journes counseling maitland

A Fall Update From Josh

  Mindy and I have had such a full summer and fall, and I wanted to catch you up on the highlights.  

Mindy! A photo posted by @joshbalesmusic on

We are expecting a baby girl in January! Mindy suspects good songs will come from me rocking our new daughter to sleep this January, in the middle of the night...We are so excited.

And we had a wonderful summer of music and counseling.

In July, for the 10th year in a row, I played the Summit Ministries conference in Tennessee- joining a few hundred folks in ten nights of 35 minute liturgy and hymn sessions! It was a blast and is an event I look forward to each year.

  July was also the month we released The Birds Their Carols Raise, a new album of hymns.  The process of making this album on my own was so challenging and exhilarating that I have already begun to dream about a second hymns album.  I'll keep you posted on that.  

The months of September- November are always full of opportunities to share music and this year has been no different.  Over the past few weeks I've played the songs of The Birds Their Carols Raise and Count The Stars for audiences at Christ Church Intown in Jacksonville, FL, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Saint Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Titusville, FL, Wycliffe Bible Translators in Franklin, NC, Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, FL, Clergy Conference for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida in Oviedo, FL.  I never grow tired of the excitement and energy that comes from playing live music in a room full of people!

"Signs amid the rubble..." Beauty in the midst of business today at the office. @ccslorlando

A photo posted by @joshbalesmusic on

  Also in September I accepted a full time position as Canon Missioner at the Cathedral Church of Saint Luke in downtown Orlando.  

  My role at Saint Luke's involves heading up our weekly 6pm Eucharist (pictured above) along with other pastoral duties.  It's also a role that encourages me to continue writing, recording, and touring, for which I am very grateful. If you're ever in Orlando for the weekend please come see us.  More information about the service can be found here.    

In addition to music and pastoral ministry, Mindy and I have continued to see clients at Journeys Counseling Center in Orlando.  This remains a treasured part of our lives and vocations.

Just a few days away... Can't wait for you to hear it. #christmasmusic

A photo posted by @joshbalesmusic on

It's that time of year (almost!). As we round the corner of November we will celebrate the first anniversary of The Holly & The Ivy, my Christmas album! You can stream this album online or download it at iTunes/Bandcamp.

Y'all, thanks so much for supporting my music!  I hope to see you at an event this Winter or Spring.  And please continue to write and say hello. I love hearing from you and do my best to respond to each note. JB

What Counseling Means To Me

Mental health counseling, psychotherapy-or just counseling- whatever we call it, is so many things. My professors in graduate school taught me that counseling is science and art.  It is a white coat and a paint brush.  It is a personality assessment and a song.  Author Frederick Buechner might add that counseling is secret telling.  I like all of that.  So maybe counseling is the science and art of secret telling.

Without a doubt, though, counseling is conversation.  It is nothing if not conversation.  Counseling is as plain and simple- sometimes as mundane and meandering- as two people telling stories on a bench in Central Park.  But it is, at the same moment, as epic and life-changing as the reconciliation of warring people groups in South Africa.  Counseling is powerful precisely for this reason: it holds together the park bench and the peace talk... in one hour... on a Tuesday afternoon.  Welcome to counseling. And there's more!


Counseling is feeling.  It is corrective emotional experience, Irvin Yalom says.  It is learning to feel, learning to feel anew, or learning to feel for the first time.  It is learning to feel and then suddenly feeling every emotion at the same time.

But counseling is also thinking.  It's slowing down that instinctual, almost primal, emotional process just enough to let 2 + 2 = 4 have a say.

Counseling is learning to walk.  It's learning to use thoughts and feelings together in a fluid motion, like feet moving in tandem.  Left foot.  Right foot.  Left foot.  And suddenly we are walking, we are unstuck- unlodged.  We are FREE.

But there's still more.

Counseling is grieving the past.  It is talking while the tears keep coming and the Kleenex box is empty on the floor.

Counseling is hoping in the future.  It is dreaming out loud.  It is life-sized vision-casting.  It is redemption.

And counseling is looking into the eyes of the present- burning a hole in the terror staring back.

Counseling is growing a little more comfortable with being human, with walking the earth longing for heaven, with attending a funeral and then visiting a maternity ward.

Counseling is relational experimentation.  It is re-parenting, re-friending, re-pastoring; but most of all, it is re-selfing.

Counseling is prayer.  Counseling is listening.  Counseling is silence.  Counseling is being, and being loved while you're just being.


I love counseling.  I believe in counseling.  I believe in counseling because I believe in people.  And I believe in people because I believe in God.  And I believe in God because I believe in the counselor He sent, who died that humanity might find healing- with God, with each other, and with(in) themselves.  Hans Rookmaaker describes the goal of counseling best when he speaks of what Jesus came to do.  “Jesus didn't come to make us Christian; Jesus came to make us fully human."  This is my theory of counseling.

- Josh Bales