when coming to counseling. My goal is to provide a safe place for you to explore and work through those emotional, spiritual and relational issues causing you distress and keeping you feeling stuck in your life. Together we will work on creating goals and a treatment plan designed specifically for you to help you reach your goals and help you resolve the problems you are facing.
You will learn techniques for better problem-solving, communication, stress management, learn to effectively manage difficult emotional states—learn how to have a different relationship with your thoughts and feelings; increasing your overall sense of emotional wellbeing. A key element of this process is that you will be incorporating your new skills into your day-to-day life. I’ll help you move from insight and understanding to action. The aim is for you to see and feel positive changes as you put your knowledge into practice. With mutual hard work and dedication to reaching your goals, our counseling journey can become a powerful force for change and improvement in your life.
Counseling can have benefits and risks. Since counseling often involves confronting your challenges and discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, it may initially exacerbate your uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness and depression. On the other hand, research shows Christian counseling to have many benefits. Christian Counseling often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. Over time however, with continued work and God’s grace, you should experience progress, improvement and resolution of your problem(s). But there are no guarantees of what you will experience.
It is always my intention to provide services in a professional manner that is consistent and abide with all accepted ethical standards according to the American Association of Christian Counselors Code of Ethics and the National Christian Counselors Association Code of Ethics.
2. Q: How long will I need to come, how often and how will I know when I’m done?
The work of counseling is an ongoing process of change. People often ask how long they will be in counseling. Duration of counseling varies from person to person. Some clients need fairly brief counseling to understand and resolve their problem(s) and reach their goals they have set for themselves. Others may require a longer amount of time to achieve the same growth. Contributing factors include your level of motivation to work on your problems, your history, willingness to experience and work through difficult and/or painful emotions and your willingness to surrender your life and problem(s) over to God.
I will make an ongoing assessment during the course of our counseling work to assist me in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. I will monitor your progress and modify the treatment plans, therapeutic goals and intervention strategies as needed. Counseling is a fluid process, with ebbs and flows. Treatment planning plots out the counseling process so that you and I have a road map, giving structure and direction of how to proceed from the presenting problem through the work of counseling to problem resolution. I will encourage you to grow in relying upon God and not to become dependent upon me, your counselor. God has given you strengths which you will be encouraged to draw upon during our work together; this will increase self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to succeed in accomplishing your goals and becoming internally stronger, which will affect the way you approach tasks, goals and challenges in your life).
For most people, coming once a week is best. After you have met several goals, you may want to drop down to twice a month and go from there.
Clients typically know when they are beginning to “feel finished” as they feel different internally from when they began counseling, they feel stronger, their relationship and reliance upon God is stronger and their problem(s) are resolved. At this point we will discuss bringing our professional relationship to a close as you will be ready to move forward in the direction and life God has planned for you.
3. Q: How does Christian counseling differ from regular counseling?
A: Christian Counseling is the process whereby the counselor integrates biblical principles with evidenced-based psychological methods to bring about the desired changes and to facilitate living a balanced life spiritually, emotionally, mentally, behaviorally, and relationally. The Christian Counselor recognizes that lasting change is the result of the power of God, the grace of Christ and the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Christian Counselor brings the entire counseling process under the lordship of Christ and recognizes that God is the author of all truth and that the Bible is the authoritative guide in the counseling process.
The counseling relationship is a unique and dynamic professional relationship tailored to each person’s individual needs; therefore, a variety of modalities Temperament Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Strengths Based Therapy, Emotionally Focussed Therapy and Christian Mindfulness will be utilized in order to best meet your individual needs to bring about the transformation in your thinking, feeling, behavior, intimacy with God and deepened Christian faith.
Prayer will be made available to those desiring to receive prayer support.
4. Q: How do I know if I need counseling?
A: This is a good question to ask when considering whether to get involved in counseling. Are you feeling overwhelmed with the stresses, pressures, and demands in your life? Are your feelings interfering with your ability to keep up with the responsibilities in your life in the area of home-life, parenting, work, and relating to others? Have you called in sick or missed work because of the way you are feeling emotionally? Have you noticed experiencing any of the following symptoms in your life: problems with eating or sleeping (too much or too little), poor concentration, difficulty in decision making, decrease interest in the things you used to enjoy doing, increased irritability or crying more than normal, lack of energy or feeling fatigued, worrying more, difficulty relaxing, on edge, or other unusual or changes in mood or behavior? Are you feeling a disconnection from God or wondering what your purpose is in your life? Are you lacking direction or feeling stuck? Are you going through a crises, feel overwhelmed and lack the resources to cope? Do you find yourself repeating the same self-defeating patterns of behavior and ways of relating to others over and over? Do you experience one failed relationship after another? Do you find that your thinking tends to be more negative than positive? Do you feel bad about yourself—have low self-esteem? Do you take care of others needs while neglecting your own needs? Or any number of troubling issues that do not seemed to get resolved?
Do you find yourself struggling with no one who understands what you’re going through? Be encouraged, others have gone through similar experiences as you and know that you don’t have to go through this alone.
5. Q: What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?
A: It is helpful to distinguish the difference between counseling and psychotherapy. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some important distinctions between the two disciplines. Counseling is a process where by a counselor helps a client talk through a problem, set goals and deal with behaviors through the use of talking together. The primary focus is on the present without much focus on the past. The duration for counseling is usually short-term. Psychotherapy on the other hand, is a process where a therapist helps a client explore, often unconscious, deeper issues from the past to help the client gain insight and work through the past in order to resolve present problems. The therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist is of primary concern and the focus and agent of change for treatment. The duration of psychotherapy is a longer process, taking several years or more.
When making a decision of whether to seek out counseling or psychotherapy, it can be helpful to ask several questions. Am I currently experiencing a problem or crisis I need help in solving and need extra emotional support? For the most part, do I feel good about myself and have satisfying relationships? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then counseling would be an appropriate avenue to consider. On the other hand, do I find myself repeating dysfunctional patterns of behavior which I lack insight and understanding of why? Do I have unresolved trauma keeping me from feeling comfortable in my own skin and in relationship with others? Psychotherapy would then be an appropriate avenue to consider. With either route, it is important that the counselor or psychotherapist be a good fit for both parties. Not all counselors or psychotherapists work well with every person. It may take meeting with several mental health professionals to find one who is a good fit.