What Clients Need and Don’t Need from a Christian Counselor with Billy and Brandy Eldridge | FP 51

What Clients Need and Don't Need from a Christian Counselor with Billy and Brandy Eldridge | FP 51

Are you a Christian counselor wanting to understand your clients better? How can you successfully support a client who is struggling with their faith? What can you do to make the process easier and more compassionate?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks about what clients need and don’t need from a Christian counselor with Billy and Brandy Eldridge.

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. He has learned to embrace his best beta self, and he can help you to do the same. As a therapist, he understands the need to belong.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

 

Brandy is an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. She feels alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

Visit their website, connect on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to the podcast here.

If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then the free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

In This Podcast

  • Clients need a space to feel they are truly being listened to
  • Not telling, giving instead
  • Beta Male Revolution

Clients need a space to feel they are truly being listened to

Billy discusses how he restructured his relationship with God in rehab because it was a place of total acceptance of where he was, without criticizing or telling him what he did wrong.

The mask comes off there [in rehab] because you show up at the 12-step meeting, nobody gets their own winning streak, So to come in there and pretend is really fruitless, so you’re done with your bullshit story about all the excuses and you don’t have to go in there and posture. – Billy Eldridge

For counselors to give their clients that space to fully express themselves and be heard is vital. They do not need to be told to just sit and pray more or expect the change to happen on its own, because faith is an action and by placing one foot in front of the other, you can move along your way towards it and meet God there.

Not telling, giving instead

I was sitting in class and this one student said ‘Jesus did not force people to follow him, he invited people to follow him.’ – Billy Eldridge

This idea follows through in Christian counseling because counselors can do the same by not telling or forcing clients on a specific path. It is instead about being loving and welcoming and allowing them, in that safe space, to make their own decision.

Whitney talks about how would Jesus work with people in their pain, and He would be there with them. Billy mentions how important it is as clients to hear love, acceptance, and compassion from their counselors, not a list of what they need to do.

Beta Male Revolution

I find my place in the world and it’s based on a little bit more of my personality – I’m a softer, gentler type person and that is my strength, and for so long I thought that was a weakness – Billy Eldridge

Beta Male Revolution is pushing back against stereotypes and assumptions about male and female roles in a family and relationship. It helps you understand the beta and alpha females and males in your life and that by encouraging their strengths, they are no less powerful than an alpha.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY]:
The Faith in Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network. A network of podcasts seeking to help you start, grow, and scale your practice. To hear other episodes like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week, through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to show you how to have an awesome, faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.

Well, if you’re anything like me, sometimes I pick and choose different podcasts that I’m going to listen to based on titles. And today’s is a great podcast. So you probably saw the title, ‘What Christian counselors do and don’t need to know’, and I loved interviewing Brandy and Billy today; they also have their own podcast which you’re going to hear more about in the episode. But if you are picking and choosing different titles, then maybe you haven’t heard me talk about Group Practice Boss yet. I’ve been talking about it over the past few episodes that I’ve been doing, because I’m so excited about this option for group practice owners. So for those of you that maybe have missed the information, it’s called Group Practice Boss, it’s a Facebook membership community, and a core study that you can do as a group practice owner.

So what’s included in this? It’s a monthly membership group where we are going to deep dive into different topics related to building your group practice. We found that group practice owners they’ve already started their group practice so maybe they’ve already done some individual consulting around that, but they’re wanting more ongoing support and learning. And being a group practice owner, if you’re one, you know can be a lonely time as you have to face a lot of challenges. Some things you could talk to your employees about and some things you really can’t, that you’ve got to decide on your own. So we wanted to create a membership community to help you address your challenges, but also have live events where we dive deep into certain topics surrounding group practice ownerships that we can really help you. And it’s not just about attending a live event. Alison Pidgeon and I, who are consultants with Practice of the Practice, are going to be leading you through how do I actually take this information and apply it as a group practice owner?

So if you are interested in growing your group practice, if you already have three clinicians – because we’re really looking to help those with established group practices – and you’re wanting to grow your group practice, then I want you to head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss. I want you to do this today, because the doors are going to be closing to joining Group Practice Boss on October 20th. So you really only have a short amount of time to join this group. The cost is $149 per month for this membership community, and the membership community is continuous. So you’re in it as long as you want and you can stop whenever you’re ready to stop, but we think you’re gonna get high value from entering this group.

