What should your tombstone say?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What do you want your tombstone to say?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you want to be remembered?

This question of what we will be leaving behind does not occupy our thoughts very much, especially in our younger years. It is a topic older people think about more even when they may find it difficult to put into words.

When you are gone who will notice? What will they say about you? What do you wish they would say?

I am hoping that none of you are expecting or planning on quitting on life just yet. If you are please talk with someone, there is help available. Look for a suicide prevention line and call it or see a local professional.

One thing I have noticed from working in locked psychiatric facilities, frequently with suicidal people or people who have attempted suicide is that most often those who lived were glad for the second chance.

Those crisis moments when we almost die can put life in perspective. Those who have had near-death experiences describe them with a religious reverence as something which changed their way of seeing the world forever. Do you need to have that near death experience to stop, pause and think about what you want your existence on this planet to have meant?

What really matters to you? What do you want to leave behind?

Some of you, if they were to write your obituary – that piece would read something like

“They had a good time, but didn’t care who they hurt.”  Is that what you would want your obituary to say?

Or how about the person of whom it is said they “they sure were unhappy all the time, it was a downer just being around them.”

One way to gain perspective on your life is to try this simple exercise.

Write your obituary. What has your life been about, where have you traveled and what impact have you had on others. No one is ever too close to the end to rewrite their obituary. You can be that grumpy old person who hates everyone laying there in your bed in the hospital, the one that made life miserable for the staff at the nursing home or you can be the one who always had a smile and a thank you on their lips. You can choose to be miserable or a blessing.

Once you have finished that obituary, pause to reflect on it. What is the one most important thing you have said about you? Condense it down. What is the short sentence they will inscribe on your tombstone?

Now tuck that obit away and work on making the good things in it come true. Use whatever time you have left, a lot or a little, to create those things.

That positive saying for your tombstone, I suggest posting that somewhere where you can see it every day.

Live every day as if this is your last chance to make that saying you want on your tombstone to come true.

What do you want people to say about you when you are gone?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Advertisements

Do therapists like, fall in love with their clients? Why don’t they tell them?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fall in love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Unconditional Positive regard or dual relationship?

Do counselors fall in love with clients? Do they like them and if so why don’t they tell them?

The role of emotions, feelings between the counselor and the client are complicated. Learning to juggle all those factors and keep the relationship between therapist and client in bounds is something every professional has to work at.

Here are the factors in play.

1. Unconditional positive regard

This is one of those “core conditions” that counselors are taught they need to exhibit for their clients. This can be summarized as – yes I accept you the way you are, feel you have worth as a person and have a belief in your ability to grow.

In short, the counselor is supposed to like the client as a person.  What we do not always like are the things this client is doing.

If a counselor finds themselves disliking this client, judging them or wishing they did not have to see them, those feelings are likely to get in the way of therapy. So we strive to always see the best in our clients.

2. The need to be genuine.

It does not help the client much if the therapist lies to you. If we find a particular client annoying we sometimes have to address that.

We might need to let the client know, gently if we can, that this thing they do or say, we find ourselves getting annoyed when they do that – do other people get annoyed with you when you do that? This truth-telling has to be done in a supportive way but sometimes the client needs to hear the things we see that they may be blind to.

3. Is this about the client or the counselor?

Psychoanalytically trained therapist talk a lot about transference, the times that the client relates to their therapist just like they used to relate to someone else in their life.

I am an old guy it a gray beard. Clients have told me this reminds them of their dad or grandfather. We then talk about how was their relationship with that person and how does that affect the way they relate to others in their life now.

Sometimes I see a client and they remind me of someone I went to school with. I have to ask myself, did I like that person? Does the way this client reminds me of that person from my past affect the way I treat this client. We counselors might call this countertransference, seeing the client through the counselor’s past experiences.

4. Counseling is a novel relationship.

In the therapy room, we have this close, emotionally intimate experience. We try to help the client experience emotions they may not have experienced before or have not had for a long time.

