October marks my return to the role of professional pastoral counselor. It has been eight years since I last fulfilled this part of my calling. Back then, I worked as a part of the Christian therapy group headed by Steve and Linda Bagley (Marriage and Family Matters). I am returning to the same group (www.mfmcounseling.com)effective immediately.
There are a couple reasons I look forward to this with anticipation. One is environmental -- that is, I love the environment that is created between counselor and counselee in the professional counseling setting. It is, at its root, a grace-filled environment where honesty, empowerment, healing, truth and wholeheartedness are given preeminence. One writer calls it a "holding environment" and I have always loved that description. It is as if the environment itself "holds" both counselor and counselee in its warmth and light. Good things can happen in an environment like that.
Another reason I look forward to this goes to a word that has come to mean a great to me lately: Focus. I love the simplicity and focus of the counseling relationship. It is among the most simple and focused relationships human beings create. This focus on the counselee and his or her need introduces tremendous opportunities for things to happen that could not happen otherwise. Sometimes I feel like I am being given the tremendous privilege of watching life happen in someone else and it is almost a holy thing to behold.
I know that there is much more to counseling than this. "Magic" is mixed with hard work, ups and downs, griefs and losses and so on. That's a given. However, there is a part of me that embraces all of those things as normal to the human growth process so that (usually) I can find a way to include them in the tapestry of change and becoming that counseling facilitates.