One of the critical issues facing counseling in a number of local churches is the issue of place where one is required to perform the counseling. Most of the local churches today consider counseling as a ministry given to the pastor. This is motivated by the belief that the pastor is a God chosen person supposed to oversee the people and continue their shepherd. It is also considered as a responsibility of each and every responsible believer to be actively involved in the exhorting ministry of counseling. Counseling on a biblical cortex assumes that a number of problems experienced by individuals result from sin and the sinful nature of man. In the Biblical counseling, it is believed that unless there is the presence of the Holy Spirit, a person cannot experience full transformation through counseling. Therefore, the counseling session is usually Christ centered and is never assumed to be a self-oriented. In the Biblical counseling, the counselor always makes Biblical references when doing the counseling.
Biblical Counseling Model
Biblical counseling model employs a number of counseling techniques that should be used in giving counsel to individuals. This counseling model presents a number of counseling techniques, which address present situation of the counselee, expose the counselee to a number of alternatives of addressing on his problem, present a systematic procedure from the time the problem is identified up to the time it is solved as well as making the counselee accountable through giving him a set of assignments to address. Biblical counseling follows next systematic manner of addressing the problems, including identification of the problem, problem confrontation, developing of support group, problem solving and problem assignments. All these counseling methods encompass on a number of ways through which the counsel is given to individual. In my counseling, I will devise this counseling model and address systematically on these counseling techniques: problem identification, problem confrontation developing of support group, problem solving and problem assignments (Adams, 2002).
As a counselor in a local church, in order to have an effective counseling session one needs to identify the problem which the counselee is presenting with in order to address it during the session. One of the effective ways of identifying the problem is by building relationships. Building a relationship is particularly vital especially when one wants to gain the confidence of the counselee and get the desired receptiveness. Therefore, this will be one of the most effective ways of focusing on the counselee in order to gain the confidence required to deliver the required information (Adams, 2001).
In order to possess that confidence, the counselor should be able to demonstrate to the counselee that he has a genuine concern towards his problem as well as show him some compassion. Bearing on the facts that the counseling will take place in a church, the counselee will consider a counselor genuine when he shows that his concerns are motivated by the love of Christ. The counselor should show that his counseling is firmly based on morals of Christianity. This will make the counselee feel encouraged while taking part in the counseling process and consequently makes him open to discuss anything he needs with the counselor. One way to offer counseling effectively is to have the ability to create an atmosphere and an environment that is not threatening towards the counselee (Adams, 2002).
As a counselor, in order to be able to know and solve counselee problem effectively one ought to be in a position of establishing the problems of the counselee. Problems are grouped into two subsections. There are surface and symptomatic problems. A number of problems which are faced by counselee are usually symptoms of a number of greater problems. Counselor needs to differentiate the surface problems from other problems, which are considered to be the root or inner problems. In a number of cases in order to be able to identify the inner or more basic problem, a number of surface problems ought to be dealt with at first. The counselor must be able to identify the underlying root problems. The root problems may have physical source, mental source, emotional source or other forms of problems (Powlison, 2000).
Physical well-being is one key sources of a number of problems. Physical illness at times may be considered as a cardinal symptom coming from sin. Physical illness can also affect the way in which a person behaves as well as operates. The counselor should be aware that some of the counselee may require undergoing some physical examination before going on with counseling process. Based on the fact that people who are being counseled are deep routed into Christianity, they may ignore some physical anomalies which might be considered as sources of problem (Welch, 2004).
The counselor needs to be highly alert on the fact that some of the counselees may need to have a physical examination before any progress can be made. This is particularly vital since, in some cases, the patient may be experiencing some adverse effects from a drug, food or due to the nature of the environment. This might be the main cause of the problems at hand and, therefore, should be dealt with accordingly (Adams, 2002).
Mental process is one of the main things causing problems to a number of people. Thought processes are considered to be the immensely powerful motivators towards a number of mental disabilities. In a Christian perspective, a sinful thought is usually considered as one of the main sources of intent from a sinful heart. Thoughts have an enormous impact on the life of a person, once the thought are formed in a person’s mind they bear the potential of becoming habit and eventually ends up manipulating and controlling another person’s attitude and behavior. Since the counseling is done in a local church, a number of scripture verses to support the counselor during the counseling process should be considered (Welch, 2004).
Emotion is one of the other biggest sources of problems. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them with emotions. As a result of their emotional problems, they disembodied God and were sent away from the Garden of Eden. When they were sent away, they experienced guilt, fear as well as loneliness. Similarly, many people experience a number of problems. Some of these problems are due to extreme emotional problems which end up controlling them. The scripture supports this by declaring that any person who is ready to surrender his emotions unto Him, the person will receive victory. The counselor must advice the counselee that emotions can be channeled and used in a beneficial way or they can get out of control and have an adverse effect on a person. Emotions are not independent entities that have control over a person without affecting that person adversely. Emotions come from thoughts, and they are nursed all the way to end up being a controlling factor (Adams, 2002).
