CornerStone Counselor Snapshot: Summer Gonzalez, CT

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SummerProfessional Info:
Summer is a counselor trainee at CornerStone Family Services. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Dayton.

As a wife and mother in a culturally diverse family, an Ohio Army National Guard veteran, and through her experience working for Franklin County DJFS, Summer is familiar with many of the struggles and transitions that individuals, couples, and families face. Summer takes a nurturing, collaborative approach in working with individuals and couples to provide a safe and empathetic atmosphere where they can find their strengths, learn healthy coping skills, and heal through counseling and personal growth.

To schedule an appointment or find out more information, contact Summer at 614.459.3003 ext. 729

 Clinical Focus:

Adults, Adolescents, Adjustment Issues, Anxiety, Depression, Couples, Grief/Loss, Life Transitions, Marital & Relational  Issues, Mental & Emotional Disorders, Military-Related (Trauma, PTSD, Adjustment, Coping), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Personality Disorders, Self-Esteem/Self-Worth, and Trauma

Feeling Offended?

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“Feelings are indicators not dictators.”
(Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions)

feeling offended


If you would like to learn how to be in control of your feelings and thoughts, instead of your feelings and thoughts controlling you, contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Three Important Reminders That Could Keep You From Being Ruined

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By John Myer

Anybody can fall.    

ruined reminderThe most famous example of this was Peter, who claimed that he would never desert Jesus.  All of the rest of the apostles at the time swore likewise.  We know what happened.  The story has been in the Bible for thousands of years.

Still, we’re shocked whenever Christians do incredibly bad things.  We wonder how that could have happened.  Maybe if the failure involved a lapsed believer it would be understandable, but not someone of reputation.  Not a pastor.  Not a choir director or a Sunday school superintendent or an elder.  Certainly not a humble man or woman of God who faithfully served their church for decades.  Yet it happens.

How many ways can the Bible warn us about our frailties?  Plenty.  Take one from the book of Exodus.  God called Moses and gave him three miraculous signs to prove his ministry to the people.They were signs—more than simple miracles—things that bear further significance; that invite reflection.

When we study the Scriptures, we pay attention to reasonable primary meanings.  For instance, these three items—a snake that turns into a staff, a hand cleansed of leprosy, and water turning into blood, relate something about God’s ability to subjugate the authority of Egypt, His ability to heal, and His ability to judge the Egyptian system that enslaved His people.  Those are reasonable primary interpretations.

However, there may be further possible significance to these signs. Especially for New Testament folk who have the considerable advantage of a completed Bible.

The staff-serpent.   As a serious Christian, your staff is your God-given talent or ability, in a sense, your ministry.  Like Moses, you carry it with you every day, sometimes barely conscious of having it with you.  You use it.  You depend on it.  In a beautiful way, it’s your authority for service–“the staff of God”2 You’re supposed to use it for the kingdom of God.

Yet your own ministry can turn into a snake and bite you.   It can become the reason for your deepest disappointments and depressions.  It can also inflate your pride until you’re hooked on popularity.  Ministry can cause you to forget your identity in Christ and start thinking of yourself as a loser…or some kind of ministry Elvis.

The same staff that was held over the parting of the Red Sea, Moses’ greatest miracle, was also used to strike the rock twice, which became his greatest failure.  How not to be hurt by your own staff?  Use it as directed.

God says, “Throw it down” and another time He says, “Pick it up.”  He says, “Bring it.”  On another occasion, He says, “Lift it up.”  One day He says, “Strike the rock” and on another day He says nothing about using the staff at all, instead directing you to, “Speak to the rock.”

God knows how to utilize your ministry.  Under the direction of the self-willed though, it turns into a cobra.

The leprous hand.  It turns out that not only the staff, the thing we’re holding, might be dangerous, but the hand holding it potentially has a disease.

Somewhere underneath the cloak, in the secret depths of our heart, lurks moral and spiritual illness.  Jesus said, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”3  These things tend to appear unexpectedly and shock everybody.  Top-level evangelicals (who are supposed to be way more advanced in the faith than you) can suddenly be exposed for some of the most shameful behavior imaginable—hotel trysts, drugs, [sexual] liaisons, abusive temperaments, egos as big as Texas.

And so can faithful little Christians who try to live quiet lives.  Everyone is at risk here.

