Counselor Introduction: Dr. Dan Martinson answers “How Do I Know If I Need Counseling?”

Hi, I’m Dan Martinson, a psychologist here on staff at Blue Ridge Christian Counseling.  I grew up in southwest Ohio and received my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College in Chicago before moving here to the New River Valley 5 years ago to begin my career as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  I have to say, I much prefer the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains to the cornfields of Ohio, and especially the endless concrete of Chicago!  

Why did I become a counselor?

It all started when I felt God calling me to be a missionary.  I originally planned to become a medical doctor so I could do medical missions overseas, but quickly learned in college that I loathed – absolutely loathed – my premed classes.  This brought me to an interesting question: how can I use the gifts and passions God has given me to do missions work?  Through some reflection, I thought of so many missionaries I knew who were quickly burning out in the field, and thought it would be really amazing to offer counseling (something I was good at and loved to do) for missionaries.  I wondered, “What if I could devote my ministry to multiplying others’ effectiveness, health, and longevity in their own ministries?”  This was the question that led me to become a psychologist. 

What types of clients do I work with?

Although I originally set out to counsel missionaries, and still am very excited to do so, I am passionate about helping people from all walks of life.  Like missionaries, we all have opportunities to love and minister to others and make a real difference in the world.  But we all have things that get in the way – anxiety, trauma, grief… social problems, mental health problems, etc.  My purpose in counseling is to help remove those things that block our potential so we can be more like Christ and live more fully into the people he created us to be.

All this to say, I work with adults of any age, ability, gender, race, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, indigenous heritage, and national origin.  I do not typically offer counseling to children, couples, or families, but I may do so in some unique circumstances as I have availability.

What are the unique features of my counseling? 

My counseling is collaborative, holistic, and solution-focused.  The client is in the “driver’s seat,” and we make decisions about goals and priorities together.  As a holistic clinician, I seek to advise, encourage and promote health in the physical, mental, social, and spiritual domains of life.  They are all connected!

With whomever I work, my desire is to help them clarify their values and purpose as they navigate their suffering.  Usually, we learn new skills and start new habits to reduce the suffering, but it is much more than that.  My hope is that counseling will empower you to pursue your purpose and draw near to God and others in the place of deepest suffering, without needing to sweep it under the rug.

One unique feature of my counseling at BRCC is that I hold a specialty in clinical psychology, meaning I am especially equipped to help individuals with unusual levels of anxiety, depression, trauma, or mental health disorders.  I also counsel individuals with more common concerns, but this is a unique feature of the services I provide here.  I can also offer receipts to my clients that they can file with their insurance companies for reimbursement if their insurance covers out of network providers, whereas our other staff can’t offer this service.

How do I know if someone needs counseling?

It can be hard to know when you need counseling.  We all have times in our lives that are incredibly difficult, and we all have periods of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and deeply sad.  A helpful question I ask people to consider is “To what extent are these difficulties getting in the way of my everyday life and relationships?”  If you feel that some kind of struggle is impeding your capacity in these areas, I definitely recommend counseling!  Counseling can also be helpful if you do not feel you are getting the help you need from your existing social supports.

What types of clients do I work with?

Although I originally set out to counsel missionaries, and still am very excited to do so, I am passionate about helping people from all walks of life.  Like missionaries, we all have opportunities to love and minister to others and make a real difference in the world.  But we all have things that get in the way – anxiety, trauma, grief… social problems, mental health problems, etc.  My purpose in counseling is to help remove those things that block our potential so we can be more like Christ and live more fully into the people he created us to be.

All this to say, I work with adults of any age, ability, gender, race, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, indigenous heritage, and national origin.  I do not typically offer counseling to children, couples, or families, but I may do so in some unique circumstances as I have availability.

Where can I meet? 

I see clients in person Christiansburg and Blacksburg.  I do offer Zoom appointments as well for clients in and out of state (I cannot offer Zoom appointments in some states due to licensing laws).

If you are interested in talking with Dan or a counselor at BRCC, go to our New Client page to get started.

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