Celebrating Continuous National and International Certification and Education 1995-Present

Sept. - October Newsletter 2003
Home | Membership & Certification | Certification and License | Education | AACT LIFE COACH | Domestic Violence Specialist Certification | BECOME ACCREDITED BY THE AACT | Certified Academic Institution: Links | BECOME A DAYSPRING CHAPLAIN | AACT Advisory and DILN Chaplaincy Boards | FORMS | Renewal Form | Contact the AACT

bird3.gif

September - October Newsletter

image001.gif

IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO WERE LOST
image002.jpg
ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001... REMEMBER THE FAMILIES IN PRAYER



UNDERSTANDING AND TREATING

THE LESBIAN CLIENT

By Andria L. Sigler-Smalz, Clinical Pastoral Counselor 

Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapist, AACT

Why the Term Lesbian 

Recently, I was asked to critique an assessment tool used to measure change among individuals who had utilized psychotherapy to move from homosexuality to heterosexuality.  

In the first draft of the assessment's interview form, the questions appeared primarily oriented toward male homosexuals. Women responding to the questions as formulated would have measured a higher degree of change than actually achieved. The questions truly reflected an assumption that male and female homosexuality are essentially the same, and simply involve same-gender, physical and sexual attraction.  

While there may be etiological similarities in male and female homosexuality, there are gender-specific differences in the nature of these problems and in their outward manifestations. The gay community itself recognizes these differences. For this reason, many women prefer to be referred to as "lesbian" instead of "gay" or homosexual, and the popular public service organization is called "The Gay and Lesbian Center." 

Characteristics of Lesbian Relationships 

Recognizing that there are exceptions to the common psychodynamics, I will briefly describe some of the distinct characteristics of female homosexual relationships.  

The first--reflecting a basic difference between men and women--is that sex and sexual attraction are not necessarily key components of lesbian relationships. In many instances, the role of sex is minor and occasionally, non-existent. Instead, the physical activity more highly valued is holding and affection. In the cases where sex is a critical component, it is because of the emotional intimacy that it symbolizes. The propelling drive in the lesbian relationship is the woman's same-sex emotional and nurturing deficits, and these deficits are generally not sexualized to the same degree as seen in male homosexuality. For the female homosexual, "emotional attraction" plays a more critical role than does sexual attraction. 

Next, within these relationships there appears to be a capacity for particularly strong attachment. However, a closer look reveals behaviors that indicate a fragile relational bond ridden with fear and anxiety. Core conflicts are evidenced in recurrent themes related to identity formation. For example, we see fears of abandonment and/or engulfment, struggles involving power (or powerlessness) and control, and desires to merge with another person to obtain a sense of security and significance. 

Female relationships lean toward social exclusivity rather than inclusivity and it is not unusual for a lesbian couple to increasingly reduce contact with family members and previous friends. This gradual withdrawal serves to insure control, and protects against separateness and perceived threats to their fragile bond. 

While lesbian partnerships generally are of longer duration then male relationships, they tend to be fraught with emotional intensity and held together by the "glue" of jealousy, over-possessiveness and various manipulative behaviors. During the course of the relationship, the "highs" are very high, and the times of conflict, extreme. Excessive time together, frequent telephoning, disproportionate card or gift-giving, hastily moving in together or merging finances, are some of the ways separateness is defended against. In such relationships, we see the counterfeit of healthy attachment--that is, emotional dependency and over-enmeshment. 

It is not uncommon for lesbian lovers to have a "can't live, if living is without you" kind of feeling toward each other. A client once said to me, "I don't know how I would live without her. Before she came into my life, I was so empty. Now she is my life."  

There is often a desperate quality to the emotional attraction in women that struggle with lesbianism. One client, who recognized that her lesbian relationships re-enacted her need for maternal love, explained to me, "When I meet a woman that I feel drawn to, it is as if a place inside me is saying, 'Will you be my mommy?' It is a compelling and powerful feeling, and a helpless one. Suddenly, I feel little. I want to be noticed by her, I want to be special to her, and that want takes over my mind." 

Another client shared with me what it felt like during times of separation from her lesbian girlfriend. She said, "I remember feeling this terrible feeling--this gnawing, anxious feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. This is the same feeling I had as a child whenever I had to be away from home, or on the rare occasion Iwould attend a sleepover. The other girls would be having a blast, but all I wanted was to be home. It was always so hard to leave my mother." 
 
