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. Sanctuary Counseling Group currently has satellite offices in 14 locations in the western piedmont.

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:

"Constant Confrontation Culture"

Last week, I read an article about a news program that had gotten so heated in its argument that the anchor and a guest had to be cut off by the network. The show was sent to commercial to the sounds of two professional journalists screaming at one another. I shook my head at the fact that the news of the day was that two people talking about politics and world events could not peaceably discuss their differing positions with any respect for one another.

Unfortunately, it seems that the aforementioned incident is reflective of our society at large.

People all across the political spectrum seem ready to attack one another at any given moment. Our society seems "loaded for bear," no matter what the situation. While we could discuss the causes of this phenomenon ad infinitum, that is not the most important question. What is significant from a pastoral counseling perspective is, "What is this constant state of contentiousness doing to our emotional and spiritual health?"

The answer lies in our interactions with others in all spheres of our lives: the office, our churches, the grocery store (where I was recently politically assailed by a woman who made me wish I had used the self-checkout), on social media, in schools, and especially in our homes. We are fish swimming in a sea of dissention and we do not seem to notice that the toxic water is distorting our abilities to get along with the people about whom we care the most. We seem to have forgotten how to show one another basic human decency if folks disagree with us.

So, what are we to do about this way of being? How can we work to make the world less argumentative rather than leaning into the constant confrontations? A few ideas …

1) When confronted with an argument, consider first, "Is this something I believe is worth arguing about? What good will come from arguing about this issue?" If the answer is less than satisfying, perhaps it is worth holding back on pushing an opinion.

2) When using social media, first ponder, "What contribution to a world of peaceful discussion am I making?" Cute vacation selfies can promote smiles and conversation about pleasant trips. Angry posts about neighbors who leave their garbage cans at the curb a day too long promote dissention amongst those people who live in community and could offer one another support in daily life. Consider doing the neighbor a favor and rolling the trash can in for them; the block Fourth of July cookout will be much more fun.

3) Remember what the kindergarten teachers of the world try to teach: respect your friends. How do we do that when they may have voted differently or believe something converse to our own values? We all get an opinion and the diversity of our thoughts and feelings only serves to make this world a more interesting place. Showing respect for the opinions of others means not insisting that our way is the only way.

4) Consider the individual. It is easy to look at a person with the labels they assign themselves, whether these are political, religious, or other rubrics. Try taking each person as they come, not as a part of the herd, but as a unique individual with a life history that has shaped who they are and what they believe.

5) Listen before speaking. This is a tough one, but it means that we have the opportunity to hear other sides of an issue. Listening does not mean being quiet long enough to plan our next assault on our sparring partner. It means taking the time to consider what another worthy individual has to say.

6) When in doubt, be nice. Politeness, chivalry, and consideration of how our words impact others will take us far in our work to make our corners of the world a bit more peaceful. A simple smile or inquiry as to how a passing person is doing may make a big difference for the giver and the receiver.

Blessings,

Shelton Davis, M.Div., M.A.
Belmont Office, First UMC

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
~ Dalai Lama

"Generosity is not limited to the giving of material things. We can be generous with our kindness and our receptivity. Generosity can mean the simple giving of a smile or
extending ourselves to really listen to a friend."
~ Gil Fronsdal

"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. By donating to Sanctuary Counseling Group's Samaritan Client Assistance Fund you can directly 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.