In this episode:
People, Pills and Prayers – they all have their place to a strong mind!
In this powerful conversation John Sullivan breaks down how therapy and counseling services are conducted while maintaining Jesus at the center. Too many men are trying to do life alone and when the going gets tough they turn to the wrong items for support.
Don't do it alone. It's okay to struggle. We're all struggling, but don't do it alone. And if you don't wanna do it for yourself, do it for your family because what we change in ourselves it affect others. Click To Tweet John Sullivan
Welcome to the Line Within us, a podcast sermon Christian man who are hunger to be the leader Scott intends you to be. I’m your host, Chris Granger. Let’s jump in. Alright guys. It is your meat episode of the week. I’m so glad you’re here. You know, we’re gonna have, we’re get started though in scripture. So to this week, scripture is in First Corinthians.
Okay, so First Corinthians, chapter nine, two verses. We’re looking at 22 and 20. To the week I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people so that I may be all things to sa, save some, I do all things for the sake of the gospel so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Powerful scripture right there, guys. Are you doing all things for the sake of the gospel? That that convicts me. It should convict you, should convict all of us to take action. So guys, today got a very exciting episode. We’re gonna be talking about muscular. Therapy and we’re just gonna hit him. We’re gonna hit it head on.
We’re gonna talk a lot about a lot of things directly. And I brought in a, a special therapist. His name is John Sullivan. He, he used to be in a Navy, uh, and he did some wonderful things. So basically he, he, he followed what the lord, the path the Lord laid in front of him and he settled in on biblical counsel.
And he loved serving others and, and building relationships and helping them to heal. And that was a clear path that he wanted to take. So he ended up getting a bachelor’s degree from, um, uh, the, the Southern Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and, and a Master’s as well, and marriage and family.
And he was thinking out the gate, you know what, I just want to, to, to, to work with the Christian domain. But then, you know, he actually read an article and that opened his world, his, his purview to the opportunity to serve others in the secular realm. And that was the point that he made was, um, missionaries get passports to go into those countries and.
So getting your clinical license was no different. When I heard that, I just thought, I thought that was beautiful. Oh, man. That was, that’s a beautiful approach. He’s doing what God’s calling to do. He’s taking the, the, the, the pa the harder path and just leaning in and having conversations. So yes, this is, this is a really great conversation that we, we talk about a lot of things.
Men in therapy, what that should look like. Specifically Christian men, right? What do we need to be looking for? How do we vet therapists? What are, what are some resources that we need to make sure that we’re making the right decisions? Then we talk about things regarding our wives and what do, what does it mean to actually go to marriage counseling, and how can that impact you directly?
So, And why do you should do that before the marriage is on fire? And guys, I’m very open and transparent on the line within us. You guys know, I, I I talk about a lot of things about me directly. So I’ve been, I’ve been seeing a therapist for several years and it’s been a blessing to me and just to help understand how to process ideas, thoughts, emotions, has, I’m not good at that.
And also my wife and I, we, we, we, we, we go see a marriage therapist. Not because our marriage is in trouble, but because we wanna make our marriage amazing. Phenomenal, incredible. Just, just outstanding. You know? We don’t wanna just settle for good, and I don’t want you guys to settle for good. You need to lean in.
So, Outside perspective, so long as it’s the right counselor can really help you grow as a Christian man. So hopefully you’ll enjoy this one with, with with John. He’s a fun, just a phenomenal man. I know. He is gonna do incredible things. And by the way, he just had two, well, hi. His, him and his wife had, uh, twins.
So let’s be praying for. Uh, and, and that’s, that’s a big change coming to the house. It’s hard enough running a new, a newborn in the house, but now you got two. Uh, there’s all, I’m sure there’s a lot of stress there. Let’s just be praying for John, uh, and his growing family. So I’m not gonna hold it back any further, guys, enjoy this conversation with John Sullivan.
Well, John Sullivan, welcome to the line within us. How you doing?
04:10 John Sullivan
I’m good. Thank you so much for having me. This is just, uh, a cool opportunity and, uh, really hope it’s helpful for the guys listening. I,
04:18 Chris Grainger
I think it’s going to be too, I mean, for, for me personally, this is one that I’ve been looking forward to, uh, just because I know how therapy and counseling has, has served me in my family through, you know, trials and just helping, helping us grow as, as people, particularly me and my wife, as we try to grow together and, you know, sometimes, Yeah, man.
I mean, and when you think about like masculinity and therapy, they usually don’t go together. That’s like oil and water, right? So let’s just get down to get down to it. Why, why are so many guys against
04:49 John Sullivan
this? Why are they against the idea of therapy? Yeah. I
04:54 Chris Grainger
mean, for most guys they think that is. I, a lot of guys I hear, they think therapy is like, you’re weak if you go to therapy.
You know, so, right.
05:01 John Sullivan
Yeah. Yeah. So there’s, there’s a lot of, uh, influence behind that. A lot of it’s cultural, you know? What does it mean to be a man in America? Uh, a lot of it’s generational. We saw our fathers kind of strong arm and, you know, just try to push through whatever they were dealing with. And, you know, that whatever model we receive, that’s what we walk with.
Until we, we come to something like, you know, God reveals something to you or you pursue therapy there, there’s these different ways where God will use people to kind of like open up your mind and be like, oh, maybe the way that I’ve been taught to do things, uh, could use a little work. Or maybe it wasn’t the best way to do things.
05:46 Chris Grainger
Mm-hmm. , no doubt, man. I mean, it, it sounds so that that cultural generational, like I’ve always thinked through, Hey, we’re just gonna bootstrap it. I gotta figure this out on my own. I don’t need anybody helping me out. As a guy, I, I need to be the one to figure it out. It, it’s about me, me, me, my, my, my, right,
06:05 John Sullivan
Kind of like this, uh, this self uh, self-determination. Like I’m right. I can figure this out.
06:14 Chris Grainger
Right. I tell guys a lot, man. Now, I don’t know John if you agree here or not, but the three most dangerous words that guys can say is, I got this. You know, and, you know, so it’s. Jesus. He wants us to fully surrender to him and we don’t got this.