The office is a sort of laboratory to try out new ways of being and relating to people and feelings. But the relationship needs to stay in the room not get carried out into the community. We keep it confidential so we can’t become best friends and hang out at the client’s house.

5. Counselors need to avoid dual or multiple relationships.

I wrote in another post about the dangers of trying to have two relationships with a client. It can be tempting, here she is, crying and feeling really bad and looking really cute or sexy. But if the counselor lets themselves move over into that developing a romantic or friendship relationship there is a risk of messing up the therapeutic relationship.

Every year a certain number of counselors get into romantic or other dual relationship with clients. Mostly these end up badly.

The client comes in for therapy because of an emotional or mental problem. It is a short hop from trying to help the client to becoming a predator when counselors forget their need to be a helper and get into a relationship where they are getting one of their romantic needs met.

So yes, counselors do often like their clients and sometimes some feel like they are falling in love with the client. Professionals should not talk about their feelings except to be helpful to the client and they should not act on those feelings by creating a second “dual relationship” with clients.”

The counseling relationship is a special one and the focus needs to stay on the client and their needs. The counselor needs to get their needs met at another time and place.

Thanks to the reader who asked about this for suggesting a topic for this blog post.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you a Parentified Child?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Children working

Parentified child.
Photo courtesy of pixabay

If you are a Parentified Child how do you ever finish growing up?

Some children grow up way too young. Are you one of those people?  Did you take on roles that were far too adult for your age? Parentified children begin to act like adults before they ever have the chance to be kids. This causes them problems later in life.

If you came from a dysfunctional home, and there are lots of different types of dysfunctional homes, you may have been cast in the role of parent for your mother or father. They played the child role; you tried to be the responsible adult. You made their food, cleaned the house and may have cared for your siblings. You may have had to call their bosses or make excuses for them when they were not able to function as an adult.

If you had to be a surrogate parent before you were able to be a child, how did you learn what to do as an adult and when do you ever get to be a child? Parentified children, grown into adults who never had a childhood become either super responsible or irresponsible to the max.

We often see this in families where a parent is an alcoholic or an addict. They are so debilitated much of the time that a child steps in and takes care of the parent and fills the parent’s other roles also. This parentified child becomes so used to being the responsible, caregiving one, that they all too often end up in dysfunctional relationships hooked up with an immature adult that needs a caregiver rather than a partner.

The little girl who goes to school, say in the third grade, but then goes home to fix dinner for her younger siblings, is acting like a parentified child. She may have to do the laundry or even feed and change the baby. She becomes the parent for her siblings. What happens to this child when they grow up?

One result of being too mature too soon is the unresolved need to be a child and play. These Parentified children are quick to jump into sexual relationships. They go straight from being a child-mother to their brothers, sisters, and parent, to being a partner and mother or father themselves. There is never a time to get their needs met.

These Parentified children are at high risk to abuse substance themselves to cope with the too early assumed responsibilities of being a parent. They are also at risk at some point in their life to veer off and go through a period of irresponsible behavior, trying to learn to play and have fun. What they may not have learned is how to have fun without indulging in drugs, alcohol or other risky behavior.

They are also at risk to never really learn functional ways to parent. Having had to be adults at a young age they expect their own children to start taking on that role before those children are ready. This results in a lot of family dysfunction.

If you grew up in a home where you had to take on too many adult responsibilities at a very young age you may not have had good role models for the ways in which you need to behave. You have had to make the rules up as you go along. Often you have paid the price of having to learn how functional people behave by trial and error.

One major challenge for the parentified child is to learn about developmental milestones, what should you have learned and how should you have behaved at eight, at eighteen and at twenty-eight. Many parentified children need to take parenting classes so they can parent themselves as well as parent their children.

