Restoration of the Heart
Weekend at North River Church of Christ
In March of this year, a group of us from Marietta, Georgia flew to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our goal was to attend a conference headed by two very influential Christian speakers whose main focus is ‘the healing of man’s heart’, John Elderdge, American Counselor and Author of the best seller “Wild at Heart” and prominent Christian therapist Dan Allender who specializes in trauma recovery and is also a professor. The name of the conference was “Restoration of the Heart“.
We saw the amazing transformation of hearts in the audience in Colorado; and we all mutually agreed halfway through how beneficial it would be to bring this gift back to our friends in Atlanta.
We called our Atlanta based event, Restoration of the Heart Workshop. A two-day focus on each person’s heart and that an intentional wrestling of each person’s unique story and subsequent wounds so that a fresh healing could take place.
Outline for Restoration of the Heart
Acknowledging and recognizing the following:
1) Your Story Matters
Each person has their own unique journey and their own unique wounds.
2) Your Wounds Matter
As much as we try to cover up our pain, and tell ourselves it wasn’t such a big deal, it really is, to God that is. God cares that we have pain.
3) Your Healing Matters
Wounds + Satans lies
You’ve made with the enemy
Agreements with the enemy for example are:
“I messed up XXX, therefore I will never be good at YYY so I shouldn’t even try.” “I don’t deserve a new chapter in my life, so I will not even hope or pray for it.”
Beginning Recovery / The Healing
Step 1.) Writing your story (600-800 words) begins the healing of the brain from damage caused by trauma, addresses wounds that have made you vulnerable to lies, so you can isolate agreements you’ve made with the enemy
Step 2.) Invite Jesus into your wounds by praying with authority against those agreements.
Step 3.) Seek professional help if you get stuck.
Step 4) Find healing in the cross, the blood of Christ and the power of the resurrection!
The feedback from the event was incredible. Since we were unable to accept all who wanted to make the event (seating was limited). A second event will be planned soon to reach those who wish to see real change in their lives recovering from past pains.
Steve Brand is a psychotherapist with over 25,000 clinical hours and travel the United States for Marriage Crisis Counseling. He has a marriage counseling practice in Historic Roswell and is accepting new clients .
Have you considered your worth lately?
Our worth is not based on what we do, which life path we choose, or what we believe. Our worth is inherent in the fact that we are image bearers of the living God. Our worth is based on the fact that we are alive. We are human beings. Our worth is immeasurable.
Do you believe this?
Where do people tend to get their self worth today?
Jon Acuff, NY Best Seller, said recently in Facebook Live Video, “you are enough.” Jon explained, “Sometimes we fall into this trap because we start to comparing what we are doing to what other people are doing. You see the internet is really fascinating, we’ve always struggled with the idea that that the grass is greener is on the other side of the fence. But now because of social media we have access to 10 million backyards, we have a lot of fences we can look over at and go ‘wow their life is perfect, mine isn’t’”.
Consider who holds your measuring stick.
Is it your social circle?
Is it your workplace peers?
Is it your friends at church?
Letting others decide our value may feel rewarding in the short term. But what happens when we disappoint them (trust me that day will come)? What happens when someone or thing catches their attention and they no longer hold us up as a hero. Are we somehow of lesser value?
This is the dangerous path we can walk on when we allow ourselves to defined by others instead of by God.
Comparison is the stealer of joy.
The slippery slope is then we find other ways to feel good when we don’t have that status and this sadly is how we find ourselves filling our emptiness with “things” like alcohol, drugs, shopping, binge watching or “martyrdom”. Yes we can even look for fulfillment in ‘feeling needed’ by others, which in some cases becomes codependence.
The real answer is within us. It is something we have carried since we ourselves were in the womb. And that is that God has given us value. To God we are his children; with all our faults he loves us still.
For 2016, I am encouraging my clients to internalize positive affirmations.
Start feeling better today by saying to yourself when you are driving to work, brushing your teeth or heading off to bed at night.
“I have value”
“God cares what I think”
“He loves me every second of every day”
“I am never alone”
God knew you before you were born and you are worth it.
Steven D Brand is a counselor, psychotherapist in Roswell, GA. He also travels the country and the world offering hope and direction with his retreat weekends focusing on Marriage and other tough subjects. He is accepting new clients in his office, call for an appointment 770-641-8726.