More and more problems may exist which the counselor needs to establish. The root problems are a number of problems which form a basis for all the other problems in general. Establishing the root problem is one of the main areas that the counselor needs to get into deeply. In any case, he needs to solve the problems of the counselor and not just treat the underlying symptoms (Powlison, 2000).
As a result of counseling being conducted in a church area, a number of things may be considered as the root problems. One of the root causes of the person’s problem may be as a result of the person not being saved. The counselor should take the necessary step and use the scripture to show the counselee the needs of being saved and also to show the person that there is no need to worry, once saved God will be in a position to take care of his life. In other cases, a person may be saved but still experience a series of problems. The person walk with Christ is one of the root causes of problems. A number of problems start when a person start drifting away from the worship of the Lord. Therefore, during the counseling process counselor should be able to establish this. It should be dealt with during the first counseling sessions. The counselee may be suffering as a result of some sins which he may have committed without the knowledge of it. These sins should be exposed, confessed and be dealt accordingly in order to relief the person of any stress in his life (Welch, 1999).
Once the counselor has established a problem with the counselee, the problem requires solving. One of the ways of solving a problem is by confronting the problem. In a Christianity set up and especially in church one of the most effective ways of confronting a problem is through the use of Biblical teachings. Love is one of the most emphasized things in the Bible. Through the love of God, Jess Christ came to redeem the world. Therefore, confronting the problem in reference to the Bible and also in reference to the love of God, it will have some impact on the lives of counselee since a number of them rely on the help of God. Confronting a problem with love involves making reference to the word of God while talking about the problem with the counselee (Adams, 2001).
When a counselor is confronting a problem, he should be in a position to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to the counselee. By doing this, the counselee will gain the confidence of the counselor and be confident that his problem will be addressed promptly. Some of the Christians have a deep Biblical knowledge; therefore, while offering assistance and assurance to the client he is supposed to be assertive while presenting the Biblical principles and avoid beating around the bush. This will help to make the counselee gain confidence in the counselor (Welch, 1999).
Before the counselor confronts the problem especially with the word of God, he is supposed to gather some more data and be able to arrive at a Biblical diagnosis where he presents it to the counselee. This will help counselor to have a firm Biblical support through quoting relevance Bible verses which are in line with the counselee problem. Confronting in love also requires guidance from the Holy Spirit. Based on the Biblical teaching the church elders and the congregation are mandated to help any person who comes around for any form of assistance (Welch, 2000).
Guidance from the Holy Spirit is highly valued especially when a problem is identified by the counselor. The counselor needs to cooperate with the pastor in order to provide any assistance especially regarding the confrontation of the problem at hand. Pastors are respected as God’s chosen people, led by the Holy Spirit to serve God’s people. Therefore, it will be particularly beneficial for the pastor to intervene especially on the matters concerning divine intervention. The pastor, therefore, needs to be always available and assessable whenever needed. The pastor should be able to demonstrate love unto the people he serves. This will specifically help in ensuring that the congregation has the required faith towards the pastor who is supposed to direct them and show them the love of Christ. The pastor bows the responsibility of helping anyone who comes for help. He should demonstrate love and compassion unto this person (Adams, 2002).
Developing Problem Support Groups
One of the great advantages of having some counseling session within the locality of the church is the availability of the support groups. Support groups are extremely vital especially when delivering some counseling session since with its help one can be able to achieve effectively some counseling issues. In some of the situations where support groups are unavailable, it will be necessary for the counselor to establish support groups in order to get help from them. Support groups play a vital role in ensuring that the counselee eventually gets victory over the problem that he has been facing. Support groups are able to offer extra support to the counselee especially regarding his problem.
In some cases, the church and family can be of significant help even though the problem has not been made public. The church provides spiritual nourishment to its congregation. The counselor should encourage the counselee to attend Sunday service and even weekly services. By doing this, the counselor will be encouraging the counselee to have an opportunity of presenting his problems to God for divine intervention. Most of the people gets spiritual fulfillment by attending Sunday services. Therefore, church is one of the support groups which have a significant impact, especially when solving people’s concerns (Adams, 2001).
Family as a unit is also another good example of a support group. In cases where the counselee has found a given issue especially concerning some family matters, it is better to involve the family in order to address the given problem adequately. Family as a unit provides social support as well as financial support to all its members. The counselor should ensure that the counselee has a full contact on the matter and help the counselee to discuss it (Adams, 2001).
