Do I need counselling?

What if my spouse refuses help?

We affirm your decision to find help. A first step can change directions.

Do you have questions about counselling?

Take a deep breath and remember it has happened to someone else, there is hope. You feel like your world is out of control right now and it probably is. Remember it won’t stay this way forever. Think of another time you felt overwhelmed, what did you do to handle it in a healthy way? We all handle stress differently some need to talk; some need a quiet walk, others write, you may exercise. Stay away from negative ways of handling stress. Consider your best go to response to handle stress and make sure you build this into your life.

Get help: We all need help at times. Help is not a sign of weakness, but strength. Make sure to reach out for help when you need it. Find a pastor, trusted friend, or mentor and ask for help. Let them know you are hurting and what you need from them. If your crisis is severe, you may need them to get you to the right help, counsellor, coach, intervention etc. Often in severe crisis making simple decisions is overwhelming, much less making big decisions. Make sure this person is wise and makes good choices. Help comes in many forms: a meal, someone to talk to, someone to remind you of a different perspective, a gift, (money or food), a place to stay, babysitting and many others. You need help now so accept that from someone who cares. If you have a home church this is a good starting place. Or we can connect you with one of our mentors who will help give your some guidance on-line.

Focus on Now: What needs to be done today? Don’t focus on the long term, focus on today, if that is too overwhelming, focus on the next hour. What can you do today? The thing about today is that we have enough energy for now, not enough to figure out the future and all the different scenarios. The Bible has some wisdom on this topic Mathew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Control your emotions: It is VERY easy to let emotions make your decisions in a time of crisis. Use your emotions as an indicator rather than a decision maker. Emotions are important as they are a barometer of what is going on, that being said, they can greatly lead in the wrong directions if left untamed or shut out. So the bottom line is, don’t ignore emotions but don’t let them rule your life and decisions.

Make a plan: What needs to be done immediately? Is physical safety an issue? Can you function? Do kids need caring for? Make a plan, you may need someone who cares to help with a plan. Educating yourself about your specific crisis may be part of your plan. Know what you are dealing with, but don’t assume worst case scenario.

Understand the problem. It is important to realize that every marriage or family problem involves at least two people: you and the other person. How might you have contributed to the problem? How might you need to change? What attitudes and actions need to be addressed? The more you understand the problem, and how to address it, the better prepared you are.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. Proverbs 24:3

Be comforted: Prayer and God’s word can be very comforting in crisis. Prayer is a big help. You are not alone, God cares about you and your situation. One of our prayer mentors is available for you.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Every marriage and family has problems, but sometimes those problems appear so difficult that it can seem hopeless — at least with your knowledge. You are in the right place; this website offers many resources to help strengthen families.

Marriage at each level will benefit from a FamilyLife Event; they provide tools in a fun and informative way to learn about building a strong marriage. We recommend these conferences because they are instrumental in changing lives.

The Weekend Getaway is a three day conference

A Day Together is a one day conference.

“Our Weekend Getaway brought us so much closer together. We were able to unpack baggage that prevented us from getting unified. The tools are ready to be applied right away, they are not too complicated to remember. . . Projects are so impactful!” Wife 7 yrs.

Here are four levels of problems and helpful options to consider: Basic issue – everyone experiences this level; More serious – beyond basic, not yet out of control; Desperation – Issues are constant and you feel desperate; Crisis – Crisis has hit and you don’t know which way to turn.

As you seek help, ask your pastor and close friends to pray for your family. This is a crucial time in your life and facing difficulty often requires hope and community. We believe that real hope comes from a relationship with Jesus. Click here for an explanation about how you can know Jesus.

We offer online mentoring and online prayer. Note: we encourage you to find help in your community.

For level one and level two we recommend you find someone to talk to; start with a mentor, pastor or trusted wise friend. Find for a book, video, or podcast related to your situation. Find a group to discuss what you are going through; knowing you are not alone is very helpful. Having a mentor is so helpful; often a couple who is further along in life is a great resource.  Choose wisely who to trust.

1: Basic issue – common, every marriage experiences this level. For example:

  • Difficulty in resolving conflict
  • Little or no deeper communication with spouse
  • Misunderstandings about the sexual relationship in your marriage
  • Poor financial habits
  • Young child temper tantrums or sibling rivalries

Remember that family problems are the norm, not the exception. Difficulties happen to every couple or family at some point. Find help before things get out of control.

2: More serious – beyond basic not yet out of control. For example:

  • The communication breakdown between you and your spouse is acute.
  • Not sure that the two of you are still in love.
  • Focus on priorities other than your marriage or family—jobs, hobbies, etc.
  • One of you handles most of the discipline of children.
  • Frustration is a prevailing emotion in your family.

If this list resonates with you, there is a lot of help for you. Finding someone to talk to is no longer a nice suggestion, but a significant step. Gaining a different perspective is VERY important in serious family issues. Find an older wise mentor couple or consider finding a counsellor, help may come in a couple sessions.

3: Desperation – Are you are at your wits end?

Perhaps you feel a sense of desperation that things will never change. It is definitely time for counselling. Are your issues like these?

  • Communication with your spouse ends in anger or hurt feelings
  • Physical intimacy is non-existent or nearly so
  • One or both of you think about separation or divorce
  • Issues of sex, drugs, or alcohol touch your teen’s life

These and other serious issues indicate that problems are chronic. The issue(s) are growing with time. You feel as though the problem is your constant companion. Don’t give up; there is hope. Hang in there and get help.

A Christian counsellor is trained and committed to helping you. Below we have a list of referral counsellors. This will help you know where to begin to find help for your family.

A FamilyLife event is also very helpful, refer to above note.

4: Crisis – Have you given up?

If one or both of you have given up on the marriage, we consider this a crisis, and you need to contact a counsellor immediately. Also, find a resource related to your crisis, this can help with perspective. Identify some close, wise friends to pray with and for you. We also recommend a Weekend Getaway or A Day Together at this stage. We have seen couples arrive with divorce papers ready to sign and leave ready and equipped to save their marriage.

Examples of a need for counselling immediately:

  • Separation or divorce is in process
  • An affair is active or recent
  • A teen talks of suicide
  • You are sure your teen is abusing drugs and/or alcohol

If this describes you, begin by asking a pastor for a referral to a counsellor. If your pastor is not able to refer a counsellor see our list of referral counsellors below.

We in FamilyLife have seen families at every stage find help and gain health we want to encourage you in your journey.

Find more helpful resources on our We Recommend Section

If your spouse refuses to go for counselling, go without them; you will benefit from getting help. Since you cannot control your spouse, try to respect their decision without badgering or punishing them. Take this opportunity to make personal steps toward health.

Millions of people around the world turn to prayer and the Bible as a source of help when dealing with difficult situations. Both offer comfort and the realization that you are not alone in this – there is hope and help. Remember, God is the ultimate source of help and He loves you. Give Him your hurts, confusion, and trust.  We have prayer mentors available for you.

Philippians4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Don’t give up, pray that God will change his or her heart to be open to receive help. You might want to pray specifically that God will bring someone into your spouse’s life that he or she will hear. Also, ask God to open their heart to attend a marriage conference. Here at FamilyLife we offer several events, A Weekend Getaway and A Day Together are two of our events. This can be a less intimidating, but very helpful option for getting help. There is no group interaction, just time for you and your spouse to focus on your marriage working together.

In the meantime, you need people around you that will encourage you, choose a friend, mentor, or go to counselling yourself. You might just be amazed at how things change as you focus on you! We have trained mentors available for you.

While FamilyLife is unable to provide counselling, we encourage you in your pursuit of a qualified, Christian counsellor; one who can help resolve marriage or family problems. We consider it a strength to acknowledge this need for help. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:22, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counsellors they succeed.”

STEPS TO TAKE

1. Pray for wisdom to make good decisions as you seek a Christian counsellor.

2. Seek counsel: If you belong to a church, we recommend you ask your pastor to recommend a qualified counsellor. He or she may be able to offer some direction or resources, while you find the right counsellor. Your pastor will also be praying for you during this time. If you do not attend church: ask a trusted, respected friend or use our Referral Counsellor list.

3. Look for a qualified counsellor, someone who:

  • Can provide evidence of professional counsellor training and experience;
  • Loves people and is confident that Jesus works today;
  • Is compatible with you ie. you must feel comfortable and confident the sessions are helpful.

QUESTIONS TO ASK A PROSPECTIVE COUNSELLOR

To make an informed decision, ask these questions before your appointment or discuss them during your first meeting. You may want to discuss the answers with a friend. Don’t forget to pray for God’s wisdom to make the right choice.

Ask your prospective counsellor:

  1. What is your educational and professional background?
  2. What is your approach to counselling?  Please describe this process.
  3. Do you recommend resources?
  4. Do you bring a Christian worldview into your practice? How does your faith affect your view and practice?
  5. Do you pray with those you counsel?

REMEMBER. . .

Counselling is an interactive process. It is built, established, and maintained on the basis of trust. Open and honest dialogue between a counsellor and client is critical in building trust. If you cannot establish this foundation of trust early on—if you are not confident that the counsellor will be wise, biblical, and loving in your interaction—you may need to look elsewhere.

It’s very common to have a friend facing marriage issues and be unsure how to help. Here are some tips for you:

First priority is to listen. This is a very important time to hear what they are experiencing with compassion. You can’t fix the situation but you can listen.

Be available. Through email, phone, or face to face, let them know you want to walk this journey with them as a reliable support. Offer reassurance that they are not a bother.

Help in practical ways. People in crisis need meals, childcare, groceries, etc. Being practical can be such a huge gift during a crisis.

Direct them to excellent resources. This website offers articles, blogs, online mentors, marriage events, books, and a counsellor’s list; all are great resources to help hurting couples. 

Pray for them by name. Prayer is such a powerful intervention that we have at our disposal anytime, anywhere. Pray with your friends and let them know you are praying for them at other times. Remember to be courteous; if they are not Christians, ask permission first. Respect time limits and privacy issues as you pray.

Do not tell them what to do. This is their situation, not yours.  They must make their own decisions. Your role is to offer perspective, encouragement, and empathy.

Do not badmouth the spouse. It is important not to bad mouth the spouse as you listen; this inflames emotions. If they say something negative, respond in an appropriate way without being negative yourself.

Be careful not to let their problems consume you.  Make sure you prioritize your family and your own needs as you make yourself available. It can be incredibly draining for you in your already- busy schedule. Stay balanced.

Don’t gossip. They have trusted you with their situation and you need to be worthy of that trust. Not even as a prayer request are you to share their story. It’s their story to share not yours.

Christian leader’s marriages also need help. We recommend you attend one of our FamilyLife events, see a counsellor or attend an Oasis retreat.

FamilyLife events help couples at all stages of marriage and Christian leaders are not exempt from family problems. Facing the difficulties at home and getting help is important to you, your family, and your ministry work. Check out our Weekend Getaway, look for our special pastor’s rate.

We also recommend Oasis Retreats to address the challenges, demands and transitions of ministry life. Find refreshment and the opportunity to process your ministry journey with confidential counselling, relevant teaching and group interaction.

Choose from 3 different Oasis Experiences:

Oasis Retreats

Health-Check Workshops

Individual Focused Encounters

Mentoring
Talk to a Mentor

Professional counselling not for you?

