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:

"Trying Times Require Self-Care"

"These are the times that try men's souls;" women's, too.

No matter which side of the political fence you are on, no matter your affiliations or commitments, you likely are finding that these are indeed trying times because of the divisiveness in our government and in our country.

Trying times stress and strain us, sap our focus and energy, and even cause us to feel ill. Emotions run high: worry, anxiety, anger, fear, depression. Over time, these emotions exact a price on both our bodies and our minds. And it's difficult to dodge. Every minute of the day, radio, TV, and internet news are feeding us distressing news. We may feel a tug to be on one side or another. Or, perhaps we feel the need to hide from it all, pretending the dividedness and anger do not exist. But those high emotions are often in our faces and perhaps in our bodies and minds as well.

Studies show that the effects of chronic and severe stress are dramatic.

For instance, greater amounts of stress increase blood pressure and create a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. The immune system does not work as effectively in very stressed persons. Stressed individuals have a greater potential for illness and for a shorter life than do their less-stressed counterparts. Chronic and severe stress kills brain cells, makes for smaller brain cells, and erodes memory while impairing learning ability. Stress level affects the increase of fat in our bodies and helps to determine where that fat is stored. Vascular plaque deposits tend to collect in the presence of stress in spite of diet. The protective ends of chromosomes tend to be shorter and are more easily damaged if stress is constant; the effects of aging greatly increase as a result. Stress can affect the next generation of children with higher cholesterol and heart disease simply because they were born to excessively stressed parents.

What is a person to do in times like these? In whatever camp you abide, you can benefit from channeling strong emotions into useful actions like getting involved in groups that are attempting to produce useful change. This gives our emotions a constructive outlet rather than permitting them to store up inside.

It's best to back away well before stress and strain become extreme. Turn off the TV and radio. Avoid internet news. Stop using Twitter and Facebook. Stay out of political conversations; refuse people trying to nudge you to engage.

Then do something different: play with your children, listen to or play music, read an entertaining book, go to a fun movie, have a pleasurable visit with friends, play sports, sing or dance, do something on your chore list, go for a country drive, hike, swim, volunteer, or meditate. This is only a small list. Your creative mind can likely come up with many more useful ideas.

Garry Cook, LCSW
Salisbury Satellite Office

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

"If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you'll die a lot of times."

~ Dean Smith

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.