And so, for $149 a month, that’s actually the cost usually for most of us to see one client a month. And so we think that the reward you’re going to get for the money that you put in is well worth it, as long as you commit your time to doing it. If you commit your time to attending the live events, doing the things we’re asking you to do, your group practice will grow and thrive. So our aim is to help you make more money and work less, enjoy the things in your life that you want to enjoy, spend more time with your family, do more fun things in your practice, be creative, all those types of things. So looking forward to that community, I encourage you to head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss. If you have questions, or need help with anything, you can email me, whitney@practiceofthepractice.com.

So let’s go ahead and get started on the episode today. I have Billy and Brandy from the Beta Male Revolution podcast. And they’re going to get on here and talk about what clients need and don’t need from a Christian counselor.

________________________________________

[WHITNEY]:
All right, today on the podcast, I’ve got Billy and Brandy Eldridge. So Brandy Eldridge is a nonprofit executive director where she and her team provide services for abused or neglected children. She was a school administrator, holding a superintendent and principal license. Brandy now serves on various boards and committees in her community and state. A big believer in transformation, she believes education and awareness will bring light to issues concerning child abuse and will begin to make an impact on those affected by child abuse. And she is joined here with her husband, Billy. And Billy, why don’t you go ahead and kind of share about yourself. I have Brandy’s info here, but why don’t you tell us about you and your practice?

[BILLY]:
Okay. Yeah, I’m Billy Eldridge. I’m a licensed professional counselor and I have Olive Tree Counseling in Texarkana, Texas. And we also have the Beta Male Revolution podcast that Brandy and I do together. And yeah, so that’s what I do in the world.

[WHITNEY]:
Awesome. Well, I’m so excited to have y’all on the podcast. I met Billy and Brandy out at Killin’It Cmp last October, and that’s kind of when we were all starting to talk about podcasting. And so they and several other people, we all joined together, and we do the podcast network with Practice of the Practice. So definitely want to encourage y’all to check out their podcast and we’ll talk about that some more during the episode. So it’s been really fun to kind of grow our podcasts together. So why don’t y’all just kind of share with the audience a little bit about your story so they can kind of get to know you, about your family, kids, all those other things?

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So we have three kids. They are, what, ten, eight, and five? Am I even close?

[BRANDY]:
You’re close. Eleven, nine, and five, so you’re a year off.

[BILLY]:
I’m a year off on two of them, that happens. I’m a bit… I have dysgraphia, so I get numbers… I’m waiting on that. But anyway, no, we, like I said, we have the podcast, I have a private practice counseling, where I focus on usually guys who don’t want to be in counseling, and teenagers who don’t want to be there. So most of the people showing up in my office aren’t too happy the first go round, but it’s all about getting them at ease and getting them comfortable being there. Usually for grown men, it’s their wives or work that made them come. And for teenagers, it’s usually parents or school. So none of them really get there by choice. So a lot of it is getting them comfortable with the process and realizing we’re just there to help, and yeah, so that’s what I do. Brandy?

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And so I have a nonprofit, and we employ therapists, trauma-focused therapists, that deal with child abuse all day long, offer services to them and their families. Billy and I have been married for twelve years, three kids. And we’ve had our share of, if you say, a difficult time, we’ve probably been through it. So I think that’s what we talk about a lot on our podcast, and just in general in our community, of overcoming pretty horrendous and heinous obstacles.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So for me, I’m an alcoholic and an addict in recovery. And that’s a big part of my story, and how that plays into being a father and a therapist and kind of what my passion is, and the kind of issues I like working with usually revolve around addiction in crisis type situations. Like Brandy said, we’ve had a few of our own.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, and we know that even as therapists, so many of us become therapists because of our own trauma, our own work we had to do either in the therapy room or just in general. And so we kind of do see that, but I think y’all have had a couple of different kind of turns along the way. So could you kind of like, share a little bit about some of those difficulties that you’ve run into, and then maybe we can go more in depth in a couple of different areas.

