Through this quarterly Update, we want to share the healing work that God is doing through Redeemer Counseling because of friends like you and gospel-centered views on issues that many people face. Please share this link to friends who may want to sign up: counseling.redeemer.com/update
A Note from Our Director:
Redeemer Counseling is learning to become a self sustaining ministry.
Judy Cha, Ph.D, LMFT — Director of Redeemer Counseling Services
It has now been one year of living in this pandemic, and we know that it has been difficult on many levels to endure, let alone thrive. We have seen this difficulty first hand at Redeemer Counseling as more people are pursuing counseling this year. Sadly, many of these folks are showing more severe symptoms than previously seen. As you can imagine, delays in seeking care can often exasperate mental health concerns. And so we are incredibly thankful to be able to meet this rise in demand through your generosity. Your gifts to us are actively and daily being used to make our services accessible to those in need.
Along with client care, we would like to update you on another way Redeemer Counseling has been reaching communities that need care. Our Equipping arm has been responding to the needs of our church partners through training workshops and assisting pastoral staff triage care for their congregants. In addition, our Fellows program, where we train pastors and ministry leaders, went fully remote this year, allowing us to expand our reach beyond the tristate area. We are also excited to launch our first written resource Mourning with Hope, in response to requests from churches who want to know how to run groups for those grieving a loss.
Lastly, I want to share that Redeemer Counseling is seeking to become financially self-sustaining this year. We are so grateful to Redeemer Presbyterian Church (RPC) for helping us start this important work and for the generous subsidy of our ministry for the past 30 years. We are still operating under the RPC legal entity and are still connected through our shared love for the gospel. However, as we continue to grow serving the needs of the city and over 100 church partners, we realize that we need to engage others in God’s work here at Redeemer Counseling. Our ministry now relies on God’s provision through revenue from counseling fees, grants from churches, and donations from folks who believe in our work.
Please pray with and for us as we continue our mission to offer gospel-centered psychotherapy to people from all walks of life, and to equip pastors and caregivers to do the same.
Director of Counseling
What’s My Feeling Trying to Tell Me...
By Judy Cha, Ph.D, LMFT
Have you noticed what you are feeling lately? Perhaps, you’ve been curt and irritable with your loved ones, struggled for weeks to get a good night's sleep, or burst into tears in the most unexpected times and wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” If you’ve been perplexed by your reactions, you are not alone.
In counseling, we want people to know that when they don’t make sense of their emotions, they will continue to react to them automatically, keeping them stuck in a reactive cycle that can bring more harm to themselves and others. We also want them to know that experiencing these feelings are not sinful or a sign of weakness. In fact, being curious and processing these feelings can reveal our heart’s desires that have become idolatrous and the deeper wounds that need God’s healing.
It is natural for people to have desires, but they can become too important and elevated into ultimate things to help us avoid our pain and feel okay about ourselves. Just as we are often not fully aware of the impact of painful experiences in our past, we are also unaware when these desires evolve and become idolatrous. This is why when we actually notice and follow our feelings, we are getting closer to answering the question, “What’s wrong with me?”
So, with attentiveness and intentionality, we invite you to explore what is going on behind your feelings by following these steps:
Step 1: Explore what’s the desire behind how I feel.
- Recognize the feeling you are experiencing. (We will use the feelings of annoyance, frustration, or anger, but fill in your feelings as you recognize them)
- Recall the last time you felt annoyed, frustrated, or angry and allow yourself to feel the feeling by verbalizing or writing down the circumstance in which you experienced these feelings.
- As you recall, notice whether you are judging or being critical of your feelings and tell the judging/critical part of you that everything is ok and that you want to hear what those feelings are saying.
- Behind the feeling, there is an unmet desire. Often these desires show up as “should” statements:
- I should be able to…..
- I should be treated…..
- I should have…..
- I should be…..
- Identify your desires. Remember your desires are more than likely valid, but your feelings of annoyance, frustration, or anger may indicate that your desires have become too important/idolatrous.
Step 2: Explore what’s the “I am…” messages behind my desires.
- Refrain from condemning yourself for your idolatrous desires, but understand that your heart’s desires became idolatrous in an effort to avoid the pain of your wounds. You can acknowledge the idolatrous desire, but also empathize with why it has become so important to you.
- Remain curious and reflect on what is behind your desires. When our desires are unmet, we inevitably make interpretations that convey something about ourselves to make sense of why we don’t have what we should. These interpretations of ourselves reinforces the sense that something is wrong with us.
- Recall a significantly difficult or painful memory in your life story and identify the messages you got about yourself in that experience. These messages are shame based and says either:
- I am ….. (worthless, unlovable, etc)
- I am not….. (good enough, important, etc)
Step 3: Make the connection between your idolatrous desires and your internalized beliefs about yourself. For example, if your desire is to be married, then not being married may reinforce the message that you are not good enough. The feelings of frustration or anger will make better sense when you understand what desires and beliefs reside in your heart.
When you know what is behind your feelings, your interaction with God will also change. Rather than just asking for his help with your feelings or asking for forgiveness of your reactions, you can honestly express your heart to him and receive his affirmation for the root cause of your reactions.
It should be noted that processing emotions is often helpful when it is done with another person whom you trust and feel safe with. If you’ve felt numb for some time or have trouble accessing your feelings, it may be best to seek a trained professional to help guide the process.
Step 4: Express what is going on inside of you to God. When you are engaging with God directly, imagine you are in his presence, talking with him and allow for honest emotional disclosure.
- Tell God your feelings of annoyance, frustration, and anger
- Tell God you feel this way because you long for your desires to be fulfilled.
- Tell God how you had hoped that getting what you desire would resolve your pain
- Admit that your way of resolving the “I am” message isn’t working
- Ask God to help you believe that Christ has already resolved your shame.
Lastly, listen to God’s response to you and respond to him. Often, our desires are not things we need to relinquish, but rather grieve that they have evolved and affected who we are.
RCS Client Spotlight: Iain
“Before I started counseling, I just did not want to talk to my dad. I was always on the offensive even when I did answer (his call). And I didn’t really give him a chance. A big thing was me deciding whether I wanted my dad to come to my wedding…”
Support the Ministry of Redeemer Counseling
Redeemer Counseling is learning to become financially self-sustaining this year. Our 2021 fundraising goal of $700,000 allows us to keep our sliding scale. Our ministry relies completely on client fees, grants from churches, and largely from individuals like you. If you are able to, please consider giving to Sponsor Clients who cannot afford professional gospel-centered therapy. And please pray for our counselors and staff to be renewed in God’s wisdom and strength.
Share this Newsletter
This Redeemer Counseling Update is a quarterly email that shares gospel-centered thoughts on life issues from our staff as well as RCS news, upcoming groups and events. Please share this link to friends who may want to sign up: counseling.redeemer.com/update
If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact [email protected]