Psychology Psychology Journal Article Review: The Bible and the Christian Counselor Assignment


Watch: The Bible in Christian Counseling

Welcome to week five of counseling 5-6. And this first lecture on the subject, the use of the Bible and Christian counseling. Using the Bible is both a necessity and an obligation. If we're calling ourselves christian counselors. The following are some key scriptures for use of the Bible in counseling or not, whether we should use the Scripture, but in what way should Scripture be used? Under what circumstances with which clients? In other words, it's always a mistake to simply decide ahead of time that we have a certain view of the authority of the scripture and that we love and trust the Bible has a foundation for our lives. So we're going to use it in the same way at all times and all places with all clients. That's not at all a very sensitive or professional or even godly way to use the scriptures. The scriptures or the living Word, the logo us, the word of God for all people, for all time. But the scriptures also contain aroma of personal living Word to each person. This is a way we help God. And being conduits through which God can act in a personal way to give a personal word to those clients. We counsel. So the question is, in what ways should Scripture be used, under what circumstances with which clients? The next three questions correlate well with Mick mins earlier map for effective Christian counseling. First, where does the scripture fit in building a healthy sense of client? There are many scriptures that speak to the sense of self, both in a healthy sense and in an unhealthy or fallen sense of self, a selfishness with which people often struggle. Scripture tells us in the great commandment about loving others as we love ourselves. This is an important biblical principle in order to have a healthy sense of self. Next, how do we use the Scripture to nurture a healthy sense of need and the client, how can we help the client see that they are not a sufficient person? And in and of themselves. They knew God. They need God's word and they need God's forgiveness. Then, how do we use the Scripture to be a healing relationships? And what ways do our clients need to know about the grace of God, about reconciliation, about the very specific purpose God has for their lives. And then this fifth question, why am I using the Scripture in this way? At this time? This has to do with counselors self-awareness. Are we using this scripture like this? Because we have carefully discerned. It's in the best interests of the client. Or because this is way we always do things. Perhaps if you really get honest about your motives and using scripture, you may find you're not willing to explore other means. The bible is one of the greatest resources we have, but we must be sure we're not using it for the wrong reasons or motives. Air Johnson has written about the influence of the Bible and Christian counseling and has identified at least nine ways in which the scriptures have an impact on what you do as a Christian counselor. First, the Bible has an influence, a foundational way. For those who revere and trust the Bible as the source of our core beliefs and as a guide for life in practice. It is foundational. It provides our worldview, our presuppositions. Second, the Bible has an experiential influence in counseling is through the Bible that we can look at our experiences and ask, what does this mean? Why did this happen? What purpose does this experience serve? These are often the questions that our clients have. Not so much to say This happened to me, but to say, why did this happen to me? What did this mean? Next? The Bible provides a context for answering questions. It gives a contextual purpose and understanding of what the world is like. When people wondering, what kind of world do I live in? Or when we're trying to understand the nature of human beings. The Bible offers a context for understanding nature and people. Then the Bible is axial illogical, which is a term that refers to the moral or ethical life. The Bible provides a moral program. It defines what is right and wrong. It gives a universal standard for ethical behavior. This is especially important in our present world, where so many people have a relativistic worldview. They're not really sure what is right and wrong. They're not so much immoral, has they are amoral. And then the Bible is anthropological. Johnson states that Scripture provides a metanarrative of humanity, meaning a tails the big story of how all of us yearn to feel a sense of belonging, to feel that we're not the only ones who are going through problems. This is especially true when we're having very painful and problematic experiences. The Bible shows the Big Picture stretching from the beginning in Genesis to the end of all things in the book of revelation. The Bible talks about the common experience we humans have as creative beings. Next, The Bible is canonical. It provides a standard of measure for the truth. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ brought us grace and truth. And that is a fundamental doctrine of elite for Christians in Christ. We have the personification and embodiment of truth. This is a very important consideration in today's context in which the truth is seen as being a personal choice. What's true for me is not necessarily true for you, and vice versa. The Bible provides a standard for all of this. And then the Bible provides a dialogical influence. It is a resource for discussion and comparison with psychology. We should not forget that psychological theories and constructs or human theories and constructs. Often clients have trouble distinguishing between human and psychological theories and ultimate truth. The Bible provides a resource for talking about and comparing those kinds of theoretical issues. And allows us to dialogue with people about truth, universal and timeless, on which they can build their lives. Next, The Bible is creative, a resource for exploring concepts beyond psychology. Finally, and most importantly, the Bible is transformative. It is the living word of God for which we can become new creations. It is through the Bible that God is always working to heal in changes from the inside out. Since there's such a broad influence that the Bible has on counseling, how do we go about using such a powerful tool? Stand gems has given us four strategies that allow us to use the Bible at various levels. One of the obvious ways to use the Bible is to derive techniques directly from the Bible. As an example, if we are working on issues of guilt, we can remember that in Paul's letter to the Philippians, He speaks directly about issues of guilt. He says this, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting was behind in straining toward what does ahead. Press on for the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. As another example, in the Gospel of Matthew, the sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks directly about issues of resentment and forgiveness. He says in Matthew 614 through 1540, forgive men when they sin against you. Your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men and their sense, your Father will not forgive your sins. In a third example, Jesus tells a parable other rich full in the 12th chapter of Luke. He addresses issues of greed and money worries that had been raised by a person in the crowd. These three stories, or just a few examples of the ways the Bible directly addresses human problems. To draw upon those and to apply them in counseling situations can be very helpful when you're dealing with clients who are open to the Bible. For many people, their Bible knowledge is so minimal that the most frequent reaction of clients is one of surprise. They were unaware that the Bible is such a practical and powerful book on these kinds of day-to-day issues and dynamics. A second way to use the Bible and counseling is to draw upon principles that are found in Scripture. Not necessarily direct quotes, but therapeutic principles that are there. For instance, many people trained in the object relations theory believed in the idea of dreams. And that there's a value in analyzing the dreams of their clients has a way of help, helping them to access subconscious issues. This can be seen has a values neutral technique that is supported in Scripture. Remember all the guidance that came from God in the form of dreams to biblical characters. Joseph received a number of dreams. Daniel received messages from Galilee and dreams. Joseph, the stepfather Jesus, received agreeing to leave Israel and go to Egypt, and on and on and on. Next. How often did Jesus take his disciples On a personal retreat away from pressures of life to pray and reflect on God's work and their lives as they walk from town to town. So the notion of using a personal retreat as a therapeutic technique is another example of a principle supported in Scripture. Jesus also use small groups as a strategy of working with a very limited number of people, 12 in particular. And among those dwell, there was an even smaller circle of three whom he befriended in a particular way to disciple and to build them up. The power of small groups is a principle found in scripture. A third level of strategic use of the bible would be to engage in practices that are consistent with biblical principles. For example, we can use the empty chair technique to help clients deal with grief or relational conflicts they've had in their labs. Or to help them express the powerful feelings in a way that is not threatening or inviting clients take aren't. Role-play is another example. These are values neutral techniques that are in no way inconsistent with the Bible. And the fourth level in using the Bible really has to do more with what not to do and counseling, which is to avoid counseling techniques that are inconsistent with scripture. For instance, a Christian Bible believing counselor would never encourage the client to engage in sexual sin as a therapeutic technique or to take revenge against someone who has hurt them or intentionally engage in selfish, self-centered behavior that will hurt themselves or their families. As we reviewed it last week, to the columns found in the metamorphic grade or label spiritual formation principles and biblical references. These columns provide a resource for including the Bible in your counseling work. To the extent that their level of faith will permit. It is important to have our clients involved in biblical reasoning. If we're working with a Christian fly and it is a key principle for growth in their life. What often happens for those who are immature in the faith is to compartmentalize the Bible and the faith resources in their lives. The Bible is not used for understanding and reasoning about live, but has kept out of the counseling sessions. While secular ways of reasoning about problems are used instead. So an important resource we can use with Christian clients is to help them learn to reason biblically about their problems. The biblical reference section of the grid gives you some beginning scripture for doing just that. Depending on the area of human functioning you're dealing with. You simply go to that section related to the