I mean at the last thing, when we think, when you think you do, that’s probably what he need to like slow down and back up. Cuz I, that’s where I struggle the
06:36 John Sullivan
most. Yeah. I would say that message is so anti the gospel. Cause the gospel’s like, you don’t got this and that’s why I’m here. Right.
06:46 Chris Grainger
Man, let’s talk about therapy and what that actually looks like now.
Cause I’m sure it’s shifted a lot over the years. It’s definitely connecting with guys at a different level now. You know, our, our audience is almost a hundred percent guys. I do know we have some ladies that listen on a regular basis. I think they listen to urge their, their, their, their men to listen to it.
So, uh, let, let’s talk about that, you know, how has that that shifted for, for therapy and counseling over the years?
07:10 John Sullivan
Yeah, I think it’s been interesting. You, you’ve seen a lot. I think Covid helped a lot with it, honestly. Um, there was, uh, what Covid did was reveal what was always there. All these, this, this pressure cooker of things that we weren’t dealing with as a society.
You know, we’ve seen record numbers of people pursuing therapy. We’ve also seen record numbers of, of really sad things. Suicide, um, you know, domestic, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, you know, so Covid revealed what was, was already kind of stewing under the surface. Um, and the, at the end of the day, those are all those things that like people are trying to go to, to deal with life in, in some form or fashion, right?
Like mm-hmm. , we, we call those like maladaptive coping mechanisms cuz they’re not actually helpful long term. Mm-hmm. . And so, like you said before, therapy was like, uh, basically if you were going in therapy even like 15 years ago, people would be like, well, you must have something seriously wrong with you mentally.
Right? You can’t handle it on your own. But we’ve seen like a lot, a big push. Uh, it’s kind of a pendulum swing, you know, like we’re trying to, we’re trying to bring it back to the middle. Um, where in the past we really thought it was for. To be honest, for like women, like we thought women needed therapy cuz they’re so emotional, but really we’re all emotional.
We just, we’re not handling it. We handle it in different ways. Um, but now we’re, we’re trying to have this, this gentle slide where it’s like actually therapy is good for everyone because it turns out you’re not supposed to just be trying to figure this out on your own. You need help. And really, we would hope, um, in an ideal world, like the body of Christ would really.
To be a big part of that. And that’s what we always hope for. And I push that in my sessions with, with believers is like, you only see me once a week. Like I really want you to be tight in community cuz that’s where a lot of growth and healing is gonna happen. But because of the cultures that we do have where like we’ve talked about like being like hyper individualistic, like we’re less likely to seek out.
Um, community, and we’ve put a high value on the professional, right? So I have a, I have a degree and a license, so therefore I have the answers right. Um, so people will seek out professionals more than they would seek out help from their community.
09:40 Chris Grainger
Yeah. And that’s been a big gap, man, and I’ve seen in a lot, so many people, particularly with, like you said, COVID amplified it.
And even now at our church, we got people who. Have chosen not to come back. They, they, they wanna sit at home and have the Facebook experience for Covid, like the Facebook Live. Right. And for me, I was like, bro, you’re totally missing it. It’s not about, you know, just hearing the preacher, it’s about being, connecting with other people.
And, and it’s
10:05 John Sullivan
just Exactly, it’s such a big, it’s a holistic experience. Exactly.
10:10 Chris Grainger
Exactly. And, and that’s where, I mean, that’s, and that’s what the church is, the church is not a building. It’s the people. I mean, the building can burn to the ground. And the church is the church. I mean, and that’s what we’re called to be.
And it’s just for guys, man, I think it’s hard for us, just in general. I think, I’d tell you just even since starting the line within us, I’ve been able to talk with so many guys and, and more. It’s, it’s been us. We’re a hundred percent virtual the way we, the way we. It’s interesting that the conversations, I’m finding that more and more guys are willing to be vulnerable and open and transparent when they’re in a meeting like this, where they don’t know each other.
There, there there’s not that tie. So it’s, it’s, it’s very interesting dynamic where, you know, they would never share some of the things they’re sharing with us at their local church because they, the fear of judgment or condemnation or whatever it is. With within the, our, our community, the way we’re building it at the Lion, it’s, they are comfortable to share.
So I just, maybe that, that, I don’t know what that’s telling me, but maybe, uh, it’s something I at least want to share that with you.
11:11 John Sullivan
Yeah, absolutely. Uh, and I, I do think we’re seeing a cultural shift, especially with, uh, millennials and like Gen Z. Mm-hmm. , like, they’re, they’re very open to therapy. Uh, it’s, it’s amazing.
Like there’s just, I don’t really know. I’m sure there’s, if we trace it back long enough, we’d find an answer to that. But they’re very, they’re very honest in like, I need help. I don’t have anyone and you have the training to help me. So like, they, they seek it out. I see. A lot of the men I do see are usually in those younger generations.
11:43 Chris Grainger
When you’re working with guys, I am curious, you know, what do you see as like the, the biggest headwind that, that so far is actually pushing through with guys? Is it getting them to be open, to be vulnerable, or is it. Getting them to come or to recognize that, you know, you’re, you’re there to help ’em.
Like what, what is the big haven when you’re seeing, when, when working with men?
12:05 John Sullivan
The, the big thing is, uh, having emotions. Like that’s, it’s, I know that sounds odd, but men struggle to, one, to acknowledge that they have emotions and that it’s okay to have them. Again, the very cultural thing here, you’ve got to. Be kind of a stoic and you just roll with, roll with the punches. And if you do have emotions, it’s anger.
You know, like you can be angry cuz that’s what we expect from men, but don’t, don’t try to employ any of the other emotions. Mm-hmm. . So really a lot of what I walk through with men is like teaching them, like to sit with their, their feelings and their emotions like, and how to, when, when they’re having intense emotions, like how to just roll with it and experience it.
because Chris, what, what brings people in, especially men to therapy, is it’s not that they have too many emotions, it’s that they’ve spent so much time avoiding them that they now have all these, like I said before, these, these maladaptive ways of trying to get around their emotions, right? And that’s why you have intense anxiety, depression, anger issues, uh, abuse of substances, you know, all, all these different things.
When. Really, we just need to, you know, our, us the generation of men right now, me and you with our kids, like we need to teach them like, it’s okay to have these things and there’s a good way to experience your emotions, right? But we don’t want to avoid, yeah.
