Mind Matters: Recognizing When Therapy Is Necessary in Fenton, MI


In today’s fast-paced and often stressful world, taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. Many people in Fenton, MI, and beyond may find themselves struggling with a range of mental health issues, from anxiety and depression to stress and burnout. While some may be able to navigate these challenges on their own or with the support of loved ones, there are times when professional therapy is necessary. In this blog, we will explore the signs that indicate therapy may be beneficial and how to recognize when it is time to seek help in Fenton, MI.

Feeling Overwhelmed or Stressed

One of the most common signs that therapy may be necessary is feeling overwhelmed or stressed for an extended period of time. While it is normal to experience stress in daily life, persistent feelings of overwhelm or stress that affect your ability to function and enjoy life may be a cause for concern. If you find yourself struggling to cope with stress or feeling constantly on edge, therapy can help you explore coping mechanisms, build resilience, and develop healthy ways to manage stress.

Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Depression

Another sign that therapy may be necessary is persistent feelings of sadness or depression that interfere with your daily life. Depression is a common mental health issue that can impact your mood, energy levels, sleep, appetite, and overall well-being. If you are experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, therapy can provide a safe space to explore these emotions, gain insight into underlying issues, and work towards healing and recovery.

Struggling with Anxiety or Panic Attacks

Anxiety is another prevalent mental health issue that can significantly impact your quality of life. If you find yourself constantly worrying, experiencing frequent panic attacks, or struggling with overwhelming feelings of fear or dread, therapy can help you learn coping strategies, identify triggers, and address the root causes of your anxiety. A therapist can provide support, guidance, and tools to help you manage anxiety and regain a sense of control over your life.

Difficulty Managing Relationships or Communication

Struggles with relationships, whether with romantic partners, family members, friends, or colleagues, can be a sign that therapy is necessary. Relationship issues can arise due to poor communication, unresolved conflicts, codependency, trust issues, or other underlying issues. Therapy can help you improve communication skills, set boundaries, develop healthy relationship patterns, and navigate challenges in your interpersonal connections.

Changes in Sleep Patterns or Appetite

Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or other physical symptoms can also indicate that therapy may be beneficial. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can manifest in physical symptoms such as insomnia, changes in appetite, fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension. If you are experiencing persistent physical symptoms that are impacting your daily life, seeking therapy can help you address the underlying emotional issues contributing to these symptoms and work towards holistic healing.

Experiencing Trauma or Past Pain

Experiencing trauma or past pain can have lasting effects on your mental health and well-being. Trauma can manifest in various ways, such as flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, and emotional numbness. If you have experienced trauma or are struggling with past pain, therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment to process and heal from these experiences. A therapist trained in trauma-informed care can help you navigate the complex emotions and challenges that arise from trauma and support you on your healing journey.

Seeking Personal Growth and Self-Exploration

Therapy is not only beneficial for addressing specific mental health issues but also for personal growth and self-exploration. Many people in Fenton, MI, and beyond choose to engage in therapy as a means of gaining self-awareness, enhancing personal development, and exploring their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapy can offer a space for self-reflection, introspection, and insight, enabling you to better understand yourself, cultivate self-compassion, and work towards becoming the best version of yourself.

Making the Decision to Seek Therapy in Fenton, MI

Recognizing when therapy is necessary is an important step towards prioritizing your mental health and well-being. If you identify with any of the signs mentioned above or are experiencing other mental health challenges, know that seeking therapy is a courageous and proactive choice to support your emotional and psychological health. In Fenton, MI, there are various resources available, including licensed therapists, counseling centers, mental health clinics, and support groups, to help you on your journey towards healing and growth. Remember that seeking therapy is a sign of strength, not weakness, and taking care of your mind matters.

Need Counseling in Fenton, MI?