area of functioning and you will find some appropriate versus this column also gives you some resources for encouraging clients to meditate upon scriptures and to memorize certain key versus as a way of correcting their faulty thinking and beliefs. One of the most powerful processes in human functioning for good or for bad and our lives has to do with our self talk, with our habitual ways of thinking. Often, when a person is having problems big enough to require counseling, their normal ways of thinking are quite faulty and distorted. Early on in the counseling process, it is important to help your clients identify their areas of visual faulty thinking and beliefs. As an example, remember the verses that speak of the demons that were driven from a man that then return worse than they had been before because they found Laplace empty and clean. It's very important that client be guided to replace their faulty thinking and beliefs with more positive and wholesome and healing ways of thinking. The biblical reference column also provides you with an axial logical reference or standards in the Bible for right and wrong and a canonical reference, which is the standards for truth. Many of our clients questions regarding what they're struggling with, our moral issues. Perhaps they have felt wronged by another person, or perhaps they are engaging in wrongdoing. Perhaps you're not sure what the right thing to do in a situation is. They have come to us for help. So having biblical references are a good beginning places to provide standards to help guide our clients. The last use of the column is related to you. Your life as a counselor is to promote your intra personal formation. If you are going to be counseling other people as your ministry, the number one preparation is your own formation in the spirit of Christ. Your careful study of meditation upon scripture is one of the key resources you have, informing yourself about the spirit of Christ. And then in your clinical practice has you're spending time thinking and praying for clients to use the metamorphic grade as a way of focusing upon some biblical references. That will help you to think about your clients in biblical terms. Have you ever noticed that often or temptation always comes in relation to our strengths? Were never tempted to do something that we're not capable of doing. And the Bible is such a strong resource and counseling that there's a temptation to misuse it. Now I want to point to five potential problems in using the Bible in counseling. A first problem has to do with professional identity issues. Many times people come into counseling, even Christian counseling, after other resources have failed. Have clients come to you who have been to church and have even talked to the pastor, who have listen to sermons over and over and found that it just wasn't enough or it just wasn't helpful at all. So they will come to you, a professional counselor. And if you just use the Bible with them, from their perspective, you're no different than the other resources they've already tried that failed them. They may say, Hey, I thought you were a counselor. Why are you not counseling me? I didn't come here just for you to read the Bible to me. I can do that myself. So it's very important to be aware of what your client's expectations are and to understand how your use of the Bible fits in with your professional identity. A second potential trap is to use the Bible in a preachy way where you do all the talking. And where the Bible is used in overbearing way, preventing rather than promoting dialogue with your clients. A third potential problem is using the Bible as a smokescreen to stay in your safe zone. As a Bible believing Christian, you know, you can count on the Word of God and you know, what that says is true. But this can also be a trap. You could use it as an excuse for failing to meet your clients where they are or to not venture into those areas where you just do not know what to say or do. And you must trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. So you use the Bible to create a buffer zone away from areas you are uncomfortable dealing with. Then there's less chance for risky things to happen, such as the client crying or just pouring out their feelings, or becoming very angry, or engaging in other unpredictable behavior. The fourth potential problem has to do with over-confidence. Overconfidence is always a trap. We know we can count on God's word, but we must be very careful about always counting on ourselves. The Bible in its application is an interpretive process. So we have to be very careful to not just slap a Bible verse onto someone's problems or make a comment on something because we assure the Bible supports us. Without reflecting on the context of the verse. We have to show some wisdom, humility, not over-confidence. The fifth potential problem is overreliance on the Bible. This may sound strange since we, as Christians, depend on God's living warden or lives. But it is quite possible to rely excessively on the Bible and counseling when other strategies may be more helpful to the client at that moment. This is one of the reasons that you have been provided the metamorphic integrative counseling grid. You are given some biblical resources. But also on the same page, you have references to counseling theories and psychological techniques that are used in a way that conform to the Word of God in the healing of God's people. Now look over again, which you've learned about using the Bible and counseling. And please keep reviewing thin metamorphic grid to become as familiar as possible with this excellent tool.

