Christians do experience hurt or pain that can benefit from mental health counseling. But it isn’t always easy for Christians to know what to expect in a therapeutic setting. And can be hard to know or trust counselors.
So what can Christians expect from Christian Counseling at Wellspace Counseling?
1 — Faith is Not a Forced Topic:
Sometimes people who seek out Christian counseling in Portland, Tualatin, or Lake Oswego want to discuss their faith. And sometimes people like to know that there is a similar value system, but don’t want their faith to be the central focus of what is brought up in therapy.
It is the policy at Wellspace Counseling in Oregon that the client or couple decides how much of a focus their faith practices play in therapy. The client has a say on the use of sacred texts or practices. Nothing is predetermined or assumed.
And while there are matters of faith that may be explored in session, the Christian counselor will not be taking on a role of a spiritual advisor or pastor.
2 — Christian Counseling is Based in Psychotherapy:
The foundation for mental health therapy at Wellspace Counseling is firmly based in a strong theoretical framework in psychotherapy. The prominent framework for our work is Restoration Therapy.
While the therapist at Wellspace Counseling will readily interact with sacred texts of faith that the client brings up, the clinical work of therapy is based on research, studies, education, and therapeutic experience.
All of this to say that a Christian counselor at Wellspace Counseling will be working from the expertise they have gathered as a mental health counselor. Not a pastor. And our response to mental or emotional wellness is going to be different than “Go home and pray about it.”
We will have a plan based on best mental and emotional health practices.
3 — Non-Judgmental Stance:
Starting up in therapy takes courage. And no one likes to feel judged when they are coming to explore or work through the emotional challenges they are experiencing.
Christians may often feel a sense of shame for experiencing the challenges that they do. For example, not all Christians believe that they should be experiencing anxiety. They can point to texts in the Judeo-Christian scriptures that point to not being anxious about anything.
So, a person of the Christian faith may feel confused or ashamed when experiencing a level of anxiety that disrupts the normal, daily activities.
Or a person may be dealing with some wounds from the past with a church community. They may want to discuss their hurts, but don’t want to feel as though the therapist is judgmental of the community.
Or a couple is struggling with communication in their marriage and want to work through their issues without feeling judged or pitied by others.
Whatever the reason or case may be, unconditional positive regard is a staple of psychotherapy at Wellspace Counseling. What this means is that you can say whatever you need to say and know that you will not be judged or condemned for saying it.
4 — Comfortable with Intersection of Faith & Mental Health:
You are safe to explore and challenge the messages of your faith in Christian counseling if you need. And to be supported by it at the same time.
The therapists at Wellspace Counseling are comfortable with you openly speaking about and reflecting on your faith or spirituality. And we are okay with people who feel the need to dissect it a little bit, too.
Peoples view of the world is often challenged as they gain new experiences through life. Sometimes that requires an expansion of one’s worldview. Sometimes it means being able to set boundaries in order to live in harmony with that worldview.
Christian counseling Portland, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin can help a client navigate the process in understanding how their faith impacts their worldview. We aim to create space in our therapy sessions for clients to do just that.
5 — Understanding of Faith’s Impact on Identity:
A person’s perspective of faith has a tremendous impact on how they view themselves in the world. We get that.
For example, a person may carry a sense of shame. People who grew up in the Christian faith will often have a moral code embedded inside of their identity. And failing to live up to that moral base will often make one resent self and feel shame.
Or perhaps they begin to resent the faith or community.
And because of this, we welcome the opportunity to explore how your faith informs your choices and behaviors.
6 — Christian Counseling Can Help You Understand Faith’s Impact on Relationships:
A couple who places importance on their faith will come into a marriage counseling session with unique perspectives. And unique challenges.
Some of those unique challenges could include:
Same faith/different interpretations
Couples of faith may come into a therapy session in conflict over a specific passage of the Judeo-Christian Bible. A marriage counselor will not unpack the disagreement from a theological perspective. But the therapist will be able to help the couple emotionally-regulate. And when a couple can remain emotionally-regulated, they can then have positive communication. Even over the most difficult and meaningful of topics.
Same faith/feeling like cannot talk to others
There is pressure to put on “a happy face” when living in a Christian community. Couples might feel some external or internal pressure for their marriages to look perfect. Marriage counseling provides the perfect opportunity for couples to work through the challenges of a relationship. And the use of online counseling can create an even greater level of confidentiality.
