Grace has openings for new clients...

I asked Grace to write a get to know you piece for our blog. She has space for new clients. Contact her by phone (615-538-7317) or email her at grace@counseling-c3.com for an appointment. 

Getting to know Grace.....
In the counseling world, therapists have the privilege of hearing others’ stories--their dreams and deepest desires along with dark moments of heartache. Essentially, we hear the most sacred parts of their being. These stories, as challenging as some chapters are, are as unique as a thumbprint and truly help define who we are. Counseling is about gaining insight and understanding of our stories so we have better self awareness and self compassion. 

Clients often wonder about my personal story and why I believe in the counseling process. I must admit, when I thought about writing this piece, the task of summarizing my story seemed daunting. I certainly can’t include the nitty gritty in 500 words or less, and like I tell many of my clients, I won’t be able to tie a pretty pink bow around it either. So although it might seem tidy and contained, my story is its own organism, constantly evolving and often elusive. I’m sure that many of you can relate. 

I characterize my childhood as somewhat broken and disjointed as my parents contributed to the staggering divorce statistics in the US. My circumstances left me feeling abandoned, neglected, and never quite good enough to deserve unconditional love. Little did I know that unconditional love can never be earned, just as God’s grace isn’t based off what we do or don’t do. 

Fast-forwarding a bit to young adulthood, I (of course) thought I had it all figured out. I vowed to leave my past in the past—or shoved back in the cobwebs of my brain—and focus on myself and my future. My goal was to graduate college and break out into the real world as a successful, independent woman. And let me tell you, I was a complete control freak and still have to pull back the reins on my type A personality to this day…I’m working on it!        

Then in 2010, the real world didn’t seem so rosy as I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I approached the “c” word as something to conquer, squash into oblivion, and basically check off my to do list. Surgery…check. Radiation…check. No thyroid function…not ok!! After I lost my thyroid, Pandora’s box essentially opened as I was met with a myriad of negative side effects, including severe anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, digestive issues, and complete brain fog just to name a few. I had trouble functioning in daily life and would literally wake up in a panic and go to bed feeling like I just stepped out of a boxing ring. The illusion I had created of my perfect, happy life was shattered, and when the cracks started forming in my very foundation, the junk I buried long ago came to the surface.

I heard once that it is only in the valley that the flowers grow, and I believe this to be true. In my broken and helpless state, I sought counseling and was able to process through some of my trauma wounds. As time passed, I began to make positive changes and learned vulnerability, acceptance, and self compassion. I started to see myself as God sees me and was relieved that I could just be real, flaws and all. Though I’m still a work in progress, I look forward to a lifetime of learning and growing. I’m so grateful for the gift of counseling, and I hope to share that gift with others. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 

Teresa Hardy, LMFT shares about the Connections Intensive

Over the course of the past 9 years, I have had the honor of walking with many people through some of the most difficult times in their lives.  Sitting in the room with these individuals has made me aware of the effect of shame.  The more I read about shame, the better I understand the pervasive effect it has on clients, friends, family, and (are you ready)….myself.  Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”  When shame messages take over, I want to hide or “fake good,” and the last thing I want to do is talk about it; however, the less I talk about it the more power it has over me.  One of the most courageous things a person can do is to begin speaking about their shame.  This is the first step to learning that it really isn’t just me!

The Counseling Center @ c3 will be offering a workshop titled Connections: A Weekend Intensive from Friday, April 1st, through Sunday, April 3rd.  The goals of this weekend will be to help attendees grow in awareness of shame and develop the skills necessary to move toward shame resiliency.  As Brené Brown says, “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” Please consider taking this opportunity to stand firmly inside your own story.  

For more information or to register, call or email Erica Stegner (615-649-0197 or erica@ericastegner.com).  Pre-registration is required, and the deadline is March 25, 2016.

Dr. Bruce McCurdy - A New Marriage Workshop @ The Center

Our Center is excited to sponsor and recommend this 2 1/2 day intensive marital experience for our couples! Seven Conversations to Enrich your Marriage is a rare opportunity for couples to take a few days to invest in their marriage. Couples will learn about and apply some of the most recent state-of-the-art techniques that are based on Emotionally-Focused Therapy developed by Sue Johnson and her colleagues. These strategies help couples strengthen their relationship, substantially repair any marital injuries (which can be anything from just feeling emotionally disconnected from each other to getting past a severe marital betrayal) and learn how to sustain these improvements long-term. 

7 Hours of Instruction
During the intensive weekend, couples will get a full seven hours of very effective and insightful teaching from two highly qualified therapists. They will cover key marital dynamics such as identifying disconnecting patterns in their relationship, learning how to talk about the ‘raw spots’ every relationship develops, learning how to safely talk about a particularly difficult moment or dynamic in the relationship, and learning how to safely and substantially repair their relationship toward becoming the secure, grace giving relationship it is designed to be.

7 Hours of Personal Counseling
Each couple will also get seven hours of marital counseling with their own personal marriage counselor who will help customize and personalize application of these principles to their marriage. 7 hours of marriage counseling would be $700.00.

