Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Do I Need a Christian Therapist?

posted by Linda Mintle

Question: I’ve got marital problems. I feel down all the time. Nothing seems to be working in my life. Maybe I need to get some professional help. But how do I pick a therapist? Do I need to see a Christian or will any good therapist do?

Dr. Linda: You need a well-trained Christian therapist who has good relationship and clinical skills. Here’s why? The world-view of a therapist makes a difference. You need someone who understands your faith and can guide you from a biblical perspective. Someone who is not familiar with your faith is at a disadvantage in directing you to health.

Therapy is not value free.  While therapists are trained to respect the values of their clients and work from the client’s worldview, it is impossible to be totally neutral when it comes to values. A therapist’s belief system matters. And in couple work, we have data that shows that when a therapist is neutral or negative about marriage, there is a higher rate of divorce.

A Christian therapist integrates faith with psychological principles, something a non-Christian therapist cannot do. Your faith is a source of power, a lens from which you view the world and relationships. Faith is integral in healing.

You are the consumer of therapy services.  It is perfectly appropriate to ask a practice or insurance company to give referrals for Christian therapists. You can also check with local churches and professional organizations like The American Association of Christian Counselors for possible referrals.  Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s vital to work with someone who understands how to integrate faith with everyday living.

Be specific when you ask about faith. Many therapists say they are “spiritual” but that covers a wide variety of religions.  Here’s an example.

A Christian woman called and wanted to see me in therapy. I didn’t have an opening and she was desperate for help. When I checked with my regular referrals, no one had room to take a new client. One of my colleagues told me she was available.  She called herself Christian but also believed in using astrology and other eastern religions.  I knew she had previously sent patients to psychics so I politely declined her offer. The young women referred specifically requested a born again Christian therapist and did not believe in psychics or astrology. Even though the therapist had good credentials and training, she would have not been a good match.

The point is you need to find someone whose values are compatible with yours. Be assertive. You want the right guidance. So much of what you do in therapy involves the way you think and believe. Someone with different views and values can create more problems than good. Look for the right therapist. The best way to find a good Christian therapist is through word of mouth. Personal referral is usually a great start to finding a good therapist.  Ask around and get started!

The Secret to Being Content

posted by Linda Mintle

Self-sufficiency was considered a virtue in Greek culture. The Greek word for content, autarkes, means to be self-sufficient or independent. However, the Bible offers a different view of this concept than the Stoic philosophers of biblical days. The Stoics believed that contentment was reached by being resigned to one’s situation. It was a term that referred to total indifference, a sort of ancient version of WHATEVER!

The Apostle Paul’s discussion of contentment in Philippians 4 had nothing to do with Stoic indifference. His contentment was rooted in his faith. The deep joy he felt while in jail came through his relationship with God and His goodness in all that happened. Paul’s union in Christ, God in Him and with Him, was the secret to being content.

Paul could rejoice in trials because of the fruit they bore and the strength and courage that resulted, not because he had some twisted need to suffer. His words to us regarding being content in any situation are backed up by his own difficult and glorious experiences in life. God strengthened him to persevere during difficult and thrive during abundance. He came to understand that contentment was learned through his relationship with God, not through his circumstances. Paul never complained that he was a victim of circumstances. He did not worry because he knew God would supply all his needs. That is why he tells us that he could be content with much or little–a striking contrast to our present day thinking.

 

Except from Letting Go of Worry, Harvest House, 2011. Click here to order.

Web Exclusive: I Love My Mother But..

posted by Linda Mintle

Dr. Linda Mintle sat down with Canadian TV host, Moira Brown, from 100 Huntley Street and discussed one of her recent books, I Love My Mother But…The interview is  a little over 14 minutes long but is a great recap of what is important in making mother-daughter relationships strong. Watch the interview here:

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Dance Moms: Over the Top Relationship Dysfunction

posted by Linda Mintle

The title of the TV show, Dance Moms, intrigued me because I am a dance mom. So I decided to watch a few episodes back to back the other night.

I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was like watching people in desperate need of group therapy.

The owner of the dance studio acted like she was untreated for bipolar disorder. One minute she would tell the dancers they were doing great, and the next she was screaming at them. The dancers were young girls in elementary school and at an impressionable age. The negative comments the owner/teacher made about parents, competition and even other children were terrible. She shamed people, impulsively yelled, and threatened to yank girls out of numbers. She pitted one girl against another and allowed their moms to weigh in with their opinions. The girls looked depressed!

Then there were the moms – a take off of The Housewives of….you name which one. They were brutal, screaming at the owner when their daughters didn’t get solos, threatening to pull them out of dances they didn’t like and regularly left the studio angry, while dragging their crying children. Most of the show is listening to the moms be caddy about each other and the owner. The moms give new meaning to the term helicopter parents–they hover over their children like vultures ready to swoop down at any moment their children have been unfairly treated (in their opinion). I was embarrassed watching them. Clearly, their identities are wrapped up in the success of their daughters.

The ones who suffer all this psycho “entertainment” are the dancers. They regularly witness a lack of conflict management and civility.  And this is very sad because the girls are pushed to perfection and have to please the erratic adults around them. If those girls don’t develop some major issues in a few years, I will be surprised.

My daughter danced for nationally known teacher Denise Wall (Yes, Travis Wall is her son and that is her in the picture) and Denise always treated her with respect. When my daughter would leave the dance studio, she felt empowered and confident that she could continue to improve and be who she was intended to be. Denise has a way of bringing out the inner person and connecting her to movement. And while Denise has churned out many national champions and dancers who have made it on Broadway and in LA, Denise doesn’t allow moms to run her studio. In fact, there are no viewing rooms for moms. We do not watch their every move and comment. We trust that Denise is the professional and we are not.  And while families bring drama to the studio at times, Denise is kindhearted and loves her dancers. My daughter adores her, not from some sick twisted need to please her, but out of a genuine love for a teacher who knows the dance world and helps her students become the best they can be.

So first, thank you Denise Wall for being such a phenomenal teacher and human being. Thanks for being professional and teaching the kids the business without shaming them and driving them to develop eating disorders. Most of all, thanks for empowering them to be all they can be and not allowing parents to distract you from your job!

In my opinion, Dance Moms, gives dance a big black eye!

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