13:37 Chris Grainger
And I think that’s, you know, when we try to suppress it or try to manage it on our own, that’s when we end up, you know, trying to jam our, our calendars so full of.
It just keeps us busy. The busy mind, you know, keeps you out of the, the things you actually should be trying to process and deal with directly. Or like you said, you turn to other vices. I mean, um, pills, peop uh, alcohol, other women, you know, there’s, there’s all sorts of other vices out there that men can turn to versus leaning in and actually understanding, why am I feeling this way?
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, Man, I, I do, I talk a lot about, with, with guys and around, there’s kind of three things, and I want to get your take. You got people, you got pills, you got prayer. And I believe in all of ’em. You know, I think, I think there’s a place for all of them that can help, you know, help people grow and particularly on their mental health.
And, um, what’s your take around when, when, obviously from a people standpoint, this is what you do? Mm-hmm. , but from, from, there’s lots of medications out there. And then there’s also the power of prayer. There’s some guys that may be thinking, look, all I need to do is just pray. You know, I don’t need to talk, I don’t need anything else.
What, what do you say to
14:49 John Sullivan
that guy? I would, I would be gentle with them and, and be like, look, God’s sovereign over everything. Pills exist because he gave us a way to just discover them and that the fact that they interact with our bodies is another act of sovereignty, so, mm-hmm. . That’s God’s common grace, right?
Like he’s given, he’s given us doctors and therapists and all these different things to help our bodies and our minds and our souls. So I’m, for all the above you, you need to see people, you definitely need to pray, cuz that’s, that’s your, your source right there. That’s the foundation. But if you need to be on meds, that’s fine too.
That’s, that’s another thing that we need to destigmatize is like, just cuz you’re on medications, doesn. . It doesn’t mean something’s seriously wrong with you and it also doesn’t mean you have to be on them for life. A lot of people don’t realize that sometime if you’re out, you’re going through a, a hard time in life.
You know, there’s anxiety and depression meds and all kinds that you take for a time and then you can come off them. But, you know, so there’s, you gotta be mindful that you don’t have to be on ’em all the time. Mm-hmm. .
16:06 Chris Grainger
Absolutely. That’s a, that’s a very good point. I mean, it can be in seasons, right? Right. I mean, we have all these different seasons of life, these different trials, but understanding that, that, you know, God and his sovereignty, he, he, he made the people who made the pills.
Right? I mean, so there’s, there’s things out there that we just have to follow that, that, that line of thinking as, as Christians, you know, I think sometimes we can be so, so far, you know, a hard stance against some things without really backing up and understanding, Hey, hold. What, what, what’s really going on
16:36 John Sullivan
And I think I almost see like, that’s almost like the Christian form of, of just, um, just roughing it. Like if I just pray enough like this will work out and if Right. And if I’m not praying enough or my prayers aren’t being answered, I’m weak somewhere, you know? Right. I’m, I’m deficient when that’s, that’s not God’s heart for you at all.
Like, you know. I think if, if we get in any area where we’re black and white on anything, then that’s when we need to kind of take, take a step back and be like, it’s possible. I’m, I’m not understanding this fully. You know, if like, you know what I’m saying? Like mm-hmm. . Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. It’s, it’s not weakness, uh, to lean into these things.
It’s actually a, a, to me it’s a sign of strength. Like you can acknowledge that you don’t got it.
17:30 Chris Grainger
I love it. Hey, we wanna take a quick break, guys. Be right back.
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Well, John, let’s, let’s, let’s get down to it, man. So, for guys who’ve never been to a counseling session or, or been to a therapy session, whatever you wanna call it, uh, what can they experience? What are they, are they, are they expected to walk in and lay down on a couch and start looking at pictures of bats and things like that?
Like, I mean, let’s just get real with, with what it actually looks like. What do you do? What, what could they expect going into.
19:29 John Sullivan
Yeah. Oh man, that’s such a, it is a good question. Cause it really is like, you know, as many flavors of ice cream there are, or like there’s that many types of, like therapy. So it really depends on who you’re going in to see.
So it’s important to, okay, if they have a, you know, a internet page and they have like a profile or a video, you know, to watch those. And hopefully those are done well enough that you get a taste of who they are because it really is, it’s whatever modality they’re trained in. And then it’s also the personality of the, the.
I could be an amazing therapist. I have all the skills, but if we don’t get along on a personal level, we’re not gonna go anywhere. So that’s really important. So for me, part of my process is I just, I wanna make them super comfortable and just relaxed. I’ve actually had a lot of guys, I do a lot of couples, um, two, and a lot of men are hesitant to come in cuz they think they’re just gonna get bashed.
The therapist is gonna align with the wife, and then they’re just gonna together, they’re just gonna do a crush session. And that’s so the opposite of, of what I do, um, that I’ve had several guys be like, I was pretty nervous coming in, but you’ve, you’ve made this a, a good experience. Yeah. Yeah. So really, uh, it, it’s just getting to know what brings them in, like, My, my goal is to be non-judgmental and just hear where, wherever they’re at and with what they’re struggling with.
You know, like everyone’s doing the best they can in the way they know how. So it’s, it’s not a matter of like, you’re not doing good enough. It’s like you’re doing what you can. How can I come alongside you and give you things maybe you hadn’t thought of? Mm-hmm. , see different perspectives. Absolutely.
21:19 Chris Grainger
So she’s really creating that, that safe environment for them to, to share and to be open and transparent.
So a typical session is, it’s 30 minutes, an hour, or an hour and a half. What, what could they expect from a, from a
21:32 John Sullivan
timeline? Yeah. So the first session is what we call like an intake session, and it’s really just information gathering. We’re not doing any like process yet. Um, but um, I’m learning about them.
They’re learning about me and seeing if we’re a good fit and. Every session after that is like progress, um, or process sessions. We’re actually doing the work, we’re working on the objectives that they set, and that’s an important piece is that together we create goals to accomplish in therapy so that you’re not just showing up and we’re, we’re just talking about life and then, you know, see you next week.
We actually wanna be working towards something, uh, towards the issues that you’re coming in.
