Dr. Dave Ralston
My Background & The Philosophy It Created
I grew up in a small town in the rural Midwest with an overwhelming sense of abandonment and brokenness. So there was a lot of darkness and grief in my life that I just didn’t know what to do with. Over time, that feeling of despair and loneliness began to spill over into other aspects of my life until I had lost—what seemed like—everything.
However, it was through the help of numerous wonderful and wise people that I realized the true healing power of God’s love. Through that transformative healing experience, I have discovered purpose and meaning in life that have connected me to Christ and compelled me to support others in the same ways that I have been.
Now, along with my wife, Ann, I help individuals and couples deepen their connection to God while teaching them how to use faith and biblical truths to overcome adversity and find peace and joy in their lives.
My Counseling Approach For Soul Healing And Spiritual Growth
Many people, like myself at one time, bear a deep sense of uncertainty and even brokenness in their lives that prevents them from living with grace and inner peace. However, I believe that the feeling of incompleteness can be a good thing because, typically, we must be broken in order for God to restore us according to His design. That’s not to say that people are defective in any way—quite the contrary in fact.
At Life Training Christian Counseling, our philosophy presumes that every person is made in the image of God, and as such, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. My goal is to merely help you discover your authentic, inborn identity and to remove any barriers that are preventing you from truly connecting to whom God has created you to be.
You are a child of God and you are wonderfully made, complete in Christ, and totally acceptable in His eyes. I just want to help you embrace these fundamental truths. I am not trying to push any agenda onto you or make you into something you are not. Rather, Ann and I are like sculptors, chipping away at the marble, piece by piece, until the true image of Christ is revealed in yourself, your relationships, and your relationships with the people around you. That’s how we define spiritual growth.
How I Work
Because fear, uncertainty, and brokenness are such prevalent emotions people carry through their lives, part of the healing process includes exploring those wounds and how they came to be. Many people also feel like they are not acceptable or worthy of happiness, which is why we’ll work to identify any false beliefs about yourself that are now preventing you from experiencing the true identity and living the life God wants for you.
I offer an individualized approach to counseling that is both fluid and structured. This ensures that, while we are always working toward a goal, we still have the flexibility to talk about anything urgent that may come up between sessions. Using a faith-based, Bible-informed approach to counseling, we don’t really fixate on what is making you miserable; rather, we focus on helping you develop practical, godly solutions to the challenges you face.
At first, we’ll begin by gently talking about what you are thinking, feeling, and struggling with. Secondly, I’ll introduce you to your unique, inborn, God-given temperament nature. Then, we’ll discuss how your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs are being translated into actions and decisions that may have adversely impacted some of the choices you’ve made in your life. Once we understand the underlying roots of the issue, we can start developing Bible-informed solutions to help you move forward.
To guide and personalize the healing process, I’ll use a tool called the Arno Profile System (APS) that will help us understand who it is that you were designed to be (temperament) versus who you’ve learned to be through the myriad of life experiences (personality). Incorporating the temperament profile allows us to understand exactly what you need in order to remove the barriers that are holding you back. Then, we can use truths found in the Bible to create practical solutions for deepening your connection with Christ and healing the wounds of your past.
Whether you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or marriage problems—or if you merely want to deepen your connection with God—my goals are always the same. In the short-term, I want to give you the skills and tools to overcome any immediate distress in your life so that you can embark on the healing process with confidence. Then, when you are ready, I want to help you find your true self—not the self that life in this fallen world has formed. Once you understand who you really are and surrender yourself to God and His potential for transformation, you can find hope, happiness, and wholeness in your life in whatever form that takes.
I Can Understand What You Are Going Through
There is a wise saying, “You can’t lead someone to a place you’ve never been.” At Life Training Christian Counseling, we understand this truth because we have endured the ups and downs of life ourselves. I was raised in a broken home, addicted to pornography in my youth, and was so overly committed to a secular career that it wrecked my marriage. I’ve experienced infidelity and been divorced, bankrupt, fired from a job, and knocked down until I didn’t think I could every get back up. So I can empathize with just about anything you bring with you.
When Ann and I started our practice in 2007, it began in our living room, and we have been striving to maintain that same homelike sense of safety and ease in our office ever since. Whether it’s the smell of the coffee, the scent of the candles, or the comfort of the furniture, we want you to feel secure and welcomed in your surroundings.
Our progressive, Bible-informed approach to healing is never churchy, clinical, or political; so you don’t have to worry about working with someone who is stuffy or has a personal agenda. In fact, during our sessions, I’ll likely just be wearing jeans and an untucked shirt, which is why I want you to feel comfortable being yourself, too.
I know what it’s like to feel guilty, undeserving, and defeated. But the beautiful thing about those life wounds is that, in being vulnerable, only then is God able to restore us according to His design. With your desire and commitment for us to work together, you can discover who you were truly meant to be while restoring and deepening your connection with Christ. I have faith that through our online or in-person counseling sessions, you can experience spiritual growth that will lead to greater self-acceptance, joy, and hope in your life.
Dr. Dave Ralston possesses a PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling from the Colorado Theological Seminary, a master’s in Behavioral Health from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s in Athletic Training from Western Kentucky University. Dr. Dave is a Licensed Clinical Christian Counselor and Advanced Certified Temperament Counselor through the National Christian Counselors Association. He is board-certified in Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Ralston is a published author, a sought-after public speaker, and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors. He is also an ordained minister and is actively involved in his local church community, often volunteering for programs focused on serving marginalized or underprivileged people and groups. In 2021, Dr. Ralston’s book — Addition By Subtraction: God Turns Our Broken Pieces Into Masterpieces — was released nationwide both online and in stores. Both Dave and his wife, Ann, offer convenient online and in-person counseling sessions.