When to Refer a Woman to a Professional Counselor

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The ACA recommends professional counseling if the woman is unhappy 5 days out of seven

The ACA recommends professional counseling if someone is consistently unhappy 5 days out of 7.

Often a woman in pain, grief, or transition can highly benefit from professional help. There are two factors to consider.

The first factor involves the woman. It’s especially important to get a professional counselor involved when it looks like the woman has major depression, complicated grief, major anxiety, or post traumatic stress.

These are some symptoms to look out for:

  • A pattern of alcohol/drug abuse and/or dependence
  • Characteristics of mourning that do not appear to change at all over a period of months
  • Disciplines child(ren) or pet over harshly
  • Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeater
  • Engages in self-mutation or destructive/dangerous behaviours
  • Expressions of suicidal intent
  • Feels overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • Inability to be by themselves at any time
  • Lack of interest in caring for self or maintaining a good work/school ethic
  • Psychotic states (I.e. hearing/seeing things that aren’t there)
  • Severe depression
  • Sleep problems: sleeps too much or not enough
  • Thoughts of or actual actions of physical harm to self or others
  • Phobias that interfere with the quality of life
  • Uncontrollable crying/rage
  • Unreasonable paranoia
  • Victim mentality
The second factor involves the lay counselor or pastor. As a lay counselor in a church setting or a pastor, you may not have the expertise, time, personality, giftings, or resources to devote to certain types of counselling.
Here are 8 reasons why I’d refer a woman to a professional.

8. When I am "working harder" than the woman, it's time to refer her to someone else

  1. I don’t have the expertise to handle the situation.
  2. I don’t have the time to offer sessions that go on for months and months.
  3. I don’t have the emotional strength to deal with some issues.
  4. The woman does not do her homework.
  5. The woman doesn’t want spiritual help.
  6. The woman is not getting any better.
  7. We don’t connect.
You haven’t failed if a woman needs to go to a professional counselor. Nor has the woman. In fact it takes great strength to go to a counselor. And it takes humility to refer a woman for counseling.
Your Turn . . . What would you add to either list?
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Entry filed under: chronic pain, Grief. Tags: , , .

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