God attachment, metaphor, semiotics, spiritual care and guidance, trauma

Now Accepting New Spiritual Care Clients

What is spiritual care?

“Spiritual care” describes the holistic, trauma-informed work I do and the space I hold with clients. Most people today have a history of trauma, which may include generational and/or racial trauma. Many have had relationships or experiences that have deeply impacted them in enduringly painful ways, and often those relationships and experiences happened within church or another religious setting.

Spiritual care looks for the meaning of pain, suffering, and healing, and how the healing journey frees us to be truly, resiliently human. I believe that you have innate wisdom for your healing journey. What I offer in a session is sanctuary: the time and the mental/emotional space for bearing witness to your contemplation, exploration, and transformation. I also have practical exercises and resources to add to your “self-care toolbox” and can offer insight into the different signposts you might see along the journey.

How is spiritual care different from therapy?

Spiritual care involves authentic self-awareness and reflection, and often includes grieving (loss of relationship, community, expectations, identity, etc.). We do this work in a holistic sense that seeks to reintegrate spirit, mind, and body, since this vital connection has often been damaged in traditional religious settings.

Together we look for ways to connect the dots in your story and find meaning in your painful experiences, while exploring the ways you already have been healing and appreciating your strength. Many clients explore their beliefs around God or a higher power, the way the universe works, spiritual practices, synchronicities and metaphysics, or their thoughts and questions about different scriptures or doctrines.

Frequently clients are seeking to repair or strengthen the connections between their spirituality, their cognitive beliefs, and their sensory experience. This process of healing and reintegration helps us to move forward in even healthier relationships with self and others.

Therapy is a critical piece of healing, but instead may focus on diagnosing and treating mental health concerns, addressing cognitive or behavioral issues, or processing traumatic memories with a licensed and trained specialist. I frequently work with clients who are also in therapy or are being treated for other health concerns.

What is the process for seeking spiritual care?

Step one is to schedule your free 20-minute consultation with me. After that conversation, if we’ve both determined we are a good fit, I will send you an online intake packet to fill out and get your first appointment scheduled. Payment is on a pay-what-you-can basis, but generally clients pay between $60 and $150 per session. Most of my clients meet with me every other week, but many choose to meet on a weekly basis.

What happens in appointments?

Appointments take place via Zoom. This is your time—we can talk about whatever you want to that day. Most likely the first two or three appointments will consist of getting to know each other and exploring the point of need or baseline goal that brought you to me. This is your time—you get to decide what you share or don’t share. Since sharing painful stories can be a vulnerable and potentially retraumatizing experience, I will never ask you to share details of traumatic experiences.

My approach is client-centered and my goal is to create safe space for you that is free from judgement. Many of my clients express deep emotion during our sessions. I am prepared to equip you with practical exercises that help neutralize shame and assist in your self-regulation if you are triggered.

Much of what I do is walk alongside you to cheer you on as you are doing this healing work, and to remind you that in whatever you’re facing, you always have options.

Frequently by the end of our appointment, clients express a feeling of freedom and like a weight has been lifted.

Some clients need only a handful of sessions while others request a longer relationship that spans several months or years. It just depends on how you are healing, and that journey looks different for everyone.

Please contact me for a consult if you have any questions. May you find peace and beauty on your healing journey.

Possible conversation topics for appointments:

  • Stories of traumatic church experiences
  • How to deal with shame and the inner critic
  • Purity culture and reclaiming sexuality
  • Boundaries in relationships
  • Narcissistic abuse and recovery
  • Racial justice and anti-racist work
  • The Old and New Testaments and how they came into being
  • Jesus, God, and/or the Holy Spirit; beliefs about each/all
  • Buddhist psychology and meditation
  • Christian mysticism
  • Metaphysical experiences and synchronicities
  • Recurring or vivid dreams
  • Parenting and child development
  • The Enneagram
  • Faith deconstruction and reconstruction
  • Kindness, service, and living in community
  • Self-care and finding harmony in life
  • Beauty and creating
  • Skills for self-regulation and self-soothing
  • Grief and loss
  • Chronic illness and coping skills

Disclaimer: Spiritual care is not a substitute for psychotherapy or other healthcare. I am not a licensed mental health care practitioner and do not provide psychotherapy or mental health treatment. During your intake process and subsequent plan we develop together, I will refer you to therapies, counseling, coaching, legal, and/or medical help as necessary.

spiritual care and guidance, trauma

Now Accepting Clients for Relationship Transition Coaching

Relationships often go through transitions. As we grow as individuals, our relationships change too! Schedule a free consult for questions not addressed in this article.

What are relationship transitions?

Some examples of relationship transitions are:

  • Getting married
  • Separating or divorcing
  • Adding a member to the family (birth, adoption, marriage or remarriage, etc.)
  • Young adults leaving home for college, career, etc.
  • Adult children returning home
  • Major career shift or leaving a community of faith
  • Parents aging or entering assisted living

What is relationship transition coaching?

In today’s world, navigating our relationships can become complicated! Relationship transition coaching is highly customized for the needs of each couple, relationship, or family. I serve as a coach to come alongside you and your loved ones to help create a safe environment where goals, expectations, and concerns can be explored.

Coaching session content and participants may vary depending on the relationship type. In premarital or pre-separation coaching, both partners will meet together with me for coaching sessions. The needs of couples expecting a child may also include sessions with their other children. Couples who are blending their families might have unique needs, especially if there were prior divorces. Aging adults making transitions may need to meet with all of their adult children.