We’re good at hiding our leprosy, but not healing it.  The good news: “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him.”  That’s the key thought.  Keep coming forward.  Every day.  Expect that a day without Christ will be an embarrassment and a shock.

Remember, there’s something underneath your cloak.

The water into blood.  Ancient Egyptians believed the Nile River was the secret to the happiness and abundance of life.  No Nile, no Egypt.  Those sentiments made Egypt and its famous river a precursor of sorts to the entire material world system.

The problem is that the water is really blood.  It doesn’t give life. It represents a hemorrhage of it.

Servants of God have wandered off to drink from the Nile, thinking they might find some truer fulfillment there, like Paul’s coworker Demas, who fell in love with this present world (2 Tim. 4:10).  Seeking material things and the frivolities of life, they end up spiritually dead (though while still occupying places of religious influence).  As John said, “If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.”4

Many of these believers become a mockery as their lives and “ministries” get used as jokes for late night television.  But we’re not just talking about extravagant lifestyles with $5,000 a night hotel rooms, airplanes, and air-conditioned doghouses.  It’s also about the poor saint who compromises his or her values for the sake of a little more.

From time to time, we all get tired of the simple life of faith.  Couple that with a weak spiritual season, and we’re suckers for the Nile.  It always tastes like water at first.  But given some time, it always turns to blood.

Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink.”5  If you don’t, then eventually you’ll be drinking somewhere else.

These are your signs.  As a believer in Christ and part of God’s move in this world, you’re a very important person.

Proceed with caution.

1Ex. 4:1-9

2Ex. 4:20

3Matt. 15:19

41 John 2:15

5John 7:37

Coffee and Tea May Protect the Brain

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Coffee and Tea May Protect the Brain

Daily drinkers have lower rates of depression and cognitive decline

Benefits of Music Lessons

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Music lesson

Music lessons spur emotional and behavioral growth in children, new study says

By Amy Ellis Nutt

Parents who have patiently sat through countless music recitals, conga lessons and band practices, whilst questioning their sanity at encouraging all those trumpet, violin or guitar lessons, need do so no longer. Even ear-splitting dissonance has an upside.

Music training not only helps children develop fine motor skills, but aids emotional and behavioral maturation as well, according to a new study, one of the largest to investigate the effects of playing an instrument on brain development. Thus, it does not matter if the child plays the piano, a drum, or a violin – as long as they engage themselves in it wholeheartedly! Revamping the musical instrument (especially if it is a drum set in question) with a customized skin from e-stores like could also be a good idea to get the children more involved!

Using a database produced by the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance (MRI) Study of Normal Brain Development, researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine analyzed the brain scans of 232 healthy children ages six to 18 specifically looking at brain development in children who play a musical instrument. (The original study did not indicate specific instruments.)

“What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument,” said James Hudziak, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, “it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”

The cortex, or outer layer of brain, changes in thickness as a child grows and develops. Previously, Hudziak and colleagues Matthew Albaugh and Eileen Crehan found relationships between cortical thickening and thinning in various areas of the brain responsible for depression, aggression and attention problems. This research, announced last month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, was different.

If your child would like to take up music lessons, but you do not want to commit to purchasing an instrument just yet, you might want to consider renting one. Follow the link for more information on where to rent instruments in lincoln ne.

“I wanted to look at positive things, what we believe benefits child development,” Hudziak said. “What I was surprised by was the emotional regulatory regions. Everyone in our culture knows if I lift 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound weights, my biceps will get bigger. The same is true for the brain. We shouldn’t be surprised we can train the brain.”

Because the study’s participants were all mentally healthy children, Hudziak thinks the positive effect of music training on those who are not could be significant.

“A kid may still have ADHD,” he said. “It’s the storm around it that improves.”

Inspired by his own research, and having never learned to play an instrument, the 56-year-old Hudziak decided to take viola lessons last year.

“I had this passion for health promotion in children, it seemed silly not to do it myself. I began looking at different musical instruments and audio equipment to try and learn more about the industry and my passion for music grew!” he said.

Though music isn’t his only health-related extracurricular activity – Hudziak also engages in regular exercise and meditation – he believes the viola lessons contribute to his overall wellness. They have not, however, contributed much to his overall playing ability – at least not yet. The sanguine psychiatrist had just one word for his viola skills:


Appreciating the Small Things in Life

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Happy coupleCouples are who are grateful appreciate the small things in life. Sipping a cup of coffee, reading a good book, baking your favorite cookies, enjoying conversation with friends, watching the sunset, and taking a nap are examples of things we don’t always think about, but we should.