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In cases where the counselee does not attend church, the counselor needs to preach to him in order to hear to the word of God. The counselor then should look for a group in the church capable of assimilating the counselee. The counselee then receives some guidance and preaching where he is given some conviction that, through the acceptance of the Lord as savior, he will be able to have all his problems solved. Some of these small groups in the church may include youth groups, groups for men, groups of women or even a Bible study.
Family and close friends are one of the groups of individuals who form a better environment of addressing the issues concerning the counselee. The family member knows the counselee on all dimension same as the close friends. Therefore, family members should be considered and incorporated in the counseling session of the individual. In cases where some issues are not clear from the family perspective, close friends will be able to address them.
One of the major goals of counseling is change. One of the goals of supporting a person is to help that person feel better and be free from any sought of the problem which he may be facing and have victory over it so that he will have some spiritual growth. Solving a problem encompasses two processes, which are behavioral process and cognitive process. Behavioral process helps to deal with external problems while cognitive process helps to deal with internal problems. Solving a problem encompasses putting off as well having a replacement process. This is a key to a particular long term change. In order to be able to change in a counseling session one should be ready to have an immediate response towards his actions.
If the counselee is expected to change his behavior, he has to strive in changing some of his inner problems. The internal problems produce a number of outer action behaviors. In order to achieve this, a number of processes are used, including a cognitive process. This process helps adequately deal with thoughts that may generate some of the external actions. The counselor should be able to intervene on this through invocation of the word of God. A number of verses should be chosen which support the use of cognitive process as one of the methods of solving some inner problems and concerns. Self-talk is extremely encouraged in this form of internal process. It is believed that when in some instances there is a change that is in the thought of life, then this will have tremendous effects on the behavior of the person (Adams, 2004).
Inner thoughts have a strong demonstration and influence especially toward the individual’s emotion as well as the actions. A person’s internal process is widely motivated as well controlled by the person’s belief system. It may be necessary to modify the system and eradicate it in order to have a replacement especially with a Biblical one. A behavior change is also another factor to be considered while soliciting for change. Behavior changes deal with a number of practices which end up with forming a habit. The habits are produced through a continuous repetition of a given action until that person can deliver the act unconsciously. At this point, the counselor will be in a position of identifying a number of sinful acts being possessed by the person. Doing this is considered as the only way to break the chain of a given number of sinful actions and be able to have a victory in observing these actions. Changing behavior especially on the part of the counselee is one of the fundamental things which will help the person to change attitude. At this stage, the person will have to create some new action patterns (Powlison, 2000).
One of the other change actions is putting off and putting on. This is considered as one of the Biblical process system aimed at having a change in the cognitive as well as in the behavior processes. This principle has some Biblical background and, hence, the client should be taken through the passages in order to decide on adopting the principle. The Bible goes on and says that any individual cannot be in a position to put off something without having something good to come and take place of the other thing. In order to avoid the counselee having to go back to his initial status, this process of putting off and putting on should be carried out (Powlison, 1997).
Problem assignment is essentially the out working of the put off and the put on processes. This process requires homework to facilitate the counselee to change. Changing the counselee requires a number of processes exercised by the counselor. The counselor should faccilitate adoption of change. Establishment of a problem assignment is one of the most beneficial things in the process of counseling. This should be supported with the Biblical grounds by the use of a number of scripture verses (Adams, 2002).
This is an extremely valuable part of the counseling process since the counselee is accountable of solving his issues with respect to the problems. One thing that a person cannot do is deceive himself or herself especially on issues concerning the counseling process and being accountable at the same time. Accountability is extremely important in the process of the counseling problems. After the counseling process, the counselor leaves the counselee with some of the home work to work on in order to be able to apply on some of the things learnt during the counseling process (Powlison, 2000).
Problem assignment is an extremely vital part of counseling process activity. Making of the assignments and giving them to the counselee, helps the counselee in the guidance of particular activities that will help to ensure that there is breakage of a number of sin patterns by the individuals. Breaking of the sin patterns is one of the main cores in the healing process. Sin is considered as the cause of individual’s problem and, hence, finding some ways through which it is addressed is the best way forward in managing the individual’s problems regarding sin (Powlison, 2000).
The Outworking of the Model in the Counseling Process
This is a real example showing how a counselor should be able to employ the various techniques in the counseling process.
Introducing a Counseling Session
When a person comes in for a counseling session, the counselor should explain to the counselee all the things regarding his counseling method. At first the counselor should prepare the counselee that he will have to undergo a number of counseling sessions which will be focused on solving his main concerns of his problem at hand. It is at this time also the counselor introduces himself to the counselee and to the church.
