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!

Need to get a hold of Rev. Heath quickly ?  

Try Texting @ (315) 380-1005 



Bursting the Forgiveness Myth

You probably knew that forgiveness is good for you but did you know that not forgiving is stressful and a threat to your health ?   The Salon article (below) explains how holding a grudge releases stress hormones in your body and places you in a state of anxious alert.   These medical findings fit well with what psychologists have known for a long time.

-- That said this scientific information doesn't explain why forgiving is easier said than done. In fact, if taken the wrong way, it can be just another stick to beat people (who have trouble forgiving) over the head with.  In deed religious people are often guilty of accusing and denouncing folks for not forgiving.  There are common myths that forgiveness is simply an act of will or something that you hold on to. The thought that   those who don't forgive are simply being obstinate or that person can forgive if s/he simply wants to forgive is false and need to be discredited.  In fact, a person’s will has nothing to do with forgiveness.  We don’t hold on to anger, anger holds on to us.

-- Properly understood,  we can feel forgiveness only  when  we feel whole and complete. The inability to forgive comes from a person’s perception that s/he has been permanently damaged or ruined by another’s offense.  A grudge or the inability to forgive is sort of like a scab that forms over a wound. It is ugly but … it is also protective and keeps out infection.  In the same way, not forgiving emotionally protects a person from being vulnerable. 

-- Following the wound/scab analogy, when the underlying tissues has healed, the scab falls off. Likewise,  forgiveness happens when an emotional  wound is healed and the protective defensiveness is no longer psychologically needed.

-- The key to promoting emotional healing and forgiveness is reality testing.  In the wake of an offense, we may feel devastated, but, after a while, checking things out usually reveals that, although we have sustained a loss or injury, we have not been permanently ruined.  Realizing that we are still whole and able to move on helps us to reallocate our emotional resources and stop wasting precious energy feeling grudges toward someone.  If you’re having trouble forgiving someone, talk to a clergy person or professional counselor.   You’ll be glad that you did.

Rev. Michael Heath    8 24 2015    

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Watch Rev. Heath's Bridge Street Mental Health segments below:

August 13, 2015

Understainding our False Guilt about Sex

Did You Know :   that most guilt about sex is "false" guilt ?            

Sex and False Guilt 
Everyone knows what guilt is: that self-conscious feeling of shame and embarrassment.  While there are legitimate reasons for feeling guilty (like when you harm someone or break a promise or vow), many experience false guilt which is an externally imposed sense that you did something wrong, even though you didn’t. 
--Most false guilt comes from the fact that many people have an unrealistic and idealized sense of what is normal or right.  Many times these myths are passed down from generation to generation through families, religion and the media.  As a result, a person’s sense of what s/he ought to be or feel or do and who s/he actually is doesn't match and  therein lies the problem.  Instead of examining their expectations,  many folks automatically blame themselves and feel that they are inferior or inadequate or weird. 
--This negative self image is especially common when it comes to  sex.  Whether through har…
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