Ministering to Your Body, Soul and Spirit

Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries

    Christian Counseling and Natural Health

Counselor's Corner

Welcome! I hope you enjoy reading my blog, and I invite you to share your responses with other readers. Comments that use abusive or vulgar language will be removed. Otherwise, you are free to agree or disagree. May God richly bless you today and always! ~ Dr. Susan

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ALL YOU REALLY NEED

Posted by mercycounseling on July 16, 2018 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Let’s face it: we all want to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately, we either lack the motivation to make necessary changes or we look for it in all the wrong places. Sometimes both are true. Sometimes even knowing where to begin can elude us. Fret not, dear reader; I’m going to give you an outline garnered from my training and experience. Here’s what you need:

Something for the Spirit.

Something for the Soul.

Something for the body.

We are spiritual beings. True health and happiness has a spiritual component. As a Christian, I believe we are all created spiritual beings by God. Our spirit has needs that can only be satisfied in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. All that “stuff” we pursue—things, people, pleasure, power, wealth, recognition, accomplishment, even love—cannot satisfy the true source of our longing. We must develop a relationship with our Creator. He has the most precious love story waiting for us to read—the Holy Bible. In it God reveals Himself to us; and it is free to pursue. No one can achieve true health and happiness without a relationship with God.

We possess a soul. Closely linked with our spiritual dimension is the soul—the mind, will, and emotions. Genesis 2:7 tells us about when God created Adam, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (body), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit); and man became a living soul (with mind, will, and emotions).” Finding health and happiness also means satisfying the needs of our soul. The needs of our soul are as follows:

• The need for social networks and intellectual stimulation. To feel we have a purpose.

• The need to be responsible and make decisions. The need to know that we have what it takes.

• The need to give and receive love, and to know that we are loved.

“No man is an island” is a saying I’m sure you’ve heard. We were not created to be alone. Earthly relationships are every bit as important (but not more important) as our relationship with God. In the absence of satisfying human relationships, God is able to provide for every one of those needs.

Because people come in many temperaments with different shades of expression and responsiveness, these needs will not be met in the same way by everyone; but for these brief purposes, suffice it to say that we cannot be healthy and happy unless these needs of the soul are met in ways that are not harmful to us, our human relationships, or our relationship with God. A Christian counselor trained by the National Christian Counselors Association (www.ncca.org) can help you understand the needs of your temperament and how best to meet them.

We live in a body. We cannot be abundantly healthy and happy living in a body ravaged and malfunctioning due to neglect and disease. Neglect is a strong word when applied to the average person, but it is often true for most of us. The body has needs that must be met as well as the spirit and soul. The basic needs of the body are for air, water, food, shelter, exercise, and rest. It is the presence and quality of these that determine the level of our physical health.

• Clean air is critical for good health. Many necessary trace minerals are found in fresh air that contribute to good health. Environmental pollutants can stall your improvement or recovery. Exchange the air in your indoor environment daily. Change furnace filters and vacuum bags. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners by switching to natural alternatives. Quit smoking! The carbon monoxide you breathe while smoking renders your red blood cells useless because carbon monoxide fills the cellular receptor sites that should be carrying oxygen to every cell in the body. When you smoke, you are literally suffocating yourself!

• Water is critical for good health. Your body is 65-75% water and every biological process requires water. Dehydration is very common and an enemy of good health. Insufficient water intake inhibits biochemical processes and allows toxins to build up in the body. An individual needs about one-half his/her body weight in ounces of pure water every day. For example, a 150 lb. person would need to drink 75 oz. of water daily. More is needed during periods of excessive sweating. Steam distilled water is the best type of water to drink because it is “heavy” water, not containing minerals that mostly will not be useful to the body. In fact, it will help your body deliver appropriate minerals and carry away waste more efficiently.

