called to thrive - darkness to light
Aug 12

From Darkness into the Light

By LeeAnn Trout | Blog , Marriage , Sex/Porn Addiction , Sexual Addiction Recovery

called to thrive - darkness to light

Being caught in sexual sin/ sexual addiction is often a place filled with fear and self -hatred; much what I would imagine the adulterous woman from the Bible felt like.

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  John 8:1-3

They put her in front of the crowd! She had been found out! I envision her fallen, with her head hanging low; unable to look at Jesus or her accusers in the eye. She had to be terrified and embarrassed as she was probably sitting there naked and fully exposed. How vulnerable it is to be caught! She must have been filled with regret, fear and self-hatred. – Much like the men and women that I work with when treating sex addiction

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”  6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust…When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  John 8:3-10

I love how Jesus handles this! He shows us exactly how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have fallen! He calls off her accusers!  The one who has the right and the power to JUDGE, instead reacts with compassion and mercy! In calling off her accusers he takes her out of her SHAME and gives her DIGNITY! She deserves to be stoned but He chooses to love her and restore her.

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  John 8:10-11

He called her out of her sin and asked her to sin no more! If she were filled with shame and condemnation it would have been so difficult for her to turn from her sin. She would have been consumed by it, stuck in it.  But with the way Jesus loved her she would be able to walk in freedom.

This is exactly our mission at Grace Wellness Center – Sex Addiction Program! We want to act in the same manner as Jesus did. We want to give you the place to experience restoration, dignity and self-respect again. We want to help shed light on sin to help you out of the darkness. We want Jesus to be your only Judge and to show you the same mercy that He offers. Let us help you to “Go and sin no more!”

Contact Grace Wellness Center and let us walk with you into freedom.

Phone:  724-863-7332



me looking into the sky - called to thrive
Jul 08

Are You A “Man’s Man” Or A “Man Of God”?

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching


me looking into the sky - called to thrive

Are you a “Man’s Man” or a “Man of God”?

Many men are concerned about being what is called a “Man’s Man”. This often consists of descriptions such as being tough, good at “picking up” women, unrealistically physically fit, emotionally shut down, and not requiring help from anyone. We see this image of what men are supposed to be everywhere on television, in movies, in advertisements, even from some of our friends and family. How are we supposed to know what it means to be a man when we consistently get so many differentand often conflicting messages about who and what we are supposed to be?

The issue with the image of men described above is that it does not always match up with what the Bible teaches us about God’s design for men. It usually isn’t even what we value about the important men in our own lives! Working with men in counseling I almost always see that the qualities that they value in their male role models contradict what they believe they are supposed to act like themselves. They believe that men are supposed to have these unrealistic character traits as I’ve listed above, however, they value the fact that the men in their lives are caring, compassionate, good listeners, self-sacrificing, and (the big one) PRESENT. Unfortunately it appears to be a growing trend for many men to leave their families, be involved in affairs, pornography, and other idols that cause them and their families to self-destruct. But the good news is that you did not fall too far from God’s grace and mercy! Christ can take you right where you are, and mold you to become a “Man of God”.

There are many ways to look at how the Bible teaches us to be men, but I would like to start at the beginning. How did God originally design us to be men when He created us? The short answer to that question is that He created us in His image.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, ESV)

We were made in the image of a perfect Creator and I believe He showed us several characteristics through His creation that can help us to do a better job at being more like Him.

1. Working and creating- God worked during creation making everything. He made us to work and create! Working and creating are essential to what it means to be a man made in the image of God. Sometimes we may get lazy, but that is something we need to fight off. Many times this is the source of much of our conflict in our relationships. We simply are just not working hard enough or may have just given up. We are made to go to bed tired from the day!

2. Resting- God rested on the seventh day not because he was tired but to complete his creation. God created rest so that we can stop and take in His Grace and Mercy. Meditate upon His word and rest in Christ! Some of the time our conflicts are not coming from not working hard enough but from being too busy to rest in the peace that Christ promised us in His Grace. Take some time and focus on the Grace and Mercy of Christ and allow that to renew your mind!