Roswell Therapist Steven D Brand LSW, MSW recently took a trip to Africa this past March 2016. Steve’s mission was to share with the people in several churches of Africa, various tools that could strengthen their relationships and individual mental health.
1) Why did you take the trip? What were you hoping to accomplish?
To teach, preach and counsel with members of the Accra, Ghana churches. My goal was to give to the extent that when we got back on the plane to Atlanta, we would be exhausted. We succeeded.
2. Did you meet your goals? How?
Yes, we did a lot of marriage counseling, taught staff and regional leaders. On one combined midweek service, we presented a couples workshop. I also taught a personal mental health seminar. Finally, I preached at a Sunday service. The ministers gave us their most challenging marriage scenarios to counsel. My wife and I gave and gave until we were spent.
3. What was the most surprising thing about the trip that you didn’t expect to happen?
There was a palpable hunger and thirst for our unique perspective. The response of the people was overwhelmingly positive and grateful. We were meeting massive unmet needs with skills that other typical out of town guests just didn’t have to offer.
4. What mindset should people have when visiting Africa? What mindset should people not have when visiting?
Go to give, serve & work. Don’t judge Africa by Western standards.
5. Summarize people’s responses to your visit.
Gratitude. Move here. Come back as soon as possible.
6. Will you return? And if so what will you do differently?
We will go back, maybe to live; but at the very least 2-3x per year.
Certainly next time we will have multiple appointments with folks, for maximum impact and change.
We Rise By Lifting Others Up and the Science of Happiness
Did you know giving is good for you?
A 2006 study by J. Moll at the National Institute for Health found that when people give to charities it lights up the brain in regions associated with pleasure, creating a “warm glow” effect.
We have known for quite a while that exercising is good for you and creates positive chemical changes in the brain. It’s encouraging to have hard data that altruistic behavior also has a similar effect. The old adage of helping others and you help yourself is scientific truth!
People can find happiness and STAY happy if they create the right mental playing field. It has become a goal of mine in my practice of helping others to achieve this state. Helping others can be one way to get there. We all have our gifts. If you use your talents to help others you would be surprised at all the benefits you get back.
Conversely being in a state of negativity begets more negativity
Neural pathways are created and then strengthened by repetition; emotionally the result is an inclination of our resting mental state.
Author of Psych Pedia, Steven Parton explains how these closer synapses result in a generally more pessimistic outlook: “Through repetition of thought, you’ve brought the pair of synapses that represent your [negative] proclivities closer and closer together, and when the moment arises for you to form a thought…the thought that wins is the one that has less distance to travel, the one that will create a bridge between synapses fastest.” Gloom soon outraces positivity.
Anger, in a way can become a sickness, a brooding, a drug of the mind. I encourage my clients to work at reducing their anger and negativity. The more you work at it, the more happy thoughts you have, naturally.
“Life is Painful, Suffering is Optional”
We all have our devastating challenges, death, divorce, separations, diseases, and addictions; being human we are all subjected to such events. However the mind is a powerful tool that we can use for own good.
There is joy in lifting others up. I encourage you to think deeply on this. When you are open to helping others I have seen time and time again, providently provided, the right tool for the right job suddenly at your disposal.
Currently I am on trips to serve in Africa and Virginia. Traveling is naturally tiring in some respects, but it fuels me up as I am encouraged seeing others experience growth.
So for today, I encourage you think about what you could do to help others. And then go ahead and do it.
Steve Brand, LCSW, ACSW, MSW/MPH, PC
Steven D. Brand – Psychotherapy Atlanta / Roswell GA
981 Canton Street
Building 12, Suite 215
Roswell, GA 30075
Understanding Narcissistic Rage
“Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury (or narcissistic scar) is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972.” -Wikipedia
What triggers Narcissistic Rage?
Lack of admiration or respect. If a Narcissist feels disrespected, then his/her entire sense of being feels called into question. For example not being included in a discussion can set him or her off, or even a disapproving look. For many though the answer is not obvious and to spend hours of time investigating the cause is not worth it, it ends up being another trap of letting the Narcissist be the center of attention.
How Does the Rage Appear?
