I would like to express my deep concern about the state of racism in our country. As a professional counselor, I stand with the American Counseling Association (ACA) and its statement denouncing undue violence against Black Americans. I recognize the complexities of macro-societal systems that create privilege and power for some and that limit the rights and freedoms of others. I also understand that trauma occurs on a daily basis for those members of targeted groups.
Race-based traumatic stress (the psychological and emotional stress reactions to racism and racial discrimination) may present as depression, anger, physical reactions, avoidance, and/or hypervigilance. For those that are experiencing symptoms of racism and discrimination, seek support from your family, friends, and community networks to help you deal with and process how you are feeling. Seek a licensed professional counselor for assistance if necessary.
In keeping with the ACA Code of Ethics, I am dedicated to supporting the human rights and wellness of all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, culture, physical ability, age, sexual or affectional identity, religion, nationality, and socioeconomic status.
Furthermore, as a professor of counseling, I strive to provide training in diversity and in awareness of the impact of diversity on client populations and communities. This includes promoting counselor competence as it relates to addressing individuals and communities who have been negatively affected by racism. I also hope to instill the difficult skills of social justice work in our students so that they may make more positive change in our institutions and communities.
As an advocate, I hope to model social justice practices through my teaching, scholarship, clinical practice, and service. As I have my entire adult life, I will continue to work to improve the cultural climate of the populations I serve and to eliminate conditions that systematically create barriers to the individual development of marginalized populations.
During times of great uncertainty, human beings can feel a vast array of emotions. From fear to peacefulness to anger to indifference to hopelessness to encouragement to despair to. . .you get the idea. You see, uncertainty causes us to feel varying levels of instability and that can cause our emotions to bounce all over the place.
We feel more out of control of life and therefore our emotions follow suit. You can feel one emotion one moment and then a completely different emotion the next. This rapid changing of feelings can continue for extended periods of time because our usual ways of coping with change aren’t working. If you were to draw the emotions as dots on a page, they might resemble the night sky, with stars all over the place.
So, what helps us make sense of all those stars in the night sky? If we simply stare at them, they look like a giant jumbled mess of lighted dots. That may be how you feel about your emotions right now. Maybe you feel like you just can’t stop feeling like a giant jumbled mess inside.
But if you look for the constellations of stars in the night sky, what happens? You see pictures that create order from the jumbled mess. Now you’re able to not only see a bunch of stars as simply one thing, you’re also able to name that one thing. The Big Dipper, Orion, Aries, Gemini, etc.
This is exactly the same with a constellation of emotions. You may be feeling like a giant jumbled mess inside, but most of the time you can identify one overarching feeling. Your constellation of rapidly changing emotions does have one big picture. It might be challenging to see, but with some help, you should be able to find it.
Why is that important? In the same way that grouping stars into one picture brings order to chaos, mapping your emotions to one overarching feeling can identify the root cause of the emotional chaos. For example, you may be feeling worried, helpless, frustrated, irritated, apprehensive, cautious, and dreadful. There also may be some feelings of thankfulness and peacefulness mixed in with everything. Whatever the range of emotions is, if you process through them with someone, you may be able to find one feeling that is overarching everything. In this case, the root cause maybe fear.
Working on coping with the root cause brings order to all that you’re feeling, which can help alleviate the rapid cycling of emotions.
This process is difficult to give you a step-by-step approach because of the varying degrees with which people can label and process their emotions. So if you’re feeling a wide range of emotions, seek someone to help you “draw” the constellation. That could be your significant other, a wise friend, or a professional counselor. It can take time to wade through all that you are feeling to find that one overarching picture, but it will be worth it if you try.
I have been a counselor for 25 years. I am a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Counseling at the University of North Georgia. Schedule an appointment with me and let's see if we can draw the constellation and make order out of chaos together.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” - Ephesians 4:2-3
Wow, this sounds so good, doesn’t it? And when we do live this way, it is good. But that’s really hard to do on a consistent basis. There are so many obstacles in life that get in the way of living with a serving, gentle, humble heart. Finances, stress, time, emotions, obligations, and fatigue are just some of the common reasons that we often become selfish, harsh, and prideful. It happens to all of us!
Do you want to find more peace within yourself, even in the midst of all that you have to keep doing? Do you want to grow closer in your relationships because maybe all those obstacles have piled up for so long? Do you want to be able to experience more gratitude in your daily life? Yes, you can!