William K. McDonald PLC Counseling Services has been servicing the Fenton, Michigan area for 39 years with quality service at a reasonable price. We are a family-owned business where customer service is our highest priority. We specialize in counseling and psychotherapy, you can trust that you are in good hands with our services being dispensed by accredited Masters of Social Work. In addition, William K. McDonald has an M.DIV. in theology. Our counselors have spent years in training and preparation, so you can be secure in knowing that our service provides the quality that you need. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Jacob’s Wound / God’s Wounding

Bill McDonald’s Website Newsletter

March 2024 Newsletter – Volume 24, No 4 (my #209)

Jacob’s Wound / God’s Wounding

One of my favorite counseling stories from the Old Testament is the account of Jacob wrestling with God “by the ford of the river Jabbok.” (Book of Genesis, Chapter 32:22-32). The larger account is full of metaphorical elements which can be of use in counseling sessions. But here, I want to focus on only one.

“Then someone (God/angel/man) wrestled with him until daybreak, who seeing he could not master him, struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him.” v26   

“That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh sinew which is at the hip socket: because he had struck Jacob at the hip socket on the thigh sinew. v32 1

Then, shortly after my love affair with this story began, someone commented, “Everyone in the Old Testament who contends with God gets wounded.”  Moses had a speech defect.  Joseph had the jealousy of his brothers, and David couldn’t resist Bathsheba.2  The commentator offered a lengthy list – which I wish I now had in hand.

But in my view of the world (spiritual and psychological), many can rarely avoid the necessity of ‘wrestling with God.’  So often, we make it into either a moral or legal issue – and the wound is easily construed as punishment. The old term for a prison is “penitentiary.”

A Fault?

Was God punishing Jacob by wounding him?  It would be easy in our moral and legal world to answer Yes. But in the spiritual world, not necessarily.  Back to the Genesis account:  “…Seeing that he could not master him, struck him on the hip socket… “v 26. “…Since you have shown your strength against God and men, and have prevailed.” v 30.  These are not words of fault – but more a mark of masterful accomplishment. As if Jacob won “prevailed” – and God left him with a specific physical marking. Strange the ways of God!  And Jacob was warmly welcomed instead of killed by his brother Esau.

Wounds & Scars

In the secular realm, wounds and scars are easily considered impediments, in a sense impeding life flow, or at least worldly success. Jacob limped away. A wounded soldier will probably be limited or incapable of continuing full duty.

There’s an old spiritual reality or truth that from our wounds come healing gifts for others. Our wounds and scars become sources of blessing for the world. (The semantic energy of blessing seems to favor something moving outward from ourselves toward an other or others.

In my own profession, there’s a “Silver Rule of therapy”- which asserts that a therapist can take a client (or patient) only as far as they have proceeded in their own therapeutic (life) journey.  (Personally, I’m not sure if that’s good news or bad news, but I’ve witnessed it both ways a number of times, including myself.)

Many come to work with me carrying wounds and scars – things have gone “wrong”, don’t work anymore, life has been ‘crossed’. We can judge these circumstances in terms of good and bad. But they seem from a spiritual perspective as “ways” of God to share the deeper mysteries of who (he) is.

My therapist trainer years ago told of a couple who came to her, claiming (bragging) that they never fought. She responded that she’d have to charge them double, for the extra amount of work they would need.

Let me take a side step into another realm – clerical celibacy.  I recall, some years ago, a conversation about the matter with a local Catholic priest. He explained that his celibacy was a charism, a spiritual gift, or extraordinary power given by the Holy Spirit. From that I began to view it not as a psychological matter, but a spiritual gift. Psychologically, it’s a wounding – a denial of a natural and desirable (even ecstatic) human experience. And yet it’s for the sake of the (higher) healing gifts of men and women under the Church’s  “Holy Orders.” Needless to say, the aberration of this understanding in the Church alone has led to incalculable abuse and suffering, especially of the vulnerable among us.