It can be an angry glare, it can be a raising of the voice, it can be a physical throwing of objects. It can also be subtle and passive aggressive. The response of anger in general is not wrong, it can be warranted, but with a narcissist it is usually one sided and completely out of proportion to what the situation calls for.
Once the rage passes, is it over?
No, anger can be continual like a low or medium boil. Oddly, the release of anger doesn’t make the narcissist feel relieved, in many cases, it becomes a fuel which perpetuates more outbursts.
Can Narcissistic rage be defused?
If you are dealing with a narcissist, the best thing you can do is to walk gently away and no longer give an audience to it. Detachment with love can be a coping mechanism for those who have to deal with narcissists. Engaging with the rage in most circumstances does not work. Expressing sadness or pleading doesn’t work either. In fact for a narcissist that is more fuel for them because the response of begging means more power has been won. The best way to deal with the situation is to be aware when it is starting to happen, accept that it is happening and that you can’t control it and finally take action for yourself, even if that action is just giving some distance for a time.
Steven D. Brand has over 25,000 clinical hours working with individuals and couples. He travels around the United States for conferences on recovery, marriage therapy, and counseling. His home office is in Historic Downtown Roswell.
You have a few hours left of 2015 to reflect upon the year you’ve had. If you are like most people, it has some good, some bad, some ups and some downs. Before 2016 has time to take off like a bullet, I suggest you take a minute to relax and think about how to make this upcoming year better.
‘Mindfulness’ was my word for 2015. For 2016, it’s ‘Affirmations’.
“You will always feel what you dwell on.”
In the book The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry he discusses how your emotional life dictates your day to day.
“Whatever you dwell upon becomes increasingly prominent in your own mind.”
It’s called the Law of Attention, according to Newberry. For example, the more attention you give your health, it gets better. The more attention you focus on your spouse, the closer your relationship will become.
Executive Coaching practice, I have seen progress when using the tool of mentoring because the focus is placed squarely on the person. It’s the Law of Attention. Coaching is not a simple recipe; it’s a whole mind approach, yes there is homework. Having someone to walk beside you and lift you up is invaluable. Yes, you can do this. It’s affirmation.
“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2
The link between depression and ruminating on negative thoughts is documented. That is why using affirmations is a way to heal and excel.
Here are a few positive affirmations for every day, find your favorites and tape them to your bathroom mirror.
Today I will be happy.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I have a purpose.
I have the power within to affect today for my good and others.
I am divinely guided and will make right decisions for my life and business.
I am successful and will continue to attract success to me.
I am courageous, and I will make good choices.
Today I will visualize my future goals and imagine myself achieving them.
I hope this has helped you formulate your resolutions. If you are ready to grow your business and make 2016 the best year ever, let’s have a conversation.
Steven D. Brand
Roswell Therapist and Executive Coach
Are you a business professional? Visit Steven’s new site dedicated to executive coaching for Atlanta business professionals.
You’ve heard the adage you are what you eat.
I say you are what you think.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a communication pathologist, and audiologist who has worked in the area of cognitive neuroscience since 1985 suggests that a positive mindset creates happiness. Your thoughts of today can change your future.
- Laughter is a Necessity Not a Luxury
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Did you know laughing floods the body of chemicals, boosts the immune system and almost instantly, reduces levels of stress hormones?
“A magnificent belly laugh can make cortisol drop by 39%, adrenalin by 70% and the “feel-good hormone,” endorphin, increase by 29%.
2. Recall Positive Memories Daily
Recalling experiences that were positive is a good way to condition the brain. Did you know the body actually releases the same endorphins as when the experience actually occurred? That is how powerful our brain is and shows what a strong link there is to our nervous system. Creating a positive mindset is good for you and it’s biblical.
‘A cheerful heart is good medicine.’ Proverbs 17:22
On the flipside of this, you can deduce what recalling negative memories over and over can do. Dr. Leaf research shows that today’s illnesses directly correlate to the flow our “thought life”.
3. Create New Positive Memories
Go outside! Go for a walk with your spouse. Meet a friend during lunch. Simply get out there. Don’t let the “negative nellies” run your show. You have choices in every situation.
Your brain is like a bank or ATM. What you deposit into your brain bank is all that you will be able to withdraw. Makes you re-think what you are watching or listening to!