[BRANDY]:
I think the first thing that we struggled or realized that was happening in our marriage was Billy had been married before. And we got married shortly after his first marriage ended, like, three days, and then had really great little marriage there until things started happening around addiction that I was just unaware of. And so I was pregnant with my second child and Billy came in a couple days before Christmas, and told me that he’d had a problem with drugs and alcohol and we kind of just went from there.

[WHITNEY]:
I can’t imagine, like, that moment of two small children and being a mom and having to be strong for everybody.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I think that’s where our journey really started. Just because I felt like after we’d gotten married, probably, I don’t know, eight months after we’d gotten married, I felt like I was kind of duped. I’ve been rooked. I was marrying this amazing guy who I’ve known for forever, we went to college together and known him for years. And then all of a sudden, I started seeing these behaviors and I just had no frame of reference to ever think ‘drugs and alcohol’. I just didn’t know to even ask those questions – you don’t know what you don’t know – and started seeing these behaviors and didn’t have enough life experience, I guess, to put two and two together but knew that something was really off, like, something was really going on. But I remember saying to him, I think you’ve got a secret life or something, or you’re having an affair maybe, like, there’s something that you’re not truthful about. I could feel it, but I didn’t feel like it was an affair, but I didn’t know what else to call it. And then drove him to rehab, dropped him off for three months, and it didn’t get easier from there.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So for me, addiction and alcoholism, which I didn’t know what it was at the time, began at a very early age and I’m probably what you would consider the least, unlikely, alcoholic and addict because I came from a two parent home, I was raised in church, I grew up in youth group. But I was a very divided young man. I cared about that stuff all the way through, but I had this side life and this need to, I don’t know, change the way I feel. And I believe that was something I was born with, that kind of came down the line through a long history of alcoholism and addiction in my family – I believe I had a propensity towards it – so I wasn’t quite as educated on it, probably as I should have been. But I don’t even know if that would have helped. It’s something I had to do and experience and realize that there’s just certain things in the world I can’t do, and drink alcohol is the main one.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, well, I appreciate y’all being so vulnerable and sharing here. You know, Brandy, as I kind of heard you speaking, it just reminded me of several women that I’ve worked with that have a similar story where, yeah, you don’t know what you don’t know. So if you’ve never had an alcoholic in your family, or been close to one, you don’t know what the signs are. And so you’re not alone in that story. And I love that you’re kind of sharing about how y’all kind of came to a better place. So I think so many people are in that situation.

[BRANDY]:
We did. I remember being in therapy during this time before, during and after this time, and a therapist saying to me, well, you were just in denial. And I remember just being so mad at him for saying that to me because I wasn’t in denial. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I didn’t have a frame of reference, like I said, to be able to say, oh, these must be signs of drug and alcohol addiction. Like, I knew something was wrong. I was trying to get to the bottom of it. I just didn’t know how to look for it. I didn’t know where to go. And I remembered, like, really hating that therapist, like, really thinking, you know, don’t put me in a box and tell me what you think I am when you don’t know me and you don’t know my experiences. And I was shut down after that. Like, I didn’t want to listen to anything that guy said. And I just thought he didn’t know what he’s talking about because he didn’t know my story. He didn’t know me and he didn’t know Billy.

[WHITNEY]:
Wow, how long had you been seeing him before he said that?

[BRANDY]:
I think it was like the first or second time we saw him. He was like, you know, you just were in denial. You didn’t want to see what was going on. I thought, I’m done with him.