Another side-step. The Summer before my High School senior year, I was a summer exchange student, living with a German family in Bavaria. The father had a prominent scar on one cheek, which I once questioned. He spoke little English, so his only answer was a single word “ooniversitay” – and offered no further explanation. A year or two after my return, I saw an Italian “shockumentary” movie called “Mondo Cane” (A Dog’s Life – 1962) – which, in one sequence, I witnessed a university fraternity initiation, involving a deep ritual razor slice into the initiate’s cheek – resulting in the very scar I lived with that earlier Summer. I was somewhat offended by the artificiality of the ritual – but then, I wasn’t a fraternity type myself in college. Subsequently, when I consider that my German summer was only 13 years after the 1945 defeat of Germany, perhaps the scar did carry some redeeming virtue for this ex-Nazi serviceman.

Writing this Newsletter on Easter afternoon, and having just completed the ritual ordeal of a Christin Holy Week – I’ve pondered the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ as God’s own wounding/scarring of himself to accomplish the Great Easter Blessing for the world.

Perhaps, when we wrestle with God, we will (and maybe, of course) carry painful wounds and scars, (maybe even fatal – for death itself is a life-wound).

Perhaps, in the divine economy of the Almighty One, this is (his) way of keeping us connected with (his) larger plan for (his) creation without infringing on our own freedom and integrity. 3

Maybe we could

Pay Attention


1 The New Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday 1985 – long and still my favorite for its semantic pedigree and style (and great notes).   

   Also, it is not uncommon at that time in Hebrew literary history for God to appear to humankind as an angel.

2  I just came across an online article “The Bathsheba Syndrome: The Ethical Failure of Successful Leaders”- (https://www.jstor.org/stable/25072398) – postulating a secular extension of my own hypotheses.

3 Just as a parting thought to my legalistsic/dualistic thinking Christian friends – one of the deeper mature understandings of Easter, is that we don’t need to be “saved” in order to be fully included in the Easter “Resurrection.”  (There’s a deep wound for many – ruining many sermons)  Sorry guys!  Live with it.

(This is my Easter gift to those friends and clients who suffer “imposter syndrome.”)


My initial plans were to conclude with sharing some private examples of personal wounds. But greater wisdom whispered that would be more self-indulgence, less than useful, and to best keep those matters private.   WKM

Unlocking Wellness in Fenton, MI: The Positive Impact of Therapy


In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From work deadlines to family responsibilities, it can feel like there’s never enough time in the day to take care of yourself. This constant pressure can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize your wellness and seek out the support you need to thrive.

One powerful tool for promoting wellness is therapy. Therapy provides a safe and supportive space for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings, process difficult emotions, and learn coping strategies to manage life’s challenges. In Fenton, MI, there are a variety of therapy options available to help residents unlock their wellness potential and lead happier, healthier lives.

The Benefits of Therapy

Therapy offers a wide range of benefits for individuals seeking greater well-being. One of the primary benefits of therapy is the opportunity to gain insight into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By working with a trained therapist, you can uncover underlying issues that may be contributing to your mental health struggles and develop a deeper understanding of yourself.

Therapy can also provide a sense of validation and support. Sometimes, simply talking to someone who listens without judgment can be incredibly healing. Therapists create a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to share their concerns and experiences, which can be a powerful form of emotional support.

In addition, therapy can help individuals learn new coping skills and strategies for managing stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Therapists can teach relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, and cognitive-behavioral strategies to help clients build resilience and improve their mental well-being.

Types of Therapy Available in Fenton, MI

Fenton, MI offers a variety of therapy options to meet the diverse needs of its residents. Some of the most common types of therapy available in the area include:

1. Individual therapy: Individual therapy involves one-on-one sessions between a client and a therapist. This type of therapy is typically focused on addressing the client’s specific concerns and goals, whether that be managing anxiety, improving relationships, or processing trauma.

2. Couples therapy: Couples therapy is designed to help partners improve their communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen their relationship. Couples therapy can be especially helpful for addressing issues such as infidelity, trust issues, and intimacy problems.

3. Family therapy: Family therapy involves working with multiple family members to address relational dynamics, resolve conflicts, and improve communication. Family therapy can be beneficial for families facing challenges such as divorce, addiction, or mental illness.

