A large portion of services at Cherith Counseling Center is with couples and families.
Rebuilding trust and healing from a break in the marital vow, whether an emotional affair, or the sudden discovery by a spouse of a sexual addiction on the computer, Sandra has a lot of experience working with couples to rebuild the marital relationship. In the majority of cases this is possible. It will be necessary to work through the different stages of forgiveness which include shock, anger, depression and restoration of trust.
Another aspect of marital therapy is the building of emotional and sexual compatibility. Often there are needs that differ between men and women. For example, often women do not realize the strong need for sexual fulfilment in their husbands and husbands do not realize the deep need for meaningful conversation that most women have. Much can be done to strengthen the marital relationship. Seeking professional help earlier rather than later can make all the difference. Sandra believes in keeping families together where at all possible, and will work very hard to do so. Usually this is can be done, though not always. The stakes are high and intervention may involve community resources or the involvement of a church pastor or priest.
Needs in the area of family therapy include dealing with the remarried family which is often referred to as the "blended" family. Custody arrangements can be contentious. Often, tragically, the children are caught in the middle. Professional services involve working through these issues with sensitive diplomacy and mediation between the parents. Post-divorce adjustment for both adults and children are given high priority at Cherith Counseling Center.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) requires a trauma-informed approach to counseling. Supportive listening does not cut it. The nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety suffered by individuals with PTSD require a level of expertise beyond regular counseling skills. When clinicians treat trauma like regular counseling and there is little relief, tragically suicide can be the final result as an individual despairs of ever gaining freedom over intrusive unwanted memory and terror.
Trauma therapy has been called "the brain surgery of psychotherapy".This is an area of specialty that Sandra has built over the 25 years of her clinical experience. She has hundreds of hours of post graduate training in specific techniques used to treat post trauma symptoms. The brain does not process information related to a trauma the same way it process ordinary life experiences. Instead, the intensity of the emotions of terror and helplessness overwhelm the region of the brain that stores events in narrative "history". The traumatic experience is split up into fragments of information such as the images, sounds, smells and especially bodily sensations experienced at the time of trauma. Beliefs about the event are stored with the level of comprehension held at the time of the event. Witnessing violence by a seven year old, for example, will result in beliefs about that event held by the child. These beliefs need to be reprocessed. Sandra know how to do this critical work.