Call 315.637.0605 Rev. Heath Can Help!
Hi! I am Michael Heath and this is the Pine Ridge Pastoral Counseling Web Page. Pine Ridge is a place for folks who are looking for the best mental health care but who are turned off by large clinics or impersonal facilities.
Since 1994, Pine Ridge has offered a distinctive and more personal alternative for mental health needs while providing a comprehensive range of psychological services to help individuals, couples and families deal with a wide range of emotional, relational, crisis related, life phase and spiritual problems.
Since I am both a state Licensed Psychotherapist and a nationally Certified Pastoral Counselor, I offer a comprehensive therapeutic approach which can relate to both the psychological and spiritual dimensions of life’s difficulties .
This web site is a great place to learn about my areas of expertise and to find answers to questions you may have concerning psychotherapy, marriage counseling, couples counseling, and other counseling related issues. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact me and I’ll be glad to help.
Serving the people of Central New York since 1978!
Latest Blog Articles
By Rev. Michael Heath
If you have ever witnessed an amazing sunset, looked up at the stars and imagined the vastness of the universe or simply stood at the base of an immense, magnificent building, you know the feeling of awe — that reverential feeling of amazement ,fear and wonder which comes from realizing that you are but a small part of the immense larger reality which is the universe. Recently, science is reporting just how important the feeling of awe is for our emotional, spiritual, physical and social health. If it has been too long since you have felt real awe, don’t despair. You can learn to discover something awesome in almost any situation.* To begin:read more
Despite all of the research and medical science, discomfort about masturbation continues especially among older conservative Christians who view it as immoral and sinful. Indeed , the harsh and threatening lessons regarding masturbation learned in childhood have created deep feelings of shame are hard to shake. Further, the anti-forces and especially the evangelicals and Mormons (who also oppose women’s and LGBTQ rights) are still at work. In recent years there have been anti-masturbation campaigns and political candidates who have who have falsely equated and linked masturbation with serious offenses such sex abuse, human trafficking, and child pornography . Others have warned that masturbating will prevent you from being able to love or to function sexually with your spouse or even … going to Heaven. With a view of history it is easy to see why the guilt and shame surrounding masturbation is unnecessary. Many people live under the false impression that, if they masturbate to an erotic image, they are mentally ill or addicted to pornography. It is indeed liberating for these folks to discover that masturbation is normal and that it does not poes a medical risk.
It is also important for people of faith to understand masturbating does not conflict with being a Christian. Just like with other social issues, Christianity is split. The harsh and intolerant views regarding masturbation express only the views of fundamentalist thought and not the only or even main outlook of Christianity .
In the wake of Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember the 49% of Americans who do not celebrate it and 46% who struggle with loneliness. The problem is so great that it has even been called a national epidemic.
To be clear, loneliness is different from living or simply being alone or desiring solitude. Loneliness is the experience of sadness and desperation which comes from not having intimate human connection. Loneliness can spring from isolation , being alone and not having friends but is also true that even married people or embers of large families or communities can be lonely and feel its pain.It is also important to understand the loneliness is not simply an unpleasant feeling. Loneliness can cause serious medical complications and is correlated with shortening life spans. Surprisingly, loneliness is a greater risk to longevity than smoking a half pack of cigarettes a day or being obese.
So, if you are in a lonely place, the first thing to remember is that it is not a terminal condition. Here are some tips to remember if you struggle with loneliness:read more
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is a good time to look at the state of romance in America and how it has changed over the centuries. To do so is to recognize that relations between men and women have significantly changed due to the impact of the #MeToo movement. While the full impact of this consciousness-raising tidal wave is not fully known, it is clear that women (and hopefully men) are not going to tolerate the sexual abuse and extortion which, unfortunately, has been so prevalent in the past. While some men worry that romance has been ruined by those who have spoken the truth, I beg to differ. Most of us understand that offensive and exploitative behavior have no place in loving relationships. Likewise, there is no evidence that women’s increased awareness and caution has diminished their interest in romance or ruined the spirit of Valentine’s Day for men who know how to behave properly. Quite to the contrary, I suggest that this revolutionary movement has taken a major step in creating better, more equal and more intimate relationships between men and women than were possible in prior times.
Indeed, looking at Valentine’s Day as a symbol of cultural attitudes concerning love, it is obvious that our understanding of romance and the relations between men and women has evolved and progressed over time. Here is a brief review of how Valentine’s Day has changed over the centuries.
While communication is a complex topic, a key ingredient is empathic, non-anxious listening. But, putting our thoughts and emotions aside and being able to focus on another person is not easy. There are three common problems which get in the way of sensitive listening and create unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts between couples and among families, friends and workmates. Fortunately , these problems can be eliminated with some information and a little practice. Here are the basics:read more
This time of year is filled with year-in-review lists. Things like the best movies, the biggest news stories and the famous people who have died flood the media and internet.
Likewise, as we anticipate the beginning of the new year, people’s thoughts turn to new year’s resolutions and things they would like to change about themselves and improve on in the following year.
In this spirit I wish to recommend doing a psychological year-in-review. A PYIR is a time to look back and remember moments which have increased your understanding and have had a lasting impact on your outlook of life, that is the times which have helped you to make sense of the world and your place in it.
For more articles, visit our Blog archive.