Email one of our online mentors.
Talk to a Mentor

Recommended Counsellor List

British Columbia Ontario
Sherinne Cropley – MA MFT, RCC
Cheam Centre for Counselling Therapy
39472 No. 5 Rd
Abbotsford, BC | V3G 2G3
Tel:  604-309-7910
Email: sherinne@cheamcentre.com
Website:  cheamcentre.com
Ms. Haide Giesbrecht – M.A., R.C.C.
Columbia Counselling Group
#208 – 2276 Clearbrook Road
Abbotsford, BC | V2T 5W8
Tel:  604-852-2557
Email: haide@columbiacounselling.ca
Website:  columbiacounselling.ca
Mr. Brian Klassen – M.Ed., R.C.C.
Columbia Counselling Group
#208 – 2276 Clearbrook Road
Abbotsford, BC | V2T 5W8
Tel:  604-852-2557
Email: bjklassen@telus.net
Mr. Duncan Nalos
Counsel Me: Individual and Marriage Counselling
2832 Glenshiel Dr.
Abbotsford, BC | V3G 1G7
Tel:  604-850-0250
Email: dnalos@gmail.com
Dr. Heather Smith
BEd, MEd, EdD, RCC
Break-Thru Counselling
Abbotsford, BC | V2T 6V1
Tel:  604-850-7947
Email:  hsmith@meisoc.com
Mr. Peter G White – MA, RCC
Unit 217-34334 Forrest Terrace
Abbotsford BC | V2S 1G7
Tel:  778-551-2896
Email:  pete@petergwhite.com
Website:  petergwhite.com
Kathleen Beaton, RCC, MC 
Kathleen Beaton Counselling
1988 56 St
Delta, BC | V4L 2B1
Tel:  778-863-4044
Email: kbeatoncounselling@gmail.com
Website: ca.linkedin.com/in/kathleenbeatoncounselling
Rosanne Vidotto M.Ed.
Giovanni Vidotto M.Ed.

