by Olivia Kelley, ('17)
“We believe the best things in life happen in relationship,” Castleman says. “We’re very attachment-focused therapists... We believe no matter how hurt you were by relationships growing up, dating or now, that it’s in relationships that the repair will come. It’s not the army of one. We aren’t meant to repair by ourselves, and we believe that because that’s the way we interpret the gospel.” When Trevecca graduates Mariam Coaster (’15) and Lindsey Castleman (’14) started their counseling practice in 2015, they wanted the main focus to be on relationships.
The initial idea was to create a 10-week workshop for couples based on the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. Coaster and Castleman said that while the workshop was effective, they quickly realized some adjustments needed to be made.
“There were a lot of kinks that started to come up, and so we approached the counseling center at (Fellowship Bible Church) and said, ‘What do you think about condensing this whole curriculum into a weekend and making it a marriage intensive?’ And, on top of that, we said, ‘How about we make it small enough so that we can pair each couple with a trained counselor in the (emotionally focused therapy) model,’” Coaster recalls.
This is a great way for counselors to earn internship hours, Castleman says. Feedback on the experience has been positive.
“Counselors have come through this who said they were getting frustrated working with couples and this helped them because we see so much movement in one weekend with a couple,” Castleman says. “We have seen the Holy Spirit work miracles.”
Coaster agreed that the experience has been a great way to serve both the couples and counselors.
“After you graduate and get licensed, you feel so isolated in your community,” she says. “You go, do your job and come home. Having a network of people who understand where you’re coming from, who are like-minded, and you can grow professionally with—it’s like iron sharpening iron. We serve the needs of the clients, but we also help lead and facilitate a professional development process.”
In April 2018, the pair expanded their reach by launching a podcast called inRelationship.
“We interview guests who are experts on different aspects of relationships, and they give us their lens on how to navigate their area,” Coaster says.
Castleman said when they first launched the podcast, they didn’t expect to have many listeners.
“We launched, and we were like, ‘Maybe our families will listen.’ I knew Mom and Dad would subscribe,” she jokes. “Today, we sit at almost 18,000 unique downloads, which is pretty cool.”
For Castleman and Coaster, it’s an honor to be able to meet the needs of couples in this way.
“We’re seeing that there is a need for a workshop like this. There is a need for a podcast like this,” she says. “Burnout in this field is huge and high. And, again, the best things in life happen in relationship. If we’re able to help build more relationships through this, then that’s great.”
Want to listen? Castleman and Coaster's podcast is available at inRelationship.us, iTunes and Stitcher. You can also register for the next marriage intensive or connect wiht Castleman and Coaster at inRelationship.us.
Learn more about Trevecca's marriage and family therapy program at Trevecca.edu/MMFT.