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. Sanctuary Counseling Group currently has satellite offices in 15 locations in the western and central piedmont.

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.

Staff Perspectives

Let Us Play!

Children live out the reality of their lives through their actions and, for most children, this action is through play!

Play is a child's language for expressing joy, anxiety, frustration, fear, and above all, the true experiences of their lives. Play therapy, a tool used by therapists to encourage healing through the symbolic meaning and patterns of the child's play, has been proven to help children overcome a wide variety of behavioral symptoms and emotional difficulties.

Play therapy is most appropriate for children between the ages of 3-11 years old. The treatment helps manage and overcome a variety of issues, including AHDH symptoms, bullying, school difficulties, behavioral issues and adjustment disorders due to divorce, grief, and loss, etc. Play therapy has proven to be beneficial for many concerns, due to the fact that it accepts the child where they are, while providing a non-threatening environment for children to verbally and physically work out their problems. It also provides free expression through play, which is an essential part of a child's emotional growth.

From a developmental standpoint, children lack the ability to process things verbally, so they require concrete objects, like toys, to express themselves. Through play therapy, a child is also able to experience a safe, trusting relationship with an adult. If a child has experienced a trauma or loss, the supportive relationshiip a child has with their therapist proves to be one of the most essential parts to healing

Play therapy can be either directive or non-directive in nature. Directive play therapy is guided by the therapist for the majority of the session and consists of interaction and dialogue with the child. Non-directive play therapy allows the child freedom to explore the playroom through free expression of their play. The therapist also provides a safe, supportive environment by simply witnessing the child's play and serving as a safe container for their pain

I use an eclectic combination of both the directive and non-directive approaches, based on the child's developmental stage and where they are in their therapeutic journey. My experience is that children gain confidence and feel accepted by making their own choices in the playroom. However, as the therapeutic process progresses, children also gain healing through the therapist tracking, validating, and encouraging new choices through their play.

Both diirective and non-directive approaches are supported as effective treatments for children by understanding the overall makeup of the human brain. When a child is playing quietly, their imaginatiion is soaring. They are using the right side of the brain to control creative functions in a non-verbal manner, which excels in visual, spacial, perceptual, and intuitive information. Right brain processes happen very quickly and the style of processing is non-linear and non-sequential—this is where uninhibited, free play is such an important aspect of play therapy. Children are internally feeling their pain, while externally working it out by using tactile expression

The left brain is associated with verbal, logical, and analytical thinking. It excels in naming and categorizing things, symbolic abstration and speech. Talking about the stories that the child has created in session helps them to logically find solutions to the concerns at hand.

As a result, both are essential elements of play therapy that help to promote a child's creativity, healing, and understanding of their life experiences.

Shannon White, MA
Davidson UMC Office

"Time is a game played beautifully by children."
~Heraclitus

"Children are not only innocent and curious but also optimistic and joyful and essentially happy. They are, in short, everything adults wish they could be."
~Carolyn Haywood

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
~Richard Lingard


Leading in a Rapidly Changing World

How do we minister—how do we lead a ministry—in such a rapidly changing world?

Sanctuary Counseling Group and Solihten Institute (formerly Samaritan Institute) will be offering a workshop in Charlotte with Tod Bolsinger, MDiv, PHD. Bolsinger is an assistant professor of practical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.

To learn more about the workshop, scheduled for Monday, April 29th, go here. To register online, go here.

Find a Therapist in Your Area

Sanctuary Counseling Group provides pastoral counseling and mental health counseling throughout the piedmont of North Carolina, from Shelby in the west to High Point in the east, from Pineville in the south to Hickory in the north … and in multiple locations in between—Charlotte, Monroe, Concord, Belmont, Davidson, Pineville, Salisbury, and Gastonia.

Find a therapist in your geographical area by checking our sites page.

Donating to Sanctuary Counseling Group

Sanctuary Counseling Group is a 501.C.3 non-profit. 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.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the ministry of Sanctuary Counseling Group. Unless otherwise designated, donations will be used to help supplement the Samaritan Client Assistance Fund, helping to supplement fees for those who might not otherwise be able to afford counseling.

Our Samaritan Client Assistance Fund is what makes Sanctuary Counseling Group a ministry and not just a business. By donating to Sanctuary Counseling Group's Samaritan Client Assistance Fund you can directly help those who are hurting. Our goal is to turn no one away because of lack of finances.

Please visit our Partners in Ministry page for more information or to make a contribution.

Resources for Pastors

Sanctuary Counseling Group recognizes the unique needs and stressors of pastors working within the pastorate as 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.

Remember …

"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply
good stewardship of the only gift I have,
the gift I was put on earth to offer to others."
~Parker Palmer



Updated, 30 March 2019

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 Solihten Institute.