"Who grows up and says they want to be a sex therapist?"
Yet that's what Karisa Kaye of Chattanooga, TN does in her private practice "I Love Us." Karisa is a pioneer for healthy sexuality not only in the Christian community but in her everyday conversations as well. She describes how studying and practicing counseling has helped her understand God and one of His defining traits: Grace.
I think sitting in the counseling office has expanded my understanding of the grace of God. My understanding of how to love people well in really, really big messes has grown enormously. ....If you're sitting with someone who is operating in pretty intense sexual addiction, and they are acting out and seeking prostitutes, looking for anonymous sex on the internet, or they are having an affair on their spouse.... They want to stop, but they can't... How does one offer God's grace in the middle of trying to help them get back on the right track?
Every day she is confronted with situations that force her to transcend her own earthly knowledge of health and wholeness. She describes how she lets God into the little moments of her life in order to prepare her spiritually and mentally to be the best counselor she can for her clients. Her greatest and most practical teacher, she says as tears fill her eyes, is Jesus.
It's incredibly sacred space because all of us need a safe person in our life where we can confess our deepest, darkest fantasies, sins, wherever you want to go with that. We all need people who will listen to us like Jesus would listen to us and will say, "And yet, you are loved. And yet, you can be better. You can do more. There's more to life than where you are at." ... So I am incredibly passionate about validating and bringing honor to every person as an image bearer of Christ... Because you were made in God's image , you have innate value, you are invaluable. Christ died for each one of us as thought there were only one of us. So to honor that image in a human being and let them to speak for maybe the first time in their life... those are my favorite moments of my career so far.
Karisa Kaye is one of many Christian counselors who are addressing the lack of information on healthy sexuality in our society. She is thankful for her time of "incubation" at LeTourneau University as she learned to give back to her community, reach out to those less fortunate both locally and globally, and ultimately what it meant to be a servant leader in your profession.
It was life-giving...to consider our professions as a calling rather than just something we do every day to make a paycheck because I think that leads to a sense of emptiness. People feel really empty and bored all the time, and that's who we are apart from the Spirit of God....[being servant leaders] was really big when I was there. You know the statue of Jesus washing the feet of Peter outside of the Belcher center, and then all of us being given one [at graduation]- I have that front and center in my living room as a reminder so that when people come in they're like "hm, what is that about?" Ultimately, that is what we are called to do every day.
Even during her college career, Karisa was an agent of change for healthy sexuality as an individual and in marriage. In recognition of her dynamic work she received the prestigious Evelyn LeTourneau Award when she graduated from LeTourneau University in 2009. We are so grateful for her perspective and for extending God's grace to her clients. If you live near Chattanooga and would be interested in learning more about healthy sexuality and marriage success, learn more at I Love Us and book a consultation today. Also, check out Karissa's recent magazine debut: How to Deal With a Toxic Family Member. You won't regret it!