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 15 locations in the western and central 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

The Key to Serenity

Noted German theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote The Serenity Prayer, a prayer which has become a staple of 12-step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The short version of the prayer is familiar to many. However, the long version of the prayer contains much wisdom shedding insight into what AA, and what humans, may arguably seek most of all in life—how to have serenity. Although it was written from a Christian perspective, its value transcends the Christian faith into a universal truth. Here is the long version of the prayer.

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.

Trusting that he will make all things right,
If I surrender to his will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this world
And supremely happy in the next.

Often when I work with individuals experiencing emotional distress, I ask them to make two lists—first, of things in life which they cannot change, and secondly, the things they cannot change no matter how hard they try. The purpose is clear. Often we spend much emotional energy ruminating on issues in our life we cannot change no matter how hard we try, and the issues in life we might change with a change of perspective or reorienting priorities, we do not work to change. Why does this occur?

As a father of two young adult children, I consider how much wasted time and energy I have spent worrying, staying up at night, and ruminating on decisions a certain child at a given time has made. All of the worrying has done nothing to change the situation or the child's decisions. But I have persisted in worrying, thinking that somehow it will change the outcome, or the child, as if that is what a father is "supposed" to do. In turn, the one area I can do something to change—my own mind, heart and soul—I have neglected. I have not worked so hard at focusing on my own perspective, my own attitude, perhaps challenging my own view or belief system, to have a sense of peace about the situation.

Why is this so difficult?

From a cognitive behavioral perspective, we often have a life schema, or a perspective, which is rigid and difficult to change. My vision for the "way" my children should live their life as they grow into adulthood is based on my perspective, on what I have considered important, based on my own needs and wants. Although these values are not negative, this schema takes little consideration to the perspectives and values of my child, my child's personality, or their right to make their own decisions. At some point, when our children move from being shaped so drastically by our values, they move through adolescence, and differentiate, or push away. Many parents enter a crisis point where they must decide whether to hold fast to their rigid life view, with the potential consequence of alienating their child and bringing onto themselves much more emotional distress, or practice acceptance.

Acceptance is not easy, for it requires grieving the old perspective of what we would want for our child, and letting our child become an adult. Acceptance gives our child the gift of adulthood, allowing them to live their life as they choose to live it. It has often been my experience that those who are able to have less rigid life schema have a greater potential for more content days in their later years. It reminds me of the adolescent who showed her 90 year old great grandmother a large new tattoo on her shoulder and asked her, "Do you like it?" The old woman, smiled and said, "I like you!" Maybe her ability to look beyond her perspective was one reason why she has lived into her 90's.

There is no amount of emotional distress which can change another person. I challenge you to consider what you face in your life which calls you to accept life as it is, not as you would have it.

Eddie Ingram, LCSW
First UMC Gastonia Office

"Perspective is both a necessary and a sufficient ground for wisdom."
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

"We see the world, not as it is, but as we are—or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves,
our perceptions, our paradigms.."
~Stephen Covey

"Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it."
~Irviing Berlin

Find a Therapist in Your Area

Sanctuary Counseling Group provides pastoral counseling and mental health counseling throughout the piedmont of North Carolina, from Shelby in the west to High Point in the east, from Pineville in the south to Hickory in the north … and in multiple locations in between—Charlotte, Monroe, Concord, Belmont, Davidson, Pineville, Salisbury, and Gastonia.

Find a therapist in your geographical area by checking our sites page.

Donating to Sanctuary Counseling Group

Sanctuary Counseling Group is a 501.C.3 non-profit. 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.

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

Updated, 30 June 2019

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 Solihten Institute.