When I opened the doors of my private counseling practice, I was certain that doing so was what God wanted me to do, and therefore would be a place God was going to use. From my human vantage point, Eve’s Haven was opened to help women rediscover their stories, so I simply anticipated serving women who sought help navigating a variety of life interruptions. God brought my somewhat modest and simple dreams to fruition and that was wonderful.
But God did something else too; something unexpected, but something beautiful.
Within the last year, six different people have come to Eve’s Haven to find a safe space to walk through various stages of the coming out process. I have been blessed to work with people coming to terms with who they truly are; people who are just beginning to tell a trusted few, and people who have outed themselves to friends and families and are now dealing with the fall-out, expected and otherwise. Not surprisingly, each person’s story varied; we are each unique, after all! The similarities I anticipated were also present; but there was one common factor I was not expecting:
Each person sought a haven in which to process all that was going on around and within them; I anticipated that. Each person sought someone trained and licensed in psychology, but also someone who identified as Christian so that faith could be directly incorporated in their therapy; I was not expecting that. Let me explain.
I have clients who are Christians, and clients who do not identify with any faith. I am upfront from the beginning about my ordination as a minister of word and sacrament, and that my faith influences everything I do. I am upfront that no client is required to have anything spiritual or religious integrated into their sessions. I do not reveal any of my own convictions until asked, though on my website I do acknowledge that Eve’s Haven is an open and affirming place. So in the basic sense that people would want faith integrated into their therapy, I was not surprised.
I was surprised, though, and saddened, at how relieved each person was to find a counselor who would and could integrate faith into their therapy in a way that was not harmful or destructive. This, unfortunately, is a sad reality of the state of faith-based counseling today.
For the most part, faith-based therapy today is equivalent to harmful things like reparative/change therapy, sin language, etc. This perspective is so prevalent that many forego finding a faith-based therapist for fear that damage will be done. With the increasing rates of suicides, particularly in teen and LGBTQ communities, this is unacceptable.
God took my simple dreams and made them bigger; namely, to make faith-based therapy that is safe for LGBTQ people a reality. It’s a God-sized dream indeed, but if God can do it through a tiny practice in Holland, MI, then God can do it throughout this country.
I write this to encourage those reading these words who are counselors to be bold in voicing your stance so clients know where to find you. I write this so those who are seeking a place to speak openly and honestly about anything in life can find some hope. I write this because we all need a little help navigating our life story and we all deserve a place to do that without fear or hardship.
God led me to open the doors of Eve’s Haven and I’m hopeful that God is doing the same in others throughout this country so that everyone has a place to turn.
Kate Meyer went to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary before being ordained into specialized ministry by Wisconsin Classis. Kate has worked as a health care chaplain through all ten years of her ordained ministry, most of which has been in Holland Classis. Since her seminary days, Kate also earned a degree and license in professional counseling and opened a private practice to feed that passion. Kate lives in West Olive, MI with her husband Chad and their fur-baby, a chocolate lab, named Rocky.