• Food—obviously you need it—should be consumed in as natural a state and as wide a variety as you can get it. What you DON’T eat is very important to your health. If there is one thing that can destroy your health faster than anything else and which should be eliminated from your diet, it is this: refined sugars such as white sugar and highly processed, strained honey. Second on my list of toxic foods is other forms of highly refined carbohydrates such as white flour products and anything described as convenience food. These products have nothing of value to offer your body and are, in fact, like eating poison. They ruin your ability to digest food properly and maintain stable blood glucose. In this age of pollution, I can only really recommend organically grown fruits and vegetables and grass-fed, free roaming flesh animals, chicken, and eggs. No animals from concentrated feeding operations or fish farms, due to the filthy conditions and polluted food they are raised in and on.

• Your primary source of shelter is your skin. Please take care of it. The integrity of your skin determines how many pathogens can get into your bloodstream and cause health problems. Skin also includes the mucus membranes that line the alimentary canal from nose/mouth to anus. What you eat and drink can cause breakdown of this barrier. Highly processed food, alcohol, sugar, and drugs (both pharmaceutical and recreational) can over time cause changes in the mucus lining of the digestive tract leading to illnesses like ulcers, irritable bowel disease, food allergies, and yeast overgrowth, to name a few. Secondary sources of shelter include clothing and dwelling places. These are designed to keep you safe from the extremes of the environment. Choose and use wisely.

• Exercise is simply the requirement to move your body around from place to place. It does not mean you need to join a gym. Our bodies have muscles, tendons, and ligaments designed to put the skeleton into motion. Movement helps to keep blood flowing (veins have passive valves in them that squeeze the blood back toward the heart only through muscle contraction). The lymphatic system becomes congested with toxins in the absence of movement, because lymph doesn’t move unless we move. To be healthy, you’ve got to spend time in motion every day. Sitting around too much turns your body into a stagnant sewer that breeds weight gain, lethargy, and disease. Taking a walk is free, gets your system moving, and increases the delivery of oxygen throughout the body.

• Rest is not optional, and many people today are not getting proper rest. Humans need a minimum of 6 hours uninterrupted sleep per every 24-hour cycle to be healthy. Anything less than 6 hours has the same effect on the body as drinking alcohol—loss of cognitive function, coordination, and reflexes. Sleep cannot be banked for use later. It is a daily need. If you are not sleeping properly, it’s time to investigate why and make the changes in your lifestyle that will support this most important function.

• Sunlight, though much maligned by western medicine, is one of the primary ingredients for good health. The infrared wavelengths in unfiltered, natural sunlight striking the skin stimulate the formation of vitamin D, which is a vital nutrient. It also stimulates deep-tissue repair, formation of collagen, and is a natural antibiotic. Sunlight striking the retina of the eye aids the body in regulating the wake/sleep cycle and the production of melatonin. Sunlight is also a mood enhancer. I recommend spending time in the sun as often as possible, but protect against sunburn.

So there you have it: my list of basic must-haves for better healing and health. I encourage you to find something on this list to begin with and build from there. Choose that which you are able to sustain. Set realistic goals. This is not a one-time fix; it is a lifestyle. As the pinnacle of God’s creation, you are worth the best. I wish you abundant wisdom and success in your journey!

Susan A. Haberkorn, Ph.D.

Natural Health Coach

 

SHUT THE DOOR ON YOUR PAST AND LIVE

Posted by mercycounseling on July 9, 2018 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (2)

Old griefs, resentments, abuses, injustices, and losses can have a crippling influence on the human psyche. An inability or unwillingness to forgive the past impairs the present and darkens your prospects for a happy future.


I think about Allen, whose father constantly belittled him as a child, no matter how hard he tried or how well he did. Allen came to counseling, a man of nearly 60 and successful by any reasonable standard, in many ways still that young boy who wished only for his now dead father’s approval. He said, “I wish he could see me now.” Self-doubt and depression were his frequent companions.


Angie, a brilliant and dedicated professional at the top of her career, was crushed under the hammer of a heartless, unreasonable employer until she mentally broke down under the heavy-handed injustice. She was forced out of a career that gave meaning to her life. She is in bondage to the memory of a life and status she can no longer have. She lives with a heavy burden of bitterness and fear.


