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1- I notice that you have chosen the Motto ,
FIND SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR PROBLEMS”. Why did you select this motto?

When a person contacts me, they are usually very discouraged and doubt that things can change. So the critical issue is to overcome HOPELESSNESS. They view their situation as a problem. I would agree. But one to be solved! This also reflects that I label myself as a COGNITIVE - BEHAVIORAL counselor. We endeavor to discover the beliefs and assumptions that are present and to identify those that are false. If I am believing something that is not true, NOT REALITY, obviously I am going to have problems.

2- What are some of the typical concerns that bring someone  to seek counseling?

Anxiety, Depression, Marriage Conflicts, Parenting concerns, Self-Concept.

3- What happens in the first session. How do you begin?

We discuss the presenting problem and make sure we both have an agreement on the client's goals and expectations of the counseling.

When they leave the first session, they are given a note book with some materials to prepare for the next session. Included is a CD by Dr Crabb called Inside Out.

4- How long does counseling take? Do you offer any           guarantees?

This question is again often an expression of their concern in terms of, "Is there hope for change?" and the desire for the pain to be over soon. Actually, much depends on the clients willingness to stay with the process and not retreat into denial and other defensive behavior.

Here is the best guarantee I know, The Bible says,

"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.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son"   Rom 8:28-29,

and Phil 1:6. "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

5- How do you counsel? What are some of the key concepts that you cover in counseling?

I tell the client that I not only do I counsel, but I explain to them the reasons that we work on the things that we do, so that they, so to speak, will become their own counselor. We explore their expectations and beliefs in terms of the ideas they are holding to be true. A root issue is to discover what false beliefs are being held, and to face denial, deceit, fear and self-centeredness. It is important to not be distracted by symptoms, but instead identify the root issues.

The principles that God reveals in the scripture, guide us in our endeavor to reflect His character and my relationship hopefully models encouragement, hope, comfort and truths for living in love and peace.

6-What would you say is the difference between a “symptom” and the root cause?

Here we need to think about who we are.

HAVING BEEN CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD,

Our likeness is revealed by being:

1- RATIONAL = Thinking and forming evaluations of our experience into BELIEF SYSTEMS.

2- EMOTIONAL = Feelings expressed as a result of our 
 BELIEF SYSTEMS.

3- VOLITIONAL = Choices (will) made in the service of our 
 BELIEF SYSTEMS.

In summary, we are personal, seeking relationships, Therefore,
our need as persons is to find SECURITY AND SIGNIFICANCE; that is, to be loved, accepted and belong.
Can we ever attain this deep need in this life?? No, not until Heaven!!

BUT, I MUST have these NEEDS for security and significance met!

WRONG METHOD: D E M A N D S

A life-style is formed as strategies, "defenses", are chosen to try to manipulate, demand, that others love me and that I will be protected from hurt.

RIGHT METHOD:
GOD'S way is the way of the cross; to TRUST that only in Christ can we find an absolute security and significance, As we are Dependent upon and resting in God's sovereign care.
Our goal must be
DEPENDENCE - not independence, which is pride!
( Romans 8:15-39; Galatians 4:4-7; II Corinthians 12:7-10 )

Hebrews 13:5-6 because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you, So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"

7- What is the common key issue in, conflicts in marriage, -and you can fill in, any conflict that needs resolution?

The need for security and belongingness/ significance is not being met. The person then forces to try to manipulate, demand that these needs be met. If they don't succeed, they can become bitter and then violent in their demands, to the point of murder.

8- How would you, then, counsel a person , say, with depression?

Identify their expectations and expose their false beliefs. Depression is a symptom of hopelessness. What needs are not being met and how is the client attempting to have them met. So often a client will put themselves in a corner and not realize that. They repeat self defeating behavior and expect a different result. As we together re-evaluate heart issues, we can learn how to have realistic goals and problem solving skills.

RESTORING HOPE: "KEEP THE FAITH" - We need to,

Learn God's Promises, God's Purpose, & Share God's Promises:

1. Learn God's Promises  Romans 15:4

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope".

2. Learn God's Purpose For the Now, & The Future

a. The Now: Romans 5:1-5

1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us".

b. The Future: Romans 8:24-29

"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

28 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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son".

3. Share God's Promises Which include Specific Personal Counsel: 
    "
One Another"

a. Encouragement: II Corinthians 1:3-11

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed,

in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many".

b.  Specific Personal Counsel: "One Another"  - 
Hebrews 10:19-25 - "
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching".

9- What changes would you like to see?

Ultimately, to TRUST that only in Christ can we find an absolute security and significance,
As we are Dependent upon and resting in God's sovereign care. This means we have given up our self-protective, defensive way of relating.

10- How do people change?

I like the way DR. Crabb has described how we change, - He emphasizes that we need to repent of our SELF PROTECTIVE strategies, and seek to develop relationships characterized by genuineness and integrity.

We can speak of this as the MEANS OF GRACE - that is, how God causes us to change. Some of these means include the Bible, prayer, worship, and fellowship; The Bible Mt 4:4;

Romans 12:1-2,"I urge you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will".

By fellowship I mean the concept of KOINONIA, 
I Peter 4:10-12. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.

And I believe there is a great overlap of counseling and sanctification. Counseling may be considered as a very intense focus on personal discipleship and mentoring, and in this sense is a part of the sanctification process.

 

11- I notice you use the terms, CLIENT, and COUNSEL, instead of PATIENT, and THERAPY? Why is that?

The terms "patient" and "Therapy" reflect a medical model and come from the ideas that have their origin in Freud's concepts. I believe client is a better description of the actual relationship that is present. The client is an agent. The counselor is an agent. And the relationship that exists must be governed by truth and integrity. "Speak the truth in love" is the measure established by the Bible.

 
 W. R. MERCER COUNSELING SOLUTIONS

234 BRYN MAWR AVENUE, Suite 202
BRYN MAWR, PA 19010
610 357 8715   mercergo@gmail.com