Gender Identity and Lesbianism 

What is easily observed among the lesbian population is a broad divergence of gender traits and outward appearances. Just as there are (paradoxically) heterosexually oriented women who are not "at ease" in their femininity, so too, are there homosexually oriented women who enjoy being a woman and are highly feminine in appearance. I say this to dispel common thinking that a "boyish" appearance or the enjoyment of traditionally non-feminine activities equals lesbianism.  

Gender identity has to do with a woman's comfort with herself as a female person, her level of ease in relating and identifying with other women, and the extent of her freedom-of-choice regarding feminine-oriented activities. Lesbianism is about a woman's same-gender preference for fulfillment of unconscious psychological longings and her fear of intimate connection with the opposite sex.  

In lesbianism, a woman is developmentally "stuck," and therefore unable to move forward into healthy heterosexuality. However, when and how healthy development is thwarted would influence the degree of gender-identity problems experienced.  

Anti-Male Attitudes 

Some lesbian women experience negative feelings and inner conflicts when relating to men, and this contributes to their inability to embrace heterosexuality. In addition, some strongly identify with radical feminism.  

Women may be seen as gifted and desirable, while men are viewed as inferior, sex-crazed and somewhat useless. Describing a scene of a man and woman with their arms around one another at a baseball game, one lesbian client said, "It was so disgusting. All I could think was, 'What does she see in him, and how could she let him touch her!'" 

It is not uncommon for those who have been involved in the lesbian lifestyle for a long period of time, to increasingly experience an aversion to heterosexual relating.  

Treatment Considerations 

In order to treat the lesbian client who desires to embrace the change process, it is important to view her individually and to assess her as a whole person. Most importantly, the therapist must assess her personality organization. For example, does she have the separation-individuation conflicts of a borderline, the fragile self-esteem of a narcissist, or the attachment fears of a schizoid? Understanding the core conflicts will provide the therapist with the meaning behind her behaviors. With this information, it is possible to proceed utilizing appropriate interventions for this particular client.  

Also important to notice is the degree of the client's compulsive or obsessive feelings, thoughts and behaviors. The higher the compulsivity, the more anxiety and/or depression may surface as the client begins to separate from her lesbian partner or chooses to not "act out" their same-sex emotional attractions. This is often the most difficult part of treatment and strongly resembles the treatment required with a person struggling with substance addiction. 

The gender of the therapist is critical; however, the lesbian client typically handles that concern herself, as her emotional attraction guides her to a woman therapist in the selection process. Over time, the client

will attempt to act out, with the therapist, the same themes she enacted with her lesbian partners. For this reason, the therapist should demonstrate a relational but boundaried style, and an ability to differentiate between providing appropriate care and gratifying the client's wishes. Effective utilization of the transference and counter-transference within the client-therapist relationship will provide the most healing interventions. 

The client's gender-identity issues should be understood by the therapist prior to initiating discussion about them. Understanding the meaning behind the client's personal appearance can help determine if and when this topic will be approached. For example, as a child, did she "defensively detach" from her mother as a way of protecting from further (real or perceived) rejection? Are there some cultural influences? Is the client defending from male advances due to past sexual abuse? 

Other essential interventions may include spiritual support, monitoring of depression, offering practical relationship skills, and encouraging the client to cultivate a support system in addition to her therapy.  

The duration of treatment is generally of a long-term nature, and many benefit from two to three sessions per week, depending on the level of functioning of the client. Therapists who travel frequently, who know in advance they will not be able to continue the therapeutic relationship (i.e., they plan to relocate or leave practice), or are experiencing their own personal crises, should consider carefully before accepting such a client. Therapist reliability and consistency are important elements in treating the female homosexual. 

Prognosis 

As in treatment of any kind, success is dependent upon many factors. Some of the factors are within the client's control--such as her motivation and determination to change, her regular attendance at sessions, and her cooperation with treatment. Other important factors determining rate of success involve characteristics of the therapist. The therapist should be capable of attachment, be well-differentiated, and have adequate skills and experience, or at least qualified supervision. Other considerations for prognosis include the client's age, history, personality organization and overall level of functioning. 

In my work with women, I have found it to be a slow and arduous process. However, the work contains its own rewards. It is always a privilege to assist a client on her journey to becoming a healthier person and I often find myself inspired by the determination of my clients. 