3. Caring- Many times we are shown that a “man’s man” doesn’t care or show that he cares. All throughout the account of Creation in Genesis God shows that He cares about His creation even before He created man! It does not make a man weak to care and sometimes that is all others in our lives want. Sometimes we need to show or tell others that we care about them.

Pray today that God guides you and helps you to become the man that He wants you to be. There is hope for all of us. No matter how far we fall, God and OUR FATHER LOVES TO WORK AND CREATE IN YOU, HIS FAVORITE CREATION!

called to thrive - splakna experience
Jun 07

My Splankna Experience

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Counseling , Splankna Healing Ministry , Wellness

called to thrive - splakna experience

What on earth is “Splankna?”  I’m glad you asked.  Let me first tell you my experience and then I will let you know how to find out more about it.
After several years of being involved in Christian ministry I found Splankna healing ministry and it changed my life.  As a Christian counselor, I worked with many people through Biblical counseling and saw a lot of progress but it was limited.  Many people didn’t get well and others got well but never really thrived.

    “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32 NASB

If the truth is suppose to set us free, why were so many not being set free?  Why was I not being set free?  I found out that it is because lies and agreements made during hurtful experiences were still running in my subconscious and the truth could not take root.  I also learned spiritual warfare, which was mostly ignored during my Christian upbringing, had much more of an impact than I knew.

When I first began training in Splankna healing ministry I saw my connection with God open up as each barrier was removed.  The next thing I noticed was that I began to be more of myself and got back to who God had created me to be.  One of those areas was in physical health.  Over the past 15 years or so I had developed unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits that lead to me putting on 60 pounds and becoming very unhealthy.  This is not who I was, I knew that, but couldn’t get back to the healthy, active and athletic person I use to be.  After having Splankna therapy I began to notice I no longer was drawn to my unhealthy habits and that they were no longer connected to the same emotional needs.  I began to change my lifestyle and over the next couple years I lost 60 pounds and started running marathons.  Now don’t worry, if that isn’t who you are, Splankna won’t make you run marathons!  But, it will allow you to be more you, whoever that is.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Well, not only can you experience that for yourself, you can help other people experience it as well by coming to our upcoming training here in Pittsburgh.  Splankna is a mind-body healing ministry that allows you to get directly to the root of persistent problems in your life and heal the brokenness behind those problems.  This is done by utilizing the created mechanism behind mind-body healing and utilizing Christian healing ministry, prayer, forgiveness and techniques to address spiritual warfare.  It is by far the most effective and powerful tool I have ever used in ministry and counseling.

Splankna training is for Christian counselors, pastors and others wanting to help people.  You do not have to be a licensed counselor or ordained minister to take the training and begin helping people heal.  Please contact me directly with any questions or to come to the office and see a live demonstration.  If interested please email me at

Life is a Journey, do more than survive; choose to THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther
Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center
Licensed Professional Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and Splankna Trainer

called to thrive -deep subconscious
Jun 03

Why Can’t I Get Well?

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Counseling , Splankna Healing Ministry , Walking Wounded , Wellness

called to thrive -deep subconscious

We have all had this experience; we know what is wrong, we want to get well, we may even seek help, but nothing works.  It’s frustrating and if you’re like a lot of people, you have just accepted that some things won’t change.  You’ve accepted something less than the abundant life Christ came to give you.  Or maybe you have accepted some watered down version of abundant life and become convinced there is nothing more.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 NASB

But if Christ came so that we can have abundant life, it must be possible.  I challenge you to start believing that.  Or at least to start wanting to believe it.  Are you willing to do that?  Let’s look deeper into this issue and explore what is going on and why so many of us can’t find freedom.

