Now that the New Year has come, many devote their new year’s resolution to living a healthier lifestyle.  In order to accomplish this, some transform their eating habits to include healthier, gluten free options. Others schedule in fitness workouts throughout the week.  However, the one area of health that often gets neglected is our emotional health.  Lets face it, we may not visually see our hearts on a daily basis, but our hearts play a key part in our lives.  Solomon once voiced it this way: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” (Proverbs 4:23, The Bible NIV).

What Solomon meant to say is that everything we do – our hopes, dreams, relationships, and God-given aspirations – are motivated from within.  If our hearts are hurting, most likely, we are unable to live out the potential God has placed within us.

Emmaus Road Christian Counseling is a wonderful place to find the help your heart needs.  At ERCC, you can meet weekly with one of our experienced therapists. The following is a monologue of an imaginary counseling session of a client named Kim.  From Kim’s experience, you will get to see a glimpse of a typical first session.

Confessions of a first time client:

Hi, my name is Kim, and this is the first time I’ve decided to try out therapy. Prior to my first session, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  People, media, my parents had said lots about therapy.  When I thought of therapy, I thought of a cross between Dr. Phil and Steve Harvey. I used to think therapy was for crazy people, but I realize now that’s not always the case.

It all began a year ago when my parents split after 20 years of marriage.  After that happened, I noticed I began to feel sadder than usual, had trouble sleeping at night, and lost interest in activities I used to find joy and satisfaction in.  I wasn’t myself. I knew I had to do something about it, so I called up Emmaus Road Christian Counseling Center and was immediately connected with a therapist.

On my first visit to Emmaus Road, a friendly woman greeted me at the front door, and motioned me to follow her into a room.  Inside the room was a couch facing a single chair and a few lamps and plants.  My therapist invited me to take a seat. I sat down and heaved a deep sigh of relief.  I could feel my hands wrapped around a pillow on the couch as I nervously sat at the edge of my seat, unsure of what to expect next.  My therapist took a seat across from me.

“Hi, Kim, I’m Ashley Woo, a Marriage and Family Therapist intern.  Before we begin our session, I’m going to ask you to fill out a few forms before we get started. Does that sound okay?”

I replied that it sounded good to me, and proceeded by signing the forms. One of the forms had a long list of boxes for me to check off feelings and behaviors. I made sure to check off the boxes about my sudden loss of interest and poor sleeping patterns.

After I signed all the documents, my therapist asked me why I came into therapy.  We continued our session by conversing about my thoughts and feelings around my reason for starting therapy.  From our entire first conversation, I learned there are a few things to think about before starting therapy.

First, therapy may be hard, but there are usually great gains in the process.  My therapist compared therapy to surgery. In the way a surgical procedure requires a physician to cut open a body, the therapist opens past emotional wounds throughout the therapeutic process.  Then, once the pain is understood and dealt with, the healing can take place. Things must get worse before they get better.

Secondly, I learned that it’s best to come to therapy with a goal in mind.  This goal is a specific issue you want to see improved throughout the therapeutic process.  For my own goal, I told my therapist that I wanted to be happy enough to play the piano for fun like I used to.

At the end of our 50-minute session, my therapist thanked me for coming and gave a homework assignment for me to work on by the next session. She then continued to say she’d see me next week. I smiled as I left. I couldn’t help but feel a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. While I know my life circumstances may never change, what has changed is that I now have someone I can trust and share my hurts with, and be confident that she will listen to me and give good professional advice in return.

If you’re interested in starting counseling like Kim, please contact Amanda Parrish at (909) 979-3722, or email her at: office.ercc@gmail.com to set up an appointment.