God said that if you pray and try not to worry that “you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
You might be thinking how great that is, but you also might be thinking that you don’t know how to stop worrying or stop stressing about things. The good news is that there are steps you can take to begin to experience God’s peace. I can help you figure out how to incorporate those steps into your life. Together we can examine the obstacles in your life that keep you from living peacefully and gracefully. Together we can develop a plan to help you live the God wants you to live.
I have been a counselor for over 23 years. I am a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Counseling at the University of North Georgia. Schedule an appointment with me.
What does God want more for you and from you?
I want you to honestly think about this question. Don’t just gloss over it; don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind. I want you to really reflect and think about this question:
What does God want more for you and from you?
Ok, so that’s really two questions, but two huge ones nonetheless. The problem is that both of these questions are easy to complicate. We have a tendency to think that we either don’t deserve more from God, or that we can handle the routine days on our own, or that we just can’t figure out God’s purpose for our life.
Well, let me let you in a little secret. The answer to both questions is the same, and it’s just one word. The answer here is “love.” God wants more love for you and from you.
How am I supposed to get and give more love you ask? It has to start within you. You have to love yourself more. The best way to do this is to start a process of understanding how God views you. This may take some time to discover but once you know how God truly sees you, you couldn’t possibly help but love yourself at least a little bit more.
Once you begin to cut yourself some slack, stop feeling so much guilt or shame, stop feeling so inadequate, and love yourself more you’ll also be able to give more love to others too. And you'll even be more lovable to others.
I have been a counselor for over 21 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I have counseled others needing to love more and walked with them on the path of being rebuilt through God's love. Schedule an appointment with me.
It really is the only thing that matters.
How do I know? How can I speak so boldly to proclaim that this is true? Because Jesus said so. In Mark chapter 12, He said, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important, love others as well as you love yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
Unfortunately for us, we live in a fallen world. That makes it so hard to love sometimes. It makes it really hard to love others, to love ourselves, and even to love God. What does it mean to live in a fallen world? It literally means that we all sin; we all fall short of God’s best. To me, that’s oddly comforting to know that I’m not the only one who gets it wrong on a daily basis.
It’s also supremely comforting to me that it doesn’t matter because I choose to live in the shadow of the Cross. His grace, mercy, and love is enough. It is enough. It is enough. It. Is. Enough.
When the Cross Doesn’t Seem to Be Enough
Perhaps you’re saying to yourself right now, “You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’ve done or what I do.” You may be right about that. Maybe you’re dealing with an issue in a relationship you have. Perhaps you’re trying to hide from it, but it always seems to find you. It always seems to shine a spotlight on your sin in your heart and mind. You can’t shake it and you keep falling short. You wonder why.
You may even feel such shame that you have been duped into believing that you deserve to be unhappy or that you deserve others to be angry at you. You sink further into despair and continue to make choices that cause you more shame and, ultimately, hopelessness. You wonder why.
Or maybe you’re in a relationship with someone whose actions have hurt you, and you can’t seem to forgive. You can’t shake the anger, disappointment, resentment, bitterness, or sadness. You wonder why.
Well, I’m here to tell you that your story is not over. God’s love story is still going on, and you are part of it. You can come back from whatever you’ve done and whatever despair or unforgiveness you find yourself in. How do I know? How can I speak so boldly to proclaim that this is true? Because God said so. In Jeremiah chapter 30, God said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt.”
Don’t wait another day to forgive yourself or someone else. You can free yourself from the ongoing feelings that drag you down like a weighted vest. You can be rebuilt. And if you need help, then get it. God will walk you through if you choose to follow Him. After all, God loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you. You. For God so loved you!
I have been a counselor for over 18 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I have counseled other through infidelity, addictions, anger, and bitterness. I have walked with them on the path of being rebuilt through God's love. Schedule an appointment with me.
Dictionary.com defines the word “forgive” like this: to grant pardon for; absolve. Well that is what God has done for us. He has absolved us of our sins. But if you scroll down on that same handy Website, you’ll see that the word “forgive” can also be defined like this: to cease to feel resentment against.
In unforgiveness, we replay the offense again and again, renting too much space in our mind to our anger. The energy that we expend on unforgiveness is both emotionally and physically exhausting. However, it’s hard to truly forgive and let go of the hurt. How do we know that we are harboring negativity because he haven’t forgiven?
