What lies underneath

13th November, 2014 - Posted by admin - No Comments

I recently heard a yoga teacher say: “The practice of yoga is knowing your body and your unconscious habits. In knowing yourself, you welcome opportunity for changes.”

In other words, knowing yourself and your unconscious habits allows you to identify patterns that may not be helpful in your life. It opens the door for opportunity to make changes. In yoga, knowing your poor posture allows you to strengthen those muscles you need to walk around the world with more flexibility and confidence.

There is a parallel with one’s emotional and spiritual life.

Knowing yourself, your thought processes, core beliefs, and emotions can offer an opportunity for lasting change.

In our fast paced society with smartphones and twitter feeds, it can be difficult to slow down enough to understand and know yourself better. As a Christian, it takes discipline and trust to slow down, look inward and then upward towards the vertical. When we look to God and spend time listening, we can enter His rest. It is here that we can allow the word of God to do its work. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

One simple way to slow down and be open to this process is journaling. It could be a traditional notebook or even your smartphone. There are apps out there to help you!

Journaling can be an invaluable way to know yourself by processing your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and how they affect your everyday life and major life decisions. You can start out by stating what mood you’re in and chart what thought, person or event triggered it. Ask yourself questions like: When have you felt this way before? Never? Often? As an adult or a child? What thought is attached to this feeling? Is the thought rational or irrational? How can you rewrite that inaccurate recurring thought to make it more rational or accurate? How then does it feel? How does this all relate and connect with your spiritual life? What might God be saying to you in truth and love? After all, He knows all our thoughts before they come to be.

What if I told you, that one hour a week to slow down and process holds the possibility to change the course of your life?

“Great events, we often find, on little things depend, and from very small beginnings, have oft a mighty end.” -From “The Power of the Littles” Anonymous

-Colleen Lam Nguyen, MFT Intern

Friends with the “Monsters”

16th November, 2013 - Posted by Colleen - Comments Off

With Halloween in our rearview mirror, I am reminded that for children, “monsters” are those creepy things that reside under the bed or in the closet when lights go out.
But what about for adults? Who or what are these monsters?
For adults, I sometimes like to think of them as creatures that are called by other names: Mr. Fear and Mrs. Doubt.
They are those painful feelings that humans hate to feel. Yet, we know are inevitable and the more we resist and deny the more they persist. The truth is, they just are, neither “bad” nor “good,” they won’t kill you, and they don’t really last forever.
What if we became friends with these “monsters?” What would it look like to “get along” with the painful feelings?
It would mean successfully coping with very difficult feelings. Not avoiding, denying, or dodging but facing. Now, I know there are some kinds of pain that are too difficult to face alone. For the person of faith, Jesus is faithful and true to walk with us*. For others, this may be a time to tap into their resources and a safe support system.
In any case, facing and addressing the monsters of fear and doubt could leave you feeling empowered and confident. And perhaps the monster’s fearsomeness will be a bit less scary each time you face it. A funny thing could happen: a friendship might develop and the monsters may not really be monsters after all.
*“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV)
-Colleen Lam Nguyen, M.A., MFT Intern

First Impressions

30th January, 2013 - Posted by Marie Fang - No Comments

We’re all familiar with what it feels like when we’re in a new environment, maybe after starting at a new school, job, or church where you’re surrounded by unknown faces. Often we’re concerned about how we should act around other people to make a good impression. If we’re at a  new school, we may be considering what kind of “persona” we want to give off to others to appear cool or interesting. If we’re at a new job, we may want others to see how productive and talented we are. If we’re at a church, we may want to somehow exude our “holiness” to others (whatever that looks like exactly).

If you’re like most people, you may spend a sizable amount of time considering how you appear to others in these situations, and may even be worried or anxious about it. Somehow we can get so caught up in these concerns that we often forget that the very people we are trying to impress may also be having similar anxieties about what you may be thinking about them.

Sometimes I wonder what sort of effect this universal sense of self-consciousness may have on first impressions. Is it possible that we spend so much time worrying about what others think that we actually miss opportunities to meet new friends?

What if we saw ourselves the way God sees us? How does God see us, anyway? I think it’s easy to forget, so here are some reminders: God’s word says “God created man in His own image” (Gen 1:27), and that “you are God’s temple” (1 Cor 3:16). Imagine if instead of focusing so much on what other people think, you truly believed that God sees you as His temple. Do you think people might notice that and, in turn, be more likely to find you likable?