Did you become a parentified child? Do you now have to learn how to play, have fun and go through the process of growing up all over again?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

counselorssoapbox.com posts you read the most

Counselorssoapbox.com

Here are the top 10 mental health posts to date.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

 

1. How much should you tell a therapist?         

2. Are you Hyperthymic?    

3. Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts

4. Why can’t we forget the painful past?                 

5. Do therapists have to report a crime?                    

6. Is nicotine a stimulant or a depressant?     

7. What is the difference between Depression and Major Depressive Disorder?      

8. Levels or types of Borderline Personality Disorder        

9. Six ways to recover from Complex Trauma or Complex PTSD         

10. Which border is Borderline Intellectual Functioning on?         

Thanks for all the support and encouragement you have shown for counselorssoapbox.com I appreciate all of you who read this blog. I especially want to thank those who leave comments and likes.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Can you get a job if you are a felon? 6 tips

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Are there jobs after prison?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are there jobs for felons and ex-felons?

Just because you have been to prison does not exclude you from getting a job. I know lots of people on parole get discouraged and give up looking because they feel that no one will hire them with a serious crime on their record.

The truth is that many people with a jail or prison record do get jobs, but having that record may make it harder to find work.

Here are some suggestions for finding a job if you have a less than perfect past.

1. Start your job search where you have the best chances.

There are government programs that offer tax incentives to companies who hire people on parole or with a history of incarceration. They save money on their taxes by taking a chance on you.

These programs come and go but if you are on parole ask your agent about these programs. Some of these jobs are difficult grungy work, they have high turnover. If you really want to work again you need to prove yourself. Work on this kind of job for a while, do good work even if the conditions and pay are not so good and you have a reference that might help you land a better job.

2. The connection between your crime and the job you are applying for.

If you were convicted of embezzlement or theft you aren’t going to get a job as a head cashier. Companies often take out insurance (called a bond or bonding) on employees that handle cash or valuable merchandise. If you are convicted of stealing you probably will not get a job handling valuable things but you can get a job doing construction or physical labor.

If you were arrested for abusing a child or domestic violence forget working around women and children. That will not keep you out of many other jobs.

These days’ drug convictions are less of a problem than they used to be. If some companies did not hire people with drug convictions on their record they would have no employees. Just don’t expect to work in a pharmacy or a job where you would be handling drugs as part of the job.

3. Do something to show you are changing.

Start doing positive things and show that you want a new crime-free life. This is hard when you are first starting out but do what you can. Even though you may have paid your “debt to society” the prospective employer is thinking to themselves will this guy do it again? How much of a chance am I taking?

Besides doing this for the job consider doing this for yourself. Do good things and you become a good person. Do bad, selfish things and you – Well you get the idea.

If you had a drug crime go to A.A. or N.A. Consider joining or attending a religious group in the faith of your choice. When possible do volunteer work. Also, make those amends.

Consider going back to school or getting some vocational training. Completing a GED or a college degree says that you are willing to make some effort to improve yourself.

It does not look good to a prospective employer if you are ducking your child support payments and you drive on a suspended license. Get that wreckage of the past cleaned up even if that means working a really crummy job to get those fines and fees paid off.

4. Be honest on your application but do take every opportunity to be positive and explain your situation.

That question on the application – you know the one I mean. “Have you ever been convicted of a —?” Read it carefully. If the question asks for felonies do not include all the misdemeanors and parking tickets. If it asks about misdemeanors include them.

When possible put down something like “Will explain in interview.” Then make sure you have a good explanation. If you were convicted of a drug crime the prospective employer would like to hear you completed a drug treatment program and have the certificate to prove it. If there was an assault did you do the anger management or batters class you were required to do? Have you learned something from this experience and have you changed? Or are you still blaming your ex and talking about why your prison stretch is all someone else’s fault?

5. Go to the interview looking like a professional, not a prisoner.

Cover up tattoos and consider getting them removed. Avoid anything that looks gang related. The customary recommendation is to dress a little better than you would dress if you got the job. So if you are applying to work on a hog farm a suit may not be needed but do not come in for the interview looking like one of the pigs.

