• Services


    Are you considering an abortion? Or, have you had one and regret your decision? My then girlfriend and I did, so I have experienced this and understand where you are. I give you a safe place to discuss your feelings.

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    Addiction and Recovery

    There are addictions to substances (e.g., alcohol, cocaine) and to behaviors (e.g., shopping, gambling, pornography). An addiction is a chronic disorder in which an individual is blinded by a substance, or engages in an activity, that gives them an immense amount of pleasure but has become detrimental to their everyday life. Compulsive behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation, or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior may not stop until the root of the problem is addressed.

    Addiction changes the brain through the limbic system, also known as the “brain reward system.” This part of the brain is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and will manifest thoughts such as, “I deserve this,” or “Let’s do that again.” The abuse of addictive substances and behaviors triggers this system which can prolong a continuous cycle of destructive behavior.

    People who have developed an addiction may be unaware that it is out of control, which is why counseling is an essential part of working through and managing this condition. An addiction of any sort can be exhausting, and one should never go through the recovery process alone.

    Many treatment plans focus on talk therapy and behavior therapy and can be performed in a group or through one-on-one sessions. During these sessions, patients analyze the reasons behind their addiction(s), what triggers are and what helped them control impulses in the past. Patients also learn coping skills so they can manage the compulsions without relapsing. As an addendum to talk therapy, one frequently needs ongoing support and accountability, so participation in a Celebrate Recovery, or other, group is highly encouraged.

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    The aging process. It is inevitable. My mother lived to 94. I am approaching the age at which my father died (70). My previous wife died at 67. So, I am well acquainted with this time, this stage, of life. Can we age in place? Do we need assisted living or a more skilled environment in which to live? When do we give up driving privileges? Or, when do we start learning a new skill? Try something new? After all, many of us are retired and not tied down by work or family obligations. Some of us have chronic health problems that need to be managed. Some of us are acting as caregivers for others; many times, that is a joy, other times only a burden to be borne.

    No matter your age, God continues to work in and through you: “ And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Your work on earth is not completed until the day of your departure. “Young people take pride in their strength, but the gray hairs of wisdom are even more beautiful” (Proverbs 20:29).

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    This emotion, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state. It involves a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical reactions, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion which triggers part of the fight or flight brain response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to act to immediately stop the threatening behavior of another outside force.

    There is a saying: “Hurt people hurt people.” Those who have been hurt by others lash out through that pain by hurting others. Part of dealing with issues of anger is exploring one’s past to determine where hurts come from, and then releasing those hurts to let God heal you.

    Everyone gets angry. The key is to understand and implement a strategy for what to do when we are. How do we deal with our rage? Paul writes: “In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). So, it is important to develop a strategy to utilize in these moments of provocation.

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    Celebrate Recovery

    While not directly a part of Solid Rock Counseling, my wife and I are co-facilitators of the local Celebrate Recovery chapter. It is a valuable resource for anyone with hurts, hang-ups, or habits. It is a Christ-centered 12-step recovery program based on the eight principles outlined in the Beatitudes found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It is a ministry for anyone who is unable to change something in their life. As Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church states:

    “Because of sin, we’ve all hurt ourselves, we’ve all hurt other people, and others have hurt us. This means each of us needs repentance and recovery in order to live our lives the way God intended.”

    Celebrate Recovery is designed to do just that, and it is designed to deal with a multitude of issues (unlike programs like Alcoholics Anonymous that are specific to one area). It helps us get to the root cause of our issues by turning to and relying on God to heal us.

    A predominant saying in Celebrate Recovery is: “God does not waste a hurt.” What does that mean? Each of us has a story, one unique to us. Part of my story is that my then-girlfriend and I had an abortion. I kept that secret for 46 years before finally revealing it and letting God heal me. It is part of my story and I now use it to demonstrate God’s forgiveness and grace in my life.

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    Couples Counseling

    Factors of everyday life can strain a relationship. Severe stressors may include resentment, infidelity, intimacy issues, lack of trust, and miscommunication. When problems go unresolved, or a partner is suffering from mental illness or health complications, one can feel helpless or have feelings of guilt or shame. Developing healthy communication skills is of utmost importance.

    Couples often seek couples’ (or marriage) counseling when the relationship is at a standstill, or if they are unsure whether to continue the relationship. This type of therapy can benefit families with children who have been affected by relationship issues such as divorce and confront the source of the conflict.

    In addition to the above, the couple should consider going through a SYMBIS evaluation described elsewhere on this site. This evaluation will give the couple greater insight into both the positive and negative issues they are experiencing and will encourage the conversation necessary to discuss those differences.

