Goal of Christian Counseling
The ultimate goal of Christian counseling is to bring forth maturity in Christ. Maturity in Christ is being like Christ or the BELIKECHRIST submitted to God and His standards in all areas. Maturing believers will always be characterized by behaviors and attitudes which are in accordance with Biblical scriptures. We will continuenly be influenced and motivated, guided by the Holy Spirit. Various life experiences, cultural environments and personality makeup are increasingly understood and addressed as the believer matures. It is been said that Temptation, sinfulness, personal limitations, and life experiences have less of a control as the individual moves toward spiritual maturity.
However, as the believer continues to grow to be more like Christ and to have the mind of God, he or she may become more aware of his or her own hidden and continued sinfulness, human frailties, root causes of surface problems, emotional damage, and disorders as well as a need for greater and greater dependence upon God. This will be due to the fact that the Holy Spirit will shine its light on your life and will bring forth inner convictions.
Counseling is not an end in itself but attempts to assist the efforts to free men and women from the ravages of sin or the blistful ignorance thereof. We then through the power of the Holy Spirit can embrace God in an intimate way. We all want Godly relationships within God’s Church and our private world, and in doing so we must live an obedient, authentic Christian life according to the principles of Scripture. We understand “ Biblical Counseling” in its broadest sense to be one person helping another person grow toward wholeness in relationship to God, others and self.
A word that struck me very clearly is “Discipleship”. What is Discipleship- One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another? An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy Christian counseling is the bringing of truth of the Scriptures to bear upon problems in the life of the person actively assisting. It involves the therapeutic application of empathetic listening, discerning insight and practical strategies as well as the careful application of the Word of God directly or indirectly to the situations presented to the counselor. It involves a significant relationship with a genuine, compassionate individual.
Together the client and the counselor seek truth within the context of faith and then learn to apply such truth to daily living. Christian counseling may include pastoral counseling, psychology, discipleship, training, therapeutic counseling, family counseling, career counseling, as well as other approaches to the helping process.
Summary: There is a need for effective biblical counseling now more than ever. As the world progresses to the stages prophesized anarchy theirs been a demand on God’s people as well as lost souls for appropriate direction in life. Crabb clearly states in his introduction that the purpose his book, Effective Biblical Counseling, is to incorporate the principles and aspects of Christian counseling into the local churches (Crabb, 1977, p. 13).
The text outlined applies sound Biblical doctrine in conjunction with advanced psychological techniques. The intent of this paper is to enable the reader to understand that “true healing” can only be experienced through a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to parallel Biblical teaching with scientifically proven methods to counsel troubled individuals effectively. This enhance maturity in Christ or in modern day Church term Discipleship. We as individuals seek counseling for many reasons; whether depression, or unhappy with their status in life, or a strong need for a listening ear. One well known practiced form of psychotherapy that focuses in the humanistic approach of treatment is Roger’s Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT) is common among clients with the above mention issues.
According to psychotherapists practicing RCCT, the desired end state or goal of every client is different so in addition to displaying a concern for that person, counselors must also have an understanding of how the human mind works as well as conveying the belief that individual has the capacity to change.
(The power of a renewed mind. Christian counselors also use the RCCT approach with the exception of the overall goal. Instead of varying goals as the outcome of treatment, Christian counselors’ one goal for their clients is a progressed maturity in their Christian walk (spiritual maturity). For non-believer clients it may bring a clearer understanding of God’s intent for their lives and may lead to a commitment to Christ. The end state, or productive end of Christian counseling is to have a client in a closer relationship with God, to become Christ like (21) in both worship and service.
The journey and its process that each Christian walks may be different, but the definitive characteristics and qualities that all clients are to reflect are those of Christ. That’s the reason why Christian counseling and American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics (COE) will always be a conflict of interest. The only way to mitigate this conflict of interest is to provide Christian counseling within a church setting. Section A.4.b. Of the ACA COE: That counselor should be aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. God’s intent is for all to be one in Christ so the counselor’s values is reflected in therapy; hence, Crabb’s initiative to train Godly leaders and followers to integrate effective Biblical Counseling Programs into as many churches as possible (Crabb, 1977, p. 13).
Spiritual maturity is immediate obedience in specific situations and long-term growth in character (Crabb, 1977, p. 23). The first step in a therapy session is establishing or assessing problems the client have, as well as identifying underlying issues that the client may not be aware. The therapist with knowledge of psychomotology can then determine what basic human need is lacking as well as neurotic behaviors (Crabb, 1977, p. 68), which surface from that deficit. Many psychotherapists differ in opinion about basic human needs. The text discusses Maslow and Freud’s viewpoints, but Crabb neatly compartmentalized the same information into one basic need with two required inputs; significance – a person’s need to feel important, adequacy for a job, meaningfulness, one’s ability to make an impact and security – love unconditional and consistently expressed, a permanent acceptance (Crabb, 1977, p. 61).