Melody was sexually molested in the church at a young age, and then again as a teen. Her parents and church leaders blamed the molestation on her. As an adult she has rejected the church and bears deep resentment toward her parents. She struggles to maintain a moral center because those who should have protected her failed to do so. The universe seems chaotic. She is angry and openly rebellious.


These are just three examples of what people face every day. You may be able to point back in time to an event that changed you in a negative way, a memory that you frequently rehearse in your mind. It’s a memory that colors your everyday world and keeps part of you stuck in the past, unable to be what you want to be. You bump up against it sometimes even if you’ve managed to keep it pushed down most of the time. If this is happening to you, it’s time to open your prison door, step through into the light, and slam that door shut behind you. You can do it!


To heal from the past will require you to change your focus, so I want to give you something else—actually someone else—to focus on. That Someone is God. You need to know that He is aware of your struggle, and He has not and will not leave you alone in your sorrow and anger.


A promise from the Lord that spans all time is given in Deuteronomy 31:6 and reiterated in Hebrews 13:5:


“Be strong and of good courage., do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”


He is the God who sees. He knows your affliction. He also knows His purpose for you. Yes, He does have a purpose for you. Your life is more than you think. It was never God’s intention that you would try to make everything work on your own. Some responsibilities do belong to you, but not all of them. Some belong to God. For example, ruling in judgment over injustice. Some things happen simply because of the fact of sin in the world—sins of others and sins of ourselves. We can barely control our own propensity to sin. We cannot control the choices of others. And while God does not force His will on anyone, that in no way nullifies the fact that he has a purpose for you. Furthermore, God does not focus on the past, and He doesn’t want you to either.


Jeremiah 29:11 reassures us that God has a plan:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”


God’s thoughts toward you are thoughts of peace. He is not angry with you. He did not punish you. He did not perpetrate evil against you. No, He wants to give you a future full of hope. If this is true, why then must we struggle? Because sin is in the world.


The good news is, God’s perspective is that the struggle has purpose. When you align your perspective with God’s perspective, you can apply those golden nuggets of wisdom that are the fruit of your struggle. Then you will have found the profound keys to your own healing, which are born of an understanding of a greater good. Romans 5:1-5 gives us God’s perspective on the good purpose for our struggles:


“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”


If you would be free of your past, you must accept that it happened and stop holding out for some miracle that will somehow make it all right. That usually doesn’t happen. You are the only one who can make a choice to walk out of your prison and slam the door behind you. The past cannot change, but you can change. You can reclaim your freedom by trusting in God and forgiving your past. Forgiveness is not meant for those who hurt you; it is meant to free you from your prison. When you forgive, you agree to accept the consequences of others’ bad behaviors (or even your own) and stamp the debt PAID. When the debt is paid, you no longer have a claim on it. It is as if it never happened. That’s what it takes to get free.


Rest in God. It is His job to avenge His children, not yours. You can move on with your life knowing that the God Who Sees will take care of the past in due time. I will leave you with a few final promises from the Word of God. In the meantime, when your mind wants to focus on past hurts, turn your eyes instead heavenward, “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”


Matthew 11:28-30—"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


Matthew 5:43-44—"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”


Psalm 37:7—"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”


Proverbs 3:5-6—"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”


Psalm 37:10—"For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.”


Hebrews 10:37--“For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.”


As you read and ponder these words, I pray that your faith in God may be like a great well of healing water for your heart and mind. I pray that you will know that the past does not define you. I pray that you will choose to shut the door on your past and live!

Susan A. Haberkorn, Ph.D.

