Posted by: gtcounseling | February 22, 2010

Ask The Counselor

Dear Readers,
Welcome to my Interactive! page. I am happy to report that we are back online with a new ‘Ask The Counselor’ Interactive! blog where I answer a reader’s question weekly, questions about life, relationships, online counseling services, treatment issues and much more, whatever is on your mind or weighing heavy on your heart.

To submit a question for review you may select the ‘About’ tab above or click on ‘post a comment’  here in this main post only and send your question to me (the comment feature is disabled for reader questions already answered and posted). You may remain anonymous if you prefer and patience is required for a response. If your question is chosen it will only be posted with my response here on the Interactive! page, no e-mail responses are sent out, and it may be appropriately edited to save space. All questions and answers will remain the property of Grace Tree Counseling. And, please keep in mind that as this is a public forum all questions are subject to screening and approval.

Additionally, this free service for Grace Tree’s visitors is not intended to replace traditional therapy which promotes a much deeper level of personal healing and growth through personalized counseling services. You can always order professional online counseling services at my website if you’d like further personal counsel and encouragement. I look forward to responding to your questions and be sure to check back in for regular updates!

Thanks for your interest!
Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C
Grace Tree Counseling Services

Posted by: gtcounseling | July 7, 2016

The Rocky Road of Therapy

Dear Ms. Miller,

I see a therapist for social phobia and paranoia, and have visual and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). My therapist and I have explored other causes like drugs, alcohol, traumatic events, etc. But, there is no apparent reason. I often have trouble speaking, and before going to therapy I was functioning less and less. I’m scared it will get worse again, and my therapist doesn’t seem to want to talk about why I have these symptoms. I can feel myself losing it again. What’s wrong with me? Is he not telling me for some reason?

Estee

Hi Estee,

Thanks for writing in. It sounds like you are having an increase in your symptoms and have some serious concerns for your well-being which is understandable.  I am glad you’re currently in treatment and hope you give yourself credit for this. Maybe I can help you revisit some “therapy basics” to help get you moving along again.

While social phobia and paranoia are fairly common, hallucinations can be distinct presenting symptoms apart from this, depending on their exact nature and pervasiveness. Identifying root causes and how to proceed in treatment can be difficult. But, this shouldn’t be confused with being impossible. With courage and patience on your part, there is hope. There are likely trust issues to explore with your therapist too, your level of trust and openness to him and the therapy process itself, as well as your own perceived ability to heal. Although it may not go smoothly at times, trust covers a lot of areas and is very important. I encourage you to discuss this aspect of your treatment with your therapist. The healing pace can sometimes seem slow, especially if you experience setbacks. A good therapist is sensitive to this too. Try not to let this deter you.

And, most people who deal with social phobia in general do not suffer from hallucinations. It sounds like there may be something else going on, which could be a number of things. Some mental health disorders, like schizophrenia and brain injuries, manifest with visual and/or auditory hallucinations. They are referred to as organic brain disorders because they are not typically environmental by nature, but can be hereditary, the result of an individual’s own physiological (bio-chemical) make-up, or due to traumatic-physical brain injury. It is concerning that your therapist isn’t talking with you openly about your experiences. Being open with your therapist about his reluctance, and your fears and questions, is important to keep that two-way street open. I encourage you to share your fears with him, and let him know how important it is that the two of your address this together. Ask to discuss your fears and whether or not there in anything he is not telling you. Be open about it and the fact that you need clarification on it.

In most cases, the quality of the therapeutic relationship you develop together often determines the outcome. You also mentioned that you were functioning less and less prior to getting therapy. So conversely, that means you are doing better because of reaching out for the help you need. Keep this in mind as you go forward, and remind yourself that the therapeutic relationship is a collaborative effort that takes time to build upon. Be open and honest about what you need from your therapist, even if it is hard at times, and give him a chance to join with you and earn your trust. This can make all the difference in your continued healing and getting the answers you need.

Carole Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | February 10, 2014

Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Dear Grace Tree,

Do you counsel with clients that have DID? If so, is the counseling sessions once a week or can I just have counseling sessions once a month? Once a month is all I have right now for payment for a counseling session.

