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Therapy + Theology with Carley Marcouillier

with Carley Marcouillier

Redefining Family This Holiday Season

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I cannot believe Christmas is around the corner and as I have been discussing with many of my client’s lately, with the holidays comes both excitement for rest but also some unpleasant realities of our family relationships.

I often ask this question when meeting new clients: “describe your family in three words.” This quick exercise gives me a broad view of the family dynamics impacting my client’s perspective.

In this episode, I want to explore our family origins and how those dynamics may be impacting us, especially during the holidays. I hope this will provide some encouragement for you to take into this Christmas season.

Questions We Talk through In This Episode:

1. What are the “messages” you grew up hearing?

Messages are simply information via words or behaviors that convey values, expectations, and rules within an interaction.

For example: a family message growing could be something like: “success is found in a good career” or ``emotions are a sign of weakness” or “don’t trust people,” etc.

The messages we receive from our father and mother in many ways are the foundation for our core beliefs of self.

2. What messages have negatively impacted you? What do you believe about yourself based on those messages you grew up hearing?

Oftentimes we need to go back to go forward in our family relationships. Reflecting on the unhealed wounds and acknowledging the beliefs they have created in our hearts.

But we cannot stop there...

If we did, we would most likely become bitter towards those who have carelessly hurt us and lose hope in the possibility of having a sense of belonging that family gives us.

Next Steps to Take toward Healing:

1. Turn to God’s Word: As you reflect on the messages of your family of origin and the experiences that have shaped your perspective throughout life - how do they contrast with God’s fatherly language throughout scripture?

2. Remember You Belong to God’s Family: Whether you have close family or if you have lost loved ones, been hurt or abused by those who were supposed to be protective and trustworthy, I want you to know, despite it all, you are deeply loved and invited into a new kind of belonging within the family of God.
3. Who Has God Entrusted to You? What does it look like to love those around us and invite them into the family of God so that they too can experience the hope, peace, joy, and love that we are celebrating this Christmas?

I want to close with a letter I wrote some time ago as a reminder of God’s fatherly affection and I pray it will be a reminder for you as well this Christmas!

My child,
You are so precious to me (Isaiah 43) don't ever doubt how much I love you. Beloved, your life is valuable (Luke 12:15) and I never want you to forget that I have great plans for your life (Psalm 138, Philippians 1:6). Remember, I am with you always so stay strong and claim courage (Joshua 1:9). My sweet girl, I am so proud to be your Father, and I delight in your heart (Psalm 149:4, Zephaniah 3:17). Despite how this world may treat you, remember that nothing can separate you from my love (Romans 8:38-39). I cannot wait to have you home with me one day, but until then, hold tightly to my hand and walk with me daily (john 15:4).

I am with you always,

Your Heavenly Father

Verses for Study:
Matthew 12:46-50; John 1:12-13; Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26-29; Revelation 7:9; John 13:34-35

Resources Mentioned:
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December 15, 2021
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Meet Your Host
A northerner by heart and southerner by choice, Carley currently calls Virginia her home. After completing her Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, Carley began to develop a passion for integrating the principles of counseling practice with the foundation of Christian theology. In addition to her clinical work, Carley is passionate about discussing topics of faith, theology, psychology, and everything in between on her social media platforms:

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Do you have a question or topic you want to be discussed on a future Q+A episode? Carley would love to hear from you! Record your message here, and Carley just might answer it on the next episode!
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