NCCA Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

EMBRACING THE SENIOR YEARS

Posted by mercycounseling on July 7, 2018 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I am so very grateful to have reached this time in my life—the Senior or Golden years. It’s funny how my perspective transitioned over time. I remember years ago (many years!) longing for my Senior year of high school. Being that kind of Senior was much to be coveted. Then, after passing that milestone by a few short years, I would look back at the immaturity of the Senior year, being so much wiser and worldlier. In my 20s, 30s, and 40s, I worked very hard at working (and having), pushing off any thought of the coming Senior years. In those days, it felt like there was plenty of time—no need to think about growing old. It wasn’t until I woke up one day at the age of 50 that I realized I better start planning for the inevitable life to come (God willing). And here I am now at age 62, retired, secure, in reasonable and improving health, and happier than at any point in my life.

 

Retirement is one of those major life changes that brings its own set of new stressors. For most people, income goes down, often significantly. (That’s not all bad, as I have found. I find it delightful that I now receive compensation every month “just for breathing,” as I like to say! Attitude is important!) There is usually some loss of relationships since you no longer go to a workplace. Let’s face it, you spent a lot of time with those people. Even if you weren’t great friends, your workplace still constituted a major source for socialization—a very basic human need. With retirement comes a certain loss of status, especially if you closely identified with your work or your professional title. You may feel you’ve lost your purpose. Retirement reminds you that you only have so many years left to live. If retirement is thrust upon you due to circumstances beyond your control, the stress will be greater and your adjustment may be more difficult. In that case, please seek the help of a counselor.

 

The greatest piece of advice I can give anyone—no matter the age of awakening to the reality that the Senior years are coming—is this: PLAN FOR IT. This means taking the time to understand the financial implications of not having employment income. Establish and contribute to a retirement account with as much of your resources and for as long as you can. The sooner you start, the larger your nest-egg will be. Cultivate social relationships that are not workplace related. This could be through church membership or perhaps you enjoy belonging to volunteer or social service organizations. Think about what you will do with your life when you no longer make that daily commute. Pursue interests that you can carry with you into retirement. Find out what special resources and activities are available in your community for Seniors and mentally prepare to take advantage of them. (I’m having a wonderful time exercising and socializing at our local Senior Center, all for free.)


When you reach that retirement milestone, realize that there will be an adjustment period, even if you’ve done a good job planning, but especially if you haven’t. Give yourself time to grieve the losses you feel (this should be a short process if you’ve been looking forward to the day). I have to admit, it only took me two days to adjust, but they were two very intense emotional days! What helped me most was that I already knew what I would be doing and transitioned some key activities from before to after retirement. I still had purpose.


The Senior years are sometimes called the Golden years; and there are many good reasons for this. It is a time when time itself can become your friend, because you will no longer devote so much of it to the daily task of striving for money. Nor will you be quite as chained to a clock. You can catch up on your sleep. You can pursue some of those interests you’ve put off. You can slow down and know that it’s OK to slow down. You can pay attention to your aging body and give it the respect you never did as a younger person. Your health can improve! You need not be so driven by expectations and duty.


Retirement can be a time of relative freedom. However, should you feel overwhelmed, lost, fearful, depressed, anxious, or any host of other emotions that do not resolve in a few weeks or months after retiring, please seek out the help of a professional counselor.


Embrace your Senior years. May they be the best years of your life!


Susan A. Haberkorn, Ph.D.

NCCA Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

DO YOU NEED AN OIL CHANGE?

Posted by mercycounseling on June 17, 2018 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Most people understand the importance of changing the oil in their automobiles. Friction in an internal combustion engine results in debris accumulating in the oil, and, if not changed regularly, this debris can build up to such a point that damage—even destruction—to the engine may result. The oil filter’s job is to remove the dirt from the circulating oil, but eventually the filter clogs and becomes useless. That dirt has no way to escape except when the dirty oil filter and oil are removed from the vehicle.


The human body is also an internal-combustion engine with millions of metabolic transactions taking place every second of every day that we live. In the human body, our liver and kidneys are the primary organs most responsible for breaking down the accumulated “dirt”—the waste products of metabolism—so that the skin, lungs, and colon can remove those wastes from our body. When any of these organs becomes weakened, wastes are not removed efficiently, and our body becomes toxic and sick.



