When the Dressing Room Triggers all the Feelings

We love finding like-minded business owners and collaborating to bring goodness to all of our clients! This month we teamed up with Amber (aka THE CLOSETEER), a personal stying coach, who sees the bigger story at work in the closets and dressing rooms of her clients. You can download “Shopping: So Much More Than Shirts and Skirts” here to better understand what may be at work for you in regards to clothing.

SHOPPING: So Much More Than Shirts and Skirts

by Beckie Stauffer, MA, RD, LPCC

Shopping, in all of its glory, is a profoundly personal thing. And while all forms of shopping can be meaningful, there is no shopping experience quite like shopping for your body.

The way you shop for toothpaste or school supplies or produce is likely quite different than how you shop for your wardrobe. Sure, on some level clothes perform a functional purpose much like a kitchen hand towel or a bedroom wall hanging, but there is more there. A lot more. More story, more self, more personhood wrapped up in the process, which is what makes clothes both wildly fun and strikingly vulnerable.

Before diving into your shopping experience, we would like to invite you to pause and take a few moments to set yourself up for a fun, kind, and enriching shopping experience. The questions are intended to help you engage with your story, your self, and your personhood in a way that feels healthy and helpful. Please allow yourself the space and attention to answer these questions honestly. This will be helpful- we guarantee it!

This is brave and daring and beautiful work. Your willingness to slow down and make contact with your body and with your story demonstrates courage. Our hope and our confidence is this: slowing down and acknowledging your story around clothing will help to put language and understanding to your next shopping experience. You don’t need to feel surprised or overwhelmed by the tapes in your head when you de-robe, because you know why they are there and how they got there in the first place. When they begin to play, be aware and attuned to what your story is telling you. Be kind to your body and aware of your limits.

The deeper question is this, are you ready for some new tapes?

Ready to ask yourself some more questions?

How to Survive Grief and Loss

Below is an excerpt from the new book A Brave Lament. A resource for those who are wrestling with God and struggling with grief and loss. A Brave Lament book and documentary film follows author’s Andrew & Christy Bauman’s first year of acute grief after the tragic loss of their son, Jackson Brave Bauman. This book and film invites others to allow their pain to matter and encourages us to use our pain as an invitation to knowing God more fully. With heart-wrenching grief hope is found in the most unlikely place, in the pain itself.

Restoration Counseling is pleased to host a screening of this film on January 31, followed by a conversation with the Baumans. Get your tickets here.

Our healing does not look like I thought it would. In fact, nearly eight months since burying our son, our healing does not even look much like healing.

It looks more like survival.

Every day we actually get out of bed, and tie our shoes, we must bless that as enough. At times getting out of bed is the greatest act of faith and courage we can muster during this season of tragedy. These small steps of faith are sufficient.

Mourning requires more than I ever imagined, more than I ever wanted to know. Mourning requires a kindness to my fragility. I am weak, and that is okay, I should be, as I have been through hell. Kindness must come to my broken heart, because it can no longer bear the weight of rage. For I am learning I must grieve to the level in which I loved, my love for my son was so great that my level of grief will be also.

The world (and many times the Church) tells me to move on, but my grief tells me to move in, lean in deeper, and even make friends with the very grief that hurts so acutely. The Apostle Paul reminds us of in Romans 8:17: “We share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.I think, like most, I want the glory part but without the suffering. I want the splendor of resurrection but without the bloody crucifixion. This is the paradox that few understand, the only way out of suffering, is through it. I must listen to my body as it guides me in this time of sorrow, as I want to live again.

What does it mean to learn to live again?

To rise after such a bloody crucifixion?


To courageously follow in the painful steps of Jesus?


I don’t want to just survive; I want to live fully. The pain will last a lifetime, yet overtime it is softening, just a bit. There are moments now when I catch myself laughing again. It always surprises me. A wave of guilt usually follows. I have to remind myself that my son wants me to experience joy; yes, he wants me to live, he needs me to live, to carry on his brave legacy.

To live again does not mean to forget my heartache, it does not mean not to feel longing or pain—actually, quite the opposite. It means to fully surrender, to become deeply familiar with both pain and desire, not to be consumed by it, but to know it intimately. To see, hear, smell, taste, and touch my deepest fear and sorrow is to become a friend to my longing for my son. Yes, this is what I will strive to attain. This is what it means for me to live resurrected and follow Jesus.  

So, our healing will look like not giving up. Our healing will look like living within a larger story. Our healing will mean learning to walk with a hobble, forever changed, forever marked, forever stumbling toward resurrection, all the while allowing our son and the pain of his absence to matter. I am not in fear that my grief will overtake me. I have found that the more I enter it the less power it has. I will not strive to be liberated from my grief, but liberated within my grief. I will still feel deeply sad, and forever ache for my son, but my ache will become integrated with my joy. God is here, in this throbbing darkness. May we all give ourselves permission to follow our mourning and allow the goodness of grieve to baptize us unto new life.