4. Group therapy: Group therapy involves participating in a therapy session with a small group of individuals who are facing similar challenges. Group therapy can provide a sense of community and support, as well as opportunities to learn from others’ experiences.

The Positive Impact of Therapy in Fenton, MI

Therapy has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many individuals in Fenton, MI. By seeking out therapy, residents have been able to improve their mental health, enhance their relationships, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Therapy has also helped individuals build self-confidence, increase self-awareness, and establish boundaries in their personal and professional lives.

In addition to the individual benefits, therapy has also had a positive impact on the community as a whole in Fenton, MI. By promoting mental wellness and emotional well-being, therapy helps create a more supportive and compassionate community where individuals feel empowered to seek help and support when needed. This, in turn, can lead to reduced stigma around mental health issues and increased awareness of the importance of self-care.

Unlocking Your Wellness Potential

If you’re considering therapy in Fenton, MI, there are a few key steps you can take to unlock your wellness potential:

1. Research therapy options: Take the time to research different therapy providers in Fenton, MI and find a therapist who specializes in the issues you’re facing. Consider factors such as location, cost, and treatment approach when choosing a therapist.

2. Reach out for support: Don’t be afraid to reach out for support and schedule a therapy session. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Therapy can be a transformative experience that can help you unlock your wellness potential and lead a more fulfilling life.

3. Practice self-care: In addition to therapy, prioritize self-care practices such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being is essential for overall wellness.


By prioritizing your wellness and seeking out therapy in Fenton, MI, you can unlock your potential for greater happiness, resilience, and fulfillment. Therapy is a powerful tool for promoting mental health and emotional well-being, and it can help you navigate life’s challenges with confidence and clarity. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and start your journey towards wellness today.

Need Counseling in Fenton, MI?

William K. McDonald PLC Counseling Services has been servicing the Fenton, Michigan area for 39 years with quality service at a reasonable price. We are a family-owned business where customer service is our highest priority. We specialize in counseling and psychotherapy, you can trust that you are in good hands with our services being dispensed by accredited Masters of Social Work. In addition, William K. McDonald has an M.DIV. in theology. Our counselors have spent years in training and preparation, so you can be secure in knowing that our service provides the quality that you need. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Pacifism or Passivity

March 2024 Newsletter – Volume 24, No 3 (my #208)

Pacifism or Passivity

Let me begin with a story I’ll frequently share with clients.

The Old Monk and the Cobra

Somewhere in the Indian subcontinent, there’s a village. Beside the village is a small mountain, and on top of it is a shrine. The people of the town, who climb the rugged path for their spiritual exercises, regularly visit the shrine, which has been maintained for many years by an elderly monk.
But one day, he began to notice that fewer and fewer people from the village were making the journey up to his shrine. So he inquired of one of the pilgrims why this might be. He was told, “I’ll tell you why. Near the beginning of the path up, there’s a Cobra, who’s been biting people as they pass by – so many are now afraid to make the trip.”
So, the old monk decided to take matters into his own hands. He makes his way down the mountain path to where the cobra resides. “Brother Cobra (says the monk), I understand you’ve been biting people.” “That is true,” responds Brother Cobra. “Well, this is unacceptable,” (says the old monk). “The people need to be free to use this path without fear of a poisonous Cobra bite. So I’m telling you to stop biting people.” “OK,” responds Brother Cobra, with his head bowed.
The old monk returns up the mountain path to his shrine, and eventually, the people of the village return to their pattern of traversing the path to their shrine.
Then, one day, the old monk decides he’ll go down to visit Brother Cobra. What he finds is his old friend battered, bruised, and broken. “What’s this!” exclaimed the old monk. The cobra replied, “Ever since you told me to stop biting folks, they’ve made my life hell. The young boys whirl me around by my tail, bashing my head onto stones and tree trunks. Others throw rocks at me, kick me, step on me – I would rather die than suffer all this!”
The old monk replied, “But Brother Cobra, When I told you to stop biting people. I didn’t tell you to stop hissing.” 1

In recent Newsletters, I’ve noted my family heritage of pacifism. But I want to make a distinction that this often has little to do with niceness. That’s why I enjoy this story.