Life Care Christian Counselling
#1-450 Yates Rd.,
Kelowna, BC | V1V 1R8
Tel: 250-762-6037
Email:  lifecarecc@shaw.ca
Mr. Jim Cornock
Lifestyle Counselling Service
21277 – 56 Ave.
Langley, BC |
Tel:  604-514-9019
Email: jdcnjc@telus.net
Mr. Brian Klassen – M.Ed., R.C.C.
9498-217 St
Langley, BC | V1M4E4
Tel:  604-716-0425
Email: bjklassen@telus.net
Ms. Natalie Dressler– MA, CCC, TITC-CT
Revive Counselling Services
11934 223 St.
Maple Ridge, BC | V2X 5Y3
Tel:  604-454-4516
Email: revivecounsellingservices@gmail.com
Website: revivecounselling.com
Mr. Kirby Hanawalt
Registered Marriage & Family Therapist
Cedar Springs Counselling
11295 Mellis Drive
Richmond, BC | V6X 1L8
1-866-213-2241 toll free or 604-244-4969
Email: kirby@cedarspringshealth.com
Mr. Dale Peters
Riverside Therapists
#133-11180 Coppersmith Place
Richmond, BC | V7A 5G8
Tel:  604-857-7202
Email: dale@youthunlimited.com
Ms. Elsje Hannah M.A, CCC, RCC
Celtic Place – A Retreat for Emotional and Spiritual Healing
380 Wright Rd
Salt Spring Island, BC | V8K 2H8
Tel: 250-931-8000 |  Toll Free: 1-877-931-8880
info@celticplace.ca
celticplace.ca
Dr. David Hawkins
Marriage Recovery Centre
Tel: 360-846-3599
drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com
MarriageRecoveryCenter.com
Mr. Eric Kolke
Garden Ministries
5671 – 176 A St.
Surrey, BC | V3S  4G8
Tel:  604-574-4013
Email:  gardenministries@telus.net
Mr. Brent Unrau
Coastal Counselling Service
9815 – 140 Street,
Surrey, BC | V3T 4M4
Tel:  604-584-4112
Email: bunrau@burden-bearers.ca
Ms. Kristiina Vuorensivu, MA, RCC
Fleetwood Counselling
Surrey, BC | 160 St. and Fraser HWY
Initial phone consultation (at no cost)
Tel:  604-809-4114
Email: fleetwoodcounselling@gmail.com
Peace Portal Alliance Church
Registered Clinical Counsellors
Peace Portal Counselling Centre
15128-27B Ave.
Surrey, BC | V4P 1P2
Tel: 604-542-2501
Email:  counselling@peaceportalalliance.com
peaceportalalliance.com/CounsellingCentre
Kathleen Beaton, RCC, MC 
Kathleen Beaton Counselling
205 – 1118 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC | V6B 6L5
Tel:  778-863-4044
Email: kbeatoncounselling@gmail.com
Website: ca.linkedin.com/in/kathleenbeatoncounselling
Ms. Sherry Maxwell
Sherry Maxwell Counselling Services
52 Georg St. N.,
Cambridge, ON | N1S 2N2
Tel:  519-621-8858
Email: sherry@sherrymaxwell.com
Ms. Nancy VanderSchaaf Ph.D.,D-CPC, CCC
1255 Commissioners Rd. W. Suite 229
London, ON | N6K 3A51
Tel:  519-318-4656
Email: nvanders@sympatico.ca
Ms. Lois Doxsee
Emerge Ministries Canada, etc.
200 Sheppard Av., First Floor
North York, ON | M9B 2X2
Tel:  519-674-5335
Email: loisdoxsee@gmail.com
Ms. Rachel Bohemier Fraser
Centre LifeSong Centre
58 Antares Drive, Level 2 Unit 2 Ottawa
Ottawa ON | K2E 7W6
Tel:  613-221-9009
Email: rachelfraser@lifesongcentre.ca
Ms. Fannie Tam
Grace Christian Counselling
Scarborough, ON |M1L 0A6
Tel: 647-309-0077
Email: fannietam3@gmail.com
Website: gracechristiancounselling.com
Ms. Estella Cheong
Toronto, ON | M1W 2N8
Email:  echeong29@yahoo.com
Ms. Judy Emmerson
53 Heathfield Cresc
Waterdown, ON | L0R 2H5.
Tel:  905-690-8981
Email: judy.emmerson@sympatico.ca
Mr. Murray Oppertshauser
Oppertshauser & Associates
279 Weber St. N., Suite 24A
Waterloo, ON | N2J 3H8
Tel:  519-888-9550
Email: careworks@sympatico.ca
Website:  careworks.ca
Alberta Saskatchewan/Manitoba
Ms. Melanie Driedger, RN, MN, MFT, CCC
Driedger Counselling and Consulting
RockyRidge NW Calgary
Tel:  587-333-0303
Email: driedgercounselling@gmail.com
also available for Skype or FaceTime sessions
Ms. Anu Chiarelli, RN, BA, MA
Monterey Park, NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6X1
Calgary, AB | T1Y 6X1
Tel:  403-285-6768
Email: anu@healingchoicescounselling.org
Website:   healingchoicescounselling.org
Dr. Simon Sheh
Pure at Heart Ministry
17711-57 Ave
Edmonton,AB | T5R 5W9
Tel:  780-429-4761
Email: simonsheh@shaw.ca
Website: drsimonsheh.com
Ms. Heather Tomes
Christian Counselling Services
617 – 3rd Ave. North
Saskatoon, SK | S7K 2J8
Tel:  306-244-9890
Email: chcounselling@sasktel.net
Carolyn O. Bergen
Bergen & Associates Counselling
105-1483 Pembina Highway
Winnipeg, MB | R3T 2C6
Tel:  204-275-1045
Email: cobergen@cobcounselling.ca
Website: BergenandAssociates.ca
Todd Sellick
Sellick and Associates
177 Lombard Ave Suite 708
Winnipeg, MB | R3B 0W5
Tel:  204-943-1377
Email: sellick.office@gmail.com
Website: Book Appointment
Ms. Bonnie Dyste, MAMFT, RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Seasons Counselling
Yorkton, SK
Tel: 778-322-9151

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