Welcome to Sanctuary Counseling Group

Sanctuary (n): from the Latin sanctus or holy; 1) a sacred or holy place; 2) a place of refuge or safety, a haven; 3) shelter from danger, hardship, or threat.

Sanctuary Counseling Group—formerly known as Methodist Counseling and Consultation Services—has provided mental health counseling and pastoral counseling in the greater Charlotte area and in satellite offices in cities and towns around the western piedmont of North Carolina for over 50 years. To learn more about us and the kinds of services we provide, or to find out how to make an appointment with a therapist in your geographical area, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Setting Boundaries With Teens

Very often, during our life, we find ourselves in situations that require us to identify what we are comfortable with and where our personal limits lie. Parents can be essential in helping children and teens identify this "property line" for their own lives, to insure that they grow up to be healthy, independent adults. Your main task as a parent is to help your child develop inside, what you have been providing on the outside, including responsibility, self-control and freedom. These limits are known as "boundaries" and are essential for healthy character development, as parents keep one eye on their child's future. Children are not born with boundaries, but begin to internalize this concept from external relationships and discipline. For example, if children do not endure consequences from negative choices they make, they will not have an appropriate view of reality and how these choices will impact their lives in the future.

According to psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg's Moral Development stages, prior to the age of twelve, children have not internalized the concept of treating others the way they want to be treated, nor do they have the insight to understand the impact of their choices. When parents implement appropriate rewards and consequences, children begin to develop healthy morals and character qualities.

Between the ages of twelve and eighteen, teens are in the final stage of solidifying their own identity as distinct from their parent's identity. As a result, parents should enter the stage of "de-parenting", meaning moving from a position of control to a position of influence with their teens. During this phase of life, parents should provide teens with as many natural consequences as possible. These forms of consequences may be repayment for items lost or broken, or the loss of privilege to hang out with friends if their chores are not complete.

Many problems can occur for adults who did not experience appropriate boundaries with their parents. These include the inability to say "No" to hurtful people or set limits on hurtful behavior from others. These adults can also suffer from destructive impulses, due to having parents that constantly gave into their desires and did not teach them to delay gratification. Maintaining closeness with others and resolving conflict in a healthy way can also be difficult for those who didn't experience appropriate boundaries growing up. For example, parents should strive to let siblings try to resolve their own conflict with one another, before they step in, so that children can hone this skill for future relationships.

Parents can begin setting boundaries with their teens in four basic steps. The first and most important step for building a relationship with your teen is to let them know you are on their side. Parents in the midst of conflict with their teenager usually omit this step and miss an important opportunity for closeness and validation of their teen's perspective. Parents who let their teen know that the boundaries they are setting up are for their teen's benefit, safety and protection can help calm and support the needs of their child.

The second step is for parents to let teens know that they have established set rules and requirements. This step identifies specific boundaries for teens as parents make their expectations clear.

The third step should empower the teen's choice as parents let their children know that they can choose to accept or reject the rules. This allows for teens to gain insight into the future impact of their choices. Parents should recognize that due to the fact that their teen's brain still in the midst of developing, this isn't a skill that comes naturally to them.

The fourth and final step to setting boundaries with teens is for the parents to offer an explanation of the consequences that will occur if their teen should choose not to comply with their parent's rules and limits. Parents must follow through with the consequences they warned their teen about in order for teens to truly understand and internalize their own boundaries.

We live in a society that promotes instant gratification and rarely supports parents setting and sticking to limits and boundaries with their children. It is imperative that parents recognize the danger in avoiding consequences for their teen's choices. Healthy boundaries will give children and teens an appropriate view of reality, along with aiding in the development of strong character qualities, responsibility and independence in their adult lives.

Shannon White, LPC

How We Help Pastors

Sanctuary Counseling Group recognizes the unique needs and stressors of pastors working within the pastorate and well as the needs of the pastoral family. To this end we offer a number of resources specifically for clergy.

Check out the clergy resources page, including educational and workshop opportunities, counseling and consultation, vocational assessment, and helpful readings. Feel free to contact an SCG therapist in your geographical area for further information. As persons trained in both theology and mental health counseling—and with a high standard of confidentiality—SCG therapists are in a unique position to serve the needs of parish clergy and their families.

Staff Trip to Navitat

In early June, members of the Sanctuary Counseling Group staff took a trip to Navitat Canopy Adventures in Barnardsville, NC, just north of Asheville. Visit our photo gallery for a taste of what we experienced, or click on the image.

Partners in Ministry

While much of our budget is sustained by client fees, there are also a number of individuals, churches, and organizations that join with us in our ministry by providing financial supplements to assist clients who may not otherwise be able to afford counseling. We are now able to accept tax deductible donations through PayPal (via your PayPal account or with a credit card).

Please consider joining us in this vital counseling ministry by making a tax deductible contribution to the ongoing work of Sanctuary Counseling Group. Unless otherwise designated, donations will be used to help supplement the Samaritan Client Assistance Fund, enabling us to provided counseling services to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it.


Mission Statement

Being dedicated to the healing of heart, mind, and soul, we provide excellent emotional, spiritual, and relational health care to all people of the Carolinas.

Sanctuary Counseling Group is an accredited service center of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the Samaritan Institute.