Because the lesbian struggle is a symptom of a woman's inner pain and conflicts, attaining the capacity for healthy same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relating is a manifestation of inner healing and growth. Many lesbian women who desire change will fully realize their goals. And even those who are elsewhere on the "success continuum" will grow and change through therapy, experiencing greater self-understanding and sense of personal wholeness.

Permission is granted to place the article from Staying the Course called "Understanding and Treating the Lesbian Client" by Andrea Sigler-Smalz on the website of the American Association of Christian Therapists. This permission is valid until February 28, 2004.  "Used by permission. All rights reserved."
 
Barbara D. Porter
Permissions Assistant
Permissions Office, Abingdon Press
201 Eighth Ave. South
Nashville TN 37202
Ph: 615-749-6268
Fax: 615-749-6128

linkleads_lg.gif

drcaro2.jpg
Dr. Carol Humphreys

  Dr. Carol Marie Humphreys
Doctor of Theology in Christian Psychology
Licensed Professional Christian Therapist

 

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

I have a Doctor of Theology in Christian Psychology, and also spent over 7-1/2 years researching and writing on the origins of religions.  My work is as an Individual, Couples and Family Counselor.  So, most of the articles I write are about improving communication, enriching relationships, or regarding the research I have done.  However, things in the news lately have been so disturbing to me that I am putting myself out on a limb here into a volatile subject.  It is not easy to write something that will undoubtedly gain me adverse reactions!  But, I feel so strongly about this matter that I feel it is really vital to share!

This nation has become so politically correct and so sensitive to the beliefs of others that it seems many are also willing to do this to the exclusion of standing up for their own beliefs, or how this nation was founded.  While I believe in being sensitive to others, there is certainly a line we need to draw as to when it is sensitivity and when it is giving up our own ethics!

As most of the citizens of this country know, a court in California which covers most of the west coast states, recently ruled that children in public schools could no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it has the words Under God in it and this is not going along with separation of church and state.  This has come thankfully under much fire and the ruling is on hold for the moment. (I am proud of our nations leaders for going outside and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance emphasizing Under God)!   But now, the same person who challenged the Pledge of Allegiance is trying to get the words So help me God stricken from the oath of office that the new President takes when he comes into office. 

I also noticed that in a news interview with people on the street most felt that if these words in the Pledge of Allegiance insulted the beliefs of others, Under God should be removed!  This was very disturbing to me!  If this happens, how long will it be before we can no longer sing God Bless America or America, the Beautiful The Star-Spangled Banner, America, etc. because they speak of God?  How long before the dollar bills In God We Trust are changed?

                Separation of church and state was initiated by our forefathers in this country to prevent any one religion from ruling others as it had for over a thousand years!  This was also to prevent the government from running any part of religions!  This was not to prevent this nation from having God as its foundation!  I certainly believe in the separation of church and state in that I do not want the state making any rule regarding the conscience of religion, or any religion doing the same.  But I do not believe in throwing God out of state to uphold it!

           The word God is the broadest, most all-encompassing, yet least specific word that covers our concept of God.  This can be used for many different religious beliefs of God, and perhaps this is why the founders of our country used other words to describe Him in addition or other than God such as Divine Providence, Sovereign, and Redeemer as a few examples. 

             I have had people tell me that there are so many differences in the way people think of God that perhaps my God and their God are different, so we shouldnt use God.  They say that since the founders of our country made some other mistakes, we should not continue just because they made these decisions.  Well, we cant please all the people all of the time!  We are free to think of God in the manner in which we believe in Him, or free to NOT believe in Him.  What I do NOT want is to be forced into leaving Him out, either!  Do you see?  We who believe in God wish to continue to allow freedom as God has allowed us!  He does not force anyone to follow His way, but the people who do not believe in God want to force us to leave Him out! 

            I am thankful that people who are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, even atheists are allowed to live in this country and be free to pursue the dictates of their own consciences.  They are also free to sing other songs, not say the words Under God if they do not want!  But, I resent them trying to change the history of our country!  I resent them trying to change what this country has always stood for a country that was founded upon principles and morals of God!  I resent them being allowed under the guise of popularity or promoting sensitivity to have other religious aspects promoted in our schools when the God this country was founded upon is not!  I resent them trying to PREVENT me from saying Under God, etc.!

