But what is biblical counseling
and what distinguishes it from other counseling approaches?
First, what is NOT necessarily
1. Simply attaching the
word Christian to the counseling approach does not make it biblical. Much counseling that draws on psychological and
therapeutic concepts is presented as Christian when in fact it is Christian in name only.
2. A Bible perched on the
counselor's desk corner or on an end table doesn't mean the counsel being given conforms to the Scriptures.
3. Just because the counselor
is a born-again Christian or even a Pastor does not mean his counsel is biblical. He may have been trained in any of a myriad
of popular counseling systems that are not derived from Scripture, but rather from secular sources.
4. Using Bible verses to
support the counsel being given does not mean the counsel is biblical. A Bible passage can be taken out of context and misused
to support something the Bible simply does not say.
5. A simplistic dispensing
of Bible verses and prescribing prayer is not biblical counseling.
6. A kind, loving, accepting
stance on the part of the counselor should not be interpreted as necessarily biblical counseling. It may be reflecting a non-directive
counseling methodology that helps the counselee feel better but doesn't solve the problem God's way.
IS BIBLICAL COUNSELING?
How do you spot the real
thing? The following will help you identify counseling that is truly biblical.
1. The counselor functions
on the presupposition that Scripture is God's inspired, inerrant, and sufficient Word. He views the Bible as the textbook
for everything pertaining to life and godliness (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3-4).
2. The counselor knows there
is always hope for change based on God's promises and power in Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 3:20).
3. Appropriate portions
of Scripture are investigated and discussed to shed God's light on the problem. (E.g. - marriage problems: see Genesis 2;
Ephesians 5; I Peter 3).
4. Biblical directives derived
from these passages are applied to the problem. Practical ways of implementing those directives are assigned to help put off
sinful thinking and behavior and put on godly thinking and behavior (Ephesians 4:22-24).
5. The counseling process
includes the need for regeneration (John 3:3), the recognition of the sinful propensities of the heart (Jeremiah 17:9), the
human capacity of habit (I Timothy 4:7), the importance of motivation and thought as well as behavior (Romans 12:2; I Corinthians
4:5), the individual's responsibility before God to obedience (I John 5:3), and the sufficiency of God's grace for every life
problem (I Corinthians 10:13; II Corinthians 12:9).
6. Biblical counseling emphasizes
a God-centered approach to solving problems. The goal is first to be concerned about pleasing God. Deliverance from the problem
is secondary to seeing God in the problem and at work in the person's life (Romans 8:28-29).
7. Biblical counseling is
a ministry of the local church. The local church is God's ordained agency to help His people grow and change into the likeness
of Christ. In fact, while church leaders are especially responsible (Hebrews 13:17), God has called ALL believers to counsel
one another to some degree (Romans 15:4).
Proverbs 14:12 says there
is a way that seems right to men, but it ends in death.
For decades, modern culture has struggled to define
and categorize psychological and/or psychiatric conditions. Experts have created hundreds of diagnostic categories that attempt
to isolate and classify specific conditions or illnesses so that they can be effectively treated.
Medical doctors tend to see the disturbance as organic; Behaviorists
often describe the issue as a learned or conditioned dysfunction; Psychoanalysts
believe psychological problems are due to parental failures, disappointments, and
frustrated psychosexual development; Family Therapists view emotional disturbance as a consequence of unhealthy family structure.
But even with all of this debate, professionals still cannot agree regarding the definition, cause,
and cure for psychological maladies like depression, phobias, anxiety, addiction, attention deficit disorder, etc. Ask ten
mental health professionals and you might well receive ten diagnoses, ten
treatment plans, and ten different outcomes. In short, there is still great confusion about why an individual feels and does
what he/she does not wish to feel or do.
But long before Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, Albert Ellis, and Virginia Satir, the apostle Paul was
debating the same predicament. He wrote:
For what I am doing I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate,
that I do (Romans 7:15).
Here Paul describes the human state of sin. He further makes it clear that in spite of his best human attempts, he is unable to change his basic nature. Paul continues:
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but
how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that
I practice.Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but
sin that dwells in me (Romans 7:18-20).