So many of us are too busy and don’t make the time to enjoy the little blessings we have each day. Appreciating the small things in life will fill your heart with constant gratitude.

By Marriage365

Too Much Technology Damages Relationships

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Put down that phone! ‘Technoference’ may be hurting your relationship

By Meghan Holohan

It’s been a long, terrible day. As you recount your struggles, you suddenly notice your partner is furiously typing on his phone. Your anger boils (you’ve forgotten that you did the same thing to him just yesterday). It’s time to step away from the smartphone, put down the tablet, shut the laptop and turn off the TV. A slew of recent research suggests that if people want happy relationships, they need to stop clinging to technology.

technology relationships“I was surprised about the amount of people saying that this happens in their relationship every day,” says Sarah Coyne, an associate professor in the department of family life at Brigham Young University. “You are sitting there and kind of bored and check Facebook … it is almost our default to turn to our phones.”

In a new study, Coyne asked 143 married or cohabitating women to answer questions about technology use and relationships. She wanted to understand how technology encroaches on our lives and relationships, what she calls “technoference.” The vast majority of respondents, 70 percent, said using a cell phone interrupted interactions between them and their partners sometimes, often, very often or all the time. Even more, 74 percent, said that computers sometimes, often, very often or all the time disturbed their interactions with partners.

The women who reported technoference also said they fought more with their partners, which made them feel badly about their relationships. On top of this, they felt more depressed and less satisfied with life.

“What I think the most important finding is, the more you let the technology interfere, the more conflict you have with your spouse or partner and that leads to not feeling great about the relationship,” she says.

Still there’s other research showing that cell phone dependence can be unhealthy.

“Cell phone attachment is positively related to an increase in stress and anxiety and even depression,” says James A. Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University Hankamer School of Business.

In a 2012 paper, Roberts coined the word “phub,” a mash-up of phone and snub. Phubbing occurs when someone chooses to play with an app, text or take a phone call instead of paying attention to a person.

“Essentially, what we are saying is that you don’t matter,” he says. “It touches at our core.”

Part of the problem is that cell phones are ubiquitous – and fitting into society means having one. “We have a social entourage and posse. The more calls we get and the more we are on the phone, we clearly must be more important,” he says.

But in a relationship this can be damaging: “It really devalues our loved ones.”

While technology can create a rift in a relationship, it can also bring couples together. A study published in theInternational Journal of Neuropsychotherapy finds that when couples watch TV together they felt closer. Using a laptop was the fastest way to push couples apart.

“If we are sitting down and both watching TV together … that can be beneficial,” says Coyne.

Even cell phones can be positive. In a 2011 study, Coyne found that when couples text each other nice messages, the relationship flourished. When they texted about controversial topics, the relationship suffered. The solution?

“When you are face to face, just talk,” says Coyne.

Coyne suggests that if you notice your partner relying too heavily on technology, say something like, “Hey I’ve been so busy texting that I haven’t talked to you.”

Roberts believes that carving out cell phone-free time, like at meals, can reduce the strain on relationships. And, when people have to use their phones, politely apologizing can prevent hurt feelings.

“You may see it’s actually freeing,” he says.

Bitterness and Forgiveness

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Sometimes we can use spiritual language as a way of holding onto an offense or avoiding having to deal with our own hearts – especially when we feel wronged.  Unfortunately, as long as we avoid dealing with our own hearts and hurts we also avoid the healthy healing that comes with forgiveness.

For help in healing and hurting hearts, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

“You may not want to admit it, but the reason you are having to work toward forgiving your spouse is because you may have bitterness in your heart.” (Emerson Eggerichs)

Surrender forgive


CornerStone Counselor Snapshot: Monika Zoretic, CT

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Monika Zoretic is a counselor trainee at CornerStone Family Services.  She is in her final year of graduate studies to become a professional counselor at Liberty University.  She holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics, with a minor in finance, from The Ohio State University.  She grew up in Grandview and has lived in many states, as she is married to a retired Marine.  Monika understands the difficulties of moving and life transitions, military life, and adoption.