Thanks, Sylvia

Hi Sylvia,

Yes, I do counsel individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and it’s tailored to the client’s need at the time. For those of you not familiar with Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is the diagnostic term which replaced Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) several years back. It is a rare, highly sophisticated cognitive disorder and response to severe human trauma where the self maintains recurrent distinct personality states, individual “identities” or “alters,” in order to mentally and emotionally cope and protect the individual’s psyche in response to significant or severe trauma, usually which occurred in childhood. Clients who experience DID often also suffer from other Dissociative Disorders such as Derealization Disorder and Dissociative Amnesia, along with significant symptoms for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,  PTSD, and heightened anxiety.

If all you can afford right now is once per month Sylvia that’s fine, although progress is bound to be very slow and disjointed at that pace. If you keep that in mind, e-counseling can be a good starting point to begin to find therapeutic direction in. I say this because individuals suffering from DID really require intense treatment and more traditional face-to-face therapy has a better outcome because much more can be addressed and worked on in person than online. However, I understand that some people find it very hard and anxiety-trauma provoking in just seeking help and with trying to connect with a professional in person and begin to even trust their inner life with someone else. An online therapeutic relationship can offer a stepping stone to someone really getting a higher level of help needed if that’s what a client decides to do in the future. But, it’s always up to the client. You need to make the decision that’s right for you and online therapy can offer some help and relief. Though the problem is very complex, issues vary case-by-case and in severity so if I can be of any further help or answer more specific question you may have, please email me directly at cmiller@gracetreecounsleing.com.

Sincerely,

Carole Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | August 28, 2013

Asperger’s Work and “Religiosity” Concerns

Dear Grace Tree,

Do you use Skype for online sessions? And, how long are the sessions? I am diagnosed with Asperger’s too and wonder if you’ve worked with Asperger’s before? Are you also very pushy on the religious aspect during the counseling session if a person isn’t very religious?

Thank you,
Michelle

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for writing in, and what great questions! I’ll address the technical ones first. I do not offer Skype or other videoconferencing sessions. I currently offer e-mail sessions where I correspond back and forth with my clients, online direct chat sessions with common chat programs where we chat in real-time on the computer, and traditional telephone counseling sessions. While I ventured into using Skype in the past with a few clients, I did not find it to be reliable nor was there a market for it. Most all my clients prefer one of the three methods above and so I’ve stuck with what works and what people prefer. This may change in the future though as technology and the e-counseling market both improve.

In terms of working with Asperger’s clients, I have worked with a few people via e-counseling and though traditional face-to-face therapy, though face-to-face therapy is the preferred method of treatment because of the direct contact with the client. Many individuals with Asperger’s really need that one-on-one contact to work on relating with others directly, making eye contact, gaining comfort and confidence in direct relations and trying out new behaviors and way of relating with others. However, I believe that practitioners must also recognize that individuals with disabilities such as Asperger’s need to begin to work on some of their struggles in a manner and pace that is comfortable to them, so e-counseling may be a good fit when starting out in therapy. While it wouldn’t be a good idea to rely on e-counseling solely because it is a ‘distance therapy’ so to speak, it could certainly help someone get started in the therapy process of developing and improving on social skills and interacting with others.  From there, a client can always transition to face-to-face treatment and build on his/her developing strengths and skills.

Michelle, I really like the honesty of your question about “being very pushy on the religious aspect during counseling” if a person isn’t very religious. Very few people venture to ask this question which is a very important part of any helping relationship! I can say with all confidence that I am not pushy about religion at all or pushing anyone in any spiritual direction which he/she does not wish to be a part of the counseling process. All of my clients are welcome to discuss their spiritual beliefs as it relates to their lives and experiences, and to clarify if they’d like their religious life to be a part of our work together. But, any spiritual aspects that are woven into our work together is strictly decided by the client. I am trained, licensed therapist and take great care with all my clients to work together in a manner that is honoring to them as individuals and respectful of their personal spiritual beliefs. This includes people who don’t have any particular religious beliefs as well as those who may be exploring their spirituality. I hope this helps to clarify things for you Michelle and if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me through my website.  I wish you the best going forward in whatever avenue you choose.

Sincerely,

Carole Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | April 7, 2012

Trusting God And Others Along The Way

Hello,

My name is Judith. It looks as though you are a Christian counselor.  I am having a real hard time with the idea of getting help from someone other than God.  I see a psychiatrist, but we do not talk. He just gives me depression medication and I am having problems with taking it .  I feel I should have enough faith in the Lord to heal me.  I would like to know your thoughts on this.  My psychiatrist also does not recommend therapy. He thinks the medicines will do the job, but I would really like to be off medicine one day and able to cope with my life.  I truly don’t like talking about my life to anyone.  I am painfully aware that it is human nature to judge or change one’s perceptions of someone once they know certain things.  I have been through a lot in life and was sexually abused as a child. I have no memories of my childhood. They are completely repressed, but I have no choice but to believe because I lived it.  My step father committed suicide.  My mother tried after him.  While in college I met a bad boy, who I wanted to fix, got pregnant and dropped out of school.  This derailed my whole life and I have not been able to get back on track. I have been afraid to try ever since and I feel like I can only fail now.  My son was born with a heart defect and was diagnosed with autism, and my daughter is diagnosed with non-verbal autism.  It is really hard raising the two of them because I constantly question if I am doing it right or if they even understand what I tell them.  I have a lot to learn and know I need to be less afraid of failing. My main question is, how do I let God give me the power to believe in me?  I know he never gives us more than we can handle but sometimes it feels as if he overestimated my abilities.  I have been stuck in the same place of no growth for 8 years now.  How and where do I start to make some changes?

Thanks, Judith

 

Dear Judith,

Thanks for writing in. You have a lot packed into your share here and I believe the best thing you can do right now is to start covering ‘the basics’ of healing through God and then progressing from there as you’re able. Sometimes taking that first step can be scary, but God doesn’t want you to stay stuck and He is in the business of continually redeeming us to Himself. And remember, this isn’t a race and there is no ‘finish line’ either. There is only your personal relationship with God and the healing journey you’re on with Him. You said that you feel you’ve been stuck for 8 years now, but your simple awareness and desire to ‘move forward’ is great. Sometimes our timing is slow, but He will guide you in all things can do wonders for getting ‘unstuck’ even when it seems like we’re just barely ‘hanging on’ in life.

One of the first things that comes to mind for me regarding those that struggle with trust and bonding to others, is a need for a deeper and more personal healing through God within the body of Christ. Sometimes we try to be the ‘Lone Christian’ (aka Lone Ranger analogy), and believe that we have to take this healing journey ourselves and should be able to do it on our own. You said, “I feel I should have enough faith in the Lord to heal me.” While this can be applied in some situations easier than others, this is often too simplistic of a spiritual platitude that we beat ourselves up with. And so, when the storms of life come and beat us down, and they will come, it reinforces that belief of shame, failure, worthlessness, hopelessness, etc.

The best antidote for this is fellowship with other genuine, safe people who will help you build on your relationship with God on a safe level. This can be with a small group of woman in a bible study for instance, or a Christian recovery group like Celebrate Recovery, or even in a one-on-one therapeutic relationship with a Christian counselor. You can make the choice, but it does involve stepping out in faith and relying on God to guide you to the right relationship connections for you at this time. No one can be that ‘Lone Christian’ and achieve true healing which is why God instituted the church and scripture commands us to bear each others burdens, not to forsake our gathering together, pray for one another consistently and so forth. We are a community of believers for a reason, because God knows that we all need each other.

Secondly, I don’t know why a psychiatrist would discourage anyone from seeking therapy who truly wanted to work through some of the tough issues you mentioned. I think that finding a good, trusted personal counselor in your area, a Christian one if you desire, where you can work through those long-standing issues of probable sexual abuse, parental suicide and dysfunctional family issues, depression, crisis of your faith, feelings of failure, current parenting stresses and more, would do you a world of good. I believe that these are very sensitive issues to you and a good professional can help you sort through it all in a confidential and caring, professional manner. I also think it’s a good thing to be hopeful about being off of medication one day if you’re able to be. This is also an area where trust in God for guidance is required. For some people, working through old issues and hurts helps in that process, though its different for everyone as there are several considerations involved. Continued work with a trusted psychiatrist is important and he/she should be committed to listening to you and helping you in the healing process.

Judith, I hope this sharing on the basics of Christian relationships and bonding with others, while trusting God to guide you, helps you make some decisions even if it is to move forward just a little bit in your life. I pray for God’s continued help with your healing journey and that you can truly find your way to leaning on Him and trusting Him every step of the way.

Sincerely,

Carole Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | February 19, 2011

Healing Through Complicated Grief

Dear Grace,

It will be two years since I lost my best friend. She helped me play the recorder and helped me to be a musician. Since her tragic death I have not coped at all, I miss her every single day. And I can’t cope anymore. Do you have any advice?

Gemma

Hello Gemma,

I am glad you wrote in to Grace Tree and my prayers are with you in your loss.  It’s very easy to get depressed and despondent when we lose someone very dear to us. The deep sadness, ache and pain is very natural and normal, part of the loss process. And, if we don’ take care of ourselves and allow the grieving process to occur it can consume us over time and be quite debilitating and harmful in many ways.  

There are several stages in the grieving process Gemma including shock, pain, anger, depression, guilt and more. And, when we travel through grief they rarely occur in a linear fashion but overlap. We can go back and forth between feelings and stages. Things we thought we could put behind often have a way of creeping back up and sometimes catch us off guard.  The grieving process is a very emotionally raw experience and can even be complicated by the circumstances surrounding the loss. It sounds like you may be experiencing ‘complicated grief’ and that is certainly hard to handle at times due to the nature of the loss.

Now is the time to be good to yourself and try to allow for your continued healing through this Gemma. Sometimes a ‘celebration of life’ event can help the journey through acute grief. This is where you participate in an event that commemorates the loved one’s life in a way that is personal to you. It can be something small and intimate, meaningful to you and her, and include others or just be by yourself.  Examples are prayer circles, volunteering for something in your loved one’s name, making a donation in their honor, creating artwork in their name, playing at a concert for others less fortunate, and so forth. You can be creative as you like and even do more than one thing. The idea is to celebrate the person you knew and praise God for the time you were able to spend together.  It will not instantly make the painful feelings go away, but it will help you focus on the many positives of the gift of having such a beautiful friend in your life.

Other things you can do to help might be to join a grief group at a local church or hospital if available, or even online, somewhere where you can share your pain and loss with others who are walking the journey also. Working with a professional counselor for a while can also help, working through and processing your feelings together to help get it all out. Also, spending time in God’s word and in communion with him, to know deeper the hope in Christ and the riches that his glory offers. I believe too, as scripture says, that ‘all things are possible’ with God who loves us, that he is able to carry our love, thoughts, prayers and communications to our loved ones for us.  When we allow God to be our bridge, hope, comfort and refuge he does not let us down. He understands our grief and pain and will walk through it with us each step of the way if we let him. 

Again, my prayers and thoughts are with you Gemma and I hope you find a deeper sense of peace and comfort in God in the coming days.

Sincerely,

Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | October 15, 2010

Acheiving Victory Over Sexual Addiction

Ms. Miller,
I am a 42 yr old married man with 6 children. I have been married to a wonderful woman for 18 yrs. At a very young age I was exposed to pornography and it has plagued my life for over 30 yrs. Several years ago, I began chatting about sexual fantasies via email with women while at work. My wife caught me on more than one occasion and I’ve begged for forgiveness and promised never to do it again. She being the wonderful Christian wife forgave me. I would then do fine for a while, reading my Bible and making an effort to avoid the temptation. Yet, I would find myself back at it months later and lying to her about it until she would catch me again. I finally crossed the line when I began chatting with a friend of hers, sharing ideas of things I would do to her. I finally stopped chatting with her and had not made any efforts to contact her.   However, I was not man enough to confess to my wife of my wrong doings and even when she asked if I had said anything about sex with her friend, I would say no I had not. Apparently her friend had been hinting around to her for several months and I continued to deny it. Well, it all came to a head about a week ago when my wife asked me again and I finally admitted it. Now, my wife wants to leave me and I truly understand her stance, as I’ve destroyed her inside and she cannot trust me. There is so much more to this and I know I need help. Can you help me?  Dirk

