Is Christian Counseling A Valid Form Of Counseling?

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Please may you excuse my unedited thoughts as I typed them out on this blog post, which I may want to edit later.

I found a blog post that caught my eye, entitled, “Beware of Christian Counselors” by an Ohio man named Bruce Gerencser.

It caught my eye because of the title which led me to believe that Christian counselors may not reflect values, principles and teachings of the bible.  As we know, many churches have fallen away from the faith and are teaching false doctrines ranging from the New Apostolic Church, to gay teaching from the “Queen James Bible”, or the Unity Church, Church of Scientology and others.  Who knows what mixture of humanistic, new-age and other forms of pagan religions are out there these days?

So I read the blog post thinking I had found an ex-counselor like myself who has been trained and working toward licensure, I was surprised to learn that he had been a pastor in a few churches and had found in his life’s journey that he did not believe in God any more; he had become atheist.  He shared his gripes about pastoral counseling and the negative experiences he had learned about it’s being used.  His story had an unexpected twist.  I fully did not expect this as I began reading.

He brings up a quote from Wikipedia’s definition of Nouthetic counseling;

“The aim of Nouthetic Counseling is to effect change in the counselee by encouraging greater conformity to the principles of Scripture.”

He brings up an example of a woman who receives counseling from a pastor who does not share her “egalitarian beliefs” and how her pastor’s goal is not her help her but to “get her to conform to certain theological beliefs”.

I don’t understand what’s bad about learning correct eschatology.  But, when it comes to pastoral counseling where I’m told one is to “be the love of Jesus in the room”, it is a hard concept to grasp.  After all, Jesus did teach people the wrong ways of their lives, he gave his life for all of us and threw the money-changers out of the temple.  But, he was not a “counselor” per se.  His whole reason for being was to teach that we have all sinned and needed to be forgiven, and He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life to do that.  His love was so great that he died for all so that we may be forgiven and live in heaven one day after the body died.

There are issues here about how counseling is used in the world today.  Counseling has become somewhat blurred the way the bible has; Christian counseling does not exist, other than to explain the gospel and hope that a person will seek God out.  God gives life and is the Creator and knows best what mankind needs; we do not.  Yet the bible is used as a form of counseling “support” in that certain bible verses get used to “heal” a person, but that is not what the bible is about at all.  Jesus healed but did so as a way to prove that he was truly God in the flesh, and referred to himself as being “God’s Son” which meant to the Jews that he was God and of God that they knew about in the Pentateuch.

God’s Holy Spirit comes from the belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, understanding who he was when he was on earth and who he is today.  It is a gift from the Lord Jesus, and is given to those who truly believe in Him as Savior and Lord, none other and who has the gift of telling a person in so many ways that they must do this or that, I believe, as we are drawn to do the right thing in a matter.  This blog cannot begin to explain how God moves us to be good in our words and deeds, nor how we are given strength to get through our toils on earth, and on and on…

I am telling you only a very elementary description of God’s Holy Word and how he saved us from our sin if we want to know and be near to Him.

It seems that Pastoral counseling can give support to marriages and single people alike but the goal is to bring people to a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, ultimately.  God is the great Counselor among other gracious things, in his loving kindness and as our loving Father and Holy Spirit that guides us.  They are One.

Counseling is best done by someone who is wizened to the fact that everyday counseling done by counselors out in the field are not trained in the works of the Lord.  They do not know God and so have a limited understanding of how to heal someone.

Now some of you are snickering; mankind cannot “heal” people – it is Our Creator who is the one who heals people, because he created us, and mankind can only prescribe helpful and supportive treatments.  But the body’s magic in it’s healing is not inspired by mankind; it is the Creator who put the healing properties in humankind’s bodies and He alone can take our health away and/or make us heal right.  If He doesn’t, He may be taking the side of the person who wishes to go without God in his life, or he may have another reason, that we don’t know about to make a person not heal.  

In his Word he rewards us with healing, prosperity or punishes us by letting us go farther from Him in people’s sin, because personal choice is afforded to all humankind.

What this blogger misses is that the Bible is not about Social Justice, nor is it about healing done by mankind, but is about how Jesus told mankind about their sins, and that he would take their sins upon himself and die on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven for being the sinners that every one of us is.

