Frances graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary with an MA in Counseling. She served at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City as a Director of Fellowship Groups, and at City Church San Francisco as Pastor of Congregational Care. Prior to working as a Church Lady, Frances had a corporate career in Marketing and Communications in New York City - most of it as a single woman.
She is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Frances does private practice counseling, meeting clients in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
She has been married to Douglas Nelson since 1997; they share their life on the coast south of San Francisco with Bernie the yellow lab, Lennie and Sophie the cats, several decorative chickens, and many friends.
How I Work
I recognize that God desires spiritual and emotional health and restoration of relationships and promises to use his people to accomplish that. I work with the physical self and the emotional self as a complete whole.
Through our conversations we experience the power of God to change the heart and to heal, even though the circumstances outside of our control may not change.
Where possible and appropriate I work with my client's local church to develop a whole community, realizing that one one-to-one conversation cannot encompass all of what a person needs to see themselves with hope.
Effective counseling addresses the feelings of hopelessness and the pain of broken relationships, crumbling identity, anxiety, loneliness, and fear.
I counsel individuals, couples, and families on various issues. In both marriage preparation and marital counseling I find using the Prepare/Enrich material valuable.
Each of us is made in God’s image. We have been wronged by others and we wrong others in our personal relationships and vocational settings.
Some Common Concerns
- I’ve made a huge mistake and it’s ruined my life! I can’t ask for forgiveness; I can’t forgive myself. How can I go on?
- I feel out of control and can’t stop hurting myself and others. I don’t think I can change.
- We've experienced devastating betrayal (infidelity) and don't know if there's a future for us together.
- The circumstances of my life are unbearable and I’m beginning to question whether God is good.
- This is not where I expected to be in my mid thirties (or mid forties). What did I do wrong? Where am I going?
- Marriage is a huge step. Can you help us think it through as well as possible before the wedding day?
- We’ve given up trying to get along; we tried everything we know. This situation is hopeless.
- I was abused as a child and carry it with me every day. I want this pain to stop. Will you help me?
People who struggle with depression often feel down for extended periods. They lose interest in activities that they once found pleasurable. Depression negatively affects millions of Americans each year. Some try medication and don't find relief or want to deal with life's challenges
Anxiety and Stress
Stress and anxiety are related, but often confused. Stress is tension associated with specific event(s) (e.g. a test or a job), while anxiety is non-specific worry about the future. To find relief, people with anxiety may turn to repetitive routines, preoccupations, or addictions.
Experiences that overwhelm or scare us can leave a lasting impression. The symptoms can leave us stressed, depressed, and have negative consequences for our work and home life.
Feeling understood and understanding one’s partner is what allows couples to deeply share one another’s lives. Often, couples struggle with communication issues, which actually mask deeper relationship issues.
Trust plays a vital role in sustaining a relationship. People trust differently: for some, trust is established quickly, while others are slow to grant trust. Similarly, some are able to forgive quickly, while others find it hard.
How I can Help
I counsel both individuals and couples.
Individual counseling provides an opportunity for you to openly talk about your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. Together, we can discuss concerns with:
- Dealing with abuse
- Body image issues
- Anxiety and depression
- Stress management
- Sexual orientation
- Sexual compulsions
- Cyber addictions
- Substance abuse and dependence
- Loss and grief
Couples counseling can be beneficial to those interested in improving and deepening their relationship. Some common areas of discussion and work center on:
Preparation for marriage
Pornography and substance abuse
Here is what some people have written about their counseling experience.
Contact me to see if together we can address the issues that you are encountering in your life.