            This nation was founded mostly by those who believe in the God of Heaven.  They never meant to exclude God or they would not have put Him so prevalently into our society!  They spoke readily and with great appreciation of God!  But, they wanted all people to be able to worship as their conscience dictates - freely!  It does NOT mean that we CATER to other religions, or EXCLUDE God from our nation because others believe differently! 

                I would not go into India and insist that Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu be taken out of prominent places in that country because I am a Christian and that is insensitive to my beliefs to have these prominently displayed!  While India and the USA are very different countries in the way the government is set up, hopefully the point is made our country was founded, not on any religion, but on God!  We should not allow political correctness to take God out of a country that was set up to include Him! 

If we let the atheists convince our courts to go along with what is being asked, soon the dollar will be revamped to exclude God perhaps they will want In political correctness we trust or In everything [or nothing] we trust. 

           Have you noticed that every other belief except that of the God of Heaven seems to be accepted?  They are brought into the schools and other areas under the guise of cultural sensitivity or exercises but in fact are either full of religion, or tied into it.  However, the minute the Bible, God or Jesus are brought up, these are met with a reaction that is not only negative, but sometimes filled with anger!  We are told in 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  Do you see this happening?  I certainly do!  He is using anger, humiliation, whatever he can to attempt to weaken the faith.  Satan is crafty trying to make it seem as if we who argue against these things are being insensitive, fanatical, unreasonable, almost as if WE are lacking in moral fiber for trying to force our beliefs upon others, when in fact they are trying to force ours out and their own agenda in.

                If there is any question that our country WAS founded upon God, please allow me to share some quotes from our forefathers

                Id like to start with a portion of the Declaration of Independence When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  Note Natures God and their Creator. 

On July 2, 1776, when the vote was taken to declare independence, Samuel Adams said:  We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient.  He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.

In John Quincy Adams speech commemorating the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1837, he said:  the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemers mission (I)t laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity

While not all people in this country were Christians when the Declaration of Independence was signed in fact it was about 2/3, the rights of the non-Christians were guaranteed as well.  They always have been!  That does not change the fact that the country WAS founded upon principles of God and Christianity!

Perhaps the challenges to the foundation of this country have been made throughout time, but never have the attacks been as prevalent as in the last 40-50 years.  History has seemingly been changed in the eyes of many so that Id be surprised if you had heard all the following quotes!  But, when you finish reading them, I hope that while you will still allow anyone their right to their own choices of conscience, perhaps those who do believe in the God of Heaven will stand up and say:  No, we do not want our history changed we do not want others to prevent our right to have God in our country just because it might hurt someone elses sensitivities.  Life is such that not everything is going to go our way!  I certainly do not advocate insulting others, or ever saying something to intentionally hurt or harm another!!!  But, I WILL stand up for what I believe in, whether others like it or not!

Here are some more quotes -

                "It cannot be emphasized to strongly or to often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" [sic] Patrick Henry

                I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.  Thomas Jefferson

                Posterity!  You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!  I hope you will make a good use of it.  If you do not, I shall repent it in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.  John Adams

                "It is the duty of nations ... to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed, whose God is the Lord."  Abraham Lincoln

                "All societies of men must be governed is some way or other. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet."  Robert Winthrop

                "Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever."  Thomas Jefferson

                "I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house (the White House) and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!"  John Adams (Oh, would he roll over in his grave if he knew what was to come)!

                It is now true that this is God's Country, if equal rightsa fair start and an equal chance in the race of life are everywhere secured to all."  Rutherford B. Hayes

                The Mayflower Compact said:  for the Glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.

                "It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially, a Bible reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."  Horace Greely

                All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ result in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.  Grover Cleveland

                It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nations humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence.  Franklin Pierce

                "The foundation of our society and our government rests so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."  Calvin Coolidge

                The first written constitution in American was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut which said:  The Word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such people, there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God.

                "... education is useless without the Bible."  Noah Webster

                The New England Confederation of May 19, 1643 said:  advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace.

                Regarding education of children, John Locke said: "There ought very early to be imprinted on his mind a true notion of God, as the independent Supreme Being, Author and Maker of all things, from whom we receive all our good, and who loves and gives us all things... (T)he Lord's prayer, the creeds, and Ten Commandments, tis necessary he should learn perfectly by heart."