[BILLY]:
Well, and addiction counseling, I think for years, it came with a very harsh edge. And I think people felt like they had to be pretty raw and in your face, especially if they’re drug and alcohol counselors, and they had to bust through all kinds of denial. And I believe in the denial phase of addiction. There’s some of that, but they want to, you know, I went willingly. I knew I had a problem. I knew I was ready to be done. But it wasn’t done with me and wouldn’t let me go. But a lot of times with the family members, they’ll pull them in and get in their face, and how are you enabling them, and they’re just trying to get their bearings. So it’s all new. It’s all overwhelming. And I try to remember that in the work that I do with families, that they’re coming in, sometimes with no frame of reference. So when I’m hitting them with all this clinical jargon, sometimes that’s not very helpful. I just need to stop and listen and hear the pain and find out where they are.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, and even hearing Brandy share about that experience, and you saying that, it’s so often that therapists we live in that mental place, you know, and we got trained, and schooled, and all this kind of stuff. So we think we know what’s going on and we forget the power of listening, and joining that client where they are. We just go ahead and say, oh, well, here’s the problem and here’s what we need to do to fix it. Well, right… I’m gonna bring up this quote, which now sounds so cheesy, but it’s so true. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[WHITNEY]:
And it’s so true. Clients need to know how much we love and care for them before we give them any kind of feedback or advice.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, that’s good. I think that if someone would have said that, to me, I think I would have opened up a little bit more, and been more inclined to continue therapy, instead of thinking, you know, this isn’t going to work for me.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. So we’d love to dive in more to this kind of topic. And as you know, this is for faith-based counselors that are listening. But I would love to hear from you guys experiences you’ve had with faith-based or Christian counselors. What have been some of the highlights, like, things that Christian counselors did that really helped you grow in your faith when you were in a place of crisis? Then what were some of the things that were a lot more challenging for you and honestly, like you just said, kind of turned you away from faith?

[BILLY]:
Probably for me, when I was dealing with the addiction issues, I felt like I had completely failed at life, the way it kind of worked out is I grew up where alcohol was not allowed in the home, we didn’t drink it. But then I got involved in a church, it was a little more loose with that, and it kind of became a part of my life. But then I had all these insecurities that it became a coping mechanism for and like I said, I believed I had a propensity towards alcoholism so it just grew from there. Then I had a back injury, got prescribed some prescription pain medication, and then realized, wow, this works also. And so that was kind of my soft journey into it. It wasn’t like I was scoring crack on the street to start out with, that’s not, you know, it just kind of worked its way. But I was very frustrated with God, because I’ve probably been to the altar in church hundreds of times. And so when people came to me and told me to pray about it, I got very cynical and very bitter.

So when I went into counseling, and people would kind of go in that direction, I would just shut down because I had this ‘been there, done that’ attitude. And so after all this, I decided I need to go to treatment. I found a ninety day program in Rayville, Louisiana. It was called Palmetto Addiction Recovery, it was a great recovery center. And I think, all right, here, I’m done with the fake stuff, I’m going to get in here and get some modern psychology and some just bare bones, like, they’re going to give me some antidepressants and some medicine to fix this thing and I’m done with the God thing. And I go in there, and it just so happens that my counselor there is a Christian.

[WHITNEY]:
Of course.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Yeah. And I remember one night, I’m sitting on the back porch with a guy smoking a cigarette, and he had been around for a while and been in recovery for a while, and he was one of the guys that came in and helped us out. And he says, okay, you know this whole deal is about finding a higher power? And I was like, okay, tell me about that. He goes, well, you know you’re gonna have to get a relationship with God. And I was like, oh, man, really? This again? I thought I was getting away from this. But in a weird way, it brought me back around, and it wasn’t a hard sell, you know, they told me it’s a God of your understanding. And we know you’ve been given a lot of things, but we’re just gonna let you make the road by walking. And you’re gonna figure it out, and just open yourself up a little bit. And all you have… you don’t even have to believe, you just have to be willing to believe.

And so it was just that willingness and opening myself up a little bit and that permission to be a little loose and free with it. They’re like, we’re not telling you who you got to pray to, which doctrine you got to prescribe, you know, we’re not offering that. We’re just saying, hey, open yourself up a little bit to the possibility that it’s going to take something outside of yourself, because in your own world, you haven’t been able to fix this. Something outside of yourself more powerful than you is going to have to do that work. And so that’s kind of where my journey back to faith began.

[WHITNEY]:
That’s beautiful.

