Published by TheGoodNewsNY.org
Meet Dr. Shawn Kirk - Christian Counselor, Life Coach, And Author
By Susan LeDoux
How often have we heard, “She’s got it all together?”
Yet none of us really has it “all together” all the time. Our lives get messy. And when they get too messy, we need help.
Dr. Shawn Kirk’s life got off to rocky start when he was four and his parents divorced. He bounced between them, a reminder of their past mistakes. After weathering depression, anxiety, and anger during his young years, he joined the United States Army. While in the service, he spent five weeks in rehab for alcohol and drug abuse. In other words, his life was messy.
As always, God uses our messes for our good and his purposes. To find out how He worked in Dr.Kirk’s life, visit his webpage https://drshawnkirk.com/about-dr-shawn/
The Good News asked Dr. Kirk about the way he helps people become the unique, productive people God created each to be.
• What are the differences between receiving counseling and life coaching? What could I expect from each path?
“Counseling and coaching are very different by definition, but they occasionally cross paths. Counseling is more for emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, marriage problems etc. Coaching is more about discovering vision, purpose, and creating plans to achieve success both individually and as a couple.”
•Many counselors, social workers, ministers have struggled with addictions and other traumas, and that is their impetus for the work they do. Your personal story reflects that. Do your past experiences impact the way you counsel people?
“I believe so. I rarely hear a story that I cannot relate to or have been through myself. My past has definitely helped me create a therapeutic alliance with many people. It works both ways, sometimes people with hard pasts want a fresh opinion and view from someone who has not lived such a life.”
•You provide marriage counseling. That is a specialty itself because it involves two clients. Can you share a bit about that?
“Marriage counseling is both incredibly challenging and rewarding. Communication is very important in marriage. I start off with the love languages so that each person in the marriage understands what is important to their spouse concerning communication. From there I build a base for how they can change and save their marriage based on their issues. For people with marriage issues, the sooner they attend counseling the better.”
•You also offer a Christian Counseling Certification Course. The student can choose between a ten-week course or five 3 credit courses. Is that enough to prepare a person to be a counselor?
“The Christian Counseling Certification Course is definitely an accelerated program. The key is ‘Christian.’ We are not trying to create state licensed counselors in ten weeks. The course is designed to help pastors, church staff, and church minsters provide Christian based counseling to its members.”
•That leads us to the Church Counseling Assistance Program (CCAP), which offers counseling services through churches. Let’s say a church had divorce recovery program. Could one of your counselors facilitate the group meetings?
“Sure, that is what the program is designed for, to help church pastors and leaders help people. We have many people who take the course to help them with church-based ministry.”
• Is there a fee?
“The fees are worked out with the pastor.”
•How do you share the Gospel with non-Christians while counseling them, when they are coming for mental health issues and not theology?
“All of my advertising is Christian based. I have only had Christians contact me.”
• Let’s talk about your two books, Sound Mind Sound Life and Advance and Triumph. There is a common thread. What do you see as the core difference between them? Seems like reading Sound Mind Sound Life will help a person to better interpret and respond to one’s environment — which would better prepare the reader to “identify issues holding you back” and make changes (Advance and Triumph). Would you recommend reading Sound Mind Sound Life before Advance and Triumph?
“The books have a similar tone of advancement, renewing the mind, and how to grow spiritually, but they are written for different audiences based on the readers current situation.
Advance & Triumph is for people who are looking to reboot their spiritual life and make positive changes geared towards winning. It has a strong focus of change through breaking habits and behaviors that hold people back. A lot of people want change, but really don’t know how to go about obtaining change. The detailed steps will help anyone looking to make major changes in their personal, professional, and spiritual life. It is also helpful for those who are new to Christianity and don’t yet understand how important the Word of God is for advancing their life.
Sound Mind – Sound Life is for people who are looking for success in every area of their life. Success starts in the mind, and an untrained mind will only go so far in life. The highest level of success is about fulfilling God’s will in one’s life. When God’s will is our main focus, success in other areas will also follow when the right plan is implemented. A sound mind understands that life and success will present stress, trials, tribulations, and difficult times. How someone interprets those situations will determine whether they overcome them or fall victim to them. I end Sound Mind – Sound Life with detailed teaching from the Sermon on the Mount and the incredible teachings of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew. It is amazing how the teachings of Jesus can help us develop a sound mind that is well equipped for the challenges of everyday life.
• Do you have a message for our readers?”
The focus is always about helping people. There are just too many Christians not living happy or successful lives. My books and counseling are focused on helping people with lasting change… Regardless of your current situation or past environment, you can change.
For more information visit at www.DrShawnKirk.com