Crabb’s thesis merely states that problems will arise when the basic needs for significance and security are threatened (Crabb, 1977, p. 69). Sadly, people develop the wrong idea about what makes them significant or secure and then when they fail to achieve their fallible standard, their mental defensemechanisms take control and irrational behavior begins. Proverbs 23:7 – “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If the inappropriate behavior continues for long periods, mental illness may ensue. According the text, mental illness is a person with unresolved unconscious conflicts (Crabb, 1977, p. 69). A form of psychotherapy called Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that combines therapies, which help individuals recognize the erroneous thinking patterns along with their incorrect behavioral responses is increasingly successful (Andrews, 2010, p. 112).
Cognitive traits, behavioral traits, and emotional traits are all learned responses, so the CBT goal-oriented process works primarily from the inclusion of both the therapist and client having active roles in treatment. Christian counseling is very much the same, but there are three actively participating in the treatment, the counselor, the client, and the Holy Spirit. The text emphasizes that Christian counseling depends critically upon the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit (Crabb, 1977, p. 95). However, the client must choose to allow the Holy Spirit to work in his/her life. God meets our basic need completely. Crabb states that an individual derives a feeling of significance based on who he/she is in Christ (Crabb, 1977, p. 70).
God has seen to it that every believer has an integral part in His service. Anyone who accepts Christ as his/her Lord and Savior receives God’s most precious gift, which is His unconditional love. God meets our security needs with the most wonderful tenderness, care, and internal fulfillment. Christians are able live life with fullness rather than through deficit motivations (Crabb, 1977, p. 84). No matter what therapy one chooses, he/she may be successful in identifying unmet needs, determining causes and effect of irrational protective behaviors, and maintaining an effective on-going treatment plan but never will have total satisfaction and contentment unless he/she totally surrenders to God (Diagram from 72).
Crabb had spent a great deal of time discussing how problems develop. He defines the irrational protective behaviors of guilt, anxiety, and resentment as preneurotic experiences (Crabb, 1977, pp. 132 – 133). He further states that it is a preneurotic individual’s objective to overcome his/her obstacle and reach their goal. Complete neurosis occurs when a person develops and presents symptom(s) that would keep him/her from lowering their self-esteem below its current state, a safety net. The sketch below shows how preneurotic and neurotic behaviors develop (Crabb, 1977, p. 132).
Summary: In secular mental health doctors and therapist, treating the client’s symptoms, recognizing where his/her thought patterns went awry and trying to make them feel better is their goal. Christian counselors have to go a few steps further. Once the client understands what their true desires are (some do not know why they want things), what sequence of events brought him/her to their current state, then the counselor has to figure out where they are in their spiritual walk in order to provide direction. Once problem is identify its important then to align ones life with the word of God.
It’s like taking a glass of water filled with dirt and keep on adding clean water until the dirt has been flush out. This is the power of the indwelling spirit, making us pure and blameless. Crabb feels that a truly, well-adjusted person depends on God alone (Crabb, 1977, p. 139), so the ultimate solution is to seek God out. Continually blaze a path within His word, pray unceasingly for a better understanding of what He wants for us; one will observe their problems will become less and less. Trials in life will always be there, but our true test is how we react.
Crabb refers to Paul addressing the Thessalonian Christians reminding them that he had worked with each one individually toward spiritual maturity when he stated that the local church must assume responsibility the care of each member (Crabb, 1977, p. 164). He incorporated two charts in the chapters and appendices, which break out the stages and responsibilities of counseling by levels difficulty (Crabb, 1977, pp. 160, 165).
Developing a Counseling Program in Church:
Summary: 2 Peter 1:3 “ According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Crabb recommends pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, or others in a position of authority, or any person of spiritual maturity and genuine concern can provide encouragement to those in need (Crabb, 1977, p. 165).
Don’t underestimate how much word of kindness or thoughtful act can go to someone who is going through a rough time. It’s like giving a glass of cold water in the middle of the dessert. The text did mention that the hardest part of keeping a counseling program going is keeping the members at a heightened state or sensitive to the needs of one another. Level two counseling delves a little deeper and requires an extensive knowledge of the bible, as these individuals must recognize all ungodly behaviors and the sin nature of fallen man.
A few weeks of counseling classes would be good for these designate individuals, as they have to be able to convey to the troubled the error of their ways without being condemning while maintaining a certain level of concern for their issues. Lastly, Level three counseling addresses the deep-rooted problems discussed in previous portions of the paper that stems from wrong assumptions, which lead to wrongful behavior.
Due to the complexity in nature of these issues, Crabb recommends that a mature Christian attend six months to a one-year course with weekly classes that vary from two and a half to three hours in length. Effective Biblical Counseling, covers how to identify critical issues in counseling sessions, methods of treatment for these issues both in secular and biblical forums, how to construct a Christian counseling program with the church as well as how to identify the appropriate staff to operate it. This book is a valuable tool for any church library as well as a wonderful book of enlightenment for any person seeking self-improvement and a closer relationship with God.