Kay Bruner


How do you know if you need this month’s bundle of books on boundaries? If you’re a human being, you probably need to think about healthy boundaries and how they apply to your life.  In other words, it would be good for every person to do a little reading on this topic, and the books in […]


I think spiritual growth and emotional healing usually has three parts:  cognitive, behavioral, and relational. Good books help us work on the cognitive aspect of a problem:  what we think, what we know, what we believe to be true. As a counselor, I love it when a client has already done solid cognitive work before they […]



Recently, I was Skyping with a client overseas who wanted to talk with me about symptoms of burnout and spiritual dryness. As she told me about a particular experience, I said, “That was really traumatic for you.” Naming that experience as traumatic was an “aha” moment for her in understanding the current symptoms, and how to […]


God in a Green Skirt

by Kay Bruner on April 5, 2016


Every month, as I write the “Ask a Counselor” column, I hope it’s helpful.  But I’m always aware that, as human beings, we can only do so much.  And I’m always aware that God is able to do far more than we could ever dare to ask, think, or even dream (Ephesians 3:20). This month, […]



In 2003, I had a nervous breakdown overseas.  I’ve told the whole story in my memoir, As Soon As I Fell. Part of my story is the story of some very damaging counseling that I experienced in the attempt to recover.  As I look back, the red flags are clear: I was asked to sign away my right […]


Ask a Counselor: recognizing and managing anxiety

by Kay Bruner on February 3, 2016


Anxiety.  It’s a thing we’re not supposed to have, right? Because “There are 365 verses that say ‘fear not,’ one for every day of the year” “80% of the things we worry about never happen” and also, “The Bible Clearly Says, ‘be anxious for nothing.’” But, as one of my besties says, “I’m not anxious […]



Happy New Year, friends!  This time around, I’ve got a question for you! What’s your self-care plan—body, mind, soul, spirit–for 2016? At the very beginning of this Ask-a-Counselor series, we talked about the cognitive, emotional, and spiritual challenges to self-care.  We examined those road-blocks to self-care, and we concluded that difficulties shouldn’t stop us from doing […]


Ask a Counselor: What about anger overseas?

by Kay Bruner on December 3, 2015


“What are some reasons that missionaries struggle so much with anger? What are ways we can deal with it on the field? What are helpful things a spouse can do if the other spouse is struggling with anger?” What is it with anger overseas?  Why do we see so much of it? If we’re experiencing […]


Ask a Counselor: what about child abuse?

by Kay Bruner on November 3, 2015

be aware

  A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a young teacher at a missionary-run school.  She was hearing from local children attending the school about abuse they were suffering by their parents at home.  One of the older children had written detailed reports of the abuse, and even had photographic evidence. When […]


Ask a counselor: how do we process loss and grief?

by Kay Bruner on October 3, 2015


A couple of months ago, I put out a call on our Facebook page for new questions for the “Ask a Counselor” column, and I got a whole slew of TCK questions.  To those questions, there is pretty much one answer. What’s the most common reason that adult TCKs seek counseling? Unresolved loss and grief. […]


Ask a counselor:  when the helper needs help

by Kay Bruner on September 2, 2015

accept help

This is a question that came in several months ago, and it seemed like it needed an immediate answer, so I answered at the time.  I thought it was worth talking about again, though. The question addresses a very specific and personal situation, but I think the answers can apply to many more general circumstances, […]


Ask a counselor: What about conflict?

by Kay Bruner on August 4, 2015

alo tornado-01

When we first arrived overseas, I remember hearing an older, experienced missionary make this statement:  “The real reason most missionaries leave the field is conflict with other missionaries.” I thought that was so strange!  I mean, here we are, missionaries!  The cream of the crop, spiritually speaking!  Called by God!  Commissioned by our churches!  Well-vetted […]