Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creative Therapy ~ Shannon Shertzer, MS, NCC

I love when my clients get creative with their therapy...creative in how they express their healing. I've had clients draw pictures, write poetry or stories; others have brought in a song that touched them deeply. I'm a bona fide crier myself, so when a client expresses themselves vulnerably, we've been known to get teary together. Tears are very healthy, in my opinion. I'm glad Scripture tells us to "rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep." That gives me permission to connect with my clients on an emotional level.
A few weeks ago, a client I've counseled for 3 years was both creative and vulnerable. She pulled out three photos of herself as a little girl, then she pulled out a little metal box...inside were her razors. These razors had been used to slice through her lovely skin on numerous occasions. Cutting has been one of my client's favored modes of coping. She's been caught up in its addictive cycle for too long. In recent weeks, we've had some particularly difficult sessions related to her self-mutilation.
As we looked at each of her "little girl" pictures, she told me how they reminded her of her sweet little niece and how she couldn't imagine taking a razor to that little girl. She said she was beginning to understand that when she cut she was not helping herself, but hurting the "little girl" inside of her. My client cried a little, which was a huge step for her. To her, tears are "illegal." She passionately said, "I don't know how to do it, but I know these [the razors] have to go!
After we talked things through, we prayed for the client to have the grace and strength to get rid of her "tools of destruction." Then we walked outside and chucked those razors into the dumpster. When I heard that metal ping against metal, my heart rejoiced. My client renounced those destructive tools and willingly proclaimed that she would use "tools for life" on her body.
We still have work to do. There may be days ahead of temptation and a desire to return to old habits. But we have a date and a time with which we can war against those temptations and desires. I have no doubt as she continues to creatively and vulnerably heal, God will be glorified and honored.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What, me stressed???

Sometimes I allow myself to feel like everything is just too much for me to handle--my life, job, family, and future. The problem is, the more I think about my problems, going over things again and again in my head, the more overwhelming it can seem. I have learned several ways to manage the stress in my life better:
1. Connect with others. It helps me a lot when I can talk over a cup of coffee, where I am able to share my feelings and help clear my mind of confusion so that I can see things more clearly. Things are usually not as bad as I first imagined!
2. Go outside and walk. Exercising outside in the sunshine brings me home sweaty but happy. Other exercise might work for you...
3. Eat nutritious food. This fuels my mind as well as my body, especially if I cut down on the sugar.
4. Do something for myself every day. I can read a novel, take a walk, dance or sing to music while making dinner, or call a close friend.
5. Be thankful. CHOOSE to count my blessings!!
6. Learn to live one day at a time.
These last two ways remind me of Philippians 4:4-7. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
When I get the focus OFF of me and ONTO the Lord, my perspective is less skewed, and I no longer have to "be in control!" After all, I really am not. I just have to recognize this. Again :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Ahhhh.  At last Spring is almost here.  It is so refreshing to walk out the door and not be met with a blast of icy cold air. Spring always makes me think of new beginnings and hope.  Just the other day, I was so blessed to witness this in a new way.  A couple that had been coming for several months for counseling left our office hand in hand and then just stood out in the parking lot talking to each other.  It almost brought tears to my eyes as I remembered when they first came to New Hope they sat silently in the waiting room and I could feel the tension between them.  God is at work here at New Hope and all around us.  Let's take time today to thank Him for the changing of the seasons and for the assurance He gives us of new life in Him. ~ Mary

Friday, March 4, 2011


Thanks for coming to our brand new website! Please feel free to call or email me with any suggestions or questions--this is a work in progress. We want to know that we are communicating our mission of embracing hope, transforming lives.

We are gearing up for our second session of Strengthening Families Program 10-14, which will take place at Solanco High School Tuesday evenings March 22-May 3, 2011, from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. This is a very fun and helpful program for kids ages 10-14 and their families.

Some comments from parents:
I learned a good system for rewards and consequences...that my son is normal...How to take a differnet approach with my discipline, taking a more calm approach...that all families go through similar stresses.

Some comments from the kids:
I learned how to handle stress and peer's important to be organized as a family...more about my parents...that having good friends is important.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from this free seven week program, please have them call us to register. ~ Ginger