Bio: Andrew Bauman is an author and licensed mental health counselor. He holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and is currently working on his Doctorate at Northeastern University. Andrew has written three books, The Psychology of Porn & A Brave Lament and his third book with Navpress, called Stumbling Towards Wholeness. Andrew is faculty at Montana State University and is married to Christy Bauman, also a therapist. They have three beautiful children, Wilder, Selah, and River. You can follow his work at www.andrewjbauman.com.


How Your Story May Be At Work This Holiday Season

By Beckie Stauffer, MA, RD, LPCC

In westernized American culture, you can hardly make mention of the holidays without talking about food. There’s Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s champagne. Food is culture. It’s how we celebrate, commemorate, and elevate seasons, events, and life. Food brings sparkle, oomph, and pop.

And yet, food is not just culture. It’s health and weight and image. It’s one way that we measure vitality and discipline and worth. So, needless to say, the holidays are a very conflicting time of the year for our minds and our bodies. We experience both a sincere longing to engage in the festive fun, and a wildly shameful aftermath for “giving in.”

Most people land in this double bind at least once between October and January and from my work with clients, many people believe that their routine encounter with disappointment is reserved to just them and their experience. This, this moment, is where your story comes in, gets activated.

If you have never considered how food and your body and your story are interwoven, the invitation is to pause and do so now.

Anne Lamott writes, “If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package.”

Here are a handful of scenarios that demonstrate how your deeper story may be at play this holiday season:

  1. You feel both elation and self-loathing when you have a second helping at Christmas dinner.

  2. You make vows like “no more carbs” or “more time on the treadmill” when your holiday party dress is snug.

  3. Your reason for eating another Christmas cookie is because, “I already had two”.  

  4. You can’t look at yourself in the mirror without having hurtful thoughts.

  5. You don’t like looking in the mirror, period.

  6. You feel highly anxious when you see the dinner buffet.

  7. You numb out and just keep eating.

  8. Or, your numb out and do not eat at all.


At Restoration Counseling, we believe that every part of your story matters and every piece of your narrative has the capacity to empower or imprison you.  We are aware that food is substance, culture, and nourishment- and it can also be the trigger to a trap.

Do you remember the first time you had that thought?

Can you recall how your childhood was shaped by food? 

Is there a moment in adolescence you felt shame around your body? Your femininity or masculinity?

As you circle around the potluck, the Christmas tree, or the gym track this Christmas, we invite you to pause, breath, and sink into your body. Let yourself feel what it is like to occupy your flesh, to connect with your matter, and to acknowledge the thoughts that come to your mind.

And then we invite you to be kind to yourself. To forgive yourself. To love yourself. And to begin to restory those narratives.

Happy Holidays!




3 Reasons Why a ReStory Intensive is Worth your Time and Financial Investment

By Tracy Johnson, Story Coach

“I can’t believe how much has happened over the past three days!” are words I often hear at the end of an intensive. When I think of the reasons to set aside the time and resources to take advantage of an intensive this would be something that quickly comes to mind.

In a weekly counseling setting we often engage what is happening in the here and now of your life, and while that includes considering your larger life story we simply do not have the time to always enter into that story deeply and linger there. We visit a scene and then often too quickly the hour is gone and the session is over until a week or two later when you return for another hour long session. Reason #1 for doing an intensive is that it creates the time to stay in your story longer, lingering to notice and name more fully the particularities of what has left imprints on your heart and soul.

And, you cannot change what you have not faced and named.

Preparing to come for an intensive setting includes taking the time to work through several assignments designed to stimulate the process of remembering where you have come from, and how you have come to be where you are in your life today. If you are feeling stuck, or numb or struggling to feel fully alive taking the time to remember is often key to experiencing positive changes. Reason #2 for saying yes to an intensive is that intentionality of the process connects you with places in your life and story that are often easily forgotten or passed by in daily life. And, in order to move forward with greater understanding, purpose and freedom we need to first consider where you have come from.

Leaving your daily life and responsibilities affords the space and luxury of staying in what begins to surface inside of you as you linger in the scenes and story longer. There are no children, no job, no outside responsibilities that require you to “pull yourself together” allowing you feel your feelings without having to manage them. Further, the hours spent staying focused on your internal well-being often break down the walls of resistance most of us rely on in our daily routines and relationships. This opens the space where real transformation can happen, as you are able to devote your time and energy to entering the stories and considering what the impact has been and how you would like to live differently. Reason #3 for choosing an intensive is that it creates the environment for deeper, lasting transformation to occur.

An intensive setting is a gift you give yourself, and those you are in relationship with. It’s a tangible way of saying, my life and my heart matter and are worth investing in.


What is Group Therapy and Why is it Beneficial?

What is Group Therapy and Why is it Beneficial?

As I walked into the room for the first time, I was filled with both dread and anticipation. I quickly found a seat in a place that seemed both engaged and protected, and watched as the rest of the chairs filled with strangers. It was the start of a new group…