                The Rhode Island Charter of 1683 began with:  "We submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to all those perfect and most absolute laws Hes given to us in His Holy Word."

                One of the rallying cries of the American Revolution was No King but King Jesus.

                George Washington stated:  "To the distinguished character of a Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian."

                "How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understanding. In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered... I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. And, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aide? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that, 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.' ... I firmly believe this ... I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this Assembly every morning." (Voluntary daily prayers were instituted thereafter)  Benjamin Franklin

                For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the Finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.  Alexander Hamilton

                "No people can be found to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States... We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a Nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right Heaven itself ordained." (Inaugural Address of George Washington, April 30, 1789)

                This is quite lengthy, but hopefully you now have a good idea of the intents of our countrys leaders throughout this nations history to reject religious rule, but be founded upon God!  There IS a huge difference!  And, whether others like it or not, this is history!  This is OUR history!  Lets stand up and prevent our history from being changed!  Lets stand up for GOD!

               

 

 

bark2802.jpg
Dr. Gary Barkman, President, AACT

Words from our President

Greetings in the Lord's Name.

Greetings from your President.  I greet you in the middle of our 8th year of existence... Truly God has blessed us with our growth and we are here to stay.  I trust that Jesus Christ has continued to be the center of your counseling ministry.  Only in this way can we truly be Christocentric counselors and therapists. 

Since our last newsletter positive change has continued to be the order of the day.  I will write about some of the changes in this newsletter.  I thank God for his increase to our great and growing association. I wish to share with you about our work with seminaries and colleges, Our change in Board Members and the CRB.. Certification Review Board,  my work with different denominations, my change in spiritual covering.  I will also hope to share with you some of our vision for the next few years.

The area of growth that I am excited about is the addition of an AACT group email.  Persons who inquire about and join AACT are placed on that email.  If you wish to be a part please contact us at aactonline@eml.cc.  We will happily sign you up.  We share prayer requests, case studies, methods... and many other helps for the Christian Counselor and Therapist.

WORK WITH SEMINARIES AND COLLEGES

Currently we are in discussion with a University in Mexico City, Mexico to work with them for both of our betterment.  This will give them more crebility to be joined with a United States College.  It will Give us a boost to be associated with a University...We have communicated with various seminaries and colleges about them recommending their students to the AACT for their certification and license.  We feel that our best advertising is word of mouth and the best word of mouth comes from your leaders at school.  We are working with  three to four schools, and searching for more schools, awarding them the title Certified Academic Institution.  If you know of a school or are head of one and wish to associate your school with AACT please call our office or email us.

RENEWAL FORMS WILL BE MAILED A MONTH BEFORE THE END OF EACH QUARTER FOR THOSE NEEDING TO RENEW BY THE END OF THE QUARTER DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR RENEWAL NOTICE SEND IT IN IMMEDIATELY YOU CAN THEN HAVE IT PROPERLY DISPLAYED BY YOUR ANNUAL ANNIVERSARY 

CHANGE IN SPIRITUAL COVERING

We have come under the umbrella of Dayspring Ministries International.  This is a multifaceted Association of Ministries headed by yours truly.  God has caused us to begin a fellowship to ordain ministers and cover churches.  In the growth and transition of DMI I have also taken over the Evangelical Christian Church.  This to has come under our the covering of DMI. 

HEADQUARTERS OFFICES MOVED

Last September we had just expanced our offices in Wichita Falls, Texas.  Shortly after that letter we had need to make another change.  There were two reasons we moved the offices to Granbury, Texas.  One was personal.  We needed to be near my elderly parents who lived in Granbury and we needed to be nearer an International "hub" airport.  DFW definitely meets that need.

Other news includes our the ICCT banner that has been created to place on web sites.  If you have a website lets exchange banners.  Here is a copy  of ours at the bottom of this letter.  Take a copy and put it on your web page. . 

Needless to say we are still growing and you should be a part.  We are talking to more schools and other denominations and fellowships.  We are partnering with others to spread the Gospel and assist you who are on the front lines.  PRAY FOR AACT.  SHE IS YOURS AND GODS.

So drop me an email offer suggestions spread the word be an integral part of AACTdrop in on your Website (aactonline.net) and suggest where we may head in the future This is your organization and we are growing to help you help those who trust you for Christian Counseling. Blessings to you all in your Counseling Ministry.

icctban.jpg