“I’ve always been a believer.”
Robin Webster, LPC, NCC, reflected on her upbringing in faith traditions. She grew up, initially, in the faith tradition of Judaism, which then transitioned to Christianity when she was a preteen. For Robin, the practice of bringing comfort to the people in her life was commonplace throughout childhood into adulthood. She recalls always having a natural ability to meet people when they came to her with troubles. This orientation, intersecting at faith and the ability to be a natural helper, has informed Robin’s life and brought her to the work she does today.
Presently, Robin serves as the CEO of Tower of Refuge Christian Counseling, LLC, where she weaves together a Person-Centered approach to counseling with a collection of Christian practices, such as prayer, use of Christian language, and reading of the Bible. However, integration of Christianity into therapeutic practice was not always a given. In fact, for a long time, she never thought the two could meet.
Before Robin practiced privately, she worked for institutions in which she kept faith largely separate from her work with clients. What prompted her to make the leap toward integration was a series of interactions with others where she acted intuitively and saw positive results. For instance, she would often spend more time with clients than was allotted to make sure they walked away with a completed therapeutic experience and feeling lighter than they had upon entering the space. Likewise, if she felt prompted to do so, she would offer to pray with a willing client. What she found was that when she acted intuitively, the clients benefitted.
In making the full transition to Christian counseling, Robin was concerned about having enough clients, that people might not be interested in the service. What Robin sees today is the opposite of her initial concern as she has substantial clientele. Interestingly, she finds that the Christianity piece brings a sense of familiarity and can thwart wariness in clients who are initially wary of therapy. In this way, she meets people where they are by appealing to a worldview that is already a part of the frameworks of their lives.
“This is not just a job for me. This is my ministry.”
It took time for her to decide to make the leap into full integration of Christian and psychotherapeutic practices, and she is grateful that she did. Robin’s life and work are woven together into a vocational calling. She expresses that the long hours are worth it, and she loves what she does.
In the way of challenges, Robin spoke to the present stigma around receiving mental health services in the African American community. What she sees in her clients and personal communities is the pervasive belief that receiving mental health services means that there must be something inherently wrong with you as a person, that you are crazy.
It is important to Robin to combat this stigma actively in the work she does. One way she does this in practice is to reframe the whole notion of therapy by defining it in terms to which people can relate. So, what’s actually happening? People — all people — go through processes and at some point will need support in going through processes. The therapist or helping professional provides a safe context for a person to do that processing.
“I know that at some point, I’m going to need someone else on board.”
Looking forward, Robin’s goal is to incorporate a team of other Christian counselors into her practice. The reality is that the need for her services is growing, and she wants a team of other professionals providing similar services to whom she can refer. It is the hope of TPN.Health to connect Robin with clinicians who practice similarly for collaboration and referral-sourcing. You too can showcase your specific clinical expertise on your TPN.Health profile to begin collaborating with other like-minded clinicians.
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