Welcome to Sanctuary Counseling Group

Sanctuary (n): from the Latin sanctus or holy; 1) a sacred or holy place; 2) a place of refuge or safety, a haven; 3) shelter from danger, hardship, or threat.

Sanctuary Counseling Group—formerly known as Methodist Counseling and Consultation Services—has provided mental health counseling and pastoral counseling in the greater Charlotte area and in satellite offices in cities and towns around the western piedmont of North Carolina for over 50 years. To learn more about us and the kinds of services we provide, or to find out how to make an appointment with a therapist in your geographical area, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Staff Perspectives:

"Ahhhh, June! The Marriage Month!"

You will likely not be surprised to hear that more weddings take place in June than any other monthly the year. 10.8% of the 2.6 million weddings which take place in the US each year take place in June.

That figure represents a sizable investment of time spent in planning and preparation for the big day—not to mention the financial investment of 72 billion dollars a year spent on weddings, an average of $20,000 spent per wedding …

… for a ceremony which usually lasts only about thirty minutes.

So here's the question: What about the marriage that follows that expensive thirty minutes? How much time and money do couples invest in keeping their marriage strong and healthy?

Drs. John and Julie Gottman, on the basis of their forty years of research, offer some advice on how to maintain a healthy marriage in just six hours a week.

Six hours!!!!??? Who has that kind of time?

The Gottmans make it doable. Here's how.

1. Partings

As you leave in the morning, make sure each partner knows one important thing that is going on in the other's day. Lunch with a friend? An important meeting? A dentist appointment? This helps you stay connected.

Time Allocation: 10 minutes per week (2 minutes a day x 5 working days)

2. Reunions

When you meet at the end of the day, share a hug and a "real" kiss, not the perfunctory peck. Gottman says a 6 second kiss is the bare minimum. Follow this with what Gottman calls a "stress-reducing conversation."

Time Allocation: 1 hour and 40 minutes per week (20 minutes a day x 5 working days)

3. Appreciation and Admiration

Find just five minutes a day to tell your partner what you like about them, and to hear what they like about you. All too often, we forget what these things are, and to express them.

Time Allocation: 35 minutes per week (5 minutes a day x 7 days)

4. Affection

Gottman emphaszies the importance of showing physical affection to each other throughout the day, and always ending the day with a cuddle or a hug.

Time Allocation: 35 minutes a week (5 minutes a day X 7 days.)

5. Date Night

Couples need a regular time to turn toward each other, inquiring about whatever is important to each partner.

Time Allocation: 2 hours once a week

6. State of the Union Meeting

Start with the positives about each other and the relationship. Express appreciation for your partner, using specific examples. Then, turn to any issues that have arisen in the previous week. Be gentle! And take turns listening and speaking.

Time Allocation: 1 hour once a week.

Total investment? Six hours a week. Minutes a day. Seems simple enough.

Are you willing to make that kind of investment in your marriage? Perhaps June, the marriage month, is a good time to give it a try.

Patricia Wells, PsyD
Pineville, Harrison UMC

"The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make—not just on your wedding day, but over and over again—and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife."
~ Barbara De Angelis

"It is not lack of love, but lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

"To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear."
~ Mark Nepo

Resources for Pastors

Sanctuary Counseling Group recognizes the unique needs and stressors of pastors working within the pastorate as well as the needs of the pastoral family. To this end we offer a number of resources specifically for clergy

Check out the Clergy Resources page, including educational and workshop opportunities, counseling and consultation, vocational assessment, and helpful readings. Feel free to contact an SCG therapist in your geographical area for further information. As persons trained in both theology and mental health counseling—and with a high standard of confidentiality—SCG therapists are in a unique position to serve the needs of parish clergy and their families.

Remember …

"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply
good stewardship of the only gift I have,
the gift I was put on earth to offer to others."
~Parker Palmer

Donating to Sanctuary Counseling Group

While much of our budget is sustained by client fees, there are also a number of individuals, churches, and organizations that join with us in our ministry.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the ministry of Sanctuary Counseling Group. Unless otherwise designated, donations will be used to help supplement the Samaritan Client Assistance Fund, helping to supplement fees for those who might not otherwise be able to afford counseling.

Our Samaritan Client Assistance Fund is what makes Sanctuary Counseling Group a ministry and not just a business. In that you can help those who are hurting. Our goal is to turn no one away because of lack of finances.

Please visit our Partners in Ministry page for more information or to make a contribution.

Mission Statement

Being dedicated to the healing of heart, mind, and soul, we provide excellent emotional, spiritual, and relational health care to all people of the Carolinas.

Sanctuary Counseling Group is an accredited service center of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the Samaritan Institute.