After introduction is done, the counselor should be able to develop some rapport as well as set a good atmosphere of creating a relationship with the counselee. Establishing a relationship with the counselee is particularly beneficial before the start of the counseling process. This is explained by the fact that the relationship developed will help to win the confidence of the counselee to the counselor and this will consequently be helpful in trying to know the root problem of the counselee in order to address it accordingly. The counselee will be able to demonstrate some trust and be open to the counselor.
Before starting the counseling process, the counselee is supposed to fill out an inventory form which is a personal data sheet which is intended for gathering more information concerning the client and also help establishing the main reason for seeking some counseling. This acts as a way of establishing on where the counselor should begin his counseling session and on which questions to ask in order to get the cause of the counselee problem and be in a position to address them effectively. This will be helpful, especially in setting up the right atmosphere for the client (Powlison, 2000).
Starting the Counseling Process
At first the counselor is supposed to go through the questions filled in the form by the counselee as well as evaluate some of the counselee non-verbal communications in order to determine the surface problem and get into the root of the real situation at hand. This will help the counselor familiarize himself with the problem that the counselee presents with and be in a better situation of addressing the problem (Welch, 2000).
Once the counselor establishes the surface problem of the counselee, he should start right away by addressing the problem, although it might require a number of sessions to be able to fully address the issue. The counselor also needs to have a wide range of data especially regarding the counselee problem. This may be obtained from the family or close friend of the counselee. The data will be helpful in establishing on what needs to be done in order to effectively address the counselee problem. The counselor also has the responsibility of ensuring that the counselee concerns are addressed effectively (Adams, 1996).
Involvement in the Counseling Process
After establishing the real problem facing the client, one of the next crucial steps during the counseling session is the problem confrontation. Confrontation of the problem will be based on a Biblical diagnosis since the counseling session is based on a Biblical model and also it is carried out in a church setting. Biblical diagnosis is based on the data which has been gathered by the counselor from the counselee. At this time, the counselee establishes the need of having a support group which is either based in the church or outside of the church which will adequately address the issues of the client. The support groups are generally needed in order to address the issues which may need intervention, as well as the influence of the other external individuals. These support groups are widely needed, and since they are highly effective in the counseling process especially in addressing of a number of issues concerning the counseling (Powlison, 2000).
The next step in the counseling session is to work specifically on issues regarding the behavior and the thoughts of the counselee. An outline is then drawn for the counselee to be able to puff and put on a number of processes which the counselee is supposed to implement.
At this point, the counselor presents the word of God to the counselee. If the counselee had not yet given his life to Christ and he is serious of doing so then he will be given some assignments to do. These assignments are aimed at introducing the counselee to the new faith as well as enabling him to keep track in respect to what he does. Assignments act as a way of making the person accountable of his steps, which he ought to take in an effort to solicit change. The counselee ought to take the assignments willingly in order to facilitate his change in behavior especially after the counseling process. These assignments are given in the form of homework whereby the counselee goes with the task to his home (Welch, 2000).
The assignments given to the counselee are then further evaluated at the beginning of each session where another set of new homework is given. This is done in order to establish whether the counselee had been serious in handling of this problem by taking an active part to handle the assignments (Welch, 2002).
Through some guidance of the counseling session, the person is supposed to device ways to handle the assignments. The main aim of these assignments is to help the counselee be able to effectively solve the problems at hand. By handling the assignments in the right manner, the person will be in one way a point further towards solving his problems. Problem solving does not necessarily encompass the efforts of the counselor only, but it calls for the effort of counselee through commitment to the counseling session and also to the assignments provided. Through effective handling of the assignments, the counselee stands at a better chance of having their problem solved and starting a new life (Welch, 2000).
Biblical counseling model, therefore, is one of the models which should be adopted in a number of settings. This model offers all-round concerns with respect to the problems experienced by the counselee. The model provides the client with physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. In the counseling process, the counselor is able to address the physical needs of the patient by evaluating whether the cause of the problem is physical. The counselor also evaluates whether the problem has some emotional cause, with the word of God then being shared with the client and Biblical alternatives are provided with some detailed support from the Bible. This gives the counselee a chance to evaluate his problem as well as address it.
Therefore, through adoption of this model, people requiring counseling session will be advantaged since pastoral services will be provided at the same time. Pastors should adopt this model in their church in order to provide an effective counseling session while at the same time offering guidance to their congregation. This model is used in a church to address a number of issues and problems which may not have been comfortably addressed. This model also has the potential of bringing in new believers in to the church because during the counseling session a person is given an opportunity to be saved since a number of Christian principles are used during the sessions.