Uncategorized

Why do we place time limits on grief?

By Lianne Johnson, LPC

Over the last two years my life has traveled through several seasons of grief caused by a crisis.  Have you ever experienced grief?  If you have, then you are keenly aware of how those around you try to place a time limit on your grief.  Why do people place a time limit on how long another is to deal with grief?

Grief is not clean.  It is dirty.  It comes and it goes and then comes and goes again.  Why is it so hard for us to let people be sad or tired or be in pain emotionally?

I have found that most of those who have struggled with my grief struggle because of how it impacts them, and to be fair, they also miss the “me” before my season of grief.  The result of this is that they do not accept the “different” me – the me covered in grief.  They want to “normal” me – the me they have known far longer than the me in grief.

Perfectionism: A Book Suggestion

by: Courtney Hollingsworth, PLPC

Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism by Richard Winter 

          In an age in which perfect performance is highly regarded as the means to a successful and thereby happy life, Perfecting Ourselves to Deathspeaks biblical truth into an often-overlooked epidemic. The effects of a performance driven culture have permeated the Christian culture as working for Christ and performing for him has become a standard measure of spiritual maturity. Dr. Winter diagnoses and dissects this perspective as unbiblical.

            The spectrum of perfectionism varies from normal, healthy perfectionism, to neurotic, unhealthy perfectionism, to non-perfectionism. Healthy perfectionism is realistic and enthusiastic as it is driven by positive motivation to achieve. Unhealthy perfectionism sets unrealistic standards and bases self-worth on performance; it is motivated by a negative motivation of fear of failure. Non-perfectionism is relaxed and undemanding, sometimes to the point of unreliability and laziness. Defeated perfectionism is a covert form that says, “Why even try when perfect is unattainable?” It has already been defeated before any attempts have been made; success is unlikely or an impossibly, so failure is viewed as a choice to be desired over disappointment.

            All perfectionism is centered on the tension of the gap between “who I am” and “who I should be”:

  •   driven perfectionism: works harder to close the gap
  •    defeated perfectionist: gives up the fight
  •    healthy perfectionist: able to live in the tension

           The healthiness of perfectionism is determined in our motivation to achieve success, and our view of the failure to do so. The ways it can manifest itself are through performance, appearance, interpersonal interaction, morals, and all-around perfectionism. There are also different types of perfectionism such as self-oriented or other-oriented. Other-oriented perfectionism projects the demands and expectations of perfectionism onto those around you. Each of these can manifest in healthy forms and unhealthy forms, at times affecting mental health and personal relationships. Depression, anger, suicidal intentions, eating disorders, worry, and anxiety can all find their foundations in perfectionism.

      So what is your view of yourself or others when success is not achieved? How do you interact when you or someone around you is less than perfect? What drives your desires and demands for perfection, or your fears of even trying? What is your heart like towards who you “should” be? What is your heart like towards who your spouse, friend, child, boss, sister, brother, pastor, co-worker, neighbor “should” be?

          

Already and Not Yet

The Already and the Not Yet

By:  Lianne Johnson, LPC

I was out walking one day when I saw this tree.  I was immediately struck by how the tree appeared to be both alive and flourishing, as well as dead.  Half alive and half dead.  Can you see it?  The left side of the tree is green, while the right side is dark and displaying what I am calling deadness.

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “this is how I feel.  Regularly.”

As you can see, the caption I wrote under the picture is – The Already and the Not Yet.  For those of you who are Christians reading this, you may be familiar with this phrase.  The Already:  We are made alive by Christ’s death (His act to save us from ourselves), which gives us our aliveness, our life.  The Not Yet:  We live in a broken world where we see and experience suffering. We live in the “in between time” from Christ’s death on the cross and until his return when everything will be made right.

This tree is displaying our internal reality as well.  We are alive in Christ, yet daily we live and struggle with the pain and toil of our day.

It was good for me to see this tree.  It was good for my heart and mind to be reminded that Christ has made me ALIVE.  It was good for me to remember that while the “dead” part (the pain and heartache of today) will remain a part of my daily reality until Christ returns, I am also ALIVE.  It was good for me to remember that Christ has conquered death.

Merry Christmas? Or just Christmas?

By: Katy Martin, LPC
As a parent you suddenly realize you have this responsibility of teaching your kid(s) things.  Important things.  Things concerning faith, forgiveness, how to love/care for other people, manners, etc.  These little people who have been entrusted to us are looking for guidance as they grow and learn.  Yikes.
This time of year is no different: the holidays.  For most, it’s probably the busiest, craziest time of year.  We get to decide to prepare for Santa, celebrate Jesus’ birth, or both.  We decorate, go to parties, sit on Santa’s lap, bake Jesus a birthday cake, look at Christmas lights, and visit with family.  (Just to name a few things.)
These decisions are based on our own convictions and desires.  But where do they come from?  Have you stopped to really think about that?  How does faith, family, and your experience affect how you approach this time of year?  
Are the holidays a letdown to you?  Or are they everything you want them to be?
As we approach this influential time with our kids, we also have the opportunity to engage in the traditions we deem important and create the memories we desire for ourselves.  How can you truly make this a MERRY Christmas, and not just Christmas? 

Our Missional Vision

All too often it seems that a counseling center will exist as its own entity.  Avenues Counseling desires to partner with churches and para-church organizations throughout the St. Louis area to help encourage and support them as they carry out their vision.

Check out our website for more information about this distinctive way Avenues is impacting the community.