Clearly Paul defines sin as the problem. He further
makes it clear that the source of
his problem is his own flesh, mind, and heart. He doesn’t point to
a medical condition, although he
had some (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), as the cause of his unwanted
behavior. Paul didn’t highlight his parents (Acts 22:3), his culture
(Acts 22:27-28), or even the trauma (2 Corinthians 11:25) and mistreatment he endured as reason or explanation for his unsettling conduct. No, Paul knew that his human frame was corrupt and sinful.
He also knew that he could not change himself.
Jesus spoke of the condition of man’s heart as the source of all sinful and thereby, unhealthy
conduct, emotion, thoughts, and desires: He said:
What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil
thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,
foolishness (Mark 7:20-22).
Truly, most psychological illnesses and mental diagnoses can be found in the list Jesus provides in this one passage. And when other passages are
considered that pertain to the
works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), acts of unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and the nature of a debased mind (Romans 1:28-31), we begin to see the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
in full form. God defined psychopathology long before psychiatrists and other
therapists were even in existence. God simply called it sin.
Does this mean here are no biological conditions that
produce psychiatric symptoms? Are
we saying that family, abuse, poverty, and other trauma have no affect on an individual? Not necessarily…
But biblical truth is clear that sin is the core issue that defiles, misleads, distorts, and destroys.
And according to Brandt and Skinner (1998), if sin is the problem:
·There is no human remedy for sin…
·The only cure for sin is in Christ…
As Biblical Counselors we must begin with the core truth, defined in Scripture, and not allow ourselves
to be misdirected into the psychological waters of speculation. There is a great deal that is unknown about the organic and mental elements of life. But biblically we know volumes about the sin of humans and the redemptive, cleansing, mercy, restoration, and empowerment of Christ.
In any other scientific debate, the issue would be closed.
Rational Biblical Counseling
We view outward behaviors as a symptom of deeper emotional and spiritual disorders.We believe that the surface problems that hinder our progress are only a result of the root causes with in us. Once
underlying spiritual issues are identified, these root causes which are our internal adversaries and barriers deeply rooted
with in our unconscious and subconscious mind can begin to be resolved. These hindrances have been designed to oppose us internally
because of repetition and affirmation over periods of time.
The greatest battle ground is with in
our mind because it is the spiritual sphere of rational activity and rational influence.
The mind is bombarded with an atmospheric assault from the cosmic world (kosmos).
Bitterness (frozen resentments) and
unforgiveness poison internal wounds much like a physical infection can poison outward wounds on a persons body (Matthew
The mind is also attacked by the flesh (i.e., the corrupt moral-spiritual
dimension of fallen humanity). The need and
desire for these behaviors will disappear.
Having or exercising
the ability to reason.
Of sound mind; sane.
- didaskalia In Greek - teaching of God’s mind precisely
Rational Expression of God
Logos:Rational process of thought
The Rational Expression of God brings
in illumination and personal deliverance. Illumination may be defined as the divine quickening of the human mind in virtue
of which it is enabled to understand truth already revealed.”When you
are teaching God’s mind (His Word) precisely you are instructing someone to think soundly in their mind. His word brings
illumination. It does not reveal new truth, but makes the old truth understandable. Someone said,
and I don’t know the source of this, “What light is to the Eye, illumination is to the mind.”
- "Being Convinced"
1) Removes blindness
in our mind
2) Gives insight
Prepares action in the will
Positional truth unfolds to individuals the believers the present relationship to the government of the Trinity.
Sets forth the believer's present responsibility of the whole will of God
The entrance and path to the heart (Leb: seat of courage) of man is
Our lives are full
of unwelcome behaviors and overwhelming emotions. The fact that we still feel the pain from our past is not a sign of a failed
relationship with God. The presence of the pain does not lessen the impact of the salvation in our lives. This is a signal
that we need to begin the process of moment by moment healing. God will make the necessary healing and changes. To admit (face
in reality) to pains and problems may seem to be a contradiction of our claim to salvation, but it is not. The bible is a
masterpiece of men and women who struggled continually to overcome past mistakes and present temptations.
The Action-oriented approach to help
people cope with problems and enhance their personal growth. We Place a good deal of its focus on the Present. Our currently-held
attitudes, painful emotions and behaviors can sabotage a fuller experience of life. We provide people with an individualized
set of proven techniques for helping them to solve problems with a variety of methods to help people reformulate their dysfunctional
beliefs into more sensible, realistic and rational ones with Doctrine.
