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Brad Hambrick

Resources from a Counselor for the Church

The podcast from BradHambrick.com provides resources that churches can use to launch ministries, not just understand subjects. The G4 and GCM ministry resources are formatted to allow churches to launch peer-based suppor... More
2017-10-30

Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness

The panelist in this podcast are:


Chris Ball, M.A.

Executive Director at Bridgehaven’s Downtown Raleigh Office


Chris majored in Psychology and Religious Studies at UNC-Charlotte, before moving to the Raleigh area to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling.


Chris gained experience counseling in the addiction field for three years before transitioning to Bridgehaven. He specializes in counseling those struggling with addictions (alcohol and other drug usage, family/spousal recovery support, pornography), sexuality (same sex attraction, sexual abuse, adultery), and psychiatric issues (PTSD, Bipolar, depression).


Mark Cheltenham, M.D.

Contract Psychiatrist


Mark contracts with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety treating juvenile, and adult offenders. He received his medical training from both the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Howard University College of Medicine.


After graduating from Howard University College of Medicine, Mark completed both his general internship and residency in psychiatry at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C.


Becky Jorgenson, M.A., LPC, NCC, NCTM

Owner and Founder of Mosaic Counseling Center, PLLC


Becky Jorgenson is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Music Teacher. She graduated from Liberty University in 2009 with a MA in Professional Counseling and earned a BA in Music from Campbell University in 2004.


She provides holistic counseling services in a variety of treatment areas including the following: anxiety disorders, mood/depressive disorders, abuse, trauma, self-harm, eating disorders, post-abortion, behavioral issues, adjustment, career, spirituality, human sex trafficking, and grief. She specializes in working with adolescents (11-17) and young adults (18-30); Becky also enjoys working with children (4+).


Karla Siu, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Program Director at El Futuro, Inc. (www.elfuturo-nc.org)


Karla Siu grew up in Honduras, Tokyo and Virginia. She has worked in welfare reform, community mental health, research on biculturalism, and services to Latino domestic violence offenders. Karla has special expertise in serving families and children, conducting play therapy, and assisting in recovery from trauma, depression, addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses.


She co-authored a paper on cultural issues in treating Latino-Hispanic families with domestic violence issues, published in 2009. Karla has been an active member of the Summit Church since 2004. Karla has helped with establishing the Summit En Español campus and has also provided support to the Summit’s various counseling ministries throughout the years.


Karla serves the Latino community in North Carolina through her work at El Futuro since 2006. Karla currently serves on the board of directors of JusticeMatters, a non-profit Christian organization that provides empowering legal services by mobilizing legal professionals and law students to invest their resources in our community for the common good.


Caroline Von Helms, M.A.

Staff Counselor at Bridgehaven Counseling Associates


Caroline is a native of North Carolina, and a graduate of North Carolina State University. Caroline earned a masters degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and a masters degree in Christian Education.


Caroline worked as a licensed professional counselor supervisor and licensed marriage and family therapist supervisor while in Dallas, and spent a large portion of her time helping children and families during difficult transitions. She also worked with foster care and adoption agencies, as well as the local Juvenile Probation Department providing family counseling.


She also partnered with local churches to provide counseling training on issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, parenting, grief, marital issues, and transitional issues with individuals and families.

2017-10-30

Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness

This is a difficult subject to address, because of its complexity and highly personal nature. Everyone is affected by mental illness; either personally or someone they love. People you care about have experienced depression, ADD, addiction, bipolar, or other mental health struggle. For you the phrase “mental illness” may be a safe haven of explanation, a label that carries stigma, or a mystery that is hard to understand.


This is why mental illness is a subject that must be discussed in the church; otherwise, our silence hurts people by leaving them to struggle in isolation. How does the mind relate to the body? How do our emotions relate to our faith? These are important questions that everyone grapples with and are essential to holistic discipleship.


This is merely an attempt at “a” Christian perspective; not “the” Christian perspective. I believe there are others who, based upon personal experience, professional expertise, or doctrinal background, can and hopefully will add to this discussion. My desire is to start a conversation rather than speak the final word.


This presentation is a “perspective on” more than a “response to” mental illness. Christians have a response to sin, injustice, and other moral matters that we oppose and seek to eliminate. Christians have a perspective on politics, calamities, and other experiences in which we want to influence or offer care. My goal is to influence conversations about mental illness in the church and, thereby, equip us to be more skilled at caring for one another.