[BRANDY]:
And for me – I think I’m just going to be very honest – for me, it wasn’t so much I was questioning God, or questioning my faith during that time. It was really just questioning Christians in the church. And I specifically did not want to see a Christian counselor. Because I’ve had the… I had a lot of people saying, well, how is your relationship with God during this time? And have you been praying enough? And if you would just have more faith and believe, and a lot of people were like, well, it’s your husband, you need to stand by him no matter what, and just a lot of cliched Christian sentiments that I just didn’t agree with at that time. I thought, you know what, if I’m yelling at God, I’m okay with that. He’s okay with it. And just really questioning not so much my faith with God, but religion and Christianity in general. And didn’t want to go to a counselor that was just going to give me the same cliched answers of, well, are you journaling? How…? And I got this from Christians in general of like, well, how much time have you been spending in the word? And just those little christiany things that we say to one another, that can really be isolating. I didn’t want to be around those types of people. I wanted to be around the people, and you guys know as therapists, that were just going to sit in the pain with me and tell me it’s okay, and were here, and not try to fix me, but just sit with me. And I didn’t get that. I didn’t get a lot of people wanting to do that. And so for me, it wasn’t so much God that I questioned. It was the relationships and the Christians that I really struggled with during that time.

[WHITNEY]:
I appreciate you bringing this up, because that is a huge, huge issue. Like, so many people feel that way. And I know you grew up… y’all were in Texas back then, right?

[BRANDY]:
Mm hmm. [Unclear].

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. It’s just, like, I feel it too. The Bible Belt and just these, like, platitudes that people say and honestly, they don’t know what to say. So they just say whatever to make themselves feel better, thinking, well, I’m going to this thing to make them feel better, but they’re really just making themselves feel better to have something to say because they can’t handle the awkwardness, or they can’t handle questioning God, or that it’s wrong to question God, when really when we doubt and question God, that’s when we’re in a wonderful place. Because that’s when we really grow our faith, you know? We need to question.

[BRANDY]:
Right. It was a lot of… I felt it was very superficial. And I also felt that people were scared of me, because they didn’t want to hear my real answer. They didn’t want to hear, like, you know what, this is screwed up. I’m really mad at Billy. I’m really ticked off. I don’t know if I want to be with him anymore. Like, they didn’t want to hear the real stuff. They wanted to hear, I’m just believing God that everything’s gonna be okay. And I’m just really working this out with God and really walking in faith. That’s what they wanted to hear. And that was not the answer I was giving. The answer I was giving was, I’m ticked off. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m mad at him. I’m mad at everything right now. I don’t want to be around people that are going to tell me, just pray about it. I mean, I had some very honest conversations and told people you know, I just don’t need you over here right now. Like, unless you’re going to help, like, bring groceries to my house or do my laundry, like, I don’t need you. I’m distraught. My whole world has been turned upside down and don’t know how I’m gonna afford my home because he’s in rehab for three months and I don’t have a paycheck coming in. Like, I’m not in the mood for your niceties. I have real things going on.

I don’t think people were really looking at the unraveling of a family. And it’s like you said, they looked at it as how can I make myself feel better. I had people, like, would text me a scripture. And I’m like, I’m pregnant, I’m throwing up, I’ve got a guy in rehab that, you know, I don’t know if I want to be with anymore. I’ve got to get all these bills together, I’ve got to figure out a way to feed my family, I got to figure out a way to do everything. Don’t send me a scripture right now to make yourself feel better. You really nailed that. And I had to work out those resentments and really work out that that’s separate from who I know of God, and what I know of God, and redefining God for me, for sure.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I read a book – this was so long ago – it was called ‘Intercessor’ by Rees Howells. And it was about how we pray for things as a Christian, but we don’t actually do anything about it. And so what kind of intercession is that? You pray for the woman who needs money at home or needs a job, but why aren’t you giving her the money or giving her a meal. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Like, instead of just praying, we need to have more action.

[BILLY]:
I love that, Whitney. In rehab, they had to really dumb it down for me in faith. And so I had a guy pretty much give me that same message, because I told him, he’s like, okay, you know, how’s your prayer life? And I’m like, well, I prayed my whole life, I prayed for God to take this away, take this addiction away. And he said, man, you can lock yourself in a closet and pray for a pizza and starve to death. Faith is an action word. And he said, I’m just going to need you to begin to do some things. So he said, you were kind of born with a spiritual spoon in your mouth, and you want this magic Jesus, who’s just going to show up and sprinkle some pixie dust on you, and do all the hard work for you. And he said, that’s not faith or Christianity, that’s just privilege. You’re actually going to have to put one foot in front of the other and actually do some hard work here. And when you’re at the end of yourself and can’t take another step, that’s when God shows up and does the work.