Much of our philosophy of life—what
we think about ourselves and our values—is learned from past experiences. But the past is with us in the form of beliefs
that we carry in our head in the present. Focus in on the beliefs that are harmful in our current emotional life and behavior—whether
those beliefs arose in the distant reaches of our youth or within the past few weeks. Our past exerts its influence in our
current-day thinking patterns and beliefs. Although we cannot change the past, we can change how we let the past influence
the way we are today and the way we want to be tomorrow.
Doctrine helps restore the emotional
balance in an individual's life by providing methods for thinking more realistically and sound-minded about ourselves, other
people, and the world. The quality of feelings that is important. Experiencing intense irritation and displeasure when things
go wrong can motivate you to change frustrating conditions. Teach others and yourself to minimize debilitating emotions. This
does not mean that it's unhealthy to experience keen feelings of sorrow or displeasure when you experience misfortune. We
empower individuals both by helping them more effectively handle their own painful emotions and by enabling them to have doctrine
change their behavior and progress.
Doctrine illuminates (Removes blindness
in our mind; Gives insight; Prepares action in the will) and provides people the skills and attitudes to become less selfish.
Selfishness is often motivated by ego-gratification. Many selfish people tend to be very needy and demanding and are intent
on getting what they want at any cost in order to feel good about themselves. The Word of God helps people to reduce their
own neediness and specifically their need to prove themselves to others. Teaching them choose to accept themselves unconditionally;
and then try to completely avoid globally rating themselves—meaning their totality or their "essence."We teach people to Enjoy rather than proving themselves in self-interest. Help people by teaching them
to recognize and change those aspects of their thinking which are not sensible, accurate or useful.
We establish a helpful, supportive,
and facilitative alliance with people. We realize that not all people come to therapy ready for action and change, and that
some people—because of their personalities and problems—require a great deal of support and empathy before they
are ready to change. We help provide people as quickly as possible with the tools to help them change their beliefs leading
to disturbing emotions, thus freeing them to confront their everyday problems with all their new found resources or the old
ones not practically experienced.
Rom For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth (lives) no good thing (that is my sinful nature): for to will
(desire) is present with me; but how to perform (carry out) that which is good I find not. (KJV)
We took control to protect ourselves,
but the results frequently have ended uncontrollable and unreliable. We now don’t want to give up control and release
ourselves from the torment. This now is a great opportunity to face reality and admit that our life is not working with us
in control. We stop pretending, we admit that we can’t continue the illusion of control. The way we have managed our
own lives brings us to this point. We prepare ourselves towards the walk of wholeness.
This may seem overwhelming to most of
us until we begin to see our lives as they really are. It is threatening to realize could be uncontrollable. Our life experience
testifies against us and reminds us that our behaviors did not produce peace.
Look at the Apostle
Paul, he wrote about this matter clearly and proves the bible is true. He wrote about his uncontrollable life and behaviors
as proof of his separation from God. Yet, his admission does not interfere with his commitment to do God’s will. Paul’s will got in the way with
God’s will. This is part of the pride complex that is in every man. The pride of the old man that cries with in us for
his own will and works against us to frustrate God’s plan for us.
We have a culture that places a high value on individual accomplishment and success.
Most of us from birth have been bombarded by our self the old sin nature, the devil, and the world system the ideal of high
achievement. Being competitive is viewed by society as important. We are taught that if we compete hard enough we will be
“winners” and, therefore good people. If, however we don’t measure up to what is expected of us we are losers,
we believe of ourselves as failures. This combination creates a poor self-image. Due to the absence of good role models, during
childhood, many of us are confused. We don’t know where we fit in. We continue to allow our worth and self-esteem to
be determined by what we do and what others think about us, and not by who we are in Christ. We have conditioned ourselves
to fail and learned anxiety from our much confused and misguided lives.
Surrender, we admit defeat and recognize that our obsessive traits manipulate the affairs
of our lives to ease inner pain of our separation from God. Thus making our lives uncontrollable and will continue to be until
we surrender our own will.
"In order to help people
change, you have to change their beliefs first. You don't work on their behavior; you work on their beliefs because it always
starts in their mind. That is why Jesus says you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - Rick Warren
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