As a counselor trainee, Monika will focus on Adoption (preplanning, family adjustment, and adoptee issues), Anxiety, Career, Depression, Eating Disorders, Family Therapy, Marriage, Mental/Emotional Disorders, Military Families and Veterans, and Pre-marital Preparation.

The Secret Pain of Pastors

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Ministry can be a wonderful calling filled with joy and celebration. Ministry can also be a place of discouragement, loneliness, and sorrow.

All too many pastors and ministry leaders can feel isolated and unable to express their suffering because of fears – some realistic and some unrealistic – of what could happen to them or the members of the congregations they serve if people knew of their personal struggles. Having served in ministry (full time and bivocational) for almost a decade, I (Seth) can empathize with this difficult perceived situation.

If you are in ministry and would like to come to a safe environment to discuss your struggles, receive encouragement, learn skills to enhance your balancing of ministry and life, or all of the above, there are men and women at CornerStone Family Services here for you.

If you would like to gift your church leaders with an opportunity to encounter this kind of spiritual and soul-nourishing experience, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 614-459-3003.

For more on the struggles of those in ministry, check out this article from LifeWay Christian Resources:

lonely pastor

Thom Rainer Reveals the Secret Pain of Pastors

By Thom Rainer

Not all the news about pastors is discouraging.

Pastors feel privileged to be called to their places of ministry. They have a deep love for those they shepherd. Most of them could not conceive of doing anything else. This dedication to their pastoral commitments may encourage more people to actually take the time to support pastor appreciation day so that those that put others before themselves are aware of how much they are valued in their community.

But please hear me: Many pastors are hurting.

LifeWay Research conducted a national survey of Protestant pastors. Among the questions they asked were two related to the hurts I noted above.

The Discouragement Factor

One of the key symptoms of the pain experienced by pastors is discouragement. More than one-half (55 percent) of pastors are presently discouraged.

I suspect that if we surveyed pastors over just a few months, we would find almost all of them experience deep discouragement.

Some interesting facts we discovered in our study:

  • There was no pattern of discouragement related to the geographical location of the church.
  • There was no pattern of discouragement related to the size of the church.
  • There was no pattern of discouragement related to the educational level of the pastor.
  • There was a significant pattern of discouragement related to the age of the pastor. The younger the pastor, the more likely he was to be discouraged.

The Loneliness Factor

Most pastors experience intense loneliness at times.

When we conducted our survey, more than one-half again (coincidentally the same number, 55 percent, as noted above) said they were lonely. Again remember that this survey was for a specific point in time.

Which pastors experience the greatest amount of loneliness? Our study noted some discernible patterns:

  • There was no pattern of loneliness related to the geographical location of the church.
  • Younger pastors were more likely to be lonely than older pastors.
  • The larger the church, the greater the likelihood the pastor was experiencing loneliness.
  • The greater the education level of the pastor, the more likely he is to be lonely.

Why the Pervasive Discouragement and Loneliness?

Why are so many pastors struggling today? In an earlier article I wrote on pastoral depression, I noted the following possible reasons:

Spiritual warfare.

The Enemy does not want God’s servants to be effective in ministry. He will do whatever it takes to hurt ministers and their ministries.

Unrealistic expectations.

The expectations and demands upon a pastor are enormous. They are unrealistic. But if one person’s expectations are not met, that person can quickly let the pastor know he is a failure.

Greater platforms for critics.

In “the good old days,” a critic was typically limited to telephone, mail and in-person meetings to criticize a minister. Today, critics have the visible and pervasive platforms of email, blogs and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Failure to take time away from the church or place of ministry.

Workaholism leads to burnout. Burnout leads to depression.

Marriage and family problems.

Too often the pastor neglects his family as he cares for the larger church family.

Financial strains.

Many pastors simply do not have sufficient income from the churches they serve. That financial stress can lead to depression. Some pastors do not know how to manage the money they do have, leading to further financial strain.

The problem of comparison.

Every pastor will always know of a church that is larger and more effective. Every pastor will always know of another pastor who seems more successful. The comparison game can be debilitating to some pastors.

This one thing I do know: Pastors need our prayers more than ever. They need our support and encouragement. I am committed to pray for my pastor every day, even if it’s only for a minute or so.

Will you do the same? Our pastors pour out their lives for us daily. What can you do to help our pastors?