Have a resume if that is appropriate or a master job application. Practice interviewing. Doing well in the interview is a skill just like the other skills you need to do the work if you want to get the job.

6. If you do not get the job do not give up or get discouraged.

There are lots of people out there going for interviews. Many of them do not have a prison record. Yes, they have an advantage, but if you don’t get the job it may well not be your record that is holding you back. Do not take it personally or blame the system. Keep working on yourself and on your job skills.

I know it is hard, but many people with a criminal conviction on their records do get jobs if they are willing to do the footwork. Yes, it is difficult and it takes time.

Don’t expect miracles or overnight success. You lost a lot of time while you were locked up. You may be 40 but you can still be starting out alongside some twenty-year-olds. Do not expect to move up overnight. But if you keep on the path, then recovery and a happy life are possible no matter where you have been.

The alternative to going through the process of change and doing the hard work is to end up back in prison. Unfortunately, the system makes going back easier for most than the alternative of staying out. Some people do make it and recover. Do you want to be one of the ones who recover?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

If you’re mentally ill can you work? What profession or job for the mentally ill?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Dream job.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can the mentally ill find a meaningful career?

Lots of people with mental illness work full-time jobs and often these are in responsible positions, not just minimum wage jobs. How does someone in mental health recovery find a job in which they can be successful?

We used to think there were two kinds of people, the normal ones, and those others, the mentally ill. We have found that this is just not true. In the course of a lifetime, most people will experience a mental or emotional problem that would benefit from counseling. Some of these are serious and persistent mental illnesses and some are milder but even the most seriously mentally ill can get better, and we call this improvement, at least in my book, recovery.

Lots of people with a diagnosed mental illness can and do work. Don’t let anyone sell you the idea that once you get a diagnosis, your life is over and from now on some government person will need to run your life. You can develop the recovered life that is right for you.

People with a history of substance abuse issues can and do recover also. So do those with multiple challenges. If you have a history of arrest and incarceration do not give up. People with felonies on their records do recover and get their life back on track. You can work again. More on that in a future post.

What factor is most likely to result in a person who has had an episode of mental illness symptoms being able to work again?

It is all about the job fit.

The most important factor is not the presence or absence of a mental illness, but how do this person’s interest and abilities match up with the job regardless of their mental health challenges. The interaction between the job and that person’s mental illness is secondary.

Someone who is shy is not likely to enjoy a job in which they need to interact with lots of people directly. Occasionally there is a shy person who is great as an on-stage entertainer even when they are shy off stage and in small groups. Being shy may interfere with the ability to enjoy the job but a moderately shy person may take the job anyway.

If that person’s shyness has crossed the boundary and has become a diagnosable anxiety disorder that person may not simply dislike the job but may dread it so much that they throw up each day when getting ready to leave for work. They may have anxiety attacks on the job and spend all day in the bathroom or stop showing up for work altogether.

This is not the right job for them! This does not mean they can’t find a job that is a good fit. They also may be able to work on this shy anxiety problem they have so that the range of jobs they would enjoy expands.

Some people are very social. They like being around others. They crave the interaction and the attention of others. That person may be great in sales. They could do well selling real estate, jewelry, furniture or cars. That same person, say they are a recovering alcoholic would be miserable working in a bar or selling alcoholic beverages. Every day at work would be a relapse risk for that recovering person.

Working again after an episode of mental illness requires learning to manage your symptoms, finding a job that is a good fit for you and having a support system on and off the job that wants you to succeed.

Yes, there are plenty of people with Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder and the like who have good, responsible jobs. Don’t let anyone tell you that recovery is not possible. It is! You need to decide for yourself what your recovery will look like and take an active role in creating that future.

Best wishes for creating your happy life. whatever that may mean to you.

Tomorrow we talk about “so you have been convicted of a crime, you will never get a job again right?” Not so. There is recovery after all sorts of things.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How can you tell if a therapist is Christian or non-/Christian?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Religious cemetery.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Christian or Non-Christian?

