A Gathering on Mental Health Needs of Churches

Grace Voo & Edward Ng have teamed up to launch a new private counselling practice in South Vancouver. The mission of this new practice is to partner with churches by promoting mental health awareness and by providing counselling skills training through psycho-educational workshops. They also provide individual and family counselling services.

The beginning of 2016 marks for us a new journey for Soma Counselling & Family Resources.
The beginning of 2016 marks a new journey for Soma Counselling and Family Resources.

Clinic director and registered clinical counsellor, Grace Voo, explains how Soma is unique in the community: “Too often, counselling and healing have been seen as processes that take place separated and isolated from communities.”  With over 15 years of field experience in the school system, church, and counselling in other community-based agencies, Grace sees patients struggling to transition out of therapy because a patient’s community often is unaware of their healing journey. “Soma desires to meet the needs of local congregations by supporting, training & equipping ministry and lay leaders. Our desire is to see healing happen within communities.”

Grace Voo, Clinic Director speaks at the launch.
Clinic Director, Grace Voo, speaks at the launch at Christ City Church.

“Soma is a response to the mental health needs of places where people gather, first in the church, but also in schools and workplaces and the home” says Edward Ng. As a pastor and psychotherapist, he adds: “Soma was born out of the observation that… churches are places of intense and intimate contact between people, they also could become places of care and strong relationships.”

Director of Counselling Services, Edward Ng, leads a discussion on psychotherapy and pastors.
Director of Counselling Services, Edward Ng, leads a discussion on psychotherapy and pastors.
Local pastors and ministry leaders gather on February 20, 2016.
Local pastors and ministry leaders gather on February 20, 2016.

Their first event, the Gathering on Mental Health Needs of Churches attracted over 30 pastors, ministry leaders, spiritual directors, and friends. It was evident that the church communities gathered desired to work towards minimizing the stigma and shame that is often associated with mental illness. A ministry leader stated, “Our church is not a safe place…we need to build trust as communities…”

Local pastors gather and connect at the Soma launch.
Pastors connecting at the Soma launch.
Pastors and ministry leaders were able to share the mental health needs of their congregations.
Pastors and ministry leaders share the mental health needs of their congregations.

Building trust is the life long journey that every disciple of Christ must learn to walk. Soma’s commitment is to walk with churches and pastors to provide education and training, to provide resources for family development, and to provide individual and group counselling opportunities.

Soma believes in partnering with and equipping churches to administer Jesus-centered counselling.
Pastors and Ministry leaders share about their own journeys in ministry.
Pastors engaged in a pictorial depiction of their ministry journey.
Pastors engage in drawing a pictorial depiction of their own ministry journey.
Pastors listened attentively to each other's real life stories and experiences.
Pastors listen attentively to each other’s real life stories and experiences.
Soma believes in partnering with and equipping churches to administer Jesus-centered counselling.
Soma believes in partnering with and equipping churches to administer Jesus-centered counselling.

Their services encompass many areas for individual development (such as trauma counselling, career & vocational discernment, stress and anxiety management, and personal and relational conflicts), youth and children counselling (evidence-based interventions that supports youths when dealing with anger & depression, bullying & self-esteem struggles, fears & anxieties, self harm & suicidal ideation, social & academic challenges), and family counselling services (such as parental & family stress support, grief support, gifted children support, special learning needs support).

 Soma’s mission is to bring healing into faith communities.
Soma’s mission is to bring healing into faith communities.

Their website, www.somacounselling.com, is now live and includes local BC/Vancouver mental health resources and has a calendar of events/workshops that will be held throughout the year.

In celebration of the launch, Soma is offering free 30-minute individual consultations as well as free workshops for church communities (subject to availability) from now till December 2016. Contact Soma at info@somacounselling.com for more information.

 

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Soma is grateful to Christ City Church and Pastor Jake (Christ City Church), Samuel Voo, Wenny Ng, Michelle Kar, and Sarah Smith for their support in the launch event.

 

 

Photo credits:  Michelle Kar & Wenny Ng