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    Depression and Anxiety

    Have you ever walked or driven in thick fog? The kind that is so impenetrable you cannot see more than a few feet in front of or behind you? To navigate the road, you must rely on your memory. But what do you do when the road is life, and you’ve never been on this stretch before? Depression is like trying to navigate through a fog externally while operating in a mental fog internally. Everything can seem slower, numb, and like we’re looking in from the outside. Simple tasks suddenly require more concentration and effort, and we are left feeling inadequate and weak from being exhausted all the time.

    Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men. It is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including apathy, sadness, guilt, exhaustion, and irritability.

    Almost everyone on the face of the planet experiences anxiety on different levels, and each person’s experience is unique. From the person who gets nervous before a test, to the person who suffers with a constant worrying feeling. Treatment for depression and anxiety is generally done through counseling. In addition, and when appropriate, with your permission, I will contact your primary care physician to report my observations and request a medication review be done.

    Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.

    Let me share a portion of Scripture with you: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). This is the goal towards which we strive.

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    Statistics tell us that 50% of all first marriages fail. My first marriage failed after 13 years. The aftermath to divorce is pain and feelings of failure, having invested months and years in a relationship with another individual. If you are contemplating or going through a divorce, or if you are a divorce survivor, I can help you work through the feelings you are experiencing. Learning how to keep lines of communication open is important.

    An oft-neglected party of divorce are the offspring. They frequently blame themselves for the parents’ actions. If you are either going through a divorce or are divorced, please tend to the needs of your children and make sure they understand they are not the problem.

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    Has someone wronged you? Are you carrying a grudge over actions some did or did not take? Forgiveness is about self-healing. It is about letting go of the pain you are experiencing, and about experiencing freedom again.

    You see, the more hurt you retain, the more you dwell on it, and the more burdened you become. Forgiveness does not mean that the other person did not do what they did. Rather, it means you acknowledge the wrong done to you, incorporate the hurt into your life as part of your story, and then move on with your life. In other words, by extending forgiveness, you will begin to feel better.

    Psychology Today has this to say of forgiveness:

    “Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. One doesn’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from an offender.

    “Forgiveness is vitally important for the mental health of those who have been victimized. It propels people forward rather than keeping them emotionally engaged in an injustice or trauma. Forgiveness has been shown to elevate mood, enhance optimism, and guard against anger, stress, anxiety, and depression.”
    Let us look at the ultimate example of forgiveness found in Luke 23:34: “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”” He was about to die by crucifixion; crucifixion being the most horrible type of death man has devised. That is the level of forgiveness to which we need to endeavor.

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    Grief and Loss

    Throughout the course of our years, we all experience a loss at some point in our lives. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 5 children will experience the death of someone close to them before 18 years of age. Feelings of grief and loss are not always associated with death, however, but commonly surface after a loss of some kind – whether it is the loss of a loved one, a severed relationship, a pregnancy, a pet, or a job.

    When a person loses something or someone valuable to them, feelings of grief can be overbearing. Grief can leave a person feeling sad, hopeless, isolated, irritable, and numb by affecting them mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is important to understand that healing from grief is a process and everyone copes with this emotion differently. I have lost both parents and one wife to death, as well as having survived the suicides of several individuals in my life. Generally, individual counseling and talking with others who have also experienced loss are good tools for helping you to work through your feelings.

    A relevant Bible verse is Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” As you are mourning, I will weep with you. Then, when you come to the point of celebrating your departed one, I will rejoice with you.

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    Individual Counseling

    The American Counseling Association describes this as “a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life. Individual counseling can help one deal with many personal topics in life such as anger, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage and relationship challenges, parenting problems, school difficulties, career changes etc.” It goes on: “Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.”

    The key phrase in this is “collaborative effort.” I am not here to fix you; rather, I come to walk with you through your challenging time. You will benefit from counseling by putting in the effort to have it work for you.

    Intimacy and Relationship Issues

    Trust, mindfulness, mutual respect, and communication are all foundational to having a good, intimate relationship; when one, or more, of these is lacking, relationship issues develop. As the relationship becomes more problematic, intimacy is reduced, and that reduction leads to additional relationship issues. There can also be physiological factors that contribute to intimacy issues such as erectile dysfunction, a lowered desire after a new mother has given birth, or by engaging in pornography.

    The key to working with these types of issues is to reopen the lines of communication to allow for each spouse to understand the other. I provide a safe place for these discussions to occur. I have also found that, with your permission, having my wife join us is very constructive in couples counseling. Adding her to the session has several positive benefits. First, it provides the wife another female and removes the perception of two against one; second, it allows the possibility of breaking out into individual sessions when needed; and, third, it provides the opportunity for her perspective. Broken relationships can be restored if both you and your spouse are committed to the process.