For the moment, I will defer an attempt at defining mental illness. At this point, it is enough to say that it is a term on which even the experts disagree; that this is a large part of what makes this conversation difficult. When the central term in any discussion lacks a clear definition, the rest of the conversation will always be challenging.


Let me state one important assumption before we begin; an assumption that I anticipate most readers want to know in order to determine whose “team” I am on or what my “agenda” is in writing:


I am assuming there are a relatively equal number of people who avoid getting help (i.e., counseling or medication) because of the stigma of mental illness as there are people who use the labels of mental illness as a crutch to avoid taking responsibility for important choices in their life.


Whether the two groups divide into a neat 50-50 split in the culture at-large or in your specific circle of relationships, I believe it is generally agreed that there are a large number of people in both camps. Too often, discussions like this one are intended only to change the perspective of one side of the issue. This, I believe, biases those presentations.


My attempt is to be balanced by acknowledging both sides. This will make some parts of the presentation more tedious as we examine questions from both sides. One-sided presentations have the advantage of being simpler and clearer. But, in this case, the result of being one-sided would make the presentation simplistic.

2017-10-30

10 Keys to Ensure Caring Is Helping

When we care for one another wisely three things should happen: (a) the person being cared for should be blessed, (b) the love of Christ should become more tangible, and (c) our faith should grow.


Sometimes our attempts of caring can be done unwisely, resulting in unintended consequences: (a) the person being cared for is enabled, (b) the love of Christ is misrepresented, and (c) the care-giver becomes exhausted.


A PDF of the one-page notes for this presentation is available here: 10 Keys to Ensure Caring Is Helping


On this page we want to provide principles of wise care-giving to ensure that our small groups are places of wise, Christ-honoring care that mutually bless the recipient and giver of care.


1. Avoid the rescuer mentality. When you begin to bear the weight of responsibility for someone else’s life unwise decisions always follow. Your role is to come alongside an individual or family to do what is within your power to assist them; not rescue them from things outside your control.


2. Do not replace the legal system. If something illegal happens, either to or by the person you are helping, your first responsibility is to report that to the appropriate legal authority. The church is called to submit to and assist with the implementation of the laws of the government over us (Rom. 13:1-7).


3. Know your role within the church. The call to be “all things to all people” (I Cor. 9:22) is given to the church at large and not any one individual or group within a church. Trying to “be the church” rather than effectively play your role within the church will result in personal burnout and people getting hurt.


4. Never do what someone can/should do for themselves. This is the tell-tale sign that assistance is becoming enablement. If a task is hard or confusing, then find a way that helps (i.e., explain, go with, research, encourage, remove obstacles, etc…) without replacing the effort of your friend.


5. Create “halfway” steps. When helping does require doing something for or giving money to your friend, then it is wise to create a clear halfway step to ensure your friend is willing to be a good steward of your kindness. A question to help you find a halfway step is, “What would my friend have to begin to do in order for my kindness not to evaporate in life’s stress?” This principle ensures that your kindness leads your friend to freedom instead of a new, unhealthy dependence upon you or your group.


6. Model a healthy life and relationship. Making exceptions to “healthy” is what gets most people into a crisis. Modeling how to deal with difficult situations without violating the basic principles of “healthy” is often as important as any of the logistical or financial assistance you provide.


7. Know your physical, emotional, and financial limits. Creating a second crisis does not help the first one. Scripture calls us to be generous “as we are able” (Deut. 16:17). When we go beyond this, we model a reactive approach to crises that fails to disciple those we are helping in how to make wise decisions in hard times.


8. Never allow “team splitting” to occur. Talking negatively of one person in order to affirm and get more from another should be directly and immediately confronted as wrong. It is a form of manipulation disguised as a compliment and tries to get one party to do more because another is doing less.


9. Do not allow yourself to be motivated-manipulated by guilt. Guilt is motivational junk food; it gives short boosts of energy followed by long periods of fatigue. When you feel yourself being motivated by guilt (internally or externally) talk with your ministry support person in order to prevent burnout.


10. If you’re not sure, ask your ministry support person. Helping never means having all the answers, or even always knowing the next question to ask. When you feel stuck or trapped in a helping situation, ask for help. This is allowing the church to be the Body of Christ to you as you strive to be part of the Body of Christ for someone else.