22:16 Chris Grainger
Okay. So that, so that, that means if we have goals, there’s a level of accountability then. Right, right, right. Okay. Now, now you’re starting to re maybe resonate with some guys or maybe scare some guys, but that’s good.
That’s what’s, what’s what we’re here to do, you know? How about when you’re, when you, you mentioned earlier the personal connection. I’ll attest to this. The personal connection is huge, you know, so guys, if you’re out there and, and you feel. You know, I’m gonna go to one therapist. And it didn’t work out.
You’re, you’re, you’re being shortsighted, you know, because maybe that, that you and that therapist did not connect on a personal level. Exactly. And at that point, I would encourage you to keep going back and look for more. So let’s, I want to take it one level further, John, and get your insight on this. The Christian influence versus the secular.
There’s lots of secular therapists out. Versus some that take the Christian approach, what’s the big difference? And then what should we be looking for out of that Christian, because just because they say they’re a Christian therapist, we probably should test that Right. and make sure. So love to get your insight on this.
23:19 John Sullivan
and I really, you know, I work in a. There’s, there are a lot of Christians at my practice, but we would, we would say we’re a secular practice cuz we accept everyone. We’re not just Christian oriented, but I do see a lot of believers too. Uh, and it’s, it’s really dependent on the, the client, the guy coming in to express that he wants faith-based counseling to be part of his treat.
Okay, so I don’t, you know, I, I don’t always remember, but I try to make sure I ask when we first meet, like, you know, you in the intake paperwork, you mentioned faith is important to you. Do you want that to be part of the process? And if they say yes, like let’s go. Like, we’re gonna be talking about God, we’re gonna be praying, uh, every session.
I don’t always remember to pray at the end, but I try. Um, yeah, there’s gonna be a faith, actual faith integration, whereas like people who are, they have no faith. , we never touched that. It’s not even Right. Discussed. You know, then we’re just working on like, uh, we’re using like clinical interventions, um, and just really focusing on those, uh, like the clinical side of the house.
Whereas if we’re doing faith-based, you’re getting both. Mm-hmm. , and that’s important too. You, you brought up a point of, you know, A lot of people are Christian counselors. So there’s a spectrum here. You have people who are Christian counselors that are, they’re tic, right? They’re like, Bible has all the answers.
Like that’s, we’re not gonna use any of the clinical stuff cuz that’s secular and that doesn’t, not in the realm of God basically. Um, and then there’s like me where I’m an integrationist, where I, I use both because like I said, God’s common grace. He gave us these skills. To help our minds and our bodies and our souls.
So we, we might as well use them. They’re, they’re redeemable, right? Because God is more powerful than anything science has created. So like we can redeem these things rather than just stay, they’re inherently secular or sinful, right? Uh, but you gotta be careful cuz you can go to a Christian counselor and.
I’m about to say, I’m about to say something. So let me say, I love Christian counselors, like I considered myself one, but if we do not have the right training, we can do serious damage. So, okay. Yeah. That’s where we, that’s where like we have to be careful. Um, and unfortunately it’s hard for a client coming in to know.
What training each person has, unless that’s like, specifically shared. So like I try to share like I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, you know, so I have a licensure that the secular state said, yes, you can practice. But a lot of, uh, biblical counselors are not held to that code and they, they have their own code of ethics.
But again, it’s such a spectrum and it’s really. I use like the , the, the metaphor of like the ice cream flavors. Like, you really don’t know what you’re, you’re getting until you, you get in the office and you, you have to decide as the client, is this a good fit or not? Don’t just keep going because you, you signed up.
Like you, you really gotta pray, discern, like, is this the, the right fit?
26:32 Chris Grainger
Yeah. I mean, from that standpoint, I, I didn’t realize there were different, I guess, credentials around us. So what, I mean, what she’ll be as a, as a man going in definitely want, if you want to have a Christian, uh, oversight or, or, or somewhat of a, of a view here to help you work through your issues.
But if they’re not trained, what do we need to be looking for then? I mean, I don’t know the credentials I need to be looking for when it comes to checking out a therapist.
26:57 John Sullivan
Yeah. I think at the most basic level, Hopefully on their website or when you talk to ’em, they disclose where they got their training.
So really? Mm-hmm. . Um, what I would like to see from a, a counselor would be, he at least has a master’s in some form of counseling, whether it be. Just Christian or like mine is, is Christian and secular. Uh Right. My masters would be primary because that means they put in the time they, they gained the knowledge, they did the work to c cuz that involves actual clinical training, right?
Like you have to be an intern somewhere. Mm-hmm. , I’m with you. And even someone, you know, there’s plenty of people who have like pastoral, um, counseling degrees. I think that’s fine. Again, master’s level is, is kind of the baseline. If you’re seeing someone who has a bachelor’s, they, they probably need a little more experience.
28:00 Chris Grainger
right. It, it shows, I mean, they took that master’s level, obviously they showed that they’re, they’re invested in that career path, right? Um, yeah, for sure. What. And I don’t know the best way to ask this, I’m just gonna just come out and ask it. Picking a man versus a woman therapist. We’re talk, we’re, we’re talking to Christian men here.
Right. Does that, does that need to be a factor or is that, you know, not something to be considered at all?
28:26 John Sullivan
I think it, yeah, we consider it, but we base it on level of comfort. So if, if you’re cool with, with seeing a woman, let you know and. You looked at her credentials and you feel like she can address the issues that you’re bringing in to the session.
I’m all for it, but there is, you know, I see some, a lot of men come to me because I am a man. Like there, there are gender differences, right? That’s just a mm-hmm. objective fact. But um, yeah, a lot of guys just wanna see a guy cuz we understand each other on that level. Yeah. Regardless of, that’s what
29:03 Chris Grainger
I. I am sorry, go
29:05 John Sullivan
No, I was saying regardless of my training, they just, they know that they’ll, they’re coming in with an understanding that we’re gonna understand each other a little better. Right,
29:14 Chris Grainger
right. Exactly. And, and I mean, for me, with, with, with the gentleman that I, that I talk to and see, that’s it. I mean, I feel like as a guy, we just connect, you know, and I can just, you know, some, I can be very blunt, very honest.
and you know, I don’t know if I would have that level of connection if he wasn’t a guy, you know, just to be honest. So, I mean, I, I think to your point though, if, if it, if it does resonate, that’s fine. But, uh, I think it’s, uh, definitely that personal connection. I keep going back. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , it’s, that’s, that’s the biggest piece.
You gotta have bebo, you gotta kind of like ’em, , you know, you gotta be able to like ’em as somewhat of a friendship cuz you’re, you’re building a relationship.
29:54 John Sullivan
And really we call that like the therapeutic alliance. If, if that is not strong, men will not be vulnerable. It is, it is already so hard for men to be vulnerable.
So if like they, if they can’t mesh at that most basic level, it’s gonna be hard to get somewhere. Right? Right. But I will say there is a caveat, like if you’re, if you’re really, you’re needing therapy and a woman’s available. Do it. Like that’s, that’s better than suffering alone and not getting the help you need.
30:26 Chris Grainger
Yeah, good point. And I’m glad you brought that one up cuz that’s something that guys probably need to think about cuz you may find it difficult, um, when you go out and you’re searching because a lot of the, the therapists, particularly the effective ones, the ones that, that are really connecting with, with, with their clients, they don’t have availability, you know?
That’s right. So, Yeah, maybe speak to that. How do you, yeah. How do you go about vetting them and checking it out when, when it’s can be so hard just to get an appointment with any of them. Yeah.
30:55 John Sullivan
So, uh, psychology Today is where Mo like, that’s like the most basic, uh, what would you call it? It’s like, uh, where you can basically check out all the therapists in the local area.
Anyone who’s like a, like a directory type. Yeah. It’s a directory. Yeah. That’s a good, okay. Um, so go there and, You know, that’s something we pay for all of us individual therapists. So we put a lot of TLC into it cuz we’re marketing ourselves. It’s gonna have all of our credentials, it’s gonna have our license.
Um, it’s gonna have, uh, the different areas that we, we practice in, like the, the, the things we’re strong in. You know, like, so mine says couples, um, families, men, stuff like that. So you’ll be able to really get a a, a great picture. What you’re walking into. And it, it also shows if they’re taking clients or not.
Okay. That’s psychology today.
31:50 Chris Grainger
Psychology. Alright. We’ll put that, that link in the show notes for sure. Yeah. Uh, for you guys out there, because I mean, it’s important. I mean, cuz it could be frustrating. I know for you guys, if you make two or three phone calls and they’re, nobody’s available or they, you know, schedules don’t align, it can be hard, you know?
So, uh, you don’t want to give up. But, uh, that’s a good resource there, John. Thank you for that. No, you’re. Hey, we’re gonna take a quick break, guys. Be right back,
guys out hear all the time how we are isolated. We’re alone. We don’t feel like we have anybody we can talk to. And I’m here to tell you we took action. The line with them is we started a community and that thing is awesome. We have events happening all the time, and more importantly, we have guys connecting with each other every day.
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So, John, I wanna transition a little bit. So we’re talking, we’ve been talking about men directly in therapy and I think it’s an important conversation to have, but I, I want to, while we’re here, we have a lot of guys part of the line within us. We talk about self, we talk about being a better husband too, and, but you mentioned it earlier about going to therapy with your wife, and I’d like to go ahead and just talk.
About that from a preventative standpoint, because so many guys, they hear, if they hear that, you know, me and my wife were going to counseling, like, you know, the building’s on fire and it’s about to burn to the ground and, and that’s not the case, right? I mean, my wife and I, we go, it’s usually a monthly check-in.
Because we want to have a phenomenal, outstanding, in incredible marriage, not just a good one, you know? Right. So it, it helps us connect. So maybe talk around that, around how that therapy can help build up, you know, what isn’t on fire for, for those guys that may be listening. Absolutely.
34:46 John Sullivan
Yeah. Like all things in life, we have to be intentional, right?
Like mm-hmm. , we we’re intentional with our jobs, we’re intentional with our, our self care. You know, feeding ourselves, bathing ourselves, all those. Uh, and it really should be the same way with your, your wife. Like if, if that relationship is gonna thrive, you’re not just gonna do the baseline and, you know, keep going.
You’re gonna invest in it to build it up and make it even stronger because life is coming, it’s always coming. So if you’re not investing in that relationship, what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna have a bunch of withdrawals and no deposits. You know, I like to, I use the language of like, The love bank account or the love tank, you’ve gotta put deposits in that bank account because those withdrawals are coming.
Whether, whether it be, uh, life events or are you guys getting in fights, you’re not getting along. Whatever those, those moments are gonna happen cuz we’re, we’re too sinners together. But if you’re investing all along the way and being intentional rather than being huge mountains, those are just gonna be bumps in the road.
35:57 Chris Grainger
Man, that is so good right there. I mean, and plus I love the connection. That’s a connection that so many guys get because it, it’s, it ties right to wealth, , you know, withdrawals and deposits, man, I mean, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re all over it. And that’s what I’m trying to, to really encourage guys.
Man, it doesn’t mean that, you know, uh, your marriage is set up for failure or you’re doomed if you go to counsel. One thing we need to remember, guys, and you hear me talk about it all the time, Satan wants our marriages to fail. He does. He’s gonna do everything he can to drive a wedge between you and your wife and I, for me, the big thing, and I like to get your take on this, John, is just having that, that third party, you know, if you’re, if you’re in the trenches and you’re, and you’re with your wife, you’re doing life, you’re, you’re there together and you can’t really see the purview of everything that’s around you because you’re right there.
For me, the, the big value has been that outside perspective and saying, Hey, have you guys considered this? Mm-hmm. , or, you know, just that different, that, that different view that, that I can’t have and she can’t have, but that they’re a able to offer. Right.
36:59 John Sullivan
Right. And you know, you kind of like, we’re all looking at life through a certain lens, right?
Mm-hmm. , and I’d like to think, you know, it’s pretty. Sometimes, often, a lot of times it’s not. Um, but I, I kind of like think about like, if you put your hand in front of your face, what can you see? Can’t. Mm-hmm. you can’t see a whole lot. You can see through the cracks, you can see the peripheral. Well, what I offer you is the view from the other side.
I can see I’m on the outside, so I can see all the things you can’t see because you’re, you’re in the trenches with it and it’s really, you get myopic, you know, you get so focused on these. One-off issues where I can take that 30,000 foot view with you and see, be like, Hey, I can, I can see all these points where you’ve got to this point.
You know, like, this thing might be the big issue right now, but let’s, let’s expand it out and see how we can change things in the, the system, if you will, uh, so that we can alleviate this pressure point over here.
38:03 Chris Grainger
That’s really good, man. I’ll tell you one thing we did. I thought it was really cool and, and I forget what he, he called it, but he called, it was something like a river, a river of life or something.
But I had to, we got on this big board. And guys, you can do, you can, you can do this at home with your wife. It was a lot of fun. You made a therapist to help you understand , some of the, the parts of it, but, uh, she started writing her events, like her life as a river to different things, you know, from when she was born, the memories that she had growing up.
And then I did the same. Um, you know, the, the, the highs, lows, and then we, the rivers met, and then we, we, we, uh, we drew that river out through the trials. We’ve gone through the, the thing, the, the good parts, the bad parts that we’ve gone through as a couple, but I can just tell you what, just listening to the, to the part of the river where she was by herself, even though we dated and, and I knew her, there were things that revealed to me through that.
I didn’t know before. It just led to really good conversations. But I will tell you this, I never would’ve thought of just being a husband to draw two rivers together, man. I mean, that’s, that’s stuff that, that, you know, therapists like yourself, I’m sure you have tools like that, that pull out these, these these, uh, open up the, the level of conversation.
39:17 John Sullivan
Yeah. Some, sometimes that’s, that’s just what it is, is like I’m just giving you communication skills that you didn’t have. because remember, you can’t Right. Give what you don’t have. If your, if your folks didn’t teach you proper communication, emotional regulation, that’s what you didn’t get.
Mm-hmm. . And we have to, we have to source it from somewhere else. What are
39:37 Chris Grainger
ways that, that, that, when you’re working with guys directly, kind of shifting back to the, to one-on-one with guys, are there any methods that you find are most effective, that you get the best results, that guys enjoy the most?
Or I’d just just love to get your, your take in your insight. So
39:54 John Sullivan
I’m traditionally like a, what we call cognitive behavioral therapist. I, that’s my training, um, what I got from Southeastern. It’s a lot of what they do and what aligns very much biblically cuz it’s all, so much of what Apollo is talking about is like, you know, renewing your mind, take capt of your thoughts, you know, like, uh, you know, leave no provision for the flesh.
All these different things, um, are like very like mental pursuit. and then we, I partnered that, you know, the CBT is what it’s called for short with biblical principles and guys really like that because mainly it’s simple. Like I’m not using a bunch of language and I try not to anyway. Like you ever go to the doc, you go to the doctor’s office and they’re like, they’re throwing all these terms at you and you’re like, can you just tell me what’s going on?
Yeah. Like, exactly. See, I don’t like that. I don’t wanna do that to you. Like, so I’m just, I’m gonna use very plain language and we’re, we’re talking, I’m using all the C B T stuff, but I’m just giving it to you in a way that is really, uh, palatable. You can just take it and run with it.
41:01 Chris Grainger
Yeah. So that’s cool.
So that’s the, that’s the big one that you, that you lean on, that you find good results outta
41:08 John Sullivan
guys. Yeah. And then for, for marriages, uh, I use Gotman method, uh, which is, uh, John Gotman is like, he’s like the marriage guru of our age. He’s got like 50 plus years of research now. Um, evidence-based research and again, can be highly biblical.
Although he’s not a, a believer, I’ve easily transferred that stuff into biblical principles.
41:37 Chris Grainger
41:38 John Sullivan
man. Yeah. The go anything by Gaman, if you pick that up and you know, you read that with your wife, you’ll bless your marriage. Um, the one that I always recommend to my couples and my husbands is the, the seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
41:56 Chris Grainger
Yeah. We’ll, we’ll make, we’ll, we’ll link that up into show notes for sure. So that, that’s seven principles you, that’s a really good resource you think, to help bring our, bring
42:04 John Sullivan
our marriages strong. Oh, yeah. I use it all the time. I’ve used it in my own marriage. It’s been huge benefit. What’s I,
42:11 Chris Grainger
I mean, this is on the spot, but what’s one of the principles?
I mean, let’s, let’s share something. Let’s give the guys a taste.
42:17 John Sullivan
Yeah. Um, ooh, what’s a good one? There’s so many, um, kind of how, how you approach, um, talking about hard things, even if you just wanna like, you know, Hey, I want to make a purchase or something. Like, there’s, there’s a difference. So for example, Here we go.
For like, if you expressing a need, like if I, if your wife comes to you and goes, you never take outta the trash. You’re, you’re such a slob. How do you feel? You feel
42:45 Chris Grainger
defensive. Yeah. I’m attack, I’m not. That’s
42:48 John Sullivan
right. You’re g you’re getting ready to go into the fight. Yep. But so we call that a harsh startup.
That’s a harsh startup to the conversation. But if you, if your wife were to come to you and. Or, you know, maybe we should flip it like, uh, for the guys like you, you, if you were to go to your wife and you know, you want anything, you could go, you know, a good one is like holding hands or, you know, affection or something like that.
You remember, you remember last week when you were, you were really affectionate. I really love that and I’d love to see more of that. Mm-hmm. . So instead of, and he could have been. You’re, you’re frigid. You’re so cold. Like you, you don’t touch me enough. You know? Right. Because there’s a, there’s a need on, on, in both sides of the conversation Right there.
You’re expressing a need, but how you express it makes all the difference. The, the one with the harshness, you’re never gonna get what you want. Right. But if you come at her soft and you say, like, you start with eye language. I’m sure you’ve heard you’ve heard of that before. You know? Right. I feel this way and I need this from you.
Do you see what was not present in that statement? There’s no you, there’s no finger pointing. Right? Right. And that’s a huge part of gotman is the, the harsh versus the soft startup, or the gentle startup. And I tell you what, it seems like such a simple skill, but once you start using it, the, the conversations change and it, yeah, it just gets so much better.
