This is a weekly post (actually this is the first in a new series of posts) that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

5 Common Marriage Counseling Mistakes by Winston Smith @ CCEF

The next time you encounter a difficult couple in counseling, remember this advice: slow down, set concrete goals, get at the heart, don’t force change, and use your resources. Not only will you be better equipped for helping the man and woman who come to you for counsel, you will be less frustrated and will better understand the issues at hand.

Psychiatric vs. Psychological Evaluations: What Is the Difference? by Phil Monroe

“I think I need a psychiatric evaluation? Can you test me?” These are some of the questions I get from time to time. And they reveal an ongoing confusion about testings, assessment, evaluations, the world of psychiatry, psychology, and neurology. Interestingly, if you type in “psychiatric evaluation” into wikipedia, you actually get redirected to an entry on psychological evaluations and testing. So, let me try to differentiate a bit here:

  • For more on the concept of mental illness click here.

Please Don’t Say “All Kids Do That” to Adoptive and Foster Families by Shannon Dingle

I get the temptation to say “all kids do that.” Truly, I do. But when foster or adoptive parents like me hear that, it feels dismissive to the real grief, pain, and trauma our kids have experienced and how that history still influences their actions today. Usually when someone tells another parent “all kids do that,” the words are meant to be helpful, to soothe our nerves or encourage us in the midst of a hard parenting moment. But that’s not what your words do. Instead those words invalidate what we know to be true and minimize the extra layer of thinking that parenting kids from hard places requires.

In Love and Marriage, Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect by Scott M. Stanley, Ph.D. (Report on Longitudinal Study from University of Virginia)

While more experience is often beneficial in life, the story looks different when it comes to some types of experience before marriage. In our Before “I Do” report, we surveyed a national longitudinal sample of young adults about their love lives prior to marriage to examine factors associated with future marital quality. We found that having more sexual and cohabiting partners before marriage is associated with lower relationship quality once married. In particular, having only ever lived with or had sex with one’s spouse was associated with higher marital quality. Our findings are consistent with other studies showing that cohabiting with more partners before marriage is associated with greater likelihood of divorce and that a higher number of sexual partners before marriage is associated with lower marital quality and greater likelihood of divorce.

  • For more on the subject of cohabitation click here.

Kids and Screens: The Unknown Dangers by Brenna Hick, Ph.D.

As kids are in front of screens more and more, researchers, parents, teachers, and therapists are beginning to acknowledge the consequences of that screen time. Data has emerged indicating that children’s brains are actually altered when they are exposed to screens. Not only is this impacting development and functioning, there are implications for behavior, emotions, and attitudes.

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Thanks for the Mention:

What I’m Reading:

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to the Human Experience by Jeremy Pieheart_pierrerre. The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life provides a comprehensive view of how the heart works and how Christ redeems it. Pierre’s faith-centered understanding of people combines with a Word-centered methodology to give readers a practical way to help others better understand their tough experiences and who they are in light of who Jesus is. Pierre guides readers through four key activities—reading, reflecting, relating, and renewing—that will consistently position them to understand everyday human experiences in light of Scripture.

On the Lighter Side:

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.