Here are some statements you may make to yourself if have a hard time forgiving
Do any of these sound remotely familiar? Just reading it doesn’t feel good, does it? Here are some research findings about what unforgiveness does to us. Lack of forgiveness causes increases in:
None of this sounds good--neither the feelings nor the associated health concerns. We should strive for forgiveness. As if Jesus telling us to do it isn’t enough, here are some research findings about those who live with the capacity for forgive (others and themselves): Forgiveness causes increases in:
Forgiveness causes decreases in:
Wow! Shouldn’t we make learning to live in forgiveness the goal? It won’t happen overnight and you can use some help. Start by asking God for help in the moments when you catch yourself thinking negatively about someone or yourself.
I have been a counselor for over 18 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I can help you on your path to forgiveness. Schedule an appointment with me.
God is Process-Oriented
There are a few ways in which majority American cultural values are incompatible with God. One of the most predominant values in our society is focusing on outcomes. We do it in most arenas of our lives. In work, we focus on goals or customer satisfaction. Both of these are outcomes. In healthcare, we focus on how we will be after we are sick or hurt. Again outcomes. In education, we even teach our children to think more about outcomes by put emphasis on tests. Industries throughout the US have developed standards by which to measure outcomes. That seems to be all we want to know—what is the outcome.
When it comes to our personal development, however, God doesn't seem to be outcome-oriented. He seems process-oriented. Think about it. If he was outcome-oriented and he wanted us to change, we would just change. We wouldn’t have to go through any challenges to get to the end point. We would just be there. Want more proof that God focuses on our process. Ok, we don’t ever stop growing, changing, or learning. There is no outcome in psychological development.
This conflict between outcomes and process causes us frustration. We try to change but we never can quite reach a goal. Or, even if we reach a goal, there is always another goal to shoot for. We have developed a culture that almost requires us to constantly better ourselves toward an unobtainable goal—an outcome. This often causes anxiety and depression because we are nervous that we can’t reach our goals and we get down on ourselves when we don’t.
3 Ways to Become More Process-Oriented
So that means our goal is to figure out how to be process-oriented in an outcome-oriented world. If we can learn to shift our perspective from outcomes to process, then invariably we will be less anxious and less depressed. Here are 3 ways you can focus more on the process while still heading toward any goals you have.
1. Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
As you go about your day, focus less on what you have to do and more on what you are doing in the moment. Better yet, focus on how you are doing something in the moment. As we become more mindful of our present moments, we experience more satisfaction, peace, and even awe. God is all around us and we can experience him more if we pay attention to ourselves and our environments more closely.
2. Think about God – So if we can be more mindful, then we can also think about God more during the day. When we let God enter into our mind we have the potential to automatically slow down our thinking. It may take practice but just think about God more and guess what? You will see him more in the nuances of your life. You will see the beauty and wonder that fills life and you will be less stressed._
3. Let Your Mind Wander – Any change in lifestyle takes practice. This is the case with mindfulness too. Just allow yourself a few minutes a day to allow your mind to wander. Try not to think of your lists and just sit and think. Be open to wherever your mind wants to go as long as it’s peaceful.
I have been a counselor for over 18 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I specialize is helping people ease their stress and anxiety. Schedule an appointment with me.
Watch this video and then make an appointment with me for counseling. I can help you connect with the Healer.
Kryptonite. It’s not a real thing, and yet I don’t have to say another word and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Kryptonite, a rock, renders the all-powerful Superman helpless. In fact, he becomes so helpless next to that rock that he can’t even move. Someone has to come move the rock so that he can regain his strength and be all-powerful again.
Well, none of us is Superman but we often act like it don’t we. We keep pushing every day trying to get it all done, trying to achieve goals, or simply trying to do every thing right. Pretty soon we get so drained that we have little left over for our relationships or for taking care of ourselves. In those moments feel like we’re sitting next to kryptonite. We need someone to help us regain our strength. And maybe we need someone to help us live our lives more healthfully, more effectively.
I'm here to help you move the rock and level out your life to be more meaningful and less stressful.
To easily schedule a counseling appointment with me online go to clayrowellphd.setmore.com.
Do you feel broken, discouraged, helpless, hopeless, or just a little down about life. Maybe you feel stuck or can’t really figure out how to find meaning and purpose.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfaithful kindness. I will build you up again, and you. . .will be rebuilt.”
These words from God found in Jeremiah 31: 3 and 4 are powerfully encouraging.
Whatever place you find yourself in, this verse provides hope and motivation for me as a counselor. You may not be able to see your way out of your situation; you may not be able to see past your current emotional state; you may not feel hope.
But I do. I can have enough hope and vision for both of us while you are working through the pain; while you are working through being stuck; while you are working on being rebuilt.
To easily schedule an appointment with me, go to clayrowellphd.setmore.com.