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.
Jeremiah cried out in response to the suffering of God's people in Jeremiah 8:22, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people restored?" In the region of Gilead there was a spice which could produce a healing balm for physical wounds. When we suffer, we too look for the balm of healing for our wounded soul.
For many of us, hurt is our companion. At the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2017, as it is done each year, we sang "Auld Lang Syne", or translated, "Days Gone By". It is a song which has come to symbolize the ending of one thing and the beginning of another, the importance of letting go of the things in the past which have caused grief or pain, and move forward to a new beginning, a fresh start. It is a great sentiment, but for many of us, we have carried into 2017 the hurt, grief, or pain we have experienced in the year past. For those of us who lost a loved one to death, who have been betrayed by a spouse, partner, or friend, or for those who have experienced a painful ending of some kind, it is easy to feel stuck in a web of unforgiveness, suffering, and shame. Auld Lang Syne sings of the hope for healing, but how does this happen?
Perhaps one way to consider how to heal begins with looking at the concept of radical acceptance. When we experience pain, typically our first reaction is to get angry, blame someone, or blame ourselves for creating the pain. This is a normal first reaction, but as time goes by, we begin to realize that no matter who is to blame for our pain, our suffering continues. And very often, the more angry we become, the more difficult our suffering becomes.
Sometimes there is the idea that if we continue to suffer over a situation, it will change the outcome. But in reality, being upset over a situation can stop us from seeing the situation clearly. For example, when we are "blinded by rage", the anger makes it impossible to see a situation 20/20. Continuing to get angry about a situation doesn't change the outcome, and sooner or later, we must face the reality that the situation did happen and we must learn to deal with it. There is nothing we can do to change the past no matter how much we suffer, and any effort at fighting against the past will only make us feel more helpless.
Radical acceptance suggests that we have no choice but to acknowledge the present situation as it is without judgment or criticism. Our pain is simply the result of a long chain of events that happened in the past leading up to the present moment. The present situation today is the result of a series of past events which cannot be changed no matter how much suffering we experience. Radical acceptance helps us to think about the present with clear vision. It does not mean that we are agreeing with bad behavior in those around us. An abusive relationship in which hurt continues to happen needs to end immediately. However, radical acceptance simply means that we make a decision to stop trying to change the outcome of a situation by blaming, becoming angry, and suffering over it. The clearer we can think about the situation, the more equipped we are to develop positive coping skills and heal.
Eddie Ingram, LCSW
While the therapists at Sanctuary Counseling Group are trained in both clinical mental health practices as well as theology/spirituality, we work with a wide range of clients and presenting issues. Check out our frequently asked questions page to learn a little more about us. Also visit the counseling services page or the bio information of our therapists to learn more.
At SCG we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.
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.
"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."