By Dr. Eric Scalise
What does it mean to thrive or flourish in life? In a world where everything seems to be overanalyzed and word-smithed through a lens of political correctness or cultural relevance, is it OK to prosper? The word “thrive” implies moving beyond mere survival and demonstrating growth, positive development, advancement, and success. These thoughts and concepts often drift through our minds right before we cross the threshold into a new year.
Not that long ago, I was sorting through a drawer full of odds and ends—items long forgotten—and a small clasped envelope drew my attention. When I opened it up, a flood of memories swept over me. The envelope contained all of my father’s passports. He was a diplomat with the U.S. State Department, and as his son, I was given the opportunity to have a front row seat to the intriguing world of international diplomacy, living abroad, and interacting with other cultures.
People around the world will celebrate Christmas this year, perhaps much like they do every year. Many also look for a deeper sense of meaning, especially in the midst of today’s commercialism and the growing reality that the birth of the Christ Child has become too secularized and merely a general expression of “holiday wishes” or “season’s greetings.” Indeed, even saying, “Merry Christmas” is disallowed in far too many places, Nativity displays are increasingly regulated, and there is now an all-inclusive, multicultural, and multi-religious focus in the hopes that no one will be offended.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. However, that’s not always the case… rates of depression, drinking and drugging episodes, family and relational conflicts, disappointment, loneliness, and isolation, all increase during the last few months of the year. Holiday stress is real, but the good news is that it can be managed effectively if we know what to anticipate.
We are surrounded and often consumed by our fast-paced, push-button, instant-everything world. Anxiety and depression, substance abuse, marital conflicts, sexual addiction, domestic violence, child abuse, unwanted pregnancy—and the list could go on—are far too commonplace. The truth is that people are hurting and the church is hurting. The Apostle Paul said, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26a).
Human nature at its core is basically self-absorbed, self-ish, and self-centered. This is simply a result of the fall from grace that occurred in the Garden of Eden so many years ago. Children come into this life, literally screaming for attention… arms outstretched toward those who give care and sustenance, only aware of their immediate needs or the distress they are feeling in the moment. They learn at an early age what brings mom and dad running...
One can hardly turn on the news or see an Internet feed and not hear or read about the latest natural disaster, heartrending tragedy, untimely accident, senseless shooting, or act of violent terrorism. Indeed, the world seems filled with turmoil. Our nation is increasingly on edge, and thousands wake up every day wondering if the headlines will scream at us once again. Indeed, many live in a near constant state of...
All of us have probably observed childish behavior… not only in young children, which is almost expected, but also in some adults, which is unfortunate and often produces a “roll your eyes” response. In many ways, we come into this world helpless, needy, and self-absorbed. Children must be taught, even trained to be giving, confident, caring, and other’s-centered. Growing old is an automatic process; however, as a counselor, I have learned that growing up is optional.
Robert Frost, well-known Pulitzer Prize winning poet, captured this thought: “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” Not only did God love the creation that bore His image, He put within the heart and spirit of humankind the need and the capacity to both love others and to be loved. We were created in relationship, through relationship, and for relationship. Yet for many, relationships have become just a complex list of Do’s and Don’ts, Rights and Wrongs, the Latest 10 Principles for Connecting, and all the...
Young, in love, full of life with dreams to match, newly married, and me being Italian—as a couple that meant children, lots of them—six or seven would be a nice start. Our trust in God was important to our relationship and in all we did. We could quote nearly every “growing a family” Scripture in our sleep.
What is encouragement and why is it so essential for maintaining healthy marriages and families. Encouragement represents positive influence, to literally give courage to someone—not waiting until it’s deserved or asked for, but taking initiative when things are difficult and uncertain.
Marriages and families today are facing an epidemic of addiction related issues and problems. Some addictions involve the use of chemicals and substances and other addictions are more behavioral. Nevertheless, the statistics are staggering and they are sobering
There are multiple and sometimes, ambiguous definitions of what we refer to as “leadership.” Leaders have been characterized as visionary, transformational, charismatic, and even servant-oriented. In today’s post-modern culture, one that increasingly undermines a Christian worldview, leadership challenges abound everywhere for moms and dads in the 21st century.
By Eric Scalise, Ph.D.
We now continue our journey through the “one anothers” of the New Testament, with the admonishment to put faith into action when it comes to our marriages.
When I talk with couples who are interested in growing their marriages, they frequently ask about practical strategies they can integrate into their daily lives, things that will both deepen and strengthen the relationship. I often give them the One Another challenge—a purposeful way to walk out the various “one anothers” found in the New Testament.
Some years back, my wife and I, along with our two sons, took one of those vacations that provide a lifetime of memories. However, for me, the highlight was our time together in Sequoia National Park. It was here, in the midst of God’s beautiful creation, that I finally understood the power of a seed...
Every family has its own unique set of rules. They are typically established by parents and set the tone for communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution, as well as defining the parameters for how relationships are supposed to function within the home environment.
When it comes to the brokenness seen in many toxic relationships, including a chaotic marriage, the road to freedom and restoration is often a process. Just as hurt and pain usually develop over a period of time, recovery and healing also tend to follow a progressive journey back toward stability.
By Eric Scalise, Ph.D. and Stephanie Holmes, M.A.
What do music composers Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, artists Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh, physicists Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci, President Thomas Jefferson, and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates have in common? All are known or suspected of fitting somewhere on the autism spectrum.
My wife and I remember the day quite well. Our identical twin sons came home from school one afternoon and announced that they had decided to enter the United States Marine Corps. The terrorist attacks of 9-11 were still fresh in our nation’s psyche and military operations were already underway in both Afghanistan and Iraq. As parents, we had visions of college and “safe” jobs with a future.
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Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Enterprises & Consulting, LLC and CEO for the Alignment Association, LLC. He is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. Specialty areas include professional and pastoral stress and burnout, compassion fatigue, mood disorders, marriage and family issues, combat trauma and PTSD, addictions and recovery, crisis response, grief and loss, leadership development, life coaching, and lay counselor training. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House, is a national and international conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues. Dr. Scalise and his wife, Donna, have been married for 36 years, have twin sons who are combat veterans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and three grandchildren.
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