The Curse of Niceness (Passivity)

As a mother (or a father), you wouldn’t point out the carry-out boy at the grocery store and say, “Now, isn’t he a nice young man? That’s the type you want to marry.” You’d maybe want to hire him for customer service, but not for a life partner. 2

Niceness is often a cover for passivity. Remember Alfred E. Newman’s motto of Mad Magazine fame: “What, me worry?” Passivity is primarily the opposite of taking responsibility. (I’ve been a marriage/relationship counselor for almost half a century.)

I recall some years ago, back in the early “Men’s Movement” days, the poet Robert Bly telling us that an essential phrase for men was the resourcefulness (and courage) to say, “Hey, wait a minute!” Women, recently, have become more adroit with that phrase, which frequently leads to terror (or rage) in men.3

Men and women who don’t sometimes know to hiss, more easily get abused in relationships. Or they more easily become abusers. 4

So then, what is Pacifism?

Pacifism is very different. Passivity is a “do nothing” strategy—letting our base human nature (the Amygdala part of the brain) run the show. William Golding’s novel The Lord of the Flies (1954) was popular when I was young. It posited a society of boys ruled by their base natures and the savage chaos that emerged.

Some call it the “Law of the Jungle” – where the ‘natural world’ can act from an inherent balance, which seems to work. The ‘law of the human jungle’ is the survival of the fittest – which appears to work in the ‘natural’ world. Still, in the human world, it gives over to a “law of projection” where whatever we don’t want to deal with, we “project” onto others, and then we can more easily dehumanize (or ‘kill’) any ‘other.’ This is why humans can so quickly go to war. In the human world, “sports” are favored to submit (or sublimate) this chaos to social “rules,” whereby the inner desire to compete is both honored and tempered. In the Roman Circus, sometimes gladiators (and Christians) ended up being eaten by the lions – to the satisfaction of both rulers and the crowds.

In evolving history, pacifism became the social and personal energy to ‘tame the hungry beast’ within – hence an energy for “peace” to counter the energy for “war.” It was based on an evolving assumption that all humanity was equal and sacred and that the seemingly natural desire to dominate or lord it over others has become the root of much social (and political) evil.5

Although its history is varied and often a moving target, Pacifism is a lot of personal work. It takes courage and the willingness to be vulnerable, to stand up for those who can’t, and to teach and encourage those who can.6

“I didn’t tell you not to hiss.”

Now you can see why I love this story of the old Monk and the Cobra.

Learning the difference between biting and hissing is vital to a civil culture. There are many places in our world where you can be killed (or at least locked up) for just hissing. We must protect those who get bitten and those who can hiss (often independent of whether we agree with them).

It’s a matter of balance – a balance that seems even more precarious in our time. The future of our democratic culture and our ability to be a beacon of stability in a chaotic world seem to lie in the balance, especially these days.

We need both wise old monks and wisely trained cobras.

I hope my words can be helpful.

Pay Attention



1. I don’t recall where or from whom I first heard this story, but I’ve enjoyed telling it myself for many years.

2 My creative imagination carries this note a step further: The daughter thinks a moment and asks her mother, “Is that why you married Dad?” “Well, yes,” replies the mother. To which the daughter then responds, “And is that why you now hate him?” Nice young men can become passive husbands → which often leads to angry wives (and vice versa).

3 At this point, I’ll (not joking) share a man’s initial imagination: “I think I’d rather shove salt in a Siberian salt mine.” Yet, when a man is willing to respond positively to a woman’s “Hey, wait a minute,” he’ll often find, to his surprise, himself in a positive and creative experience. Amazing!

4 Cf the following online article about the Covert Narcissist: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201901/all-you-should-know-about-covert-narcissist.

