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Our Approach

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Bethesda by the Sea offers a powerful model of therapeutic soul and spirit care that is intensive, goal-driven, in-depth, and "away from it all." Intensive counseling stands in contrast to a more traditional counseling approach in which appointments are scheduled in 45-50 minute weekly or bi-weekly sessions.

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The more traditional counseling model usually has no endpoint in view and can, therefore, be unfocused and ineffective. At Bethesda by the Sea every intensive (weekend, week-long, or two-week-long) has a known endpoint. Daily morning and afternoon sessions build on one another, so that both the client and the counselor build rapport, gain momentum, and experience clarity leading to a breakthrough.



Ordinary counseling can take a long time to come up with a clear plan and achieve significant progress. At Bethesda by the Sea we help our clients discern, define, and develop clear strategies and goals during and after the intensive. 



Proverbs 20:5 says,“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” In-depth counseling

deals with more than just "above-the-waterline" attitudes, behaviors, and emotion. It moves to address issues "below the waterline." Our Father desires "truth in our inmost parts." He wants to penetrate by His Spirit, the "Counselor," to pinpoint the motives and purposes of the heart of which we are most often unaware. A more traditional counseling may or may not be focused in such an in-depth manner, but even when it is, the duration of counseling is often six months to many years. With the help of Biblical principles and the Holy Spirit, intensive counseling at Bethesda by the Sea addresses "below-the-waterline," core issues in a relatively brief period of time.


 " Away from it All

The Gospels tell us that Jesus often "came apart" to pray in order to rest and be refreshed. If Jesus needed it, how much more so do we! If we don't "come apart" to address what's going on deep in our souls, then we're going to come apart at the seams! By getting away from regular work and family routines, clients are able to devote themselves wholly to the intensive counseling process.


 What are the advantages of intensive counseling?

The primary advantage of intensive counseling is that clients have the potential to achieve breakthroughs and make amazing gains in a relatively brief time. Such progress may include:

 • healing trauma and the accompanying wounds

 • addressing the core, root causes of addictions

 • deepening the capacity for intimacy with the Lord and others

 • restoring failing marriages

 • learning the skills to continue to walk in freedom, peace, and joy even in the midst of a fallen world


 What is the format for intensive counseling?

Individuals or couples have two daily sessions of 2-2 1/2 hours each over the course of a weekend, or one or two weeks, to address head on the painful issues that they face. Daily homework will be given outside of the counseling sessions, but there will also be free time in the afternoon and evenings to connect with the Lord in the beauty of the Gulf Coast.

 • Clients meet approximately 2-2 1/2 hours in morning and afternoon sessions, tailored to address the needs of your individual situation.

 • Extended time away from normal pressures and responsibilities creates an environment to significantly address issues in a short amount of time.

 • Daily assignments or other exercises are given for outside of session homework.

 • Each intensive offers adequate time not only to explore personal and relational brokenness, but also to begin afresh with renewed purpose and direction and significant healing of painful issues and wounds.

 • Free time can be spent simply enjoying the beauty of God's creation along the Emerald Coast.


 What types of struggles and problems are addressed at Bethesda by the Sea?

Guests usually come to us either "in crisis" or "wanting more." Those "in crisis" are experiencing tremendous brokenness in one or more arenas of life and ministry. They need insight into and healing from many issues, including: severe marital conflict, adultery, pornography, or sexual addiction, struggles with intimacy, ministry exhaustion and burnout, depression or disillusionment.


Those "wanting more" desire an intensive because they know something is "missing," and they "long for more." They want to experience an even deeper intimacy with the Lord and others, accompanied by an even more effective, eternally significant ministry. They may want to deepen an already meaningful marriage, find spiritual direction for life and ministry, or overcome any obstacles to them becoming all that the Father has made them to be.

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