Updated: Apr 3, 2020
T.E.A.C.H. Academy of Lago Vista, TX has been a CAI since April, 2018.
Dr. Keiah P. Ellis is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor.
Balance. We all need it. Desperately
It’s what keeps our relationships healthy. It’s what keeps our work and family lives seamless. It’s how we get our needs met while also meeting the needs of others. It’s the key ingredient in the recipe of a good life.
Jesus taught us about life balance. He spent much quality time with his disciples, but he also stole away for alone, quiet time when His heart needed it. He enjoyed fellowship and camaraderie with the people who needed Him most, but never at the expense of time spent in the presence of His Father. He didn’t tip one way or the other, going from extreme to extreme, moved about by every wind of life's circumstances. He remained in control of His mind and His emotions, and He was firmly anchored in the hands of the Lord and His ability to keep Him. He understood God’s true rest as a mind, body, and spirit experience. He remained balanced in every area of life and godliness.
As temperament counselors, we have the unique opportunity to dig down beyond the surface behaviors of our counselees, and to see their needs. We have a direct visual into the places where their lives are not in balance. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to help them make changes and decisions that will get their needs met in healthy, God-honoring ways and stop self-destructive patterns that keep them off-kilter. What a privilege.
At T.E.A.C.H. Academy, I train my students to think this way. Our main goal is to use the tool of the A.P.S. to show our counselees who they are on a core, needs-based level. Understanding the needs that they have creates the scale on which we set their presenting issues. From there, it is easy to see what actions, behaviors, and poor thinking habits are tipping the scales too far one way or the other, and we can specifically address those things. It’s not a shot in the dark. It’s a specific course of action that effectively brings about positive changes in the lives of our counselees, and ultimately, brings them closer to our Lord Jesus.
I count it such an honor to have access to the A.P.S. I feel as though I’ve been endowed with a superpower -- x-ray vision. I can clearly look past the behaviors of a person and see what needs they are desperately trying to meet. After all, that is what all behavior is. Everything we do is an attempt, consciously, or, as is often the case with our counselees, unconsciously, to meet some need. Dissecting the results of the A.P.S. with our counselees makes the process of identifying these connections of needs to behaviors so much easier. And we are then able to spend our time in sessions finding ways to honor God in meeting our needs, without having to guess. It simplifies the therapeutic process, and I love simple.
In addition to teaching Creation Therapy to future counselors, my C.A.I. also teaches Created in God’s Image classes to introduce laypeople to temperament theory. We host “Temperament Talks” where we talk about all things temperament. This is a great opportunity for students and new counselors to hone their skills in a low-stress environment. I find that the more we talk about temperament, the more we understand, and the more we are able to apply to our own lives and in our counseling sessions. I recently created a program for my students called Back to Basics, and its entire purpose is to help them to grow in confidence in their abilities to use the A.P.S. effectively in their ministries and in their time with their counselees. I came from a corporate educational background, so I also use the A.P.S. to consult with business owners and managers to ensure that they are using their human resources in the best ways possible. We help to make sure that their employees are positioned to work in a healthy balance of enjoyment and responsibility. This year, I hope to expand into the public and private school system to use the A.P.S. to help teachers be more effective in their classroom management, by showing them how to balance meeting the needs of their students without forfeiting meeting their own needs. It has been such a joy, and I look forward to whatever other opportunities the Lord presents to me for using the A.P.S. for His Kingdom and His glory.
Life is a delicate balancing act. What an honor to be called of the Lord to help people along the way.