Dr. Leaf believes, and I agree with her, that by changing your thought process to a more positive internal dialogue can create huge changes in your day to day life and future. She believes with careful mind detoxing, you can get your healthy brain cells back.
“We can not control outside circumstances, but we can control our reaction to it. Toxic thoughts like doubt, unbelief, fear, anger- changes our brain and it causes us to become something that will require an act of God for healing. That is where detoxing comes in.”
For today, I encourage you to choose joy and if you want to make some significant strides in this area, choose a friend or counselor to get on the path. It’s about daily choices. It’s about recognizing the old worn negative tracks and finding new ones.
Thanks for reading.
Steven D Brand, LSW is a therapist serving Roswell. He works with couples, individuals and also executives in coaching environments.
Which One Are You?
There are two main mindsets that we can cultivate internally.
If you are unsure as to where you stand, ask yourself these questions.
Suppose you are in traffic and a guy in front of your very obviously cuts you off.
How do you react?
- Do you yell and honk?
- Do you think to yourself, “Why is he so much more important than me?”
- Do you speed up and try to show him your frustration?
- Or do you take a deep breath and let it go.
- Maybe you tell yourself, “perhaps there is a true emergency”, “maybe that’s an old man and he doesn’t realize what he did?” or “maybe they are having a bad day, they got some bad news today”.
We can feel pressure, in our jobs, in our marriages. The daily ‘get it done’ can feel overwhelming to the point that we feel like we are walking cans of gasoline, a spark, any spark can set us to flame.
Why are our wicks so short?
And can we lengthen them?
Absolutely. But it is a purposeful mindset. And actually it doesn’t have to be that time consuming to change it.
Start Your Day Right!
Positive affirmations are extremely effective, even in short supply. In the morning, before you even throw back the duvet, say the following to yourself:
“I can handle today, I have the power within me. I am adequate enough. I can do all things that come at me today.”
Put it on a post it note, stick it to your bathroom mirror if have trouble remembering.
It may not seem like much but did you know the way you talk yourself determines your current mood? In fact self-talk good or bad is influential beyond today. There are long-term effects to both mindsets. Seriously! Try it a few days, change your inner syntax to a more positive encouraging tone and you will be amazed at how effective small changes can be.
If you struggle finding any good at all in the world to be encouraged about start with a gratitude list. You maybe surprised that writing in a daily journal, three things you are thankful for can yield big results. If you can read this post, you can be grateful for your education, an internet connection, a computer to read from and a bed to sleep on. A fun game to play with your family if you are struggling with attitudes is to play the Gratitude Alphabet game, go down the alphabet and choose 26 things, i.e. A is for the Apple I had at lunch, B is for the blanket on my bed that keeps me warm, C is for coffee that is hot and delicious in morning, D is for my dog that is always cheerful no matter how mad I am. Do you get the picture?
And mornings aren’t the only time to try this. Before you go to sleep at night try clearing your head with these statements:
“Today is done. I will let it go. I have done my best.
Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is going to be great. I know I will succeed.”
Norman Vincent Peale wrote a great book about positive thinking, which is chock full of mind expanding quotes, I highly recommend it if you would like to learn more about mindfulness.
“When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of attraction tends to bring the best to you.” ― Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
Abundance vs scarcity consciousness are two vastly different mindsets.
Like it or not, we all have a daily decision to make.
Which radio station will you tune into mentally today?
Why Is Success So Difficult?
Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. Booker T Washington
Success can feel elusive when we try to pin it down.
There are times when your heart speaks to you and asks, “Why are we not there yet?”
You are intelligent and have these great ideas, but why does success stump you?
Success is first and foremost not an overnight story like our 15 minutes of fame (or is it shorter these days) culture would have you believe. It takes dedication and focus. Yet, why is it so hard for us to stay on track for our dreams?
I believe success is first a mindset. A singular focus, which in the day to day can easily be tossed for the in your face decision making that has to done. Think of how many times in one day that an email, a text, a deadline, throws your whole day off track.
Here is why it is hard.
Putting your dreams in the forefront of your mind when life’s daily pressures physically feel excessive and overwhelming can be nearly impossible.