We're really excited that our new staff counselor Mariam Coaster and her good friend Lindsey Castleman are offering this through our Counseling Center. This represents one of the ongoing initiatives of our Center for enhancing relationships by applying the truths of the gospel with current psychological science. 

To Register:  mariamcoaster.com/seven

Welcome New Therapists

I am very excited to introduce you to two outstanding additions to our Counseling Center staff: Dr. Mariam Coaster and Grace Hallock.

Dr. Coaster is joining our staff as a part time therapist. She has a doctorate in Neuroscience (Vanderbilt) as well as a Masters in Marriage and Family (Trevecca University) and is on track for licensure.

Grace Hallock is our Counseling Intern and will be with us for the upcoming year as she finishes her Master’s in Professional Counseling (Trevecca University). After graduating, she will seek to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.

The first time I met Mariam she was standing unannounced in our waiting area. She was eager to talk about providing professional therapy that is congruent with the truth of the gospel and had heard about our Counseling Center. When you talk with Mariam you are instantly struck with her intelligence, enthusiasm and passion for her calling of helping people heal and grow. In addition to her sessions with individuals and marriages, she and her friend Lindsey have recently developed an outstanding marriage intensive weekend for couples who want to enhance their relationships. Based on Sue Johnson’s recent book Hold me Tight, the weekend provides each couple with unique blend of educational presentations from two excellent presenters, after which each couple applies and processes the material with their own therapist! Go to her website at mariamcoaster.com/seven/ for more information about upcoming events.  We are so excited that she has joined our team here at CCC and for all she adds to the pursuit of our Center’s mission and vision!

After interviewing several outstanding candidates our leadership team unanimously agreed that Grace, our new counseling intern, would be the best addition for our counseling staff. Even though she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (University of Tennessee), it wasn’t until she personally experienced some health problems that she discovered her true passion for helping people cope with their life challenges through a career in professional counseling. She wants to work with children, adolescents, adults and marriages. While she has a deep desire to integrate her Christian faith with her professional counseling skills, she values and works with people of all worldviews within their value systems. We are so glad to welcome Grace to our staff!

One of the great advantages of having our interns over the years is that we are able to offer counseling services on a very affordable sliding scale. For more details and contact information on both of these wonderful counselors, please go to our new website at www.counseling-c3.com and see if they may be of service to you or your friends.

To Contact Mariam:
Phone: 615.482.0473
Email: mariam@mariamcoaster.com

To Contact Grace:
Phone: 615-538-7317
Email: grace@counseling-c3.com

 

Why a counseling center @ Christ Community

God’s astonishing grace is poured into people’s lives through a variety of channels. The gift of family, friends, colleagues, nature, neighbors, art, Scripture, prayer, and church communities are just a few of the obvious places in which we encounter God’s transforming love for us. I wonder, however, how frequently we might think of ‘gifted counselor’ as a necessary member of that list.

I’ve been a Pastor for almost thirty six years now and I am continuously amazed at the diversity of gift God uses to bring his healing presence into our lives. We experience this in something as simple as a sermon, or in the Lord’s Supper, or a profoundly beautiful hymn, and deeply needed rest. It is also true that we experience this mercy when we find ourselves in the hands of trained, perceptive, godly counselors who help us face various destructive issues in our hearts, our homes, and our relationships in all walks of life - including our relationship with God. Isaiah saw the coming Messiah as the One who would be known as ‘Wonderful Counselor’, the One on whom the Spirit would rest to bring liberty, healing, and wholeness.

The Counseling Center at Christ Community Church is offering that kind of deeply spiritual and practical service to individuals and families every day. Our Counseling Team, led by Dr Bruce McCurdy, cares for people who would claim the Christian Faith as their own, as well as people who do not, or who just aren’t sure where they stand on such matters. Our Counseling Team does their work motivated by the love of Jesus Christ, and that leads to a deep hearing of and care for individuals and families searching for answers.

The truth is that we don’t have to wait for things to reach the level of total disaster to make a call for help. Given the challenges with which our times present us, we all need a listening ear, an informed and incisive voice, and the resources we didn’t even know we had at our disposal to assist us in navigating the storms we all experience. The Center has the kind of people who can offer such guidance and aid.

Transformation in our lives doesn’t occur on our own. God uses people to influence us, to open us up to new ways of seeing, to bring healing grace into our lives. I’ve seen that happen through my colleagues at the Center over and over again. Wrestling with death and divorce, with despair and grief, with addiction and fear, and any one of the many pathogens that create such disharmony in our lives, is not something we were made to do alone. That said, depending on well-intended but ill-informed ‘helpers’ - even friends and families - is an often inadequate and sometimes even dangerous response to such troubles.

Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened down…” That’s the invitation the Counseling Center at Christ Community Church extends to all as well. We extend to you the love of Christ, the grace of Christ, and the healing of Christ. In his name we welcome you, and promise to work with you for your wholeness and joy.