Foundations to intervention approach

People live as wholistic beings with a spiritual, psychological, physical and relational reality. Karen follows a Biblically based, or Christian approach that includes the human spirit and connecting with God. In terms of the psychological realm – she utilizes basic psychological principles as a Registered Counsellor. This is not the same as a more focused and targeted intervention that a psychologist would do, and some individuals may receive a referral. Health in our spiritual and emotional realms will hopefully affect our physical realities (the domain of medical practitioners and psychiatrists (mental-mind connection)) positively. Our sense of well-being is closely tied into our relationships with God and other people, and a Biblically counselling model offers basic skills and insights while not taking the place of psychological intervention by psychologists.

Relationship counselling

The same difficulties to deeply bond and connect with people, affect our bonding and connection with God. Relationship counselling involves looking at what the obstructions might be, in order to remove them, while building new skills.

Bereavement / grief counselling

We face various kinds of losses in our lives: of dreams, faith, relationship failure, death, divorce, relocation, pets, or other. You can explore the losses and their meaning through the cycles of shock, disbelief, anger, deep sadness and acceptance. These cycles don’t always follow predictable patterns. What is sure though, is that counselling may help you process the grief and reach a new “normal”. When loss looms large, life is experienced as meaningless. Further down the road, new meaning emerges with a new “fullness.”

Loss and trauma break down our sense of identity and familiar structures of value and meaning in life, and if processed, a new, sometimes stronger sense of identity or self emerges. There is hope to find meaning and stability once again.

Dealing with burnout

At times we run and work very hard towards the fulfillment of dreams and visions for our future. A lot of energy is spent physically. Emotionally you are committed. Spiritually you may pray and believe. And then it happens that on the way there, or even once we got to the goal, we find ourselves unable to enjoy it and totally exhausted. Burnt out. Often, it’s not that we didn’t run in the right direction, but something we anticipated, didn’t materialize – and we spiral down. Think of the prophet Elijah: “I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV), before he crashed. The Lord met him in rest, listened to him and later gave him new purpose. We need to explore the expectations that crashed – bring them before the Lord and find healing and new purpose.

Burnout can occur in the context or business or in relationships. Aside from physical exhaustion, you may experience deep sadness and find yourself suddenly not finding pleasure in things that were meaningful to you, before.

Spiritual and emotional growth

When your human spirit is connected with God and you feel secure in who He created you to be, it will also enhance your emotional growth. There is a dynamic relationship between spiritual and emotional growth that comes with the exploration of life events and challenges, and helps us to set more secure borders or boundaries too. People and life are dynamic and change is a given. With every one of those that we navigate successfully, we grow more. As the saying goes – we can grow bitter or better.

Everybody will be at different places on their life journeys. Sometimes we just want to evaluate that with someone, and at others we need to process something new.

Culture shock

Moving into a new culture – even one similar to your own, brings many experiences around how “people do things differently” and “believe or think differently”. Even hanging out with friends may sometimes feel so “different” in terms of what you do or eat.

There are phases in which you enjoy the new and “better” things and compare life favorably against life in your home country, and then you might find yourself longing for all the “better” things and life in your home country. Over time you will adapt as you allow yourself to experience and process the experiences.

Upon returning to one’s home country, many find the reverse culture shock even harder to deal with, and the process plays itself out again, until you are grounded and plugged in again.

Trauma debriefing and counselling

The effects of traumatic incidents such as accidents, through crime (i.e., robbery, high-jackings) are mediated by how much unresolved trauma a person may have left over from earlier life. The effects of trauma have to be processed to be resolved rather than carried.

In trauma debriefing you will revisit the traumatic event(s) towards processing and reaching new meaning. Often there may be one or two elements of the event that are “sticky”. In the first 24-48 hours a person requires stabilization and comfort while going through shock. Thereafter, debriefing (1-3 sessions) involves talking through the event and its implications.

For some it may take a longer process of counselling. Especially when the trauma involves relationships. This could be death, loss of friendships or other relationships, divorce, and such. The process and experience of loss is the same as for processing trauma.

Loss and trauma break down our sense of identity and familiar structures of value and meaning in life, and if processed, a new, sometimes stronger sense of identity or self emerges. There is hope to find meaning and stability once again.

Dealing with old wounds

Many people carry around old wounds from childhood – such as from abuse (sexual or other), neglect, raging or chaotic parenting, or other unresolved traumas. Some people may benefit from dealing with their sense of legitimacy (letting go of shame) and related issues, through a prayer-guided ministry or pastoral approach. (Others may require a psychological process with a psychologist.)

At times it happens that something in the present can bring up a lot of old emotions. Perhaps a new date went really bad and suddenly you’re feeling all your childhood emotions of failure and shame. Some may find it difficult to see the relationship to the past and think it’s all about this date. If your reactions are disproportionately “big” though and others don’t see it as you do – you might be experiencing old emotions from earlier times.

At times people do successfully work through something like child sexual abuse, for instance, and wonder what went wrong if something comes up again. In this case – you didn’t fail. New life events or circumstances require a quick revisit in this season. This might be at the point of engagement or marriage (commitment), the birth of a child, etc. And as we move into our 40’s-50’s we have to make peace with our parents and who they were and are, afresh.