Hello Dirk,

You certainly have a very complex and painful situation going on and I’ll do my best to give you the wise counsel you seek. First, you are right in that you need help, whether your marriage stays intact or not. Sexual addiction is a tough nut to crack, though the good news is that it can be done. It will take hard work and committment on your part, and a multi-faceted approach.

The first thing I would recommend would be seeking out a good, trusted, male Christian counselor in your local area who is willing to work with you closely on the issue of your sexual abuse and the ‘much more’ that you didn’t mention. You’ll need to commit to working through your long-standing pornography addiction and the internet chatting addiction which is very real as well. The next level of help I recommend would be to meet with your Pastor and confide in him about your addiction and struggles, and to also ask him to meet with you regularly and help hold you accountable for getting the help you need. It would also benefit you to join a men’s bible study group and ministry for ongoing support and help from other men. Sexual addiction readily thrives as one of those ‘secret sins’ in mens lives because it is kept hidden from others out of embarrassment, fear, shame and more. It’s hold can only be broken when it’s brought to light and shared with others who can hold you accountable. The third level to work on is your internet and computer usage. You will need to put into place ‘nanny’ programs that don’t allow pornography site navigation, and also put other accountability measures in place such as only using the computer while in the same room as your spouse. This takes away the ability to feed the addiction. And, if your work computer is a temptation the same precautions should be taken there.

Once you get the help you need Dirk and the other pieces into place, with God’s help you should begin to see more real gains made in overcoming your sexual addiction and other problems. Honoring God and reading the bible are good things, but as you know from experience doing those things and ‘trying hard’ not to feed the addiction do not break this type of stronghold. Only putting God first, getting real and honest with yourself and having other men walk beside you to hold you accountable will break this bondage. I pray that God will give you the courage and strength to make the choices that you need to make to move forward Dirk.

Sincerely,

Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | August 10, 2010

Recovering From Cultic Spiritual Abuse

Dear Grace Tree,
I grew up in a cultic sect. Now, I am 40 and have 5 kids I have been homeschooling. I recently separated from my husband and I have a very deep interest in helping other people who have been spiritually abused.  I am trying to figure out my options for moving forward, but I am paralyzed by fear.  There are so many options but little actual financial help. I am afraid I will give up and go back to my husband.  I feel passionate about being able to help other people get free from spiritual abuse and there have been some amazing things that have happened and that I considered God orchestrated that point to me following that path. But, I was recently told by church members that Satan will also arrange events so that we are deceived.
 
I am exhausted and can’t figure out how to do this. I have little income and have talked to some schools but I would have to borrow a lot of money and I can’t see walking out of school with that kind of debt in 6 years to get a degree and almost be 50 years old. On the other hand, I can’t stand the thought of working a job I am not passionate about either. I would also like to be able to continue to home school somehow. I checked into online schooling but it too is expensive and I cannot seem to figure out if online degrees are accepted or not.  I have a chance of getting an internship at a counseling office in our town, but a lot can change in the 6 years it will take to earn a degree. I am just not sure what to do at this point and would appreciate any input you can offer.
 
Thank you for your time,  Julie

Dear Julie,

It sounds like you really have a heart for helping others and are woman after God’s own heart in wanting to help the healing process of others and I don’t think you should ever give up on that. God has given you that desire in your heart and when God wants to use an experience, talent or a gift he has given us he will make a way to do so whether it’s in a professional or para-professional setting, mission field, or something else.  And, often times it doesn’t match up to our notion of what that would look like or in the time frame we think it should happen. We seldom know where God will take us in advance, but we are called to trust in him for all of life’s journey. 