The human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (according to Psalm 139) to heal itself, given the proper care and nutrients; and it is quite resilient. So resilient, in fact, that it can withstand years of abuse before breaking down. But just like that auto engine whose dirty oil is allowed to clog up and destroy the engine, our bodies too eventually can be damaged and even destroyed by our own ignorant or willful neglect of its needs.


If you are noticing that you don’t feel as good as you used to, don’t have the energy, don’t sleep as well, have frequent colds, aches, and pains, are experiencing depression and anxiety, or frequent digestive upsets, you probably need the human equivalent of an oil change. That means assessing and correcting your overall diet and lifestyle and providing your body with what it needs to clear away the toxic wastes that have likely accumulated over time.

 

The goal of Natural Health Practice is to help you provide the kind of natural support your body needs to function at its best, so that the “gunk” in your system doesn’t foul up the works, and so that oxygen and nutrients will freely flow to every cell, and every cell will be able to produce life-giving energy and offload its waste byproducts efficiently.

 

If you think you need an “oil change,” contact Dr. Haberkorn for a natural health assessment at (240) 520-2713. Your body, spirit, and soul will thank you.


SKIP THE STATINS...LOVE YOUR HEART AND LIVER!

Posted by mercycounseling on June 10, 2018 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) are fraught with unwanted and dangerous side-effects. One of the worst is this: while these drugs are touted to safeguard heart health by lowering serum cholesterol levels, the opposite is actually true. One of the primary problems with these drugs is that they interfere with Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) metabolism. Why is this important? HMG CoA reductase, the enzyme that produces cholesterol, is also the enzyme that produces CoQ10, which is an essential nutrient for the production of energy and is found in highest levels in the mitochondria of heart muscle cells. Decreasing levels of CoQ10 are associated with cardiovascular disease. Hence, statin drugs may be implicated in the development or worsening of heart disease. Additionally, statin drugs cause liver and kidney disease.


Natural substances that support healthy cholesterol ratios in the blood include B Complex supplements, onion and garlic, vitamin E, CoQ10, selenium, vitamin C, grapeseed extract, and pine bark extract. Increasing essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA) and eliminating trans fats is also essential. Increasing both soluble and insoluble fiber helps to sequester excess dietary fat for elimination.


Give your heart and liver some love today and get off those statin drugs!


FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY IN MARRIAGE

Posted by mercycounseling on June 9, 2018 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)


A husband sits across from me as we discuss the stressors in his life that have contributed to his need for counseling. He tells me that he worries about money a lot, even though he has a significant salary. It seems his wife refuses to contribute any of her salary toward their mutual expenses. She believes it is biblically mandated that the husband provide for the family, leaving her free to spend “her” money on whatever she wishes. I ask if they have ever discussed a budget, and he tells me he can’t bring it up because she gets mad.


A husband refuses to add his wife to his bank account. She is a homemaker and feels humiliated that she is not given the dignity of making even the simplest financial decisions so that she can manage the household. 


A wife looks at me aghast when I suggest that she and her husband can overcome their financial difficulties by combining their resources and formulating a budget, which would include an allowance for each of them to spend as they choose. She doesn’t want him to have access to “her” money, because her former husband left her in a financial crisis.


They both hide their spending from one another, because they don't want to be told what to do.


These are just examples of what I’m seeing as a burgeoning development in marital discord. More and more couples are avoiding discussing financial matters or, if they do, they take up defensive postures that lead to more and more discord and resentment. To them, it’s easier just to not talk about it.


“We know marriages that have survived infidelity, several times over. But money is a HUGE issue,” say Jenny and Rufus Triplett, relationship experts and authors of Surviving Marriage Tips. “We have a chapter that states ‘Discuss Money or it Will Disgust You.’ This is true. When spending habits are not the same nor are saving and the way bills get paid, it causes disagreements that can turn into loud arguments that can turn into fights and deep resentment. Money is a big marriage dissolver.”


