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.

Older Adults Benefit From Counseling Too

The latest data available reveals that in the U.S. there are over 46.2 million persons in the 65-and-older age group. This is an increase of 10 million or 28% since 2004. There are now more Americans age 65 and older than at any other time in U.S. history. While this age group certainly has some special needs, many needs are no different than those of younger age groups: food and shelter, love and respect, meaning and purpose, etc. And while those over 65 have similar mental health needs, their mental health needs often get ignored as a normal process of aging. This stereotype does not merely affect the opinions of the general populace, but surveys show that these attitudes also exist among medical professionals. For example, depression is often overlooked or ignored in older persons and seen as an expected consequence of getting older. But this is untrue; depression is not a normal part of aging. Older adults are negatively affected by depression just as are younger persons: low energy, loss of initiative, loss of satisfaction, lowered functionality, loss of hope, etc. And the depression in older adults is highly treatable. Twenty-five percent of those who die from suicide are over age 60. And while dementia, characterized by memory loss, is mostly seen in older adults, dementia is sadly often assumed when depression is the real dilemma.

It is sometimes difficult for younger persons to take seriously the chemical dependency issues of older adults. How could grandpa or grandma really have substance abuse issues? Yet, they do. Substance abuse has serious consequences to relational, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. When it is recognized, substance abuse is a treatable problem for older adults.

Like their younger counterparts, older adults are negatively affected by stress. Stress can affect mental attitude and capacity as well as physical health and life satisfaction. Stress in older people should be considered as it would with any other adult. Coping strategies and counseling are highly effective in assisting older adults in managing their stressful situations.

It is too often assumed that older adults have less accepting attitudes toward mental health treatment than do younger adults. However, recent surveys show instead that older adults have very similar attitudes toward mental health care and access to it. Mental health and emotional well-being are as important in older age as at any other time in life. The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." It must be recognized and treated in all persons, including older adults, with the same urgency as physical health.

Garry Cook, LCSW

Soul Shop Workshop

Sanctuary Counseling Group is co-sponsoring an upcoming workshop this October for clergy and ministry professionals, entitled Soul Shop. How can pastor's help those in their care who may be struggling with suicidal ideations? Come and see. Click on the photo above to learn more.

Connections Workshop This Fall

A 12-week workshop will be offered at Harrison United Methodist Church this coming fall, beginning September 27th and running through December 12th. The workshop will be led by Sanctuary Counseling Group therapist Dr. Patricia Hawkins Wells and is based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown.

Click on the image below to learn more about this workshop and about pre-registration.

Resources for Pastors

Sanctuary Counseling Group recognizes the unique needs and stressors of pastors working within the pastorate and 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

Partners in Ministry

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 by providing financial supplements to assist clients who may not otherwise be able to afford counseling. We are now able to accept tax deductible donations through PayPal (via your PayPal account or with a credit card).

Please consider joining us in this vital counseling ministry by making a tax deductible contribution to the ongoing work of Sanctuary Counseling Group. Unless otherwise designated, donations will be used to help supplement the Samaritan Client Assistance Fund, enabling us to provided counseling services to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it.


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.