As a therapist who is Christian, I am open with my clients about my own personal faith beliefs. Christian Psychology is a term typically used in reference to Christian psychotherapists who strive to fully embrace both their religious beliefs and their psychological training in their professional practice. You will see this discussed in my consent form as well. My clients need not share my personal beliefs; I am comfortable working with clients with strong beliefs in many different faiths, or none at all.
Furthermore, I do not have any desire to change the beliefs of any of my clients, and attempting to do so would be against my ethical principals as a psychologist. I find that clients who do share my faith beliefs are comforted by a similar language that we can use, or the integration of their spiritual beliefs in our therapy. My role is different from that of a clergy person or spiritual leader in that, I do not focus primarily on my client’s relationship with God. Instead, we focus on issues related to mental health. Sometimes faith, or a spiritual worldview comes into these conversations.
I offer work specifically in forgiveness for my Christian and non-Christian clients. Here is a little bit about how I view forgiveness. McCullough
et al. (2000) have proposed a consolidated model of the forgiveness process. They defined forgiveness as “intraindividual, prosocial change toward a perceived transgressor that is situated within a specific interpersonal context” (p. 9). This definition attempts to identify the core feature in the scholarly definitions of forgiveness—the notion that when people forgive, their responses toward individuals who have injured them begins to become both less negative and more positive. In therapy I may discuss how you may have a more positive reaction to those who have injured you. Many times forgiveness work is focused on the self, as you may feel regret or shame for a past action. This is a process that takes time and is very deliberate in nature. For my clients with a faith belief we may integrate your relationship with God or Jesus. This process, however, does not require a faith belief to work through. I'd love to talk more with you regarding my approach to forgiveness.
Therapy After a Brain Injury
During my postdoctoral training, I worked exclusively with individuals who suffered a Brain Injury. Many of my clients had suffered serious injury leading to disabling physical, mental, and spiritual health conditions that can lead to profoundly different ways of viewing and relating to the world. Therapy is helpful following a brain injury for many reasons. Some individuals may need to discuss the role or relationship changes that they have experienced after a brain injury; adjusting to a different version of you isn’t always easy. Often, individuals with a brain injury can develop depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic reactions that require compassionate mental health treatment.
My experience with individuals with substance abuse problems includes a master's thesis on binge drinking, inpatient experience on a psychiatric unit, familiarity with 12-step programs, and a pre-doctoral internship with co-occurring clients. This refers to individuals who face both substance abuse and mental health problems. I've also conducted substance abuse education groups to individuals who received a drug or alcohol conviction.
My approach to these problems are to address how mental health difficulties may be interfering with your substance abuse recovery. I do believe that it is important to also have some community involvement and peer support whether that be a 12-step program or other options in our community. I can assist you with making these connections, but I encourage my clients to be self-directed in the support they need to maintain sobriety.