Individual Counseling

Common Counseling Topics


Everybody experiences life stressors at different points in their lives.  When people describe their discomfort  they may use terms such as anxiety, stressed, on edge, worried, tense, wound-up, nervous or hassled.  Although anxiety can be unpleasant, it can be positive in that it helps to move a person toward safety, rather than danger, and motivates problem solving skills such as coping and processing.

Anxiety can vary in severity from mild to terrifying and from a few seconds to many years.

Symptoms of Anxiety:

  • Uncontrollable thoughts, often negative, worry, doubt, or fear.
  • Feeling of heaviness, or impending danger.
  • Racing heartbeat.
  • Feeling suffocated, trapped, or dizzy.
  • Feeling hopeless or powerless.
  • Trouble focusing or concentration.

Crises that may be associated with anxiety are:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Traumatic Events
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors
  • Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

What your mind dwells on can be a key ingredient to helping achieve balance physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Research verifies that what a person chooses to think about literally changes the structure and ability of the brain!

Romans 12:2 says that you are “… transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Some goals of counseling with CBT and Scripture:

  • Identify the thinking patterns that are dominant in your day-to-day life.
  • Learn to identify how the brain works when automatic negative thoughts hijack your brain.
  • Replace learned negative thinking patterns leading to unhealthy behaviors with accurate and positive thoughts.
  • Learn to replace thoughts based upon lies with truths based upon your identity in Christ as a believer.
  • Experience a life that is filled with joy and new purpose as you walk forward in your freedom from anxiety in Christ.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)


If you place a heavy iron on a heart-shaped foam pillow, that plump pillow becomes pressed down— “de-pressed.” But the next day, if you remove the iron, the pillow returns to its original form. However, if you wait six months to remove the iron, the pillow will not return to its original shape. Instead, the pillow remains flat and depressed. A pillow, which can sustain temporary pressure, is not designed to hold its shape for a long time under heavy pressure.

The same is true of the human heart. When “pressed down” due to normal pressure from normal situations (situational depression), your heart is designed by God to rebound once the pressure is removed. However, if you live under the weight of heavy pressure for long periods of time, your heart can enter a “state” of depression.

Realize, Jesus cares about your heart and knows you are especially vulnerable when you are heavy-hearted. That is why He gives this word of caution:

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34)

Depression is an umbrella term that covers dark feelings ranging from “down-in-the-dumps” disappointment to utter desolation. No matter the degree of darkness, the Lord wants us to rely on Him to provide light.…

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28)

No mental health challenges are easy.  They all have the potential to wreak havoc in our lives, and in the lives of our friends and family.  But, when learning new ways of thinking, and while practicing your new coping and processing skills, a believer in Christ is never alone on the journey.

Signs of Depression in adolescents:

  • —  Change in friends
  • —  Social isolation
  • —  Interest in music promoting hatred of others or self-destruction
  • —  Defiance of reasonable parental rules
  • —  Drug experimentation
  • —  Sexual experimentation or promiscuous behavior
  • —  Inordinate focus on video games
  • —  Excessive surreptitious use of the Internet

Words of Wisdom:  35 million Americans (more than 16% of the population) suffer from depression severe enough to warrant treatment at some point in time in their lives.   In some situations, it may be recommended to you to visit your physician for a check-up and possibly medication to to get your depression under control.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it certainly does not mean that you are weak or lacking faith.


Sometimes “Depression is anger turned inward.” That statement is not always true, but it is true when anger is suppressed. This stuffed anger or swallowed anger causes masked depression and keeps underlying bitterness from being exposed. Bitterness is a major cause of depression because we feel totally alone in our bitterness.…

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10)

Do you have unresolved anger over …?

  • —  Loss of a loved one
  • —  Loss of self-esteem
  • —  Loss of control
  • —  Loss of possessions
  • —  Loss of expectations
  • —  Loss of respect for others
  • —  Loss of health or abilities
  • —  Loss of personal goals

Do you have suppressed fear of …?

  • —  Job loss
  • —  Dying
  • —  Empty nest
  • —  Failure
  • —  Abandonment
  • —  Growing old
  • —  Being alone
  • —  Rejection

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Do you have internalized stress over …?

  • —  Work difficulties
  • —  Relocation
  • —  Marital problems
  • —  Workload
  • —  Financial obligations
  • —  Family responsibilities
  • —  Troubled child
  • —  Health issues

The goals in counseling:

  • To learn how to control the response to feeling angry by recognizing emotional and biological warning signs
  • To focus on the triggers that create the beginning phases of anger
  • Learn to identify those triggers and de-escalate the feelings before poor decisions are made and consequences occur
  • Learn the value of calming by exercising a pause
  • Strategize new ways to express anger in healthier ways
  • Recognize underlying issues, such as deep emotional wounds that have been identified and make plans for more healing
  • Focus on the grace and forgiveness of God.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgives you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32

[1] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Depression: Walking from Darkness into the Dawn (pp. 25–26). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.