Religion and Counseling
Nearly three-fourths of Americans say their whole approach to life is based on religion.
What a staggering number! We as Americans can be reluctant at times to talk about our faith or spiritual beliefs, but it is a core piece of who we are. Spirituality in the counseling setting can also be a difficult piece for individuals and therapists to work through.
As LCS grows its internship program, we see that students coming out of graduate school have little to no training or experience addressing spiritual matters in the counseling setting. The majority of traditional mental health programs do not offer courses dealing with spiritual matters. Recent statistics have shown that only 32% of psychiatrists, 33% of clinical psychologists and 46% of clinical social workers approach their whole life based on religion. You don’t have to be religious to address spiritual issues in the counseling setting. It is important that the clinician practice self-awareness when it comes to spiritual matters as everyone has their own beliefs and opinions.
LCS is a faith-based organization, and we work to meet every client where they are at both mentally and spiritually. It is important to us as clinicians to conduct a spiritual assessment of each client during intake. This is a helpful process because an individual’s spiritual beliefs can assist in improving mental health. The Journal of Black Psychology reported that, “Religiosity and spiritual beliefs appear to be essential, culturally relevant constructs for developing effective interventions to prevent suicide among African Americans.” Faith-based organizations are often where individuals turn first in seeking help. These communities offer individuals in need of a support a system that is often as essential a piece in coping with mental illness.
It is our goal at LCS to both assist our clients with spirituality in the counseling setting and to prepare the next generation of professionals to be equipped to handle spirituality in the counseling setting. Would you please consider assisting us in raising a new generation of professionals by supporting our crowdfunding program?
Click HERE to help!
12 Week Model
The School Counseling Ministry at Lutheran Counseling Services offers individual and group counseling to students enrolled in our program. In the School Counseling Ministry, we will treat students struggling with anxiety, depression, focus issues, conduct disorder, and social struggles. Our individual and group sessions will run for 12 weeks at a time in order to treat more students throughout the year.
“One in ten youth have a serious mental health problem that are severe enough to impair how they function at home, in school, or in the community” (National Center for Children in Poverty).
School is a place that all students interact with peers and adults in their life. The school setting can be a key place to identify students at risk for mental health problems.
• 11% of youth have a mood disorder
• 10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder
• 8% of youth have an anxiety disorder
Research done through the Child Mind Institute shows that 81% of students struggling with anxiety have shown a greater improvement when short-term therapy is combined with medication for anxiety. The Child Mind Institute defines short-term therapy as 12 weeks engaged in individual counseling. The School Counseling Ministry uses this 12 week model to assist students in working through issues of anxiety as well as referring to psychiatrist in the community.
The issue of mental health in students is a concern, one that LCS is seeking to meet through the School Counseling Ministry. Will you please assist us in our expansion for this ministry?
Click HERE to learn more about how you can help.
Self Harm Among Teens
Today, we are going to focus on self-harm. This is an issue among teens that we continue to see in the school setting today. It can be defined as “non-suicidal injury or harm to self”. Suicide is considered a self-harm as well, and one of the most devastating.
In fact, 90% of people who engage in self-harm do so in their teenage years. When working with a student who makes threats about self-harm there are several things that we need to understand:
There is a difference between self-harm and suicide. The majority of students who engage in self-harm behavior are not trying to kill themselves. Students report that self-harm most often feels good to them and serves as a release of emotion for them. Self- harm behaviors include: cutting, burning, punching or hitting oneself, picking at wounds, stabbing objects into skin and purposefully bruising oneself.
Self-harm can be associated with several different mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and mood disorders. One of the most staggering statistics reported by America’s Mental Health Channel was that “nearly 50% of those who engage in self-injury activities have been sexually abused.”
What can we do? The best way to respond to a teen that has confided in you about self-injury is to listen and stay calm. Some self-injuries can cause us to react in shock or judgement. The teen needs to feel understood and loved. Do not encourage the teen to make any promises to you about their behavior as this can lead to disappointment and further the behavior. Assist the teen in seeking help from a mental health professional. Seek to understand that this behavior is a symptom of a deeper problem that needs to be worked through in a mental health setting.
It is LCS’s desire to assist students and teens that suffer with issues of self-harm. Many students harm themselves for long periods of time without reaching out for assistance. Will you please consider assisting us in our School Counseling Expansion so that we can work to identify more students struggling with mental health problems?
Please click HERE to support.
Mental illness is a common struggle facing many students these days. However, there are quite a few students with mental illness that go unnoticed. 75 to 80 percent of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them. Our School Counseling Ministry seeks to identify students in our schools that are in need of these services.
One reason that students with mental illness may go unnoticed is due to the variety of ways that mental illness symptoms are shown in students. When working with mental illness in students you will see anxiety, mood disorders and conduct disorders manifest itself in many different forms. For example, we have seen students who struggle to focus their attention and often appear agitated being diagnosed with ADHD. However, after working with students displaying these symptoms and hearing their self-talk, the more appropriate diagnosis in some cases might be anxiety. Students who are struggling with anxiety can show a vast improvement when learning coping skills and how to re-frame their self-talk.
Having a counselor on staff to work with students who are having difficulties can be a blessing as it will bring a new perspective to the discussion. Would you please consider support our School Counseling Ministry Expansion so that we can assist in identifying more students in need of services?
Please click HERE to support.