In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to share this year’s Counselor’s Corner article from our Multiply! Magazine.
In this special article, we highlight two of our amazing counselors. Shantray Smith has been employed with Mercy for over ten years and serves as the Director of Counseling at the Mercy Center for Wellness and Counseling in Monroe/West Monroe, LA where we offer free-of-charge outpatient counseling to women and men ages 13 and older. Kimberly Brown has been employed with Mercy nearly three years and serves as the Director of Counseling in our Nashville residential home.
How long have you been working at Mercy?
Kim: I have been working at Mercy since June 2019.
Shantray: I have been working at Mercy for 10 years. I started in 2011.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Kim: The most rewarding thing about my job is seeing residents choose to surrender their hearts and lives to the Lord and receive His love and healing. The transformation that takes place when a resident chooses to surrender is nothing short of a miracle. They move from death to life before your eyes.
Shantray: Having a front row seat of seeing God heal broken hearts and transform mindsets into positive and empowered mindsets. I love being a part of changing the narrative the enemy tried to write in my client’s lives and being a vessel of the Lord to rewrite the narrative from His perspective and His heart. I love seeing people have those “aha” moments, when they realize God loves them unconditionally and He has been with them their entire lives. I love helping women embrace their true identity in Christ and stand in their authority through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is your favorite thing about ministering to people about the principles of freedom in our program?
Kim: My favorite thing about ministering to people about the principles of freedom in our program is that I know it works and it provides a clear game plan for the rest of their life to combat the enemy which is extremely empowering. These principles of freedom help them go from victim to victor. I call that freedom!
Shantray: I love helping women embrace their true identity in Christ and stand in their authority through the power of the Holy Spirit. I love Proverbs 28:1, which says: The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. I believe our principles of freedom brings that Scripture to life in a very practical way. It’s an honor to help clients become bold in their faith, to see that their life, their voice is significant. I enjoy teaching them how to incorporate renewing the mind and guiding them through activating the principles from healing life’s hurts.
How do you invite the Holy Spirit into your counseling sessions?
Kim: Before session, I ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the session, during session I often will have a conversation with the resident while at the same time asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and direction. In addition, I often use Freedom Prayer in session which provides the resident an opportunity to choose to connect with the Holy Spirit themselves which is powerful and life changing. I cannot do this work without the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I am grateful He is always faithful to show up and meet whatever need is presented.
Shantray: First, I invite Him in through prayer before the client enters the room. I ask Him to lead and guide all sessions. During the sessions, I give the client questions to ask the Holy Spirit and give time for the client to listen to His response. I see myself as facilitator; someone who helps clients become more comfortable with having a conversation with the Holy Spirit. Often, clients are used to monologue interactions with the Holy Spirit in which they are the only ones speaking. I teach them to engage the Holy Spirit from a relational perspective which includes dialogue communication style. I remind them that He is the guide to all truth and the truth He reveals to them will bring healing and freedom. This helps them to form a close partnership with the Holy Spirit. Once a person knows deep inside of their hearts that they are never alone because the Holy Spirit is always with them, breakthroughs come and transformation appears.
What do you think sets Mercy apart from other counseling programs?
Kim: Mercy is founded on God’s word and His principles. The principles of freedom residents receive while in the program if applied, are life giving, life sustaining and life altering. In addition, the staff is amazing. Our staff are spirit-led, called and anointed for this work. They love and care for residents not out of duty or obligation, but out of a place of joy, gratitude and honor. Mercy also cares about the whole person. Residents not only receive spiritual care and counseling while in the program they also learn about fitness, nutrition, money management, boundaries, self-care and many other life skills. In addition, minors attend school which allows them to continue their academic pursuits while in the program.
Shantray: I believe our Keys to Freedom study guide used in the counseling process sets us apart from other counseling programs. Clients complete assignments in the study guide outside of session and process on a deeper level what was revealed through the assignment in counseling. This helps hold them accountable to fully investing in the healing process. We encourage them to have a relationship with the Trinity. This allows them to have the Perfect Parent- God the Father, the Perfect sibling/friend- Jesus, and the Ultimate Counselor and Comforter- the Holy Spirit. This approach to counseling really helps clients anchor their healing and freedom on the Lord and not a person. Once they complete the counseling program they will have learned and applied the principles of freedom that will set them up to continue transforming for the rest of their lives.
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.