Your future with God can also unfold whether you stay with your husband or not, get formal schooling or another type of training, or any other scenario that may occur. God isn’t limited or hindered by anything. And yes, while satan can deceive us we all have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help us discern if our choices and decisions are based in what God would have us do at any point in our lives. In your life right now you are still a wife and also a mother of 5 children whom certainly need you and that takes priority. The best encouragement I can give is to rest and take a step back from things for a bit, stay close to God, and watch for his guidance in reference to your marriage and family life and also how he plans to use your past experience and passion to help others. The direction and answers may not come as fast as you’d like or be what you necessarily think they should be or in your idea of timing, but I don’t doubt that God will guide you and ultimately use your experience and passion for his glory and kingdom.  Keep stepping out in faith in God Julie, and know that whatever he guides you toward in his time, he will provide the way.

Sincerely,

Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | June 17, 2010

Online Counseling Questions

Dear Readers,

I recently received a few questions about Grace Tree’s Counseling services:

Do you take any forms of insurance for your services?  -Heidi

Do you only do online and telephone counseling, or do you also do face-to-face counseling?  -Latrelle

Hello Heidi and Latrelle,

Thanks for writing in. I do not currently take any forms of insurance for my services. From what I know, setting up reimbursement through insurance boards is a very complex and rigorous task for traditional face-to-face counseling agencies. And, since online counseling is not widely accepted yet in the mainstream therapy field  I imagine it may be even more difficult setting up reimbursement for online services. While those of us who’ve been pioneers in the field for several years already certainly know the validity of it’s therapeutic benefit to a wide range of people, there exists still skepticism and a desire for empirical research. Perhaps someday the online therapy practice will become more of the norm along wit traditional therapies and insurance boards will cover it automatically then as a matter course just like other counseling therapies.

I also do not do any face-to-face traditional counseling at Grace Tree and the practice is limited to online modalities, much like someone might have another type of online business that they operate strictly over the Internet. The flexibility of the online counseling venues of e-mail, direct chat and telephone counseling are the most popular and offer the most choices for people with hectic lives who want something that fits in their schedule and  that they can engage in rather quickly. Online services also benefit clients in terms of lower service fees overall because of the reduced overhead costs for a practice that does not require office space, equipment and furniture, additional staff and so forth.

Glad to answer your questions ladies, and if I can be of any further help feel free to e-mail me!

Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | June 16, 2010

Trusting God With Your Adult Child

Dear Grace.

 I am a desperate mother of a 36 year-old son whose father died when he was in his late 20’s.  His father had severe personality problems that separated us and hurt my son badly emotionally. He even thinks he has inherited his father’s personality disorder. He is unable to keep friendships with women who say he is overpowering and controlling, same as his father.  My son experienced traumatic times when we moved away from his father as life had become too much for me. I did not know the Lord then, but God shielded us through it all.  I then studied as a nurse so I could have a career and bring them up. Then, I met a man who had domestic problems with his own wife and left my husband to marry him, which I know now was wrong.  Yet, together we brought my two children up and several grandchildren.  But our son, who is sweet and kind, suffers from depression and blames me for everything including his failed friendships.  He knows I believe that to have a good friendships you must be in the Lord with the Holy Spirit helping and guiding, etc.

We live in England and do not know where we can get help.  We are blessed though, because on top of all this and my regrets of marrying,  the Lord gave me and my husband missions work to do together. It is as though He has forgiven me for marrying another man who had a wife even though he says they were having problems. Yet, I am hurting because of my son.  He goes through these personality crises and I don’t know what to do.  He received the Lord Jesus in his heart and was baptized, but now he is just argumentative and justifies poor choices like having the right to live with a girlfriend as husband and wife. He twists the Word of God and is very eloquent to where I cannot answer him even though I know where it is wrong. He is very intelligent, but he has had a lot of trauma in his young life and is badly affected periodically.  He follows the Lord, but has dark feelings, isolates himself and goes more into the world or withdraws.  He uses me as a punching bag, but by God’s grace I take it. I often get up early and pray, crying to the Lord.  My son will not approach anyone he knows about his problems and the fact that he may have behaviour inheritance from his father.  He loves his father and misses him. What can I possibly do more to help him in his situation? Any guidance you can offer would be sincerely appreciated.