Most of our issues are deeply rooted and buried in our subconscious.  They emerge when they are triggered but then they get submerged until they are “needed” again.  These issues are the result of a past wound or maybe many past experiences that hurt you.  These experiences come with a lot of negative emotion that get attached to that issue and, unless resolved, weigh it down and keep it buried in your subconscious.  You may be aware that it is there, but in your conscious mind you cannot resolve it or deal with all of its impact.  Think of something being submerged in the deep end of a pool weighed down by a lot of heavy weights.  You may dive down and try to bring it to the surface but the weights become too much and you lose your grip and it sinks to the bottom again.  This is what it is like when we try to resolve deeply rooted issues.  We try to bring it to the surface and deal with it but we can’t.  Each time we try, we begin to lose faith that it can be resolved.  It’s hard to believe something can be resolved when all your experiences tell you otherwise.  It’s hard to believe you can truly be free and have abundant life.  That’s why I challenged you, that if you can’t believe it, you can want to believe it.  That’s where it starts.  Choose to want to believe you can get well, offer that to God and ask him to fill in the gaps in your faith.

Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”  Mark 9:24

Let go back to our analogy for a second.  What if you could dive down and one at a time cut the weights off of this thing that is submerged in the deep end of the pool.  With each weight that is removed it would begin to rise and eventually be floating on the surface of the water.   Could you remove it now?  absolutely!  So what if we could do that with those deeply rooted issues in our lives?  Well, you can.  This is exactly what we do in Splankna healing ministry.

At Grace Wellness Center we provide both Splankna treatment and in partnership with the Splankna Institute are now offering level 1 Splankna training to pastors, counselors and anyone else who has a passion for ministry and helping others in the Pittsburgh area.  You do not have to be a pastor or professional counselor to use this tool.  In my personal counseling practice and ministry, Splankna has become my most valuable tool and I believe once you experience it you will understand why.  Training is coming to Pittsburgh in July 2016 so don’t miss out!

Please contact me directly with any questions or to come to the office and see a live demonstration.  If interested please email me at

Life is a Journey, do more than survive; choose to THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and Splankna Trainer

called to thrive - struggles
May 31

Integrated Wellness: My Personal Struggles, Successes, and the Relation to Family Therapy

By Jonathan Held | Blog , Coaching , Counseling , Life , Wellness

Hi, my name is Jonathan Held, LCSW. Today I wanted to talk about my personal struggles, and successes with wellness and how family and/or couples therapy can fit into overall wellness.

First allow me to share with you some of the ways I have learned to bring wellness into my own life. I should start by saying that if you’re thinking why would I listen to this guy he thinks he has it all together, I can assure you that is not the case. Like most people, I struggle to maintain balance in my life. As a teenager I was probably about 100 pounds overweight. One of my greatest accomplishments was losing this weight; however, through most of my life I was rarely able to motivate myself to exercise. About one year ago (at 32 years of age) I discovered Beachbody and set a goal for myself that I would exercise six days a week for a year. I am happy to say that I achieved this goal and still continue to have daily exercise in my life. (I also – through Beachbody – have been turned onto Shakeology, which is what I am about to enjoy in this picture!). Like most accomplishments that stick, I did not try to do anything extreme, but instead attempted to bring balance by exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day and often modifying so as to not injure myself. You’re probably thinking wait a minute, I thought you were going to talk about family therapy – the tie in is this: setting small goals each day can sometimes produce the greatest results!

Other areas of life in which it is important to set (and maintain) small goals include family life, parenting, and romantic relationships/marriage. Generally speaking, I attempt to maintain a positive outlook on life and work towards maintaining positive relationships with all of those in my circle of influence – especially my immediate family. One of the best ways that I have found to do this is by making sure that each of my children – and my spouse – has a small amount of individualized attention each day, I will also attempt to have significant family time daily and weekly. Sometimes this can just be as simple as sitting down at the dinner table together, or going for a family walk/bike ride. The important goal is to maintain connection through family rituals.