And that’s where the miracle really began to happen for me, and that’s what brought me back around. And the counselors just allowed us to have some open wounds because when I came back from rehab, I had this new infusion of faith. And Brandy was angry, and hurt. And they taught me how to keep my mouth off of my family, and not… the old me would have come home with this new message and needed to package it and sell it, and we’re all going to believe this way. But they said, no, you don’t do that. Take your hands off, let them be where they’re at. You go through this process, and it’s a process of attraction, not promotion. If you have something that’s good enough and worth being a part of, then they’ll say, hey, Dad, or Brandy will say, Billy, I really see you’re changing. Some good things are going on in your life. What is that about? And it’s not something I have to sell to them.

[BRANDY]:
I think, for me, watching Billy go through a twelve step program probably was the biggest spiritual change in both of our lives. Watching an actual change of somebody working on themselves. I saw him, like, get on his knees every morning, get on his knees every night. And when I would say things to them like, you… I would have my flip out moments of you were supposed to be home an hour ago. What happened? What did you do? Were you out at a bar? Were you drinking? And normally he would get really defensive and he didn’t. He would say, I’m so sorry that I am making you doubt me. If there’s anything I can do to help that… and just really saw this transformation in him, which began to transform the rest of our family. And because of his work through a twelve step program, I can honestly say it saved our marriage and it saved Billy’s life because we saw God in a different way. We started to view God not as magic Jesus, which I think I didn’t even realize we were doing that, but we had been, and more of a spiritual journey, and a transformation, and just getting to know really beautiful, benevolent Jesus that we’d kind of forgotten about, and gotten wrapped up in a lot of religion.

[WHITNEY]:
Mm hmm. I think a lot of people view Jesus and God that way, because that’s a lot of what the Church teaches us, you know, just pray about this thing, and then wait, and it’ll come. Well, yeah, that’s like a genie in a bottle. For sure. And so being able to take that step back, and I love how you’re talking about God is not limited, like, God’s not limited to Christian counseling, or to the church, or to a pastor, like, we can experience God in an AA program that may not talk about Jesus. But we can experience Him in that and we can experience Him in so many other things outside of the church.

[BRANDY]:
Billy has this thing that he always says, what is it, Billy, that where you found God? And you talk about he went to a meeting, will you say that…? Oh, gosh, I hate that I don’t remember, but you’ll say something like ‘I’ve been in church my whole life. And then I really found God in the rooms of these twelve step programs with a bunch of…’

[BILLY]:
Yeah, yeah, with just a bunch of junkies and alcoholics. And it’s like, the mask comes off there. Because when you show up at a twelve step meeting, nobody gets there on a winning streak. So to come in there and pretend is really fruitless. So you’re done with your bullshit story about all the excuses, and you don’t have to go in there and posture and, man, just show up busted up, bruised, and hurting, and just openly grieving your life. And people put their arm around you and say, keep coming back. And for me, that revolutionized my faith when I was at a time when I wanted to throw it all away. And that was just over everything that hinted of religion, and God, because for so long I thought it didn’t work. And I don’t know that it was the church’s fault, or my parents’ fault. I’m so grateful for the foundation I was given and probably the message they were sending me was not the message I was receiving. I was just picking up on the parts that said, you have to do this, you have to be this way. If you’re not, you need to feel shame. Those are the messages I got. They were probably talking about love and forgiveness, too. I just didn’t hear it.

[WHITNEY]:
Sure. Well, we all say and hear things and do things wrong. And often I even find myself… sometimes, when I’m in a bad place, I get back to rules. Like, if I can just follow these rules, then I’ll get my emotional life together, or whatever, when really, it’s not about that at all.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, and part of the process was going through resentments, and church and God were at the top of that. And it really helped me process through some of my pain and go through a forgiveness process, and keep all of the wonderful, beautiful, good things that that time in my life gave me, and let go of some of the other baggage I picked up that didn’t work anymore. I’ve heard it before, you know, sometimes there’s a whole lot more going on in church basements, in twelve step meetings, than there are in church sanctuaries. And for me, that’s been true.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah, it reminds me of when I was in graduate school. When I went, I was this on fire Christian, thinking, I’m going to become a counselor, and I’m going to save everybody and preach the gospel to them, you know, and all these kind of ideas. And I was sitting in class and this one student said, Jesus did not force people to follow him, he invited people to follow him. And if you look at every story, every interaction, he never made anything happen. I am thinking about the no stones, the woman who was a prostitute, and he brought her out and said, you know, whoever throw the first stone if you’re a sinner, and it was just amazing to think about and realize that it’s not, I don’t know, it’s not about that. It’s about being loving, and welcoming, and letting people make a decision. It’s not about us telling people what they have to do and the decision they have to make. And I think that’s a beautiful way for pushing counselors to kind of view it. How would Jesus sit with people in their pain? He would eat with them, the people who were the worst of the worst. He wasn’t going to the well, he was going to the sick.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Well, and that’s been a [unclear] for us, and probably my thing, the first Christian counselor that I sat with that I was able to open my heart to was the one in rehab. And they would tell me things like, you’re one of God’s kids, and he’s crazy about you. And I needed to hear that because I felt so ugly. I felt so dirty. And just to hear love, and acceptance, and compassion, that’s what did it. And it wasn’t a list of anything I needed to do. It was just right where you’re at, right here today. It’s okay, you’re one of God’s kids. It’s gonna be alright. We can get through this.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, it’s like you said, Whitney, like, there’s not a list of things you have to do. And I think that’s something that Billy’s brought into his practice. It’s something that he’s brought into our home. And it’s something we say all the time now that we stole from a counselor in rehab, that you’re one of God’s kids, and he’s crazy about you. And you don’t have to do anything for him to be crazy about you. He loves you where you are, in what you’re doing, in the midst of everything. He’s crazy about you and it’s just that simple.

[WHITNEY]:
Right. And that’s where we find freedom. In this crazy kind of way, like, real freedom is when we know that we are loved, and we have safety and foundation, and we can do whatever we want, you know, within that framework. It’s so beautiful.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I mean, you can mess up every day for the rest of your life. God’s still crazy about you. And it is, it’s a freeing way of looking at life and looking at God. It really takes all the questions, it takes out, you know, are you a Calvinist? Are you an Armenian? Or do you believe in the Romans Road? It takes all that out and just simplifies it. And even for Billy and I both who were always very analytical and talk things to death, it’s something we don’t have to talk to death anymore. It’s just very simple. He just loves us. And that’s it.

[BILLY]:
Yeah.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah. And we have to constantly go back to that because, boy, I know I can get really wrapped up in so many things that I have to come back to that, okay, my relationship with Christ is simple, you know, and that it’s freedom, and it’s grace, and it’s love, and I don’t have to make it so complicated.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I need it really simple. And probably the first year out of rehab, it was… the best I could do was, ‘there’s a God and I’m not Him’. And that was as deep as my theology ran. And, since then, it’s grown and evolved and changed and, you know, one day it’s one way and one day it’s the next, but I don’t have fear anymore. And I grew up with a lot of fear. I’m just an anxiety-based, fear-based person. And I think that’s where a lot of the alcoholism, the addiction came from, because it was armor. It was a false armor. You know, when they talked about armor in the Bible, I didn’t get that. So I felt like I needed this protection. And I put it on and it didn’t work. I had to get rid of it. You know, so far putting this other stuff on, it seems to be a little more sustainable. And it’s rooted in kindness, and grace, and that’s what I needed. I needed grace. I do judgment and condemnation fine on my own. I pile it on and beat the holy hell out of myself. I figure other people do the same. I’m gonna go towards grace every time.

[WHITNEY]:
It’s awesome. Y’all, I love how real you guys are being today. That just makes my heart happy. So tell me, people want to know, let’s tell them about Beta Male Revolution, what this is all about? What does it mean to be a beta male, if someone’s never heard of it before?

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Beta Male Revolution is a podcast, we say it’s for beta males in the family, and the alphas who love them.

