guiding principles

God is relational in His essence/being (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a circle of relationship) and His intent is that everything He does is designed to produce a relational end result (a change in relationships).

“Relationship or bonding… is at the foundation of God’s nature. Since we are created in His likeness, relationship is our most fundamental need, the very foundation of who we are. Without relationship, without attachment to God and others, we can’t be ourselves” Dr. Henry Cloud (Gen 2:18; Matt 19:15).

Everything we do takes place in the context of and impacts relationships. Every failure, sin, addiction, takes place in the context of a lack of or failing relationships; when our relationships are lacking or failing, we are truly vulnerable (Ecc 4:9-12).

God is always at work helping us experience our desperate need for Him and His grace. To do this, He brings us to new depths of brokenness, humility, helplessness, dependence, and vulnerability (Ps 38:2-6, Ps 34:18, Ps 51:17).

The essence of Christian maturity is loving well (1 Cor 13: 1-3). Healthy grieving (mourning) softens our heart and prepares us to provide the gift of empathy: weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). 

We have basic, healthy, God given needs for:

Security (Gen 2:8-9); feeling confident that we will experience protection and relational security.

Dignity (Gen 1:26-27): He created us in His image, which places us above all other creation; this gives us a sense of honor, self-respect, uniqueness.

Freedom and Boundaries (Gen 2:20-25): He created us with a free will, but also with the need for limits and boundaries.

Intimacy and Companionship (Gen 2:20-25): He created us to be in relationship with Him and others.

Our faith in God is not meant to be solely intellectual, but is meant to grow into the kind of trust that a child has in his/her mother and then beyond this kind of trust. A trust and love that is experienced on a gut level and not just understood intellectually.

Because we are created for connection, when we can’t find or create safe, healthy, meaningful connections with our partners and friends, we will inevitably find a substitute or ways to cope with the pain. These substitutes (over involvement in hobbies, working excessively, addictions, affairs, etc) or ways to cope with the pain inevitably create more pain.

We are wounded emotionally or psychologically in relationships, and we also heal these wounds in the context of safe, healing relationships. Ultimately the counseling relationship has to become one in which you can feel safe enough to take a deep look inside, understand the roots of what drives you to do what you do (or not do what you want to do); these are the issues of the heart; and resolve the fear and shame that block you from the freedom and connection we were created for. These are essentially the barriers to the unrestricted giving and receiving of love.

My experience has been that most people know “the truth” about their situation and know what they “should do” to make it better. To experience real change and freedom, we need to understand and work through the barriers to being able to give and receive love and experience truth. Giving advice about what to do doesn’t work until you’ve understood and removed these barriers.