Thoughts on counseling?

Logos

Active Member
Okay some of you may or may not be aware but there are two main ideas in "Christian" Counseling...one is what some call "integrated", where the counseling is based from a biblical perspective but also integrates some helpful ideas from psychology and other fields of counseling. The second idea is what is called "Nouthetic" which is strictly bible based. They do not believe or even acknowledge any of the psychological field today, they view it for the most part as almost anti-biblical. Thus their counseling style is purely bible based and nothing else. I am curious from some of you out there what your thoughts are on this? Thanks! :)
 

Durruck

Pirate!
Unfortunately, my experiences with psychology and counseling are limited to what I read in textbooks about Freud in college.

So with that in mind, I think that I would rather see the purely Biblical-based work, but with the possibility of an area not being specifically addressed, I suppose that I can see the benefit of integrated counseling.
 

the_great_eskimo_pie

Official Thread Killer/Men's Forum Mod/GFC Leader
This is my personal opinion:

Stick with Biblical. The worldview of the psychological tends to lean very humanistic, putting everything in the lap of the 'elite' to fix. I have never known people who need counseling to find any real success with the integrated, yet the Biblical has a 99.99999999% success rating. (That .00000001% is the people who don't follow through) So why try using a flawed, man made system when you have a perfect biblical system already in place?
 

RiverTigress

Moderator
My thought is that it's the counselor's relationship with God and the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide him in judgement to help someone else that matters more than the program he uses.

Counselors are not pastors (ie: the ideal is to have one pastor but multiple counselors) and can mess up a vulnerable person pretty bad by wrongly applying the Bible as easily as with anything else.
 

RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
I believe that the bible is completely good...but that not all good things are in the bible.

I tend to find that the bible often deals with the "what", but not very directly with the "how". Whether the "what" is premarital/marital counseling, alcohol, parenting, etc...there is definitely some biblical things to bring to the table. Love your wives; honor your husbands. Flee from sin; two are better than one. Spare the rod, spoil the child; lead children not to anger.

That doesn't mean it's wrong to come up with "extra"biblical things. And, as RiverTigriss was saying...it's easy to mis-apply biblical principles and give them a false sense of authority. So what to do? I think we definitely need to find our "what"...our beliefs/world view/truth claims/paradigm from the bible. We should be looking at the world through a Christ-centered lense. As for the "how"...if we understand that a biblical command or principle applies to a situation - then of course we'll use it.

As for your original question...if Dr. Atheist comes up with a good technique for combatting some type of bad behavior...why wouldn't we want to adopt that? Obviously, if some idea of treatment is telling someone to do something sinful, we shouldn't do it. Honestly, though, I would submit that for every good counselling technique found through secular means, we could probably apply some biblical principles to it. Sometimes working a problem backwards is a great way to find a solution.

I guess the main grey area for a lot of folks is over-prescription/diagnosis of psychological things...and for this I would just say to be careful there.
 

Abba San

Legacy of Elijah [LoE] - Proud Grandfather
I believe that the bible is completely good...but that not all good things are in the bible.
I have to agree with RyanB here. I hold to the Bible as the inerrant word of God - God breathed and profitable for everything in our lives. Having worked in mental health and now a pastor - I've done my share of counseling. Having a biblical foundation for counseling is essential. Having only the Bible is idealistic at best - and actually kind of silly.

I love having Christian physicians and mechanics - but I hope they are not using the Bible as their guide when they are working on my carburetor or my appendix.

Two things that tend to upset people and drive them to the extreme of Bible only - nothing else: 1) when psychology/psychiatry begins calling sin a sickness, and 2) when psychology/psychiatry denies the spiritual. I won't go into all the ramifications of either of those - simply, either irks me to no end.

I have known MANY biblically solid psychologists and maybe one or two psychiatrists (I'm sure - I think) who are God honoring, Bible believing, Spirit led in their ministries.

God bless those men or women who use their understanding of the Bible and the human psyche to help Christians who are having emotional - transitional - coping - spiritual - whatever it may be - problems that are beyond the scope of a beleaguered pastor.
 

Logos

Active Member
Ryan B and Abba,

Thanks for the encouragement/advice...of course as you can see in my signature I am working on my MAR in Pastoral counseling, and probably going to get a Ph.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling...anyways, I appreciate your thoughts...they are helping me work through some personal thoughts on some of these issues.
 

RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
Was just wondering...does pastoral counseling mean counseling pastors? Or does it mean pastoral-type counseling for everyone?
 

Logos

Active Member
Was just wondering...does pastoral counseling mean counseling pastors? Or does it mean pastoral-type counseling for everyone?
Pastoral care/counseling for people in general. :) Instead of going to a secular psychiatrist, they have the opportunity to go to a Pastor/Church leader who is equipped by the Word and study, to counsel them through their issues whatever they may be. :)
 

Odale

Active Member
I believe that the bible is completely good...but that not all good things are in the bible.

I tend to find that the bible often deals with the "what", but not very directly with the "how"....
I completely agree.

The Bible has many stories to deal with many situations. The way they deal with so many situations is because these stories can be applied to many situations. I tend to support the notion that the best way to deal with a problem is with a solution that is [more than less] specifically designed for that problem (i.e. not stories that have wide application). The Bible is great for examples of how you should live your life, not necessarily how you fix problems in your life.

Pastors and psychologists both are human; thus, they both can really mess someone up (both have influence over their patients). It is morally unacceptable for pastors to manipulate their patients (I dunno if that's what they are called, or anything else beyond that point, really).

Psychologists on the other hand have loads of hoops to jump through before they can even think of opening a practice. They need a Doctoral degree in their field, which means they must attend graduate school which means they must do well in undergrad to get there. After they've graduated they need about 2 years experience in the field before they can apply to the state to get their license. When they apply to the state, they need to take a written exam, oral exam and one other exam (I',m having a brainfart...). Only after they've passed ALL of these hurdles can they start or join a practice. Once they've gotten licensed and stuff they still have rules to abide by. One of them is that they cannot seek a romantic relationship with a patient (no matter who or how man times they've seen each other as a patient/counselor).

So... as a psych major in undergrad, I may be slightly biased... :D, BUT I know psychologists go through a lot to counsel people and they won't (or shouldn't) throw it away by giving bad advice or by manipulation.
 

Logos

Active Member
Odale,

Thank you for your balance. :) Initially I am getting the MAR in Pastoral counseling. Then from there I am going into their PhD program for Pastoral care and counseling...which has 8 more pre rec classes I have to take prior to even being accepted into the program and 10-15 classes after that not counting the MANY hours of actually counseling sessions I have to sit in on, and do myself. Many of the pre recs are from the university's counseling center, so it will be more of the psychological side of things which will be a big help. :) Thanks again odale for your thoughts!
 
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