Marriage is supposed to be a partnership where “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) This becoming one flesh goes way beyond the sexual union! Both the husband and wife are to submit to one another out of reverence for God (Ephesians 5:20-21). There is a complementary equality that is to take place within the marriage bond. Husband and wife cannot become one flesh if they are at odds over money issues or have any other unresolved issues. Biblical proof of this comes from this simple question found in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” The logical conclusion is that if a couple is not in agreement, then they cannot walk together; hence, they cannot be one flesh, and the marriage is ruptured.


One obvious solution is for a husband and wife to have an open and honest discussion about their financial resources and responsibilities and to come to agreement on how, when, why, and how much money will be spent. For this to be successful, however, there must be total financial transparency, whether resources are combined or not. In addition, I believe it is critical for both partners to have the dignity of a personal allowance so that they can make small purchases without the consent of their spouse. How much this allowance should be must be subject to mutual agreement of what is realistic, given the overall budget picture. As part of this procedure, it should be agreed that neither husband nor wife will spend above a certain dollar figure over their allowance without first discussing with each other. The outworking of this arrangement will be to enhance feelings of trust and mutual respect.


Proverbs 31 gives a stellar example of what being one flesh really means in financial matters. The chapter is best known for the passage on “the virtuous wife,” which has much to say about the mutual trust and respect between a husband and wife, including the handling of finances, if you carefully read between the lines. It tells us that her husband safely trusts in her, and he will not suffer loss, because she does him good and not evil all the days of her life (vv. 11-12). He, in turn, honors his wife with the freedom to make financial decisions and implement plans for the benefit of their family. She does some of this from the proceeds of her own work (vv. 16-18, 24). There is harmony in their household. The husband has a good reputation and is able to go about his business without worry (v.23); and the wife does the same, receiving praise for her steadfastness, skill, and character (vv. 23, 28-29, 31). Such harmony, trust, and mutual respect can only come from open communication, mutual consideration and submission, and absolute transparency.


If your marriage is suffering because you and your spouse do not meet regularly to discuss financial matters, hide spending from each other, or manipulate one another with threats or actual withdrawing or withholding financial support, you need to decide if your marriage is important to you at all. Financial discord is a leading cause of divorce, but you can save your marriage through honest and open communication that leads to full agreement and financial transparency.


For help with this and other sources of marital discord, please contact Dr. Haberkorn at (240) 520-2713. In-person and online counseling sessions are available.

THE FOUNDATION OF GOOD HEALTH

Posted by mercycounseling on June 7, 2018 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

In the quest to improve your health, diet is your first line of defense. According to Dicken Weatherby, N.D., the thirteen foundations of health, in priority order, are:

1. Proper diet

2. Adequate sleep

3. Proper stress management

4. Optimal digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients

5. Adequate elimination

6. Optimal tissue minerals

7. Balanced essential fatty acids

8. Proper blood sugar regulation

9. Optimal hydration

10. Adequate vitamin levels

11. Balanced adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones

12. Good cardiovascular health

13. Balanced kidney, bladder, and immune systems

(Source: Dicken Weatherby, N.D., Signs and Symptoms Analysis from a Functional Perspective, p. 6. Bear Mountain Publishing, Jacksonville, OR, 2004.)

 


Your diet is everything you eat and drink every day. Unfortunately, the word “diet” has come to be associated with weight loss efforts; and for many people this is a very negative association. Proper diet, however, is the foundation to all good health—it is a point of beginning. It is preventative and restorative.

Every one of the thirteen foundations listed above is important to optimal health. However, in following Dr. Weatherby’s hierarchy of foundations, it does little good to try to relieve dysfunctions of any of the following twelve foundations unless you also attend to establishing a proper diet. This is because the body heals in very clear patterns. The nutrients you provide through your diet determine just how well or sick your body will be. Nutritional imbalances are the most frequent culprits in our struggle to achieve good health, and they are the underlying cause of the most common degenerative diseases: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. That is why diet is of first importance on the hierarchy of foundations.

 possible to improve or even clear dysfunctions in other body systems by correcting the diet first. When that has been accomplished, then you will be ready to move to the next phase in your wellness journey.