5 While writing this Newsletter, I saw the movie “Origin” (US 2023), based on the New York Times bestseller Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. It was an audience multi handkerchief powerful movie, and ending with unusually great audience applause.

6 I have written earlier in these Newsletter pages about my mother, bringing to our smallish Iowa town the work of the American Field Service. It began in 1915 as wartime battlefield volunteer ambulance drivers – then eventually asked, “Whatever can we do to prevent these wars from ever happening again?” From this grew a great intercultural student exchange program with the motto: “Walk together, talk together, all you peoples of the earth, and we shall have peace.” (I became a High School AFS exchange student in Germany in 1958.)

Tips on Choosing the Right Counselor for You in Fenton, MI


When it comes to seeking counseling services, finding the right counselor is crucial. The success of therapy depends heavily on the relationship between the client and counselor, so it’s important to take the time to find someone who is a good fit for you. In Fenton, MI, there are many counselors to choose from, so it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some tips to help you choose the right counselor for you:

1. Identify Your Needs and Goals

Before you start looking for a counselor, take some time to think about what you want to get out of therapy. What are your specific needs and goals? Do you have a particular issue you want to work through, or are you looking for general support and guidance? Being clear on what you want will help you find a counselor who is the right fit for you.

2. Research Different Counseling Approaches

There are many different types of therapy and counseling approaches, so it’s important to do your research and find one that resonates with you. Some approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic therapy, focus on helping you change your thoughts and behaviors, while others, like mindfulness-based therapy or narrative therapy, focus on exploring your emotions and beliefs. Look into different approaches and see which one aligns with your needs and preferences.

3. Consider the Counselor’s Specializations and Experience

When looking for a counselor, consider their specializations and experience. Do they have experience working with issues similar to yours? Are they trained in a specific type of therapy that you are interested in? It’s important to find a counselor who has the knowledge and expertise to help you with your specific concerns.

4. Check Their Credentials and Licensure

It’s crucial to ensure that the counselor you choose is licensed and has the proper credentials. In Michigan, counselors must be licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to practice. Look for counselors who are licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) to ensure that they have met the state’s requirements for education and training.

5. Consider the Counselor’s Personality and Approach

The relationship between you and your counselor is a critical factor in the success of therapy, so it’s essential to find someone whose personality and approach align with yours. Do you prefer a counselor who is more directive and gives you specific strategies to work on, or do you prefer someone who listens and provides a more supportive and empathetic approach? Remember that it’s okay to schedule a consultation or initial session with a counselor to see if you feel comfortable and connected with them.

6. Ask for Recommendations and Read Reviews

One of the best ways to find a counselor in Fenton, MI, is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, or healthcare providers. They may have had positive experiences with a counselor and can provide valuable insights. Additionally, consider reading reviews and testimonials online to see what other clients have to say about their experiences with a particular counselor. This can give you a sense of the counselor’s reputation and the quality of their services.

7. Consider Logistics and Convenience

When choosing a counselor, consider practical factors such as location, availability, and fees. Is the counselor conveniently located near your home or work? Do they offer flexible hours that fit your schedule? What are their fees, and do they accept insurance? Make sure to consider these logistical factors to ensure that you can commit to regular counseling sessions without any barriers.


Finding the right counselor in Fenton, MI, is a crucial step towards improving your mental health and well-being. By following these tips and taking the time to research and connect with potential counselors, you can find someone who is a good fit for you and can help you work through your challenges and achieve your goals. Remember that therapy is a collaborative process, so don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and preferences to your counselor to ensure that you have a positive and beneficial therapeutic experience.

Need Counseling in Fenton, MI?

William K. McDonald PLC Counseling Services has been servicing the Fenton, Michigan area for 39 years with quality service at a reasonable price. We are a family-owned business where customer service is our highest priority. We specialize in counseling and psychotherapy, you can trust that you are in good hands with our services being dispensed by accredited Masters of Social Work. In addition, William K. McDonald has an M.DIV. in theology. Our counselors have spent years in training and preparation, so you can be secure in knowing that our service provides the quality that you need. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.