Utilize Faith Resources to Counsel People Better

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 @ 11:30 AM

Whatever the nature of problems clients bring us in Counseling, most, if not all, clients are struggling with life issues of meaning and purpose.  Depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, anger problems---all of these specific concerns point to clients trying to make sense of life in the midst of what N.T. Wright calls a “sad and wicked world.”

As Christian Counselors what do we have to offer these clients suffering in their pain?  What does the counseling context offer that is singular, helpful and healing?

     Faith Resources in Counseling

  1. Scripture.  Active and direct use of scriptures is helpful  for client self-understanding.  For example,  a depressed per-son has often understood him/herself better through reflection on Psalm 55, vss.4-8: “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.  Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.  I said, ‘Oh, that I had  the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest---I would flee far away and stay in the desert…I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”  Or, an anxious, worrying person may find comfort in Psalm 46:1 : “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Or, the client suffering prolonged loss and grief may be strengthened in these supportive words from Revelation 21:4:“God will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

  2. Prayer.  Drawing upon biblical and faith resources, again, our clients can benefit from the presence of prayer in our counseling efforts.  Two kinds of prayer expression can be used.  In session, counselors can pray with and for clients, focusing on the client’s current problems.  Additionally, clients can be encouraged to pray in a specific way between sessions, e.g., praying he Lord’s Prayer while in the midst of struggles with problems, praying prayers developed by the client and counselor to address and work on healing of the pain of client problems.  Discussion and exploration of these prayers as aid to change in counseling can then form an ongoing dimension of counseling.

  3. Meditation.  Various types of meditation can be used but our basic aim is to offer some type of meditation based in the Christian faith worldview.  We can encourage the client to spend regular, dedicated time daily to meditate on the phrase“Jesus is Lord” or a similar line of thinking such as “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”: Philippians 4:13.  Furthermore, clients can be introduced to guided imagery in which a pleasant scene can be imagined andthen held in the client’s mind as a means of reducing stressand pain.  Included in this meditative direction a mountain scene or an island setting can consistently be re-created totry to teach the client how to quiet his/her mind, emotions and behavior.  In regard to this latter development of meditation, a book such as How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan could be an excellent resource.

In all of these ways, therefore, faith resources can be utilized in the ongoing process of counseling our clients.

References: N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, Harper Collins,Lawrence LeShan, How to Meditate, Little Brown & Co.