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    Low Self-Esteem

    The Mayo Clinic speaks about self-esteem:

    “Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job, and your health. But you can boost your self-esteem by taking cues from types of mental health counseling.”

    You are worthwhile. You are a son or daughter of the Creator of the Universe. God made you as you are, and He does not make mistakes. Let me help you realize your full potential.

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    Mandated Counseling

    Have you found yourself in a situation in which you are required to attend counseling? This generally happens as the result of a court order or referral from an Employee Assistance Program. I provide this service and interact with the necessary agency (generally a Parole or Probation Officer or an EAP coordinator) to update them on the progress you are making in counseling. There are no judgments on what you have done to bring you to this place in your life, only acceptance and a desire to make this time as productive as possible.

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    Panic Attacks

    Panic attacks are brief episodes of extreme fear. They may be mistaken for heart attacks or strokes but are psychological rather than physical. Panic attacks can occur suddenly and usually peak within ten minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes.

    Some symptoms include:

    • Chills
    • Nausea
    • Sweating
    • Chest pain
    • Palpitations
    • Shaking
    • Feelings of suffocation

    Sometimes panic attacks are isolated incidents, but if a person has had at least two panic attacks and lives in fear of having another, they may have panic disorder. A panic attack can happen without an obvious cause, but people with panic disorder may develop phobias related to something they associate with panic attacks, including open spaces, and large crowds.

    Panic disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder and, like other forms of anxiety, it is commonly treated with a combination of therapy, medications, and healthy lifestyle changes. If there is a need for medication, with your permission, I would consult with your primary care physician to report my observations and request a medication review

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    Encountering certain obstacles or situations may leave one frightened, such as being afraid of the dark, high heights, or animals. Most of us can remain calm, rationalize the situation, and find a way around it, but this does not work for everyone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 10 million adults live with phobia.

    What is a phobia? According to the American Psychological Association, phobias are intense fears that result in distress and can be intrusive. Individuals with this anxiety disorder have an irrational fear of things that do not pose any real threat.

    Here are a few examples of common phobias:

    • Arachnophobia: the fear of spiders
    • Acrophobia: the fear of heights
    • Agoraphobia: the fear of leaving home or being in a situation from which you cannot escape

    The American Psychiatric Association simplified the symptoms into two points:

    • An out-of-proportion reaction, as well as the age playing a role in being inappropriate
    • The individual’s capability to behave normally is compromised

    The Mayo Clinic states: “The best treatment for specific phobias is a form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Sometimes your doctor may also recommend other therapies or medication. Understanding the cause of a phobia is actually less important than focusing on how to treat the avoidance behavior that has developed over time.”

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    Pornography and Infidelity

    Use of pornography is widespread. The Focus on the Family Organization states that 70% of men and 30% of women turn to pornography to fill their sexual needs. It affects men and women of every faith, creed, and race.

    While viewing it may, on its surface, seem like a harmless activity (I remember my dad telling me he had a Playboy magazine simply and only for the articles in it), in truth, it destroys both the viewer and their spouse. As one man put it: “It was like injecting drugs directly into my vein.” It provides an idealized picture of the perfect lover, something no one can achieve. It produces a highly pleasurable response in the brain and elsewhere. It decimates marriages because, when the spouse finds out (and he or she will), they will be absolutely crushed.

    There are several Biblical verses I would like to share. The first is found in Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” How many of us deal with lustful thoughts? Thoughts. The second, found in 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.” This says that there is something uniquely different about sexual sin; that, when you sin, you are violating your own body as well as offending the Lord. The final passage gives hope. It is John 8:3-11 and about the woman caught in adultery (where was the man?). Jesus tells her “Then neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

    Individual counseling and participating in recovery groups like Celebrate Recovery® are excellent places to start your healing process. In addition to those, building a support and relapse prevention system are also of vital importance because, like any other addiction, relapse is a possibility.

    Finally, there is an online resource to help you be accountable: CovenantEyes.com. They will monitor your computer traffic and provide your accountability partner regular reports of the sites you are visiting.

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    Each of us is comprised of biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual elements. If one of those is missing or damaged, you will feel incomplete. The spiritual element is of prime importance because it defines your relationship with God, the Creator of the universe.