Same faith/challenges with sex
It is not uncommon for Christian couples to have a hard time talking about sex. They have learned from a young age that physical intimacy is not something to talk openly about. Unless sex is discussed as something to stay away from until marriage. Couples then don’t talk about things if sex doesn’t turn out how they were expecting. And they could even carry a sense or level of shame over the topic.
It is amazing how much can change during a marriage! It is possible that the couple enters into a marriage practicing different faiths. Or that one person discovers a faith after being married. Or one person changes faith.
Perhaps you have experienced one of these unique circumstances to your relationship. Or maybe not.
Whatever the case, a couple that places importance on their religious faith will come in with a lens in which they view their marriage or relationship. They will hold certain values.
Wellspace Counseling in Tualatin, Portland, and Lake Oswego, OR is prepared to work with couples to allow their faith to inform and support the health of the marriage. And to be the foundation of the couple’s cycle of relationship.
7 — Recognition That Communities of Faith Can Cause Harm:
One does not have to spend much time with Google to find that spiritual and religious communities can cause harm. And an experience does not have to be physical for a situation to be traumatic.
There are times when a person may be reduced to feeling shame or heavy amounts of guilt due to decisions or actions of a portion of the congregation. Pastors will often experience exhaustion because of a lack of community and support, but a high demand to model “perfection” in lifestyle.
But it is not just pastors who face spiritual exhaustion.
Wellspace Counseling can provide pastors, elders, and lay leaders a space to come and receive mental and emotional support without concerns about being shamed. There are high demands for those in leadership positions. You want to be in a healthy state so you can make healthy decisions.
And those congregants that have been wounded by a faith community will also be able to explore their pain without having to bash their faith.
No faith community is perfect. You don’t have to be perfect, either.
And the therapists at Wellspace Counseling will be understanding of the pain you’ve experienced.
8 — Understanding of a Faith-filled Worldview:
People of faith see the world through the lens of that faith. They often see themselves as part of a larger purpose. And they view God as the ultimate good and provider. Decisions that are made in life are all filtered through the prism of who God is and how God interacts with the world.
Can Christian Counseling in Portland, Tualatin, and Lake Oswego Be Part of Your Faith Journey?
Christian counseling in Oregon does not have to work in opposition to your development or faith journey. In fact, it can be a great help in allowing you to grow in your confidence.
It Can Help You with Forgiveness
The concept of forgiveness can be hard to grasp. A person can go to great lengths to offer forgiveness to someone who has hurt them, only to end up angry at that person about the very thing they tried to forgive. Maybe they’ve prayed for God to help them to forgive and it just hasn’t worked out yet.
What can be just as challenging is to forgive yourself. It is not unusual for a person to live with a level of guilt or shame. And while some people can quickly forgive others, they are not so quick to forgive themselves.
Christian counseling in Portland, OR can help you work through past hurt or pain to reach a level of forgiveness that once felt unattainable.
It Can Help You with Communication
Communication is essential to living in community with others. Whether that is in our marriage, with our children, or with friends.
And communication can be a hard thing to succeed in. Especially when difficult or sensitive topics are the center of the communication.
You can learn great interpersonal communication skills to help you listen and be heard with empathy and compassion.
It Can Help You Live at Peace
Anxiety can steal from a person’s peace. Learning how to emotionally self-regulate can help you attain the peaceful state that you desire. And that can help you be more attuned in your spiritual self.
Begin Your Experience in Christian Counseling in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Portland, OR Today!
Jason Wilkinson is aware of the challenges that Christians face when trying to find a mental health counselor that they are comfortable with. He is passionate about helping people find a therapeutic fit. Jason is the owner of Wellspace Counseling, located in Tualatin, Oregon. Wellspace Counseling serves individuals & couples living in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and the Greater Portland Metro Area. Wellspace Counseling also offers therapy throughout the state of Oregon through online therapy. When you're ready to support from a Christian perspective, get in touch for your consultation.
OTHER COUNSELING SERVICES
Christian Counseling in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and Portland is not the only service offered at Wellspace Counseling. Some other services you might be interested in include: Individual Counseling College and Young Adult Counseling