Life Lessons from the Garden

Priscilla Ortlip picture

I’ve been a gardener most of my adult life. I was one of those ‘hippie types’ back in the ‘70’s, a subscriber to Organic Gardening Magazine, experimenting with bed gardening, growing things like kohlrabi and soy beans…I am now back to flower and vegetable gardening, after a number of years’ hiatus, in a large expanse of yard for both in my new home. And as I ponder my love for working in the soil, I am struck with observations of my relationship with gardening and how so much of what I learn (over and over) applies to life in general. … continue reading…

Life and Growth through Relationship, not Rules

Meg Gay picture

“What does that mean to you?” I asked my client, who sat on the couch, her eyes wide, staring at what I had just shared with her. “It just changes everything!” It did change everything. It had changed everything for me a decade ago, and it had brought my faith to life during a time that felt like wading through mud in freezing rain. The game changer was this: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me … continue reading…

Journeys in Spiritually Integrated Therapy

If you were asked to share your spiritual autobiography what kinds of things would you include?  This came up for me recently in a class I taught on Spirituality in Psychotherapy.  In the area of spirituality, as in so many areas, the self-awareness of the clinician is key to our ability to handle sensitive information from our clients with tact and grace.  As such, I found myself reflecting on my own spiritual journey and how it interacts with the journeys of my clients.  Often, it provides a powerful point of connection and identification – yes, I know what it is … continue reading…

Confession, Conflict, and Reconciliation

In Christian counseling, I have found that three elements stand out as essential components for effective resolution for both presenting and underlying issues: Confession, Conflict, and Reconciliation. During the course of my training, I quickly identified these three to be mainstays of not only what occurs during the course of a counseling session, but also helpful guideposts of how well the process of counseling is proceeding.  It is the counselor’s responsibility to help manage these three aspects of the session so that our clients will benefit from the manner in which they can come to grips with them in their … continue reading…

The Lost Art of Apology

Dan McHugh picture

All of us have been hurt at one time or another by someone, and an insincere or insufficient apology leaves us even more discouraged. Our world overflows with public and private examples of poor apologies in politics, sports, business, church, and personal arenas.  Media critics demonstrate their own inability to distinguish a poor apology from a sincere one when they comment about publicly prominent apologies. Much has been written about forgiveness–what it means and what it doesn’t mean, who “deserves” it, how to achieve it, and even the health benefits of forgiving. Much less has been said about good apologies, … continue reading…