He paid the price for all of our sins and gave us Himself, by his Grace and our faith in Him alone, to forgive us and cleanse us from sin, so that we may live on for eternal life in His presence, instead of being separated from His love for us, and for eternity.

Counseling, in today’s world is based upon an atheistic view and that is not compatible with Christian faith.  Every topic that a person comes in to see a counselor for is most probably going to be the result of a person’s sinful natures since we are all born into sin.  No one understands sin really being that they only label homosexuality or abortion as sins.  They don’t understand all the hatefulness in a person’s heart that is at the base of all sin.  Hatefulness is rebelliousness against God’s love and direction.  Understand Eve’s fall in the book of Genesis and you’ll see more about her rebellion against God’s instruction.  The instruction He gave out of love of his children.

My point about counseling today is that with all one is taught in counseling school, on the one hand, being there to listen to someone’s pain with empathy, offering support and maybe resources is all well and good, but a kind person can do that.  Learning to sit for long hours providing your personal attention, care and learning some of the tools of counseling while being paid to do so may also be found helpful to some – or many people.  

What is counseling meant to do?  Ultimately, as a counselor you walk with a counselee (or client) to help them solve an issue: a behavioral problem in themselves or a family member, having suicidal tenancies, self-harm, addiction, emotional problems, or whatever.  You come up with a treatment plan, or a “care plan”, and then you assign tasks or homework, you listen and provide helpful feedback or ask gentle probing questions so that a client looks at the logic of what they are saying.  There are millions of such tools in a counselor’s toolbox if they have the right experience, and are intelligent and seasoned, caring “therapists”.  

But what happens with the person the next time they run into an issue that becomes overwhelming or they need someone to “bounce things off of”?  These are things which they learn to go to a human for advice and therapy.  How much does it help?  Maybe it brings some temporary relief but who is the Creator of all mankind?  Why would our Creator be the one left out of a counseling session?

More can be said here but I’ll add another issue which brought me to a crossroads about quitting being a counselor:  clients who have issues which I cannot support them in that go against my Christian faith.  How would I be able to help them?  Clients seeking abortions, or are “transitioning” to the opposite sex, or problems in their same-sex marriage or becoming a same-sex attracted person, would be some examples of those clients which I could not help walk their path.  I could not condone those things.

So, getting back to the blog post that intrigued me in the beginning.

He felt counseling is done by mankind, as if mankind can solve all the problems brought to them but with no Jesus Christ to invite into their lives.

Again, the bible is not a manual for how to counsel people.  It shows us who God is, what Jesus did on the cross for us and why we need Him.  It does not tell us we are to solve problems of others on our own.  It is a book for the believers to know and trust God, the One True God and it’s not about social justice warriors, social issues of the day nor what we ought to do with our children who want to change their genders. 

It definitely is not about how God is a lesbian, gay man or about homosexuality as being a way to marriage, definitely not!  People have turned the bible into all kinds of things because of the sin in everyone’s life and in the world from the beginning of mankind in the Garden, but because people don’t know the bible, they can get away with saying all kinds of things that are made up versions and published versions by mankind.  The same mankind who want to become counselors teaching empty bible verses and applying them on today’s problems like a fortune cookie quote would.  That’s about the extent of it.

In the blog article I read I may have been a bit misled by the title but now I’m afraid I’m a bit mad at how the author bashed the Word of God, as if knowing God and reading the bible could not help someone – yet it can.  He may not have been a true believer in the first place and so has turned to the worldly ways of mankind to help him get through some of his problems.  But God’s blueprint for learning his ways and who he is is found in the bible as we read more and learn more through the Holy Spirit that guides us.  If you don’t know the bible and don’t truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, how can you tell us what is possible through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ who has given so much to us all and promises eternal life with Him?  Sure we will be tested through life, but his strength delivers us in a manner that strengthens our knowledge of Christ, if you believed.

Otherwise, a kind, worldly unbeliever may be the band-aid to help you through tough times.  He may be used by the Holy Spirit to help someone, as it is God’s desire that all men are saved, but some will not be because they fail to seek and truly want to know God.