Some goals that are common for all relationship transition coaching sessions are:

  • A spirit of cooperation and respect for each other’s dignity
  • Communicating with honesty and transparency
  • Identifying and attending to the needs of everyone involved
  • Future-focused rather than processing the past

What happens in relationship transition coaching?

At this time, all sessions are taking place virtually via Zoom.

Identify needs and clarify expectations. We will work together so each person has expressed their feelings and needs around the relationship and the upcoming or current transition. We want each person to be heard and feel their needs have been acknowledged.

Goal setting and agreements. We desire a healthy relationship with our loved ones, and this may look different for each person. While maintaining a future-focus, we will discuss healthy boundaries, your family dynamics, and other relevant history to create goals to which everyone can agree.

Plans for how to meet needs. Together we will come up with some options for meeting the needs and goals that have been expressed. This may or may not include a legal process, logistical planning, medical or behavioral treatment plans, or other interventions that require professionals outside the scope of our coaching relationship.

Evaluation and reality checks. Once we have mutually agreed upon goals and plans, we will take time occasionally to evaluate and course-adjust as necessary. We may have to do some reality checks if needs have changed or if new information has come to light. While it may be uncomfortable at times, this is all a normal part of growth!

Why Dr. Ashley?

Why work with me? Well, I’ve experienced a lot of relationship transitions myself! I have been married, had a child, gotten divorced, gotten remarried, made major career changes, and navigated all the many processes that those transitions involve. I’ve also worked with friends, family, and clients through countless relationship transitions, and learned a lot from seeing how families interact under stress.

In addition to my Doctor of Ministry degree, I have a Master of Arts degree in Family Life Education and am continually learning around relationship dynamics. Learn more about me here.

Disclaimer: Relationship coaching is not a substitute for legal advice or healthcare. I am not a legal professional or licensed mental health care practitioner and do not provide legal advice, psychotherapy, or mental health treatment. During your intake process and subsequent plan we develop together, I will refer you to therapies, counseling, coaching, legal, and/or medical help as necessary.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

spiritual care and guidance

Now taking clients for Enneagram coaching!

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a beautiful framework that helps us to understand why we do the things we do. The Enneagram helps us to appreciate the unique ways we each see the world, to acknowledge how we were wounded as children, and to understand our patterns of behavior under various circumstances. I will come alongside you in the journey to teach and guide, but more so to empower you and to bear witness to your transformation.

The Enneagram provides space and tools for rich exploration of your personality, core motivations, and relationship tendencies, leading to life transformation at a spiritual level.

Discovering You Session  (1 hour 30 minutes)

“Know thyself.” Knowing your main type can help you understand your inner wiring, worldview, and patterns of behavior. We will look at any assessment results you’ve been given and discuss the basics of the Enneagram to help you discern your main type. This includes exploring the main triads and the core motivations of your possible type(s), as well as the two wing possibilities, stances (how you relate to others), and instinctual subtypes.

Recommended prerequisite for Exploring You Sessions.

Exploring You: Session 1  (50 minutes)

We discuss your core motivations, internal message, paths for your main type, your coaching goals, and more. Includes guide sheet PDF.

Discovering You typing session is recommended as a prerequisite.

Exploring You: Session 2  (50 minutes)

We dive deeper into your triad, your hidden side, potential relationship issues, and more. Includes guide sheet PDF.

Exploring You Session 1 is required as a prerequisite.

Exploring You: Session 3  (50 minutes) 

We dive deeper into your wings and levels of alignment–healthy, average, and unhealthy. Includes guide sheet PDF.

Exploring You Sessions 1 and 2 are required prerequisites.

Exploring You: Session 4  (50 minutes) 

We discuss your main type’s childhood patterns, childhood wounding message, defense mechanisms, and what your type longs to hear. Includes guide sheet PDF.

Exploring You Sessions 1-3 are required prerequisites.

Exploring You: Session 5  (50 minutes)

This session is reflective on the implications of growth for you, and what life transformation might continue to look like. Includes guide sheet PDF.

Exploring You Sessions 1-4 are required prerequisites.

Enneagram Coaching: Couples Sessions  (50 minutes) 

Do you and your partner know your main type and how those types tend to interact? Discover your types’ patterns in conflict, how your types tend to behave when needs are not met, and how your family of origin has formed your individual “relationship template.” This is deep, powerful work that will enhance and strengthen you both individually and as a couple!

Fantastic follow-up to Discovering You typing sessions for each person in the couple.

Recommend 4 sessions, meeting once every other week.

All sessions done via Zoom!

Schedule a free 20-minute consultation to start the process!

Disclaimer: Enneagram coaching is not a substitute for psychotherapy or other healthcare. I am not a licensed mental health care practitioner and do not provide psychotherapy or mental health treatment. During your intake process and subsequent plan we develop together, I will refer you to therapies, counseling, coaching, legal, and/or medical help as necessary.


The Journey Begins

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Maybe you’re questioning your faith.

Maybe you’re tired of organized religion.

Maybe you’re sick of church and going through the motions.

Maybe you’re tired of walking wounded by religious people who claim to love you.

Researchers show that a growing percentage of Americans identify as “Spiritual But Not Religious.” A vast number of these individuals have come from Christian backgrounds.

If this is you, you’re not alone.

I’ve spent the past few years asking questions, listening to stories, reading research studies, and writing a doctoral dissertation on this very topic. People are hurting and you might be one of them. But there is hope.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton