IR Spotlight

Sarasota Academy

Dr. Roy H. Cantrell, II (Howie) of Gallatin, TN is a Certified Pastoral Member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling and has been an International Representative since

Currently, Dr. Cantrell is the Director/President of Gateway Institute, a Certified Academic Institution College of the N.C.C.A. Also, through the N.C.C.A. Dr. Cantrell is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor-Advanced Certified.


Many years ago, at the early age of 13, I was asked to get involved in counseling. You see my father, Dr. Roy H. Cantrell, I, was a youth camp director in Mississippi and asked me if I would like to be a C.I.T. “Counselor in Training.” My answer was yes! I did not know at the time how this would affect me later in life and in my career as a pastor, counselor, teacher, and trainer; as well as, a mentor.

I learned about the Arno’s program through my father and with much encouragement enrolled through my local church with the Institute of Counselor Development.  The reason it took a lot of encouragement was that I was working on a Masters Degree in Theology at the time. It was definitely a challenge!

As I studied counseling and the art of counseling, I became a master illustrator with word pictures. I thought this was something that everyone could do, but soon found out it was a gift. It was later in reading a book by Mark Batterson, titled “The Circle Maker,” that I discovered talking in circles (thought by some to be a bad thing) was actually the way that Jesus taught, and His ability to paint word pictures was my inspiration. Pretty good role model despite popular opinion, don’t you think?

I’ll give one of these illustrations:

I keep a large silver coin in my pocket and when presented for inspection to the person they are instructed that “Heads” is mercy and “Tails” is Justice. I then ask these two questions.

1. If you were standing in front of a judge and were about to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, would you choose Mercy or Justice? They almost always choose Mercy.

2. If you were standing in that same court room watching the person who hurt your family member about to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, would you choose Mercy or Justice? They almost always choose Justice.

I then lay the coin on the table and ask them to pick up Mercy without picking up Justice. They look at me puzzled and usually say, “I can’t.” The explanation then becomes one of God being the only one who truly is the righteous judge.

       Romans 9:15 “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”

       Exodus 34:7a “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and

       transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;”

This is usually a defining moment for the person with whom the illustration has been shared. Getting a person to think outside of their normal thought process is a key to helping get them unstuck.

Many years ago God blessed me with a definition for counseling. It is simply…

“A conversation with a goal.”

The goal in our conversation must always be to help our clients to get “unstuck.”

In many conversations with my father we have compared notes on subjects of all kinds, but one stands out above all the rest, it is this… neither of us have ever had a client, or clients, that didn’t have a spiritual issue at the root of their problem, or problems.

If we can’t get them to see how critical it is to get unstuck, or more importantly to get free, then as counselors, we have done them a huge dis-service. It is impossible to do either of these two things: (1) Get them unstuck or, (2) Free, without the Holy Spirit’s presence in the counseling office.

I thank God on a regular basis for the vision that He gave the Arno’s to help people through Christian Counseling; in particular Creation Therapy. I don’t know how pastors counsel their members and people in their community with any success without the God given wisdom of this program.

I do however want to say… God is the door opener! It’s our job to walk through.  One of the many things that I have had the privilege to do as a counselor is to work with the courts as an instructor in a domestic violence class in the county where I live. I use my training in Temperament Theory/Therapy to explain to the people who are there how to understand themselves, as well as, understand why they are doing what they are doing. I love to watch the light bulbs come on as they, one by one, get it. I wish I could say they all get it, but they don’t.

I do this on a volunteer basis and offer each and every person in the room a free session with me, if they will just call. Some do, some don’t. My thoughts are simple on this matter; if you are going to change the game, you have to “get in the game”!

Along with all the other things we do in our community, my wife of 34 years, Becky Williamson Cantrell, of which I could have never done any of what I have accomplished, and I have gone on to launch City Gate Church in Gallatin, Tennessee. We have also launched Gateway Institute where we currently have 17 students in our Counseling and Theology programs in three different states. By the way, we could not have launched Gateway Institute so successfully without the help of April Mooneyhan and Kathy Verblaauw.

I have decided to be a life long learner and by the help and grace of God, along with the help of the Arno’s and Baran’s, I will be a game changer to all God puts in my path.


Home | IR Spotlight | Temperament Corner | Book Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *