Welcome to Sanctuary Counseling Group

Sanctuary (n): from the Latin sanctus or holy; 1) a sacred or holy place; 2) a place of refuge or safety, a haven; 3) shelter from danger, hardship, or threat.

Sanctuary Counseling Group—formerly known as Methodist Counseling and Consultation Services—has provided mental health counseling and pastoral counseling in the greater Charlotte area and in satellite offices in cities and towns around the western piedmont of North Carolina for over 50 years. To learn more about us and the kinds of services we provide, or to find out how to make an appointment with a therapist in your geographical area, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Staff Perspectives:

"Family Soul Food: A Summer Memory"

"Turn, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." The Gospel of Matthew 3:2.

All four of us had just sat down to begin a nutritious supper, enjoying a parentally-balanced pyramid of food groups when Jeanine's selective four year old ears first heard the music. Then Marie heard it. Then Cathy and I heard it: da da da Taa ta Taa ta Taaaa - da da da Da ta da da Taa da da taaaa … Cathy and I looked at each other wearily. It was the familiar metallic ragtime chime "The Entertainer" and only one thing made that sound.

The girls leaped out of their seats and screeched in panic as I argued pointlessly: "I don't hear any ice cream truck." Then, "This is the last time I'm going to ask you to sit back down and eat your supper!" Then "Girls, we already have ice cream in the freezer - we'll give you some vanilla AND chocolate." And finally, "Girls, wait for me! Oh, I'll get some money - DON'T GO OUT IN THE STREET!" Meanwhile the girls were already out the front door frantically waving down the white van.

Both girls picked out unfamiliar circular, flat ice cream shapes on sticks. Then I saw they had old Monsters Inc. pictures of Mike Wazoxski on the wrapper. Inside each piece of ice cream glowed a fluorescent green with a smile colored on the bottom and a single gumball eye arranged near the top. I cringed but managed to hide my lips turning down. No need to spoil their fun, I thought. It was sort of repulsive - an amazing shade of green, really. Surely, I thought, this was a color even God couldn't create!

Even so, we all squeezed down cheek to cheek onto our front porch step. Reluctantly I accepted a sample from Marie. Then it got quiet as we all licked the florescent green wedges. Actually it was surprisingly creamy. Hmmm, it made my lips pucker with a nice blend of sweet and sour. Yes … Finally, Marie seemed to speak for all of us: "Thiss … iss … gooood." Slurps of agreement all around.

For a moment the speed of life slowed and then seemed to stop. I looked up and noticed beautiful amber light fading behind the shadowed houses across the street. I heard nearby crickets beginning their intense vibrating call. Lime - yes I recognized the taste. Lime. Suddenly we were just four kids with ice cream enjoying each other. I took in the sights sounds taste and new delight of my daughters. I felt full.

"Turn, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." The Gospel of Matthew 3:2.

Mark Larson, D.Min.

"We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.
If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, productive by turning all life's leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth."

~ Thomas Merton


A word for all of us who are therapists … "To listen is to lean in softly with a willingness to be changed by what we hear."

~ Mark Nepo


Resources for Pastors

Sanctuary Counseling Group recognizes the unique needs and stressors of pastors working within the pastorate as well as the needs of the pastoral family. To this end we offer a number of resources specifically for clergy

Check out the Clergy Resources page, including educational and workshop opportunities, counseling and consultation, vocational assessment, and helpful readings. Feel free to contact an SCG therapist in your geographical area for further information. As persons trained in both theology and mental health counseling—and with a high standard of confidentiality—SCG therapists are in a unique position to serve the needs of parish clergy and their families.

Remember …

"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply
good stewardship of the only gift I have,
the gift I was put on earth to offer to others."
~Parker Palmer

Support Sanctuary Counseling Group

While much of our budget is sustained by client fees, there are also a number of individuals, churches, and organizations that join with us in our ministry. Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the ministry of Sanctuary Counseling Group. Unless otherwise designated, donations will be used to help supplement the Samaritan Client Assistance Fund, helping to supplement fees for those who might not otherwise be able to afford counseling.

Please visit our Partners in Ministry page for more information or to make a contribution.


Mission Statement

Being dedicated to the healing of heart, mind, and soul, we provide excellent emotional, spiritual, and relational health care to all people of the Carolinas.

Sanctuary Counseling Group is an accredited service center of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the Samaritan Institute.