    As a Christian, I am a student of Scripture, and consider it to be the inerrant word of God in the original texts. The verse that comes to mind in dealing with the issue of, and questions about, spirituality is John 14:6: “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The important word in this verse is “the;” the word is not “a.” Jesus does not say He is a way to God or that all roads lead to heaven; rather, He is the only way to God. Eternity is not about a religious belief or system but, rather, faith: about acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior, admitting I am a sinner helpless to change my situation and in need of grace, and that Jesus is the only way to receive grace and forgiveness in order to spend eternity in heaven with God.

    The website Christianity.com has this to say:

    “The Greek word used for mercy is most often eleos (pity, compassion) and for grace is charis (favor). Mercy and grace, as paraphrased from “Willmington’s Guide to the Bible,” can be differentiated as follows: mercy is the act of withholding deserved punishment, while grace is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In His mercy, God does not give us punishment we deserve, namely hell; while in His grace, God gives us the gift we do not deserve, namely heaven.”

    If you question your religious upbringing and the things that man requires you to do to achieve happiness or eternity, or if you think that, simply because you are a basically good person, you will go to heaven, you are missing the important spiritual element I spoke of above. I am honored to talk with you about Jesus. And, as a client, I will be praying for you regularly.

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    Stress Management

    Everyone encounters stress during their lives at some point (e.g., never-ending bills, demanding schedules, work, family responsibilities, pandemic quarantine) and that can make it seem inescapable and uncontrollable. Stress management skills are designed to help a person take control of their lifestyle, thoughts, and emotions and teach them healthy ways to cope with their problems.

    The first step in stress management is identifying your stressors. While this sounds easy, chronic stress can be, and most people do not realize how their habits contribute to their stress. Maybe work piling up is not from the actual demands of your job, but more so from procrastination. You must claim responsibility for the role you play in creating your stress or you will not be able to control it.

    Once you have found what causes your stress, focus on what you can control. Eliminate the realistic stressors and develop consistent de-stressing habits. Instead of watching TV or responding to texts in bed after work, take a walk or read a book. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough quality sleep, will ease feelings of stress and help you relax.

    Also, make a conscious effort to practice self-care by setting aside time for yourself and for relaxation. Alone time can be whatever you need it to be. Some people like doing activities such as tai chi, yoga, or meditation, but you can also treat yourself to something simple, like taking a bubble bath, listening to music, or watching a funny movie.

    Finally, stress comes from trying to bear your burdens by yourself. Talking with others (or with me) does help because it provides an avenue for you to release your burdens. There is one Greater who provides the ultimate help. We read Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Paul writes to the Philippian church: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

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    Supervised Visitation

    This service is used when parents are divorced or separated, and the non-custodial parent wishes to visit with the child in a safe environment under neutral adult supervision. The visits are highly structured and may be electronically monitored in addition to the supervision I provide. The Court needs to approve each placement. There are established rules that you must follow, and I will go over them with you prior to commencing these visits. This type of structure is necessary to ensure the safety of all involved.

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    Save Your Marriage Before It Starts. This is a program developed by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (found in the book of the same name and at www.symbis.com) designed to help engaged couples learn more about each other in every aspect of marriage – finances, children, child-rearing, intimacy, etc. It is useful for those already married to do a marital “tune-up.” Drs. Parrott have also written a book focusing on the needs of those entering a second or third marriage.

    My wife and I are certified SYMBIS facilitators. This is not simply a “read the book” program. Key to it is completing an on-line inventory that has been clinically validated (i.e., the results obtained from honestly answered questions are accurate). We will then sit down with you to discuss the results over as many sessions as is needed. As stated on their website: “Over 1,000,000 couples and 100,000 pastors and counselors can’t be wrong: SYMBIS is the most widely used pre-marriage system in existence.”

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    Work and Career

    Most of us spend more time at work than at home, therefore the workplace should be an environment where we feel safe and comfortable. However, because work is where a bunch of different personalities, communication styles, and worldviews gather around, things do not always go smoothly. In fact, workplace bullying is on the rise and, though statistics vary, some studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by this problem, either as a target or as a witness to abusive behavior against a co-worker.

    Examples of common workplace issues include:

    • Poor job fit
    • Mental anguish
    • Sexual or verbal harassment
    • Discrimination
    • Low motivation and job dissatisfaction

    Therapy for work and career issues can help a person develop a better understanding of their wants and needs as well as approach alternative ways to handle tension while on the clock. Therapy is a neutral, safe setting where patients can discuss their fears, worries, or stressors, and regain control of their happiness.

    Psychotherapy tends to work well when addressing workplace issues because talk therapy such as this can effectively treat depression and anxiety that can stem from these conflicts. A mental health professional can also teach coping skills that will help a person manage work-related stress.