For a natural health assessment of your foundations of health, contact Dr. Susan Haberkorn at (240) 520-2713.


A PARENT'S SECRET WEAPON

Posted by mercycounseling on June 5, 2018 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)



If only being a parent were easy (sigh), but of course it isn't much of the time. This topic always makes me think of Proverbs 22:6, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." This presupposes that there is only one way to parent your child, but you know as well as I do that this scripture is a summary of all the complex situations inherent in child-rearing.


Christian parents naturally want to raise their children in a way pleasing to God. A search of the internet will yield thousands of resources to help you with every aspect of parenting, and I'm sure you will find many that appeal to you along with advice that you may wish to try. However, there is a snare that may trip you up: The resources--even Christian resources-- that appeal to you may not be the ones that will yield effective results when raising your child. Why? Because you and your child likely have an assortment of very different fundamental traits that guide your perceptions of yourselves and the world around you and which inevitably are revealed in the things you say and do.


I'm speaking of temperament, an inborn, God-given set of traits that are the observable manifestations of our most fundamental inner human needs--our needs for inclusion, control, and affection. The Bible makes it clear that God created each of us, and He endowed us at conception with a specific set of temperament traits through which we will attempt to meet those needs. Reading in Psalm 139, we clearly see that not only did God create us, He knew us even before we were born. Verses 13-16 state it this way: 


For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (NKJV)


The "inward parts" God created include the mind, will, and emotions (the soul); and these are the inward parts where temperament is revealed. 


Understanding your own temperament and that of your child will provide you with the "secret" weapon to unlock the causal relationships between the expression of your needs as a parent and your child's expression of his or her own needs in response to you and your instructions. Temperament counseling will teach you the "why" behind yours and your child's behavior and how to meet the inborn temperament needs of both of you within the parent-child relationship.


Any child with an age-appropriate reading ability from age 7 and up can be given a temperament assessment, with you, as the parent, the recipient of those results. Through temperament counseling, you can learn how to apply your secret weapon for more effective parenting as you "train up your child in the way he should go." 


Intrigued? Please contact Dr. Haberkorn at Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries for more information and/or an appointment at (240) 520-2713.


NATURAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS AND YOU

Posted by mercycounseling on June 1, 2018 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

by Susan Haberkorn, D.PSc.


You may have wondered, What is a natural health practitioner, anyway? The natural health practitioner may be a licensed or unlicensed health professional. She is someone who helps guide her clients to make choices based on the underlying needs of the body, soul, and spirit—choices on a hierarchy of continuous care from most natural/least invasive all the way up to referral for conventional medical interventions.


Unlicensed natural health practitioners operate legally as educators. They are not authorized to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, because those words are reserved for those associated with the American Medical Association and licensed by state medical licensing boards. This doesn’t mean, however, that consultation with a natural health practitioner is without tangible benefits. You may be wary of the pharmaceutical and surgical leanings of western medicine and the constraints of insurance policies. You may desire an alternative, natural approach to your health questions. Consulting with an unlicensed natural health practitioner may provide you with the self-empowerment you are looking for to take charge of your wellness goals.


Here are some of the many aspects of wellness your natural health professional can provide, but this is by no means exhaustive:

• Helping you identify and remove factors that may be disturbing your wellbeing. For example: eliminating sources of toxicity; improving your attitude and emotional state; and inspiring you to choose a healthier lifestyle.

• Helping you identify and evaluate healthy lifestyle and environmental factors that, if not met, may be blocking you from achieving optimal wellness. For example: your spiritual life; self-assessment; your relationship to the larger universe; fresh air; exposure to nature; clean water; sunlight; diet, nutrition, digestion, and elimination; unadulterated food; rest; exercise; socio-economic factors; culture; stress; trauma; influence of your medical history; physical and emotional stressors and trauma; toxic and harmful substances; addictions; loving and being loved; meaningful work; stages of life; and community. (Source: The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd Ed. by Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray, and Herb Joiner-Bey. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc., 2016)


The professional natural health practitioner, as counselor, will have your well-being as her over-arching commitment and concern; and she will never make you feel powerless through coercive fear tactics. Unlike the typical 8-minute facetime with medical doctors, your visits with your natural health practitioner will allow all the time you need to ask questions and understand the concepts presented. You will remain in the driver’s seat, and your decisions concerning the path you choose will continue to be yours.