That’s a, that’s
44:17 Chris Grainger
a great point, guys. That right there is worth listening to. Have you made it this far into the podcast that just, we’ll probably save a lot of arguments and, and may even, you know, help you guys grow in your marriages together. So, I mean, and I love the connection there. Cause I, I went straight to intimacy.
So many guys, you know, why aren’t you ever intimate? Why, why aren’t you ever in the mood? I can hear ’em saying it right now to their wives, you know, and that’s a great. Versus approaching it, Hey, you know, you last week or whenever the last time, you know that that was, I love the way we connected, would hope to, you know, just open that conversation up in a much softer tone.
44:53 John Sullivan
Yeah. You know, asking questions rather making a demand. Right.
44:57 Chris Grainger
That’s good stuff, man. That is awesome. Well, how long you have you been doing, uh, you know, working in counseling and.
45:06 John Sullivan
So I graduated, uh, May, 2021, so I’m been doing it since then. Okay. More or less. Um, so I’m still a greenhorn. I’m learning, learning a ton every day.
Um, but uh, I do feel like God has definitely affirmed the calling. Like it has been, it has been hard. I, I always wanna be honest, you know, like we don’t wanna sugarcoat anything. Right. It’s been hard, but it’s been a huge source of growth. In me personally, spiritually in my marriage, like, uh, yeah. Yeah, it’s been awesome.
45:40 Chris Grainger
That’s great, man. Well, at the line with Dennis John, we always have what we call it, it’s a lightning round, we call it feeding time. It’s a little bit of just, just fun stuff, like, just to ask, let our guys get to know you as on a little bit deeper level, but be willing to play, man. We’ll jump into that before we wrap up for today.
Sure. Awesome, awesome. So just getting, just getting us started, you know, what’s your favorite thing about.
46:07 John Sullivan
Oh man. How, how deep his love is. How deep and rich, his love, man. It’s just, well, it’s never ending, you know? There’s, and, and it shows up in so many different ways. Yeah.
46:19 Chris Grainger
Isn’t that cool, man? It’s really awesome. So now to flip that on, on its head, what’s your least favorite thing about Satan?
46:31 John Sullivan
His, his lies always have a bit of truth, and that’s why they’re believable. Mm. And that’s why men get stuck. Mm-hmm. , no
46:42 Chris Grainger
doubt man. Hal us right
46:44 John Sullivan
in our tracks.
46:46 Chris Grainger
Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s why it’s so important to know the word guys. I mean, when Jim, when he approached Jesus, what did Jesus to always do?
It is written. You gotta know. You gotta know the. So what is, uh, next question? What’s something that you’re currently struggling with right now?
47:03 John Sullivan
Oh, man. Um,
probably pride and I, that might be an always thing as a, as a man, I don’t know. Um, but trying to be humble in the position that I’m in because it is, I have so many people coming to me looking for help. You know, it’s, it’s easy. Get inflated, um mm-hmm. . And then that’s where on the flip side it’s like, oh, you’ve gotta have this all figured out.
And if you don’t, then something’s wrong. . Right,
47:36 Chris Grainger
right. That’s right. That’s right. Man. I think the pride answer, if, if the guys listening were truthful, they would all, uh, resonate with that one. Cuz the pride of life, I mean, lust, the flesh, lu luster, the eyes, the pride of life. That’s your three, the three big ones.
But the pride is we get so many guys, man, and. Gotta be, gotta be aware of that one. So what’s, uh, what’s something that you spent too much time doing last year?
48:02 John Sullivan
Um, probably watching YouTube. Okay. ? Yeah.
48:08 Chris Grainger
It can suck you in, man. That algorithm is really good, brother. So it, it is there for a reason. ?
48:14 John Sullivan
Oh yeah. Oh. Shows me what I wanna see. . Nice.
48:19 Chris Grainger
What’s, uh, let’s do two more. What’s a new habit that you want to try to create or maybe one that you’ve recently created?
48:26 John Sullivan
Yeah, man, we’re in the, the season of Advent.
You know, we’re anticipating Christ’s birth and, you know, is return and in the future. Um, so just pausing to be still just like little micro pauses throughout the day. Yeah. Like, I love, I love. Times of silence and solitude, but it’s, it’s really important to get those tiny pauses and just turn back to true north as much as you can.
I love it. I love
48:55 Chris Grainger
it. That’s a great advice there. Last question for you, John. What’s one thing that you hope that the guys listening today remember from our conversation? Yeah.
49:06 John Sullivan
Uh, don’t do it alone. Like, it’s okay to struggle. We’re all struggling, but don’t do it alone. And if, and if you don’t wanna do it for yourself, do it for your family.
Mm-hmm. , do it for your community. Because what we change in ourselves, the ripple effect, right? Yeah. With Pebble and Water, we change, we change for the people around us, it affects them, they affect others. Like it just keeps going, man. It’s, it’s
49:41 Chris Grainger
so true. It’s abso It’s so true. So John, what other items would you like to share?
Where, where should guys go if they want, you know, if they wanted to connect with you or learn more about counseling? Gimme any resources you’d like to share with the guys before we wrap up today?
49:54 John Sullivan
Yeah. Um, so obviously like, I’d love to, if people wanna seek their, these guys wanna seek therapy, like they can reach out to me.
I, I work at, um, it’s called Greenleaf Psychological and Support Services, and you. Check us email@example.com. I’m one of, uh, several guys there. There’s a lot of ladies too. Um, but we’re a, we’re a private practice, but most of us are Christian. Um, so it wouldn’t be hard to find. So, and a lot of us have availability.
That’s important. A lot of us are, cuz a lot of guys are looking and they can’t find, but we have several people including myself who have availability. Um, so that’s a, that’s a good one. Um, psychology Today is gonna have, All the practices in the area, and that’s just a good, uh, touching point to send you in the right direction.
Um, oh man. Yeah, I think those are, those are some good ones. There’s, there’s so many good, um, books too. Like, I love reading, but audio books too on, if you, if you don’t want to go to counseling, you know, there’s, there’s like degrees to this. Like, so if you don’t want to go to therapy, Read a book, listen to an audio book.
You know, right there, there are ways. Listen to this podcast. You know, like there are ways you can improve your mental health if, if you can’t afford it. I get it. I wish that’s, that’s kind of ever changing, but, um, just don’t quit. Like, there, there are things and resources that are free or, or inexpensive.