In my practice, I often focus on relationships and the building of effective communication. I find that this can be a great step to maintaining overall wellness (I’m sure most of us can attest to the fact that we just don’t feel well – or make healthy choices – when we are not getting along well with our loved ones). The areas I am most passionate about  in practice are marriage and family. It surprises me how often couples and families state that they do not spend quality time together. I believe that part of the barrier to this is that we get stuck in negative patterns and ultimately avoid communication – which I believe is one of the magic pills to getting un-stuck in families (perhaps I should have said effective communication).

EFFECTIVE communication is where family therapy comes in. Through family work, I help others to communicate more effectively with each other, and help families to restructure in a way that children can thrive through an appropriate balance of structure and bonding/nurturing. One of the keys to this is helping parents discuss areas where they can more effectively align/work together to parent and to help talk with their children about emotional needs.

Of course family therapy is not the only focus – even in individual therapy, relationships (and wellness!) often become a part of the focus. Through assessment we will work together to determine areas of emotional stuckness in past/current relationships, work through ways to heal these hurts, and plan for ways to build and continue to maintain healthy relationships in the future.

One of the most important parts of therapy is YOU. Through counseling we will work together to help you come up with goals that make sense for your life (or your family) and establish a pace that works for you with an appropriate balance of pacing and challenging/meeting achievable goals. If you are ready to begin a journey towards healing and integrated wellness please call us at 724.863.7223 or you can email me directly at

called to thrive - dog fight
May 25

A Dog Fight

By Ron Agostoni | Blog , Counseling , Life , Walking Wounded , Wellness

called to thrive - dog fight

“That will teach them”.  Every utter that phrase? Ever experience that feeling of rage building inside of you, ready to explode out of your chest like something from the movie Alien.  Like an untamed wild animal gnawing at your mind and emotions. There’s that desire to tell someone off, cuss them out, or to slam on the accelerator speeding past the person who cut you off while “flipping the bird”. Like a dog tugging at its leash, it pulls you down, drags you about, and leads you down somewhere you don’t want to go.  And what do we call that dog; it goes by the name of Anger.

This dog named Anger has a message.  In the midst of the gnarling and the showing of teeth, it’s saying: “They deserved it”, “They will pay for that”, “They will regret it”, “I swear to God, I’m gonna…”, “If only they would shut up, then I wouldn’t…”.   And the fight is on.  The fight between giving someone a piece of your mind and that voice saying, “let it go”.  And there it is, the other dog named self-control; telling you to stop, or you shouldn’t do that, this won’t help.  So which dog is going to win, well it depends on which dog you feed the most.

That untamed dog named Anger has proven to destroy friendships, marriages, land someone in prison, and can even lead to major health problems.  But the dog named self-control is capable, patient, mature, forgiving, expresses forbearance, and restores.  Which dog do you feed?  John 6:35 reads: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  Are you eating from the bread of life or are feasting off the bait of Satan?

Scripture reveals to us that vengeance belongs to our Lord.  Deuteronomy 32:35 reads: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”  The truth is that vengeance is His and we have no right to seek it out on our own.  We are required to forgive, this is not an option that we have the right to decide whether or not we will forgive someone, but rather something that is vital to our wellbeing, both spiritually and physically. We are called daily to forgive, 7×70, not allowing the sun to set on our anger.  Despite the dog fight between wanting our own “pound of flesh” and “turning the other cheek”, the fact is that God will avenge us and He is more swift and just than we are.

Even as I write this, I am reminded of the dog fights I have had to endure throughout my life. When I was younger, if someone hurt me, I would hurt them worse just to “teach them a lesson”.  We may feel justified to retaliate, or to speak our minds telling someone exactly what we think, but we are not. And there lies the problem as I see it. That side where we believe that we are entitled to seek justice and “speak our mind” and the side that reminds us we are not.  Let me be clear about this, I am not saying that anger in itself is wrong, sinful, or always unwanted.  After all anger is only an emotion.  However, what we do with that anger and how much time we devote to “feeding that dog”; well that can turn into a destructive pattern within our lives.