Natural health professionals offer you alternatives you won’t find in doctors’ offices. In my practice at Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries, I use both subjective and objective evaluation criteria to help you find your path to optimal wellness.


If you are ready to be empowered, call a natural health professional today.


Susan Haberkorn holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Pastoral Counseling from Colorado Theological Seminary, and an advanced certificate in Natural Health Studies from New Eden School of Natural Health and Herbal Studies. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Natural Health Practices at New Eden School of Natural Health and Herbal Studies.


FINDING YOUR WAY TO FORGIVING

Posted by mercycounseling on May 31, 2018 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I frequently counsel individuals who express an inability to forgive themselves or others. Typically, I hear them say, “I can’t forgive (them or myself).” Yet God’s Word is full of the commandment to forgive. In the King James translation of the Holy Bible, I made note of the following number of occurrences of the various forms of the word forgive (see Strong’s Concordance):

Forgive: 54

Forgave: 8

Forgavest: 2

Forgiven: 42

Forgiveness: 7

Forgivenesses: 1

Forgiveth: 2

Forgiving: 4

 

Total mentions: 120

 

Clearly the topic of forgiving is an important concept from God, and the topic is fairly evenly distributed between Old and New Testament. Here is a sampling of the definitions given for various Greek (G) and Hebrew (H) words translated to some form of forgive:

 

859-G-pardon

863-G-to send forth-forgive

3722-H-cancel, pardon, purge, reconcile

5375-H-carry away, ease, forgive, pardon, spare

5483-G-pardon, freely give

5545-H-forgive, pardon, spare

5547-H-forgiveness, pardon

 

While we may cast about to find an appropriate meaning of the word “forgive” for ourselves, the scriptures provide a rich enlargement of our understanding, especially in the idea of “carrying away,” “pardon,” “send forth,“ “purge,” and “spare.” Those are the words that describe what forgiving looks like in action.

 

At the heart of the phrase, “I can’t forgive” is a lie that people tell themselves. The lie attempts to cover up the truth, which is “I won’t.” You see, we humans never lose our God-given free will; we always have a choice regarding the action we will take.

 

Here’s another lie people tell themselves about forgiving, “I just feel….” To forgive or not does not come from a feeling. As a matter of will, it is a function of the mind that leads to action.

 

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to tell them how to pray, He included this verse in what we call the Lord’s Prayer: “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus is telling us to ask God to forgive our debts (trespasses, sins) in the same way we forgive others. (Matthew 6:12) The implication is that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven by God. This is further borne up in Matthew 6:15 and Mark 11:26. But wait, the born-again believer will say, All our sins are forgiven and will not be counted against us. That also is true, yet Paul exhorts us not to use the grace of God as a foil for the liberty to continue sinning. The entire first chapter of Romans argues against continuing in sin after receiving the grace of salvation. Summarizing the whole text, Paul declares:

 

“15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16)

 

So why is it so hard to forgive?

 

Because the world tells us we have “rights,” and we want those who wrong us to pay. In this way we set ourselves up as prosecutor, judge, and jury to decide the charges, verdict, punishment, and restitution required. In doing so we usurp the role God reserves for Himself alone. Here are some scriptures to support this contention:

 

Romans 12:19: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

 

Matthew 7:2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

 

Finding your way to forgiving requires you to give up your right to judge against the one who wronged you. This goes against every fleshly desire, but it is not a fleshly issue. Forgiving is a spiritual gift given in obedience to the will of God.

 

When you forgive the one who wronged you, their wrongdoing no longer has a hold on you. So let God do the judging—it is His job. Then you can rest in His peace.

 


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