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.
"The Relentlessness of Hope"
Light is a stalker,
pursues us relentlessly,
breaks through every barrier of darkness
we erect against it.
Light and hope are the same.
Hope, like light, is everywhere. Hope permeates and inhabits everyone. Just look around. We may call it the will to live, the self-preservation instinct, the need to believe, the power of positive thinking, even the glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.
Unfortunately, we are prone at times to falling under the painful illusion that all hope is gone, such as when we have been inundated by traumatic events in our lives, perhaps consumed by personal tragedies. During such times, it can seem as if all the light has finally gone out, and we can find ourselves vulnerable to the thought that all hope is permanently lost, and we can be tempted to believe that our thoughts about this are true. Thoughts that we invest with personal belief and conviction can carry immense emotional freight. Disturbing thoughts can carry in their wake a tsunami of negative emotions, including feelings of discouragement, dread, and despair. The feeling of hopelessness can then take hold of us, and threaten to not let us go.
Most of us have been taught in our youth that we can't believe everything we read. The truth is, we also can't believe everything we think. Thoughts simply occur in our brains, like waves on an ocean. Do you remember wading out into the ocean as a child? A wave would momentarily wash over you and then subside. Our thoughts are simply like waves. Thoughts occur and subside. The challenge is to not believe everything we think. We truly do not have to invest each and every thought we have with some deep significance, as when we hear someone say, "It was just a thought."
The truth is that hope and hopelessness are not truly opposites. Hope and hopelessness do not have equal significance or equal standing in our lives. We are not required to treat hope and hopelessness the same. This is not a "six of one, half dozen of the other" kind of thing. Hope is more than a feeling. Hope is also a status. Hope is part of the ground of our very existence and being. We live in hope. Hope is our natural state of being. Even when we suddenly lose hope, unless we do something irrational and rash like bring our lives to an end, hope will pursue us, hope will stalk us, hope will track us down and reclaim us, because we belong with hope, and hope belongs in us.
Hopelessness, on the other hand, is only a feeling. Feelings are a lot like thoughts. Feelings occur, they wash over us, perhaps at times even seem to drown us, but they too subside, they pass. Feelings, like thoughts, are always temporary. Nobody has ever felt anything forever. No one has ever felt eternally hopeless.
It has often been said that "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," and that is true. It is also true that hope is a relentless force in our lives, and all we have to do is let hope stay where it belongs, as the ground beneath our feet, as the unlimited sky above us, and as the resilient and undying force of light and life within us.
Todd Matson, D.Min.
"What is freedom? It is the moment-by-moment experience
of not being run by one's own reactive mechanisms."
~ Ken McLeod, Freedom and Choice
"A powerful mental shift takes place when we stop telling ourselves why something can't happen. When we can envision a hoped-for future, we strengthen our belief that it is possible."
~ Joanna Macy, Allegiance to Life
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.
"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."
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.