51:27 Chris Grainger
Absolutely. That’s right. We’ve just gotta lean in. Gotta get it. Gotta get it done. Guys. If we make it a. It will get done. You just got to, to, to actually, you know, make that priority and, and make that investment. And you mentioned earlier about the withdrawals and the deposits. I mean, make for, if anything, make that investment in your marriage for sure.
Uh, you won’t, you won’t regret it. So John, it’s been an honor man. Thank you for so much. This was a good conversation. We definitely, uh, debunked a lot of miss around therapy and counseling in particular for Christian men. So man, I thank you so much for the wisdom you shared today.
51:59 John Sullivan
Absolutely. Thank you for having me.
This has been a joy. I’m, I’m, I’m so hopeful for how this helps people, you know? Um, so it’ll be, it’ll be good to see. We won’t know, but in, in heaven, you and I will see. We’ll see there, brother.
52:13 Chris Grainger
That’s right. Yeah, man, you have a wonderful day, sir. Thank you so much. You too.
Let me ask you a real personal question. Who are your five closest friends? Are they pulling you closer to God or further? I know some of many guys that said, man, I ain’t got five friends. You know? Okay, I get it, man. It’s hard. It’s hard to make those true connections. So what we did at the line with innocence, we started a community.
That community is where brotherhood happens. It’s where guys come together. So guys, if you, if you’re struggling right now, if you feel a little bit isolated or alone, you need to hop in the. You’re gonna find brothers there that are gonna come alongside you, that want to help you. Wherever you’re at, wherever you’re at.
Guys don’t think you have to be some theologian to join. No. We’re all just regular men who want to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ to ultimately be the leader God intends us to be. That’s what it’s about. So hop over to the community guys. We have a lot of live events as well, so you can hop in, you can kind of just sit there and watch.
You don’t have to really jump in if that’s not who you are right now, hop in on a lion lunch. Maybe go to one of our Bible studies that we have going on. Maybe check out some of our courses that we have available, or ask me anything events where you had previous guests come in and share their expertise.
All this is available within the community that is part of the membership. So if it sounds like there’s something you wanna. God, 30 day free trial. Just jump in, see if it serves you, and if it does, guys, we would love to have you in our community. As we’re growing, we’re serving, we’re helping others be the leader that God intends them to be, and I know we can help you be the leader God wants you to be as well.
So again, hop over to the line within us. Click on join for that 30 day free trial so you can get started. I look forward to seeing you inside the den.
All right, guys. I told you that was gonna be a good one. I mean, it really was a good conversation. Hopefully you picked up a lot. Hopefully you learned a lot and you got some areas that you can apply to make an impact in your life right now. Again, therapy and counseling, those things are there for a reason.
I’m telling you guys, people peel prayer. Those strengths work, and you know what? There’s nothing shame. That, that it comes with reaching out for others for help. Now that’s what they’re there for. They, God put these people, he is sovereign above all things and he gave people like John gifts and talents to use to serve others.
And they’re doing that. They’re doing that. So hopefully this helps you to question, I want you to think about this week, our men in therapy week. Do you think that, or did this conversation. Maybe start turning your, your, your idea around counseling and therapy in a different light. Hopefully, Alicia gave you a, a inside view of what it actually looks like versus what we see on TV or counseling or, you know, through, through media, right?
There’s, there’s, there’s a lot of power in just having actual truth to lean on. So, so guys. People, pills, prayers, all that stuff works. I’m gonna point you guys back to the community, what John said to end. Don’t do it alone. Don’t do it alone. Whatever you’re facing, don’t do it alone. That’s why we built the lion within US community.
So guys, if you’re struggling, if you got, if you, if you got a trial going on right now, or maybe it’s season, you’re in a season of life and you’re not struggling, things are okay. Let me, lemme just go ahead and warn you. It’s, it’s, It doesn’t say if, it says when in the Bible, when we face these trials. So guys, you’re either in it, coming out of it or getting ready to go into it and you need guys around you.
And if you don’t have ’em, I got, we we’re here to help you. That’s what the community is all about. So go to the lion within us. That’s the lion within us. Join our community. It’s 30 days free. Check it out. See what we’re talking about. See how we can serve you. See how we can connect with you. See how you connect with other guys.
See what you can bring to the table, and how we can help give you the resources and tools you need to overcome it. Whether you wanna be a better husband, a better. Work on your career and your finances. Maybe you just wanna work on like, like John talked about today, your mental health. Or maybe you just need to lose a few extra pounds.
We got that. We we’re here to help you do that too. So guys, we have all these resources available. We have direct access, live events. Ask me anything with from our previous guests, but you’re not gonna get any of it just by listening to the podcast. You gotta jump into the community now. We’re blessed, we’re honored.
We thank you for listening. But take action. Go to the line within dot. Join the community. You’ll find us there. And guys, I’m gonna tell you what that is, where it’s happening, that’s where you’re gonna grow and that’s how you’re going. That’s a really great resource to help you be the leader God intends you to be.
So guys, give us a rating, write a review that, that helps big time. Share this episode with others. Maybe share this one with your wife and let your wife listen to it. Maybe she needs to, uh, to, to, to open a conversation for you and. To think about how, how we could start approaching therapy and why we should consider it as a couple.
You never know, guys, just take a little bit of. Make a big impact. So I pray you come back on Friday. I got some cool tips for you, for you, fun Friday. Got a great resource as well for you on our fun Friday from the book of the week that I think you’ll really get a lot out of this one guys, seriously. So come back on our fun Friday, uh, and you know, we’re gonna have some dad jokes to get you going into the weekend, so get after it.
Fellas. Enjoy your day and, and, and make sure you take care of your mental health. It’s so important guys, so get after it. Stay strong. Unleash the.
John shares how professional counseling is not for the weak but for the ones that want to be as strong as possible. Satan is going to attack our minds and having others trained in walking through these key areas is incredibly powerful.
He reveals the inside look into what counseling entails and answers the hard questions that hold guys back from moving forward. Lean in and see how wise counsel can serve you well as you forge your own path of unleashing the Lion Within!
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