Try it! You may be pleasantly surprised. You may also find that others may be more genuine when they see that you aren’t putting up a front.

-Marie Fang, Psy.D.

Pastor’s Luncheon: Embracing a Truly Diverse Church Community, 12/4/12, 11:30am

6th November, 2012 - Posted by admin - No Comments

Christian Psychotherapy Services

invites you to attend a

TOPICAL DISCUSSION and LUNCHEON

Embracing a Truly Diverse Church Community

Presenter: Marie Fang, Psy.D.

When: Tuesday, December 4th 11:30am-1:00pm

Where: 1100 Sanchez St., San Francisco, CA 94114

Directions to CPS: http://sfchristiancounseling.com/location.htm

Who: Pastors, spouses, support staff, and lay leaders are welcome

What: Enjoy a casual lunch, meet CPS staff and other ministry leaders

Topical Discussion:

What would it look like to be a church community that embraced “every nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev 7:9) in the 21st century? Join us for a discussion and casual lecture exploring how to:

  • Foster a multi-culturally minded church body.
  • Increase your awareness of barriers that keep a church from being truly diverse.
  • Develop skills for interacting with diverse communities across differences of ethnicity, race, gender, homelessness, disability, mental illness, and sexual orientation.

Please RSVP no later than Friday, November 30th: info@sfchristiancounseling.com or (415) 764-0252.

Introducing Marie Fang, Psy.D.:

Marie Fang, Psy.D. is a graduate of Alliant International University’s Clinical Psychology program, and specializes in working with marginalized populations and individuals struggling with finding a sense of identity.  Throughout the past four years she worked with an array of populations, including individuals with severe mental illness in both inpatient and outpatient settings, developmentally disabled children and adolescents, and Southeast Asian refugees coping with trauma and adjusting to the U.S. Throughout her training, she has served the Lord through leading Bible study and actively participating in her church community.  She recently joined Christian Psychotherapy Services as a Psychological Assistant, supervised by Sam Leong, Ph.D. http://sfchristiancounseling.com/Marie-Fang.html

Introducing Stephanie Joy Gluch, M.S.:

Stephanie Gluch, M.S. is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s Marriage & Family Therapy program. She has worked as a therapist in local schools, K-8th grade and high school levels.  She also worked at San Francisco State’s Counseling Clinic as a therapist, supporting college students in the midst of identity development.  Having spent a majority of her life in Christian education and churches, Stephanie is very interested in supporting people in their spiritual journey. She plans to provide therapy to children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families.  Stephanie recently joined Christian Psychotherapy Services as an MFT intern, supervised by Myrna Klassen, LMFT. http://sfchristiancounseling.com/Stephanie-Gluch.html

Counseling & the Gospel

28th August, 2012 - Posted by Christine - No Comments

“The fruit of wise counseling is spiritually mature people who increasingly reflect Christ (relationally, rationally, volitionally, and emotionally)” -Bob Kellemen, The Gospel Coalition

“The aim of wise counseling is intentional and intensive discipleship.” -Biblical Counseling Coalition

I recently came across the above two quotes which reminded me of a post I wrote on my blog a few months ago.  I’d like to share a portion of it here as well:

“We are part of God’s larger story of redemption.  Why else would the Bible be full of stories of individuals & families and what God has done in and through them, so powerfully and actively?  It is full of stories of His redemption in specific people’s lives.  The Bible’s foundation is rooted in the gospel:

The gospel is the good news of the new world coming. The plot-line of the Bible is:

1) God created the world,
2) The world and humanity fell into sin and decay (brokenness),
3) But God sends his Son to redeem the world and create a new humanity, and
4) Eventually the whole world will be renewed. Death, decay, injustice, and suffering will be all removed.

(above definition from Tim Keller)

When people come to counseling, they are confessing their brokenness and need for help, and God is revealing what His plan of redemption is in the lives of these individuals he loves.  Counseling is not selfish, self-focused, or self-centered.  We are looking to God for help, dependent on His holy spirit to intervene, and partaking in His greater story of redemption.  People come to seek freedom, to live into who He made them to be.  God gets the glory.  And His children experience restoration and transformation.  New life.  It’s not overnight.  It takes time.  But I believe that God’s plan for redemption and restoration is completely connected to counseling.  Counseling, then, becomes a picture of the gospel in many ways.”

For the original post, please visit: Vision, Redemption, Counseling.

Written by: Christine Chiu, MFT