Watch: Using the Bible for Spiritual Formation

Welcome to the second lecture in week 5 of counseling 500 six. This time we're going to focus on principles related to using the Bible for spiritual formation. It is critical that Christian counselors read the Bible on a regular basis. That we have some sort of daily rule for a quiet time and reading the Bible. But for all of us, we can always become better students of the marble. And we can all learn better ways to use the Bible as an open door for God to form us more into the image of Christ. This is also true for our clients for whom we know that the Bible can be a life changing experience. They will need some specific guidance about how to study the Bible. While we hope that none of our clients will be spiritually mature. And their use of the Bible, counseling is an opportunity to show them better ways in which to use the scriptures and how they come alive and can become a tool for their spiritual formation. Let's look at the formative idea of reading the Bible. Now this is not the same as informative reading. When you do your personal Bible study. That can be seen has informative reading. However, when we engage in personal bible reading, this is more formative for us. Here. We're not so much interested in knowing what the Bible says, as in learning what the Bible says to us. So it is important to know that formative reading of the Bible is less like reading a textbook. More like reading a letter from a close friend. When we read a letter from a close friend, we enjoy the feeling of it. We meditate upon it. We save those letters and savor the words. We look for. The meaning between the lines. Reading the Bible is more like that. We want to know what the Bible says about our lives. Or not just reading the Bible, but allowing the Bible to read us. To be asking as you move through the Scripture, what does this say about me? Where's my life? Whereas my part of this story, as you can see, when you read in this way, you cannot be rushing through because to read formatively is not to read for volume. It is to read for the quality of the experience, not the quantity of how many chapters you can cover in a single sitting. This means it may be just averse or two. And then reading those versus many times. Sometimes it may be just a word that grabs your attention through which God is speaking to you. It is learning to a bad. Really abide with God. Also, reading the scriptures formatively is an experience of receiving. As a counselor, you spin your day giving and giving and giving. Sometimes to the point that you have nothing more to give. For many of the clients that you see, their lives are completely spend. They feel that they are being pulled down by forces all around them. This may come from major stresses or being in dysfunctional relationships or because of overwhelming addictions may also come from trying to deal with any mental health problems they have, such as depression or anxiety, that have become like bandages in which they are now stuck. They need more than anything else to receive grace and guidance and transformation of the heart. This is what the experience of formative reading is really all about. We do face some significant obstacles to formative reading. These are habits of thought, of the heart, of attitudes that get in the way of a fresh experience of God's Spirit through the word. Sometimes we approach the Bible with unrealistic expectations. Such as when we're trying to use the scripture in a way that it was not designed to be used. For example, the Bible talks about biblical personalities, but we would not use it as a textbook on personality. Our expectations need to be that God is going to speak to our hearts, but that it will not have a magical quality to it. God will exercise the spirits freedom, speak to us, has E sees fit. Sometimes we get impatient for results. We won't instant results in everything we do. Now this is a very common quality you find in clients who come for counseling. They want to meet with you want or at most twice, and find answers to the problems that they had been troubled with for years. They expect a few good words from you. A Bible verse here or there, a prayer, and they're fixed and done. That is not the way that the problems are solved. And it is rarely the way God works. Let's be honest. Sometimes we're just lazy. We have become complacent, which results in a spiritual deafness. Regarding God's word. It's when we pick up the Bible to read that it's just empty words to us on the page. Deep learnings and deep truths of life cannot be learned overnight. They can't be learned by hearing them one time. They require spiritual discipline. They require a return to the word over and over. As you're working with clients, informative reading. One of the keys is to help them develop beginning discipline. Even just five minutes a day to learn to spend time in the Word of God. Sometimes we're not able to engage in formative reading because we have control issues, were unable to let go. And so we start trying to use the Bible as a tool to solve all of our problems. And it is not that we're trying to learn to give control of our lives to God. But we are trying to use the word of God as one more tool for us to stay in control and to control our own problems. Sometimes we have what the desert teachers referred to as the appreciative desires. Desires like competing and comparing and analyzing, or excessive attachments to consolations. We just won't. So I'm going to take care of us or to have things airway. Often were just plain exhausted. Sometimes one of the most spiritual things that post-modern Americans can do is to take an app. You may feel that yourself, as you do this class, while having a job, raising a family, having a life, you must take good care of yourself as you can. So as you read the Bible, if you find that there is just not an openness to it, or you just find that it is a lifeless page for you. It may be that you are simply exhausted from an overactive life. Sometimes