Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Phil 4:13 (The Message).
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by Hayne Steen, MAMFT 
I have a friend who is a columnist for a locally owned newspaper in the south. Most often his articles shine light on injustice and what he writes sometimes triggers some controversial responses. He is a courageous and thoughtful columnist with a strong readership. Our families have known one another for over 40 years. While I might not always agree with everything he writes, I am extremely grateful for his voice. He challenges me and calls me to see many things in me and around me that I might not otherwise be able to see in my blind spot. 

Occasionally I make the giant mistake of scrolling below the article itself to read some of the comments being made on the social media streams related to his articles. Have you ever done that? The things that people feel free to write behind the cozy comfort of their computer monitors blows my mind. The word "harsh" would be an understatement. "Toxic" might be more appropriate. I 

If you met my friend, you would quickly discover his tender heart. Gentle even. Humble to the core. Generous and warm. Daily, his words call me out of my comfortable corner. They provoke the very best in me to come forward. And they call out the very worst in me to risk being known as well. I do not often like what I discover residing in me when I read his column; hatred, entitlement, racism, privilege, ignorance, fear, anger, rage...they surface naturally and I am faced with, well...myself. 

Can be candid for a moment? When these unsavory "parts" surface in my own life, I am tempted to beat them back and shame them down into the dark corners of my soul. It is equally as tempting to neglect and avoid these parts thinking that they somehow will dissolve on their own. What I find, however, is that in order to heal and grow I must begin to really face these "parts". I am also equally tempted to blame shift in order to avoid feeling painful emotions. 

Can I be EVEN MORE candid? What is actually more shocking than the toxic words of social media trolls are the toxic messages we are guilty of sending to ourselves in our own private thought life. We can take ourselves to the woodshed emotionally when we do not measure up. We waterboard our souls when what we really need is to be treated with kindness, tenderness, benevolence and gentleness. 

These words (below) from Henri Nouwen resonate because they remind us of who we can become in Christ and what it would look like when His likeness begins to truly form in us. This is the invitation in Christian begin to walk with ourselves a little more gently. In Matthew 11:29, Christ says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  We are invited to entrust more of our heart, mind, soul and strength into the loving care of Jesus, who treats us...gently. If God can treat us this way, then we might also have permission to do the same. 

Dressed in Gentleness

Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick" (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let's dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.



 {Download a Brochure}

Every guy needs a TRIBE. That's why Greg Seymour and I will are offering 4 unique process groups for guys called TRIBE on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

TRIBE is a brand new group therapy environment at Elbow Tree that emerged from our growing awareness of the current limitation of offerings like this dedicated specifically to guys in the greater Chattanooga area.

TRIBE is extremely affordable at just $50 per session. *Individual therapy with Greg or Hayne is also available at normal practice rates.

Previous Newsletters

December 2014:
Holding Onto Hope

November 2014: 
The Power of a Tribe

October 2014: 
Speaking at Q Commons

September 2014:
Hearing & Listening

August 2014:

August 2013:
The Talk 

April 2013:
Resurrection Principle

March 2013:
Shame is Soul Crushing


Are you looking for some reading suggestions that will help assist in your own work away from our time together? 

Refer a Friend

Did you know that for every friend you refer to me (who shows up) I will offer you 1 FREE counseling session? 


Feel free to email me directly of you would like to reconnect at

Reserve Online

I now offer an option of registering as a client securely online. You can register and view my availability online by CLICKING HERE

Regional Voice

March 2015

Hayne will be facilitating a couples retreat for Bridge Christian Church in Chattanooga, TN through the theme of "Becoming Soul Mates."

Hayne will be traveling to Winston Salem, North Carolina to facilitate a men's retreat for First Presbyterian Church through the theme of "The Listening Leader." 

Writing Projects

Currently Hayne is working on a handful of writing projects that bring him a great deal of life and will hopefully be of some encouragement to others. 

A book being designed to curate a contemplative conversation with parents raising their children in the digital age.

Being Rooted:
A book and a website in the making designed to provoke a holy curiosity for the painful places in your story.

Letters to Francine:
Letters to Francine is an unfolding weekly conversation between a seasoned spiritual director (Francine) and a soul care intern (Hutch), who are encountering a wide range of personalities seeking spiritual direction.


Do you know someone who could use some time away to rest and recovery from the throws of a busy schedule? Feel free to share about The SoulCare Project with them. 

Date: April 10-12, 2015
Theme: Divided - When the Head & Heart Don't Agree
Facilitator: Bill 
Venue: The Hiding Place

Date: May 1-3, 2015
Theme: Drawn In
Facilitator: Troy Bronsink

Venue: Henryville, Indiana

Date: June 8-11, 2015
Theme: Unhindered - A Retreat for Weary Educators
Facilitator: Dr. Don Graham

Venue: 2 river homes on Tennessee River

Date: September 11-13, 2015
Theme: Keeping Heart - A Retreat for Men
Facilitator: Jeff Schulte
Venue: Nashville, TN

Date: October 2-4, 2015
Theme: Story, Song & Solitude
Facilitator: David Wilcox

Venue: The Inn at Evins Mill

Date: October 23-25, 2015
Theme: Grace for the Worst in Me
Facilitator: Jan Meyers Proett

Venue: The Summit in Fort Payne, Alabama

November, 2015
A private SoulCare retreat for an intimate gathering of mainstream artists who are shaping culture globally. 

Date: December 4-6, 2015
Theme: Story, Song & Solitude
Facilitator: Fil Anderson

Venue: Spring City, Tennessee

Date: December 11-12, 2015
Theme: Preparing the Way for the Holy Season
Facilitator: The SoulCare Project Team

Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee



3069 Broad Street, Suite 7D
Chattanooga, TN 37408


Call Hayne directly 
at 423.517.7076

Fax 423.370.1650

Copyright © 2015 Elbow Tree Christian Counseling, LLC, All rights reserved.
As a client of mine at Elbow Tree, may this monthly email bring you terrific encouragement.

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Elbow Tree Christian Counseling, LLC
38 South Dixie Highway
Saint Augustine, FL 32084

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