When we feed off of the bread of life and enjoy the fruits of the spirit, allowing God to deal with those who have offended us, the load on our shoulders is no longer heavy.  There is a relief and a sense of freedom that comes about. So in the end, the hard part in managing your anger comes down to the struggle between your sinful soul that seeks justice and the spirit of God what dwells inside of you. Which dog will you feed more? Learn to lean of the strength of God that dwells inside of you.  You need to prevent anger from overcoming your thoughts and life by being in the word of God because when you are in the word of God, His word reminds you of these things that provide the strength you need.  So be still and know that He is God and there you will find that peace that surpasses all understanding. And isn’t that is the end goal you’re seeking, that peace that surpasses all understanding while in the midst of a dog fight.

One last thought to consider, there are tools that can help you develop that self-control and manage your anger.  Head knowledge is good, Godly wisdom is essential, and developing tools that help enable self-control is possible.  If you are struggling with anger, or know someone who is, call the main office of Grace Wellness Center at 724-866-7223 for more information on our anger management group.  It is a group that utilizes Cognitive Behavior techniques and the word of God to reach a more abundant life.  Let go of angers leash and find rest in God.

called to thrive - reboot marriage
May 25

Reboot Your Marriage

By Ron Agostoni | Blog , Marriage , Marriage Counseling

called to thrive - reboot marriage

When it comes to your marriage, have you ever felt alone, as if you’re living with a roommate?  Have you ever felt stuck and disconnected? Angered because nothing ever changes, and hopeless that nothing will ever change?  I think most couples have experienced this within their marriage at some point.  Perhaps not in regards to the entire marriage but at least in one area of your marriage.
Everywhere you turn; there are couples that have become good at being roommates.  They handle most conflict in the same way, parenting in their own way, finances as they see fit and on and on.  While there are no major glitches in their life, there is this little virus that is slowing growing and infiltrating all areas of their life and they do not even notice it.  The virus is called isolation and its main purpose is to render your marriage useless.  This virus is slowing your marriage down, decreasing the signal strength, and freezing the screen.
Consider this, there’s no doubt that we all have recognized just how inundated our lives have become with technology, we all have our favorite devices whether it’s our phone, tablet, laptop, whatever.  It’s also safe to say that we all have experienced these times when our device has simply lost its signal, or dropped a call with only one bar remaining.  What about when your screen freezes, and you sit there staring at the same screen, wishing that hitting the back button will fix the problem and erase everything that went wrong.
Well the same thing can happen in marriages as well.  There are times when your ability to communicate with your spouse is only at 1 bar.  Or perhaps you have felt as if you are stuck in the same spot with little to no hope of fixing the problem.  Unsure of how you got there to begin with and wishing you can hit a back button and erase everything that went wrong.
When your favorite device starts acting in this fashion, you know that it does not fix itself.  There is that moment when you have to take over and turn the device off for a few seconds, or unplug the device for a minute or two.  This reboot is necessary to get your device back to working as it is supposed to.  Without the reboot, your device is rendered useless.  Has your marriage be rendered useless in regards to performing its main purpose?  Do you even know what the main purpose of your marriage is?
In order to fix the device of marriage, it takes intentional behavior and action.  Sometimes we need to reboot our marriage.  Remember this, how you view your spouse will determine how you love your spouse.  If you are looking at your spouse as a problem, a broken device, an irritating person, annoying, nagging or anything else, your love for them will be hindered.
We are called to love as Christ loved the church, Ephesians 5: 22-32. If you view your spouse negatively, you will not be able to love in this manner.  Your love will not follow what Christ says love is supposed to look like as found in 1st Corinthians 13.  Our love should never give up, never lose faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1st Corinthians 13:7).
Here at Grace Wellness Center we believe in Gods promises, we believe in marriage, we believe in living an abundant life, and our passion is to show you how to practically apply the word of God, along with counseling techniques, so that you find that joy, that passion, and experience that prosperous and abundant life God promises.  We have helped many, many couples just like you, couples who were struggling, who were broken, who couldn’t find peace, who felt alone and disconnected. And we can help you. Do not sit there day after day staring at a frozen screen.  Call and take that first step to an extraordinary life together.