we deny our limitations. We can have a tendency to believe we're more able to do things and have more understanding than we really do. We may need a dose of humility when we come to the word of God to realize that God can teach us, but we will never teach God. Sometimes we are over serious, or we prejudge the scriptures. We think we know what it says, or that we must figure out everything that is in the Bible. There are many troubling texts that scholars have tried to understand for years with no easy resolution. But we must believe that God is revealing it to us day by day, moment by moment. So it is important to let go of that kind of attitude towards the scriptures. Now that we've talked about obstacles, Let's look at some positive conditions to formula of reading. Positive qualities, such as humility gives us an openness, a teachability, and a realism about the Bible. And important first for our consideration here is God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. We also need patients. Formative reading is reading and rereading. It is waiting upon God. It is to believe in the mini promises in the Bible that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Positive respect for the Bible initiates positive respect for God. And obedient spirit is an important positive condition. It goes right along with trust in God, knowing that God is able and that God is working. There is also the knowledge that we can let go of our strict reliance on ourselves and not feel that we have to figure everything out or think everything through until it makes sense. Informative. Reading. A positive condition is to trust the Holy Spirit. Goddess has, God sees fit, and to loosen our reliance on our own intellect and analysis. One thing we can be sure to expect is the experience of grace. So for each text we come to, we know it is good news in some way. Now the opposite condition of complacency is persistence. And to not give into boredom, even when the biblical text you are reading does not seem to be the most exciting. For instance, reading through numbers may not be as interesting has reading through Genesis. But both books serve a purpose. Reading the Bible formatively requires courage. It requires the willingness to ask the hard questions about how to apply it to our daily lives. The last positive condition when reading is to have attitudes of hopefulness and joyfulness. To be ready to receive whatever God is going to give you, to expect a surprise, to believe that God is going to do something in the here and now that exceeds anything you might have thought about. Or some protestant Christians, the very word meditation raises warning alarms because meditation has been spoken of in New Age and spiritual materials that are not connected with Christianity. But meditation is a Christian practice that is spoken of and described often in the Bible. Christian meditation is distinguished by the goal of not to get in touch with ourselves, but to get in touch with God. As this almost wrote, blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of centers, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. And on his law, he meditates day and night. Christian meditation is really a change from our usual pattern of seeking to get to the bottom line and of getting answers on our schedule. It is weighting of dwelling, of gently receiving. It requires getting still enough to be able to listen to God. Now this can be a very therapeutic technique with clients who are struggling with chronic anxiety by helping them day by day to learn to relax. And God, one of the widely used techniques and counseling has to do with relaxation techniques. And relaxation responses. And these can be very helpful. They are values neutral techniques that can be used in Christian counseling. But the next level for clients who have learned to relax a little is to teach them that to meditate on the Lord. To do Christian meditation is something that we'll refresh their spirit and helps them to learn how to listen to God. In Christian meditation, we become mindful of the sacredness of everyday life. We begin to see God at work. In the simplest things around us. The sun and wind on our faces. The stars in the sky at night. Animals moving in the forest. The beauty of the trees and the flowers and the grass around us. Christian meditation involves learning to let go of the need to always understand in favor of trust in God's character and promises. A common complaint of clients and counseling is that they just want to understand. Take for example, a client who comes for counseling to deal with the grief, anger, and depression at having suddenly lost their spouse. Often someone in such a circumstance will say, I just want to understand why. But some things are not going to be understood, at least not immediately. Krishna meditation is an important technique for helping people to relinquish that need to understand in favor of trusting that God is working and that he has only the best in mind for us. Finally, Christian meditation is an important way to overcome our preoccupation with clock time and to learn to relax. Many of us have an urgency addiction. We spend much of our time rushing around with more commitments than we can possibly honor. And that living in such an urgent, frantic way becomes a way of life similar to an addiction. In Christian meditation, we intentionally let go of urgency and the distractions in our lives and simply focus upon the Word of God. To finish up this segment, one last thing is to begin to find a helpful and brief scripture. You can teach your clients to memorize and on which they can meditate. If they're not prepared to memorize it. You can write it out on a little flashcard for them and they can use it in that way. One such scripture is Psalm 42, tin be still and know that I am God. Short. And to the point. I hope this lecture on the use of the Bible for spiritual formation has been helpful to you as a counselor. And we'll provide some helpful resources for your clients.