The Confusion With Counseling
A common question from many is “do I need counseling?” Biblically, we all need to change and get some help at times because each of us is imperfect. We are “beautifully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139), but we also battle wrong thoughts, wrong attitudes and wrong behaviors.
The Reality Of Counseling
Counseling is a limited process. No other person, including a counselor, can fix us. It’s concerning, too, when we dont know to what standard they are fixing us. Do they believe the Bible, just parts of the Bible, or no Bible at all? Often we place such a high value on education but we fail to note the origins of this education.
Psychology has some great thoughts and ideas. However its foundation and progressions are one failed theory placed over another failed theory invented by man, and yet the animal of experiment is man, the counselee.
It’s important to know this person in whom we are placing trust for life changes and decisions.
Have you noticed that despite the increasing numbers of therapies and medications, people seem to be no better off? With the supposed advancements scientifically, improvements on the mental and emotional health fronts are cloudy and rarely seen. Apart from this, despite popular belief, psychology is not a science.
Medications for mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder tend to be experimental and can have severe side effects. Side effects are often more severe than the disorder.
Education, Psychology and Christianity
While we applaud education, we should not believe that the Bible can be improved. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is used to teach us what is true and and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
Wow! Free therapy from one whose standard never changes. Most of us have a Bible some where in our homes! We dont have to leave home, and we can save thousands of dollars if we just take this book and start applying it to our lives.
Many behavioral and mood disorders are not scientifically proven. Diagnosis is often by the completion of a questionnaire, sometimes done verbally as you sit in the doctor’s office. The human mind is difficult to define, and it is not the brain as many assume.
I applaud counselors and science as they endeavor to make our lives easier. But God, as our creator, knows us better than any counselor.
Keys To Apply
1. The best answer is in taking responsibility for one’s own behaviors and weaknesses, and being aware that you can make changes. We dont have to play victim to wrong thoughts and emotions. This is a relief. We can change.
2. As previously said, counseling has a place. When in emotional pain, it is great to meet regularly with one who helps us move through this experience. Loss, divorce, major illness, marriage and family difficulties are all examples of when we could see a counselor. However there should be an end to the process, rather than a dependency on the counselor.
3. If you are a Christian, your counselor should be willing to work with your pastor. The counseling relationship is new and usually consists of hourly sessions each week or so. Having the input of your pastor will speed up the healing process.
4. If your counselor spends much time looking into your past, it might be better to go elsewhere. Again Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead. The reward is in the future (3:14) and not in the past. Visiting the past seems only to cripple us, dredge up pain and be negative for our present situations.
5. As much as integrationism is popular these days, it’s a difficult process. While psychology has its positives and counselors are genuine, it is not easy to mesh manmade theories with godly principles. For example, some counselors will stress the importance of self-love, and yet Ephesians 5 states that none of us hate ourselves. God says to love God and to love others. There is no emphasis on loving oneself, and yet today’s counselors often emphasize this.
6.If you are prescribed medication, don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding side effects and longterm effects. Meanwhile, realize too that many of these diseases for which you are taking medication are not scientifically proven. This does not mean that you do not take medication, but it is important to be knowledgeable regarding your situation.
7. Dont just sit back regarding your situation. You are able to make changes yourself. You are not necessarily a victim of a disease, but a person that is created by God. He knows you better than any other. For this key, ask friends to help you change. For example, if diagnosed with situational depression, give them permission to speak into your life in those moments when you are becoming self absorbed or are spending too much time alone.
8. Do not gloss over this point. Take your Bible, read it, practice it and be aware that you will see results in your life.