Accountability is the solution
Who is the encouraging voice in your life, helping you map the destination?
Who calls you to the carpet to put your helmet back on and get back out there?
Who reminds you of the end game when the heat is on?
Executive success coaching is a way to achieve your dreams. I meet hundreds of people every year and I am astonished at how many fantastic visions are out there. But it is as if there is a piece missing to the puzzle of success.
What is this missing piece? You have the brains, you have chutzpah, and you have the dedication but why does the ship never make it into port?
Focus on the process. Focus on the steps. Focus on the affirmation that you are making progress. Falling into a puddle and giving up is too easy in our comfortable world. We pat each other on the back and give ourselves a pass, again and again. But that little dream is still in there. It’s like a constant negative low lying fog, that keeps swirling around your feet but you can never put your finger on.
I encourage you, if you are ready to take put on your cleats and get your “A Game” on, I am ready to stand by your side and bring light to your path.
You may not have as many obstacles to advancement as you imagine. I have helped many executives get a razor sharp focus so that they can not only successfully manage the present but make huge strides to their goals. And that is a feeling like no other, when you are fully transparent working in the moment and actually feeling hope because of tangible progress. You get an elevated consciousness because you finally have the internal confirmation of what you have always felt deep down; that you are special and you have amazing dreams to fulfill.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell
Steven D Brand travels around the globe assisting executives using success coaching in a variety of settings including offices and mountaintops. Steven D Brand offices are located in Historic Roswell, Georgia.
Smoking 25 Cigarettes a Day is as Harmful as Loneliness?
On the eve of my Mancation with some of friends of mine, a 7-day Timeless Trekker backpacking journey in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. I wanted to delve into how same sex friendships enhance mental and physical health. I believe that these friendships take “pressure” off the marriage to be “everything” because friends are meeting some of the social, psychological and spiritual needs.
Humans have been naturally social for thousands of years. Yet modern life has reduced the level of interaction between male friends in quality and quantity.
In the UK, according to a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation, “10% of people often feel lonely, a third have a close friend or relative who they think is very lonely, and half think that people are getting lonelier in general.”
Massachusetts professors Olds and Schwartz in their writing, The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century explains there is a current focus among adult men to build stronger marriages at the expense of other social connections. They point to a current tendency among adults to build stronger, more intimate marriages at the expense of almost all other social connections, (and) they observed a deep sense of loneliness. “Almost every father we spoke with explained that he had lost contact with most of his male friends,” they write. And lest you believe family is company enough, the 2005 Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging showed that family relationships have almost no impact on longevity. Friendships, by contrast, boosted life span as much as 22 percent.
Good friends are good for your health!
In 1988 a review of five studies showed that loneliness can be linked to an earlier death, “…people with fewer social relationships die earlier on average than those with more social relationships”
Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, in a study sponsored by Guinness, learned that to maintain a healthy level of interaction, men should hang out with other men, once or twice a week.
The report says that men, who maintain social groups are healthier, recover from illness more quickly and tend to be more generous. Despite the findings, two out of five men claim they manage to meet their friends only once a week and a further third struggle to catch up that frequently. Why is this?
Worldwide, the loneliest men are white American men. Is it because male friends are more acceptable in the other countries? Have we taken on the “that’s not manly to go hang out one on one with a guy friend”.
How many friends do you need?
About 4 or 5 male friends is a good start.
Dunbar explained, “Men, on average, spend just less than half of their social time with an inner circle of four to five close mates – and research suggests that this is linked directly to the banter that such a group inspires and its benefits.
Through empirical studies, it has been proven that laughter is much less likely to occur if a social circle becomes bigger than five – and, because of laughter’s ability to produce the endorphin surges that give a sense of well-being, men may be subconsciously drawn towards ‘hanging out’ in social circles of this size.”
And meeting often is a good way to ensure friendships. Once or twice a week is what Dunbar suggests, of course over drinks was probably Guinness’ hope. But think about it, how can you today take a step toward creating and maintaining guy friends.
Theme trips are one of them. Mancations or wilderness camping trips are great ways to connect with guy friends. Or goals, like a marathon that you can work out together and share some time.
Trust me it takes the pressure off the spouse to meet all your needs. Now go show this to your wife why its important for you to go camping!