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:

"National Date Your Spouse Month"

Betcha didn't know … May is National Date Your Spouse Month.

How long has it been since you dated yours? A real date … no kids, no discussing house repairs, calendar conflicts, or how somebody didn't take out the garbage, but a dedicated three to four hour block of time, just the two of you, enjoying each other's company.

Remember what that felt like?

It is almost inevitable that, as time goes on in a marriage, we become overwhelmed by the practicalities of life together—chauffeuring kids, washing dishes, earning a living. We neglect our most important relationship, and become complacent—or even negative. Somehow, we expect our marriage to maintain itself magically without our time or attention.

Imagine what would happen if we treated our checking accounts that way … always withdrawing and never making a deposit.

Dr. John Gottman, a marriage researcher who has been conducting his couples research for over 40 years, relates that couples he calls "marriage masters" (as opposed to "marriage disasters") don't have marriages that are free of conflict. Instead, they have marriages in which the positive sentiments of spouses toward each other during conflicts outweigh the negatives. In fact, he reports that stable marriages have a ratio of 5:1 positivity to negativity during conflict, while unstable marriages have a ratio of a skimpy 0.8 to 1.

So, how do we get that positive outlook toward our mates? Just like a bank account, we make deposits. And just as in a heathy bank account, the deposits in a healthy marriage must exceed the withdrawals. We must invest our time and our attention in our spouses and in our marriage relationship.

A date is one way to make an investment. It's a way of reminding our spouses and ourselves how important our marriage is.

So take a walk together. Go for a bike ride. See a movie or a play. Talk about it. Go to dinner. Go to a park and swing. Whatever you used to like to do together is worth doing again. If you need a baby-sitter and finances are an issue, swap sitting with a friend or neighbor. Or enlist a grandparent. (Call me, Liz!)

Make a deposit in your marriage account. Make a date with your spouse. It's worth a try. After all, it is National Date Your Spouse Month.

And it just might become a habit.

Happy dating!

Patricia H. Wells, Psy.D.

May 15th, St. Dymphna, Patron Saint of Mental Health

May 15th is the feast day of the Irish St. Dymphna, patron saint of mental illness, neurological disorders, runaways, victims of incest, and victims of depression.

Dymphna was a young girl living in the 7th century who fled Ireland not long after the death of her Christian mother; she ran away because her father, the pagan King Damon, had demanded that she replace her mother and become his wife. With the aid of her priest, she escaped to the continent and ended in up Belgium, finally setting in the small town of Geel. She was eventually tracked down and murdered by her father for refusing to become his wife. She was barely sixteen at the time. She has since become the patron saint of all runaways and victims of incest, as well as the mentally ill and those struggling with depression.

Dymphna's courage and faith inspired the people of Geel, Belgium, who themselves have offered a remarkable response. Their story and the quality of care the whole town has provided for the mentally ill—taking them into their homes and treating them with dignity and respect—has become an inspirational example of non-institutionalized psychiatric care..

Remember Dymphna this coming May 15th.

Counseling Resources

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.

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

Supporting 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 contribution 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.

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.