Pastoral counseling is really a person that knows God, can kindly advise and pray for someone and teach them in ways to seek Christ in their trials.  That is the best way to start helping someone, by encouraging their faith in Christ Jesus.   Becoming a state-licensed therapist and then calling yourself a “Christian counselor” does not make sense because you are still using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, or “DSM” which was created by atheist/agnostic unbelievers in Christ Jesus who were against God and so developed their criteria of what mental illness is.  Putting a state license first using diagnostic criterion by unbelieving psychiatrists who do not know God should not be the criteria to treat or help a person with mental health issues.

The mind is the workings of the person’s very soul, being and identity.

We are embodied spirits and inspirited bodies, (or, if you will, embodied minds and minded bodies). (Anonymous, 2003)

Psychiatry doesn’t have the ability to treat the mind of a person since they can’t locate the specific pieces of a mind that may need treatment.  Doctors are not able to pinpoint the breath of life that God gave us, firstly in Adam, then in Eve.  They give overall generalities of behaviors or bizarre ideas of people and label these as “symptoms” of a diseased mind or one that is “sick” in some way in books like the DSM or other medical texts.

Here we get into their ideas of causation and medical treatments including counseling which do address those symptoms but do not exactly “heal” a person.  A person’s soul and human behavior are seen as the person’s nature which is viewed differently in the Christian life vs. secular life.  Secularists view the person’s soul in as many personal views of each person’s such as something that will be reincarnated as another animal or life, or is an unexplained part of a person’s life that is inside of their physical body.  It is not attributed to being the part of a person that goes to the arms of the Lord when the person’s body dies, which is what true Christians believe.

Christians have a definite belief about a person’s soul and a person’s very soul is intimately tied to their mental faculties, feelings, ideas and capabilities.  Whether or not they sin has to do with their being a believer or not; a believer will be led away from sin.  While Christians walk the earth they are cleansed mentally and in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.  This does not happen in the secular world.  God is a Holy God and we are being made ready for when we die and reach heaven through the Lord Jesus Christ.

So the mind and heart of a person may be wrongfully led and counseling can endorse rebellion against the Creator who made all life.  If you are seeking help my advice would be seek God first and find healing and peace and rest in His love for you, since that is the way in which God created humans in his Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve walked as friends of God’s.  

We are not higher in knowledge than our Creator.  He has the way and is the light to follow in our trials here on earth.

There is so much more to be written about secular counseling and Christian counseling.  These are only my musings of today although I have had many thoughts about my life as a former counselor and what led me to become one before I became a believer.  It makes one wonder…

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references:

https://www.masters.edu/news/biblical-counseling-v-pyschology.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115284/

Sin, Spiritual Death, and Christ Jesus

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I found myself looking back upon working as a mental health clinician and how we were trained to work with clients. Seeing a video today called, “A Different Kind of Force–Policing Mental Illness” made me think about how being a Christian creates a new perspective on the problems related to a person’s mental health and why I left the field. Continue reading

Addiction To Heroin Should Be Treated As A Serious Mental Illness: Make Mandatory Treatment A Requirement

addict-2713620_640My concern with homelessness is that most people are addicted to some form of alcohol or drugs, or both.  Many videos I have watched on homelessness report that a growing addiction of the homeless is to fentanyl, an opiate that is 50 times stronger than heroin where the addicted must use in order to keep from feeling sick much more often than if they were on heroin.  Continue reading

Mental Health Treatment That Excludes Jesus Christ

trees1Psychology is not a pure “science” as we know it.  It is based upon man’s perceptions of what is normal behaviors and feelings, upon their social norms and morals, and what is known about science at the time they are seeking treatments, including medications, for their clients.

The field of psychology cannot explain what goes on in a human brain that leads to a person’s behaviors.  It has been explained in a master’s degree level psychology course that “psychology is a type of science, but is also an art”, because mental illness and brain activity which may cause mental illnesses and behaviors are not truly understood. 

Medications are only testing grounds for the doctors who prescribe them.  They may work for a short time to help a person feel better but may cause them to act out violently or feel suicidal, or may not work at all in helping a person feel well.  Doctors frequently change medications and their doses that only serve to mask symptoms at best.  It is thought that some people may have to remain on psychotropic medications for the rest of their lives in order to function, but that they will probably not be cured.  People are left waiting for the next new drug in hopes of being made well.