Religious Symbols

Religious Symbols.

When this question turned up in the search terms for my blog I had to think about this subject for a while.

It seems like a simple question, but it is not. After a lot of mulling this over, I concluded there might be four reasons the person was typing this into a search engine. If I knew what country it came from that might help, but then maybe not. Here are my thoughts for what they are worth.

Today in America a large number, possibly the majority of people, describe themselves as “Spiritual, not Religious.” When asked for a religious preference, my experience has been that the majority of people here in my area will say “Christian” despite having no particular denomination in mind and not having attended services in a long time.

So what might this searcher have in mind by asking this particular question? I thought of four possibilities and they are below.

Remember in the course of this discussion, that counselors are professionals and they want to earn a living. They may prefer to work with a particular population, but most can and do work with people of all faiths. It would be considered unethical to engage a client in counseling and then move from helping them with their problems to trying to convert them to your particular faith. But sometimes that does happen.

So why would you ask about the counselor’s religion?

1. You want a counselor that shared your religious values.

If this is the case I think the question might need to be more specific. Many counselors include in their advertising that they are or practice “Christian Counseling.” Some additionally will advertise that they specialize in working with a particular denomination.

I have seen therapist include in their ads that they work with those of a particular faith, say Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons or from a Fundamentalist Christian perspective.

If this is your concern, I suggest that you begin your first contact with the therapist by telling them you are a member of “X” denomination and that you would like to find a counselor who has the same beliefs as you.

Most are likely to tell you that they work with clients of all faiths and that they see nothing in their approach that should conflict with your spiritual values. If you still feel the need for a counselor of a particular faith, say so and they should be willing to make a referral.

2. You are  “Spiritual” and do not want a counselor who needs to convert you.

In this case, avoid counselors who list in their ads a particular faith and tell them up front that being pressured in a religious way makes you uncomfortable. Can they deal with that? If they say that they believe that your problems would all be solved if you just attended their church, mosque, temple or whatever, move on.

3. You are of a non-Christian faith and are concerned about discrimination.

Counselors have a duty to maintain confidentiality. It is not just an ethical duty but a legal one also. You would think that they would all rigorously avoid talking about clients outside the session. I wish I could tell you that no counselor ever does this. Unfortunately, some do reveal clients secrets.

Every semester when I teach some student comes up after class to ask me about confidentiality. Way too often they have a story to tell about how they or someone they know went to see a counselor and then what they said got out.

So if you are a member of a non-Christian faith, ask other members of your faith who they have seen and see if there is someone who is open to working with you rather than focusing on changing your religious views. This also applies if you consider yourself Christian but your particular denomination has some different beliefs or practices that others might label “a cult.”

There was a time when counselors, especially those of particular religions tried to convert every Gay person to become a heterosexual. That has largely passed, there are openly Gay therapists and there are plenty of straight counselors who work with Gay clients without trying to change them.

I think there are lots of counselors who are willing to work with clients of any and all religions.

4. You are looking to find non-Christian counselors to warn others not to see them.

This reason to me is the most dangerous. I remember a time when there was a belief that no one would vote for or do business with a Catholic because they were “Popest’s.” I think we are largely past this issue since the election of President Kennedy. I do not think we are yet past this when it comes to some other religions.

The ability to find people of another religion and then discriminate against them because of their faith is one long-enduring feature of humans.

I think this last reason to want to know, the desire to punish those of another faith, was what prompted this particular search term use. The original form of the search was how can you tell when a therapist is non-Christian.

But then maybe I am just extra suspicious having been raised in a Sunday School where we were taught that our version of Baptist was the only true Christians and that those Southern Baptists had been led astray by the devil into false beliefs. But then what do I know?

The relationship between your religion, the counselor’s religion and the needs of both of you to talk about religion or not talk as a part of therapy, are just one more factor that influences the relationship between you and your therapist. And counseling is all about the relationship.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.