 God bless you,  Elvida

Dear Elvida,

I am glad you wrote in to Grace Tree’s Interactive! blog. As a parent of young adults myself, my heart goes out to you in what sounds like quite a complicated situation. Hopefully I can be of some encouragement as the Holy Spirit leads. In looking at the big picture of what you shared, a few basic things stand out in terms of family relationships, guilt and responsibility. First, in terms of your own past mistakes and remarriage, remember that our God is a big God who is merciful and always loving toward us. There isn’t anything his grace can’t cover. And, while your choices have had real consequences you’ve all had to bear, in his forgiveness he often restores us beyond what any of us deserve. I am glad you and your husband are being used in mission ministry and pray you go forward in your service in all the confidence his love offers.

Second, it s always our calling to love and pray for our children no matter what. Yet now, your son is well into adulthood and fully responsible for his own life and walk with God. Instead of you continuing to bear the weight and guilt of your past mistakes it sounds like it’s time for you to get more closure in making your own peace with God and taking him at his word that you are fully a ‘new creation’ in Christ and all your sin, past, present and future, has been removed ‘as far as the east is from the west.’ It’s not doing you any good to live your life while constantly looking in the rearview mirror. When we live that way, we are impaired by not having a full forward view of all we are and can be in Christ according to his riches and blessings for us. The best thing to do is live for him and love boldly, yourself and son included, and release your adult son to God to do the same supernatural work in his life as he’s done for you! Keep offering your son your wisdom and guidance in key areas of his life, be that needed Godly role model, pray for him and be there for him, but also allow him the same free will God does to make his own choices in life. Even if he stumbles and falls at times, God’s promise is that none of ‘his sheep’ can be lost and he will leave the ninety-nine to rescue the one. We serve an extremely loving and faithful God who can be trusted no matter what circumstances seem like to us. God will be faithful in your son’s life, so keep developing and fine-tuning your trust in him in that respect. I wish all the best for a bright and blessed future for your family Elvida and may you keep resting in God’s infinite grace and provision for you all.

Sincerely, Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Posted by: gtcounseling | May 29, 2010

Healing From Past Hurts

Dear Mrs. Miller,

I have a lot of problems with my past, mainly problems with ex’s that didn’t treat me right or just didn’t act like they should have. Each was a messy break up that scarred me. Recently I haven’t been able to give up the past and I really need to know how. It’s been making me worry about my current relationship. I know my boyfriend isn’t like them and never will be but when we can’t be around each other I worry that he’s going to cheat or find someone else like the others have, even though I know he won’t and he tells me he won’t.

My past is keeping me from being happy and I really need to let it go. It makes me paranoid and if I don’t find a way to control this and let the past go, I’m afraid I might lose my boyfriend and I don’t want that. He is one of the best things in my life and I love him so much, I just need help to forget my past and let it go.

Thanks, Ruth

Dear Ruth,

What stands out nicely in your letter is your sincerity and searching heart on how you realize that you are the one who has a problem in your relationship in the areas of trust, intimacy and risk, and are seeking healing solutions for yourself. With your keen awareness and analysis of where it all your ‘stuff’ comes from, you are already in a very good position and a significant way down the road to recovery for yourself. Kudos to you!

Given that, I think the next logiocal step is to continue forward and get the help you need tin terms of working through all the baggage of those past hurts. It’s going to take time, but avenues available to you may be counseling, a women’s bible-study r other support group, pastoral help or even couples counseling so you can work on things together and your boyfriend can gain a beter understanding of your experience and how to build a happy, healthy relationship together going forward. Processing those old issues is key to coming to terms with your past and not allowing it to affect your present relationships. 

And, while it may be a bit overwhelming or hard to think about delving into those old issues and what more that may come up, it really is the best gift you can give yourself Ruth. A wise person seeks wise counsel from trusted others to make sure they’re on a steady path of healing and maturity. You’re off to a great start and my prayer for you is that you continue down the path set before you in God to get the help you need. 

Sincerely,

Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C

Older Posts »

Categories