[BRANDY]:
But what is a beta male, Billy?

[BILLY]:
I’d say… so, for so much of my life, I was a sensitive guy. And that’s probably where a lot of my addiction came from, too, is that I grew up in East Texas, it’s football, Gods, guns, grits and gravy, just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and I’m the sensitive, feeler guy who doesn’t play football, who doesn’t hide. And so I felt less than the majority of my life. And then I get into this profession called counseling and I become this helper. And I find my place in the world and it’s based a little bit more of my personality. I’m a softer, gentler type person and that’s my strength. And for so long I thought that was a weakness. So we had this friend group and we would go camping all the time and we made a joke about how all the alphas were always in a group, planning and getting ready for the next adventures, and the betas were over to the left talking about feelings and just different philosophical topics. And so I was always in the beta crowd. And Brandy would always say, well, Billy’s my beta male. And in the beginning, I would kind of take that as a sting, well, that means I’m weak, that means I’m not enough. So in… The funny word of Beta Male Revolution, which is – it’s kind of a play on words, because beta males who are the last type of people to ever start a revolution – was really a personal journey of me getting comfortable with myself, and I had to realize there had to be other guys in the world that feel this way.

[BRANDY]:
And women.

[BILLY]:
Yeah.

[BRANDY]:
I’m more of an alpha female. I’m more direct and assertive, and Billy’s not. And so we’ve kind of pushed back against those traditional roles here in the Bible Belt – in the Buckle, we like to call it.

[BILLY]:
Big, rodeo buckle with rhinestones and studs.

[BRANDY]:
It’s a process that we go through of just the Yin and the Yang, and how we work it out as a couple, and as a family, and how we kind of push back against people putting us in a box and telling us we have to be one way. And there’s really not… we don’t put any science behind it. But what we have found is that in a relationship, there’s usually someone that’s more assertive, and someone that’s more passive. And with those comes out a lot of defects in your character and a lot of strengths in your character. And so we kind of just talk about everything that we’ve talked about on the podcast, and how we react to things, and strengths and stretches, things we need to work on, and things that are good about ourselves that we need to put out there in the world. And we just try to put good stuff out there.

[BILLY]:
Man, you said that so much better than me.

[BRANDY]:
I would.

[BILLY]:
I married upwards.

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, you did. He’s wonderful. Okay, so you have a course that you’re giving to the audience today.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. On Beta Male Revolution, there’s an email course. And if you’re curious, if you think you might be married to a beta type personality, whether you’re a guy or girl, it helps you understand them a little bit more. If you kind of identify with that softer, gentler, beta personality, and you want to come into your own, sign up for that email course. Check it out, shoot us an email if you want to chat about it. We’ll tell you about our journey. And it’s a daily journey. Coming into our own, embracing our best self and moving forward.

[WHITNEY]:
Awesome. Well, again, audience, please check out their podcast. I’ve been listening to it, have loved it. And they’re just as real on the podcast as they are right here. So, yep. All right. Well, thanks for taking the time to be on the show, y’all.

[BILLY]:
Thanks so much.

[BRANDY]:
Thanks, Whitney.

[WHITNEY]:
Oh, actually, I’m about to forget, I ask this to everyone. This is the first time I’ve forgotten, so now we’re stopping and asking. Hey, I got so into the interview. Okay. The one I always ask everyone at the end – what does every Christian counselor need to know? Give yourself a second to think.

[BRANDY]:
I can say, since I am not a counselor, but believe in therapy and go to a therapist, I would say for every Christian counselor, I think Whitney, you said it – listen, and find the pain first. Know that those clients need to know that you care about them before you start giving them advice and telling them what you think they are. Don’t put people in a box.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I would say, always err on the side of grace and acceptance.

[WHITNEY]:
Perfect. Well, I love how I just messed up and we went back and we can just give love and acceptance. All right. Well, thank you, y’all. Thanks so much for being on the show.

[BILLY]:
Thank you, Whitney.

[BRANDY]:
Thanks.

________________________________________

[WHITNEY]:
Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also, there you can learn more about me, options for working together, such as individual and group consulting, or just shoot me an email whitney@practiceofthepractice.com. Would love to hear from you.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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