Labels are used in mental health treatment which are often given a client in therapy based on their feelings.  If enough feeling-related symptoms are cited by a client they become diagnosed according to the criteria cited in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is the “bible” of mental health practitioners and doctors.

In the courts, unacceptable behaviors get explained away by a description of some earlier life’s experience, such as being mistreated in some way as a child which often times are offered as justifications for why a person did some criminal behavior, in order to sway a judge to hand down lessor sentences.

Behaviors can be explained away by how a person “feels” at the time.  Anger, depression, sadness, can be described as the basis for why a person behaves badly.  Seeking medication can seem to be the “cure” for feelings being expressed, presumably to inhibit further misbehaviors.

These man-man treatments leave out God – Our Lord Jesus Christ – from all equations in treating mental health.  Unless you go to a Christian therapist or doctor you may not find any words about Jesus and the bible included in your treatment in mental health therapy.  Even then, most mental health practitioners are licensed under state laws.  You must pass the exams of the state licensing behavioral boards of science in order to practice, or be working on a license, or have a licensed supervisor who holds authority over what you are able to do in the field.

As we know, state licensed mental health clinicians of any kind do not have to have any experience in knowing Jesus; they do not study the bible to learn anything about Christ, or how he teaches us to obey God according to Scripture.

As I write this post which seems ragged around the edges because I’m sitting in the public library, it is hard to imagine how anyone can be a healer in mental health and offer treatment without any guidance from God; Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Catagorizing Satan’s Tricks Of The Mind

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Today I was reading a psychologist’s blog post who categorized what biases we have in thinking, and called them “cognitive biases”.  This psychologist, which will remain unnamed, listed several ways that people make the wrong judgements about things so that they are fooled by one thing or another.

He first begins by saying that with all the thoughts running in our heads that “our judgment would be highly accurate but that’s far from the case.”

It seems to me that this man does not know God and is exactly why I jumped out of psychology wondering how I would pay the student loans back.

Forgive me God, for my sin of thinking man’s accurate opinions of why we act and think as we do is something we can “cure” right off the bat or prescribe meds for.  A few sessions and you’re done and that’s all it takes, is what I thought.  If one wanted to heal and improve themselves, just giving the time of day to a therapist is the cure… admitting one’s mistakes, doing writing assigments or journaling, or some therapy or other and telling the therapist secrets and emotions one is having will help cure a person.

Certainly having friends to talk to in an emotional time can be helpful.  But friends are not what cures.  Only Jesus can. 

Here are some Scripture verses I found quickly doing a google search of bible verses about mental health.  I am sure there are many more than these:

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delight in him; – Psalm 37:23

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight. – Proverbs 3:6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

In this article, there are 13 types of bias that cloud the thinking.  As I said, this is written by a man studied in the world of man-made psychology, who studied like I did, wanting to know the inner workings of man’s mind, and try to heal it.

Some examples the psychologist used to describe biases in one’s thinking are:

The decoy effect, where one makes choices by judging an extreme, then taking what’s in the middle, when they know it costs too much, as a rationale for allowing themselves to buy an expensive thing that they normally wouldn’t have.  The example in this case is when a car dealer shows you a much more expensive car than you would be able to buy and rationalizes that the mid-level, but yet still too expensive car that costs less isn’t so bad a buy.  So you buy the mid-range car, instead of buying a less-expensive car that would be more in line with your budget.

The affect heuristic effect, where we base our decisions on our emotions.  He gives an example of a number of people who have died due to a disease as seeming more horrible than given as a percentage, which was not a clear picture of the number of deaths as the number 1,286 was.  The number of dead people aroused much more emotions in people than the percentage did of 24.24%.  People couldn’t picture that percentage as much so didn’t have the higher emotional response.

These are but two examples of the catagories he has given to some biases poeple have.  Of course, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that people use to diagnose mental illness in people is a catalogue of symptoms people can report over a long period of time. 

The DSM is full of changing diagnostic attributions or symptoms, called “disorders”, making its way through time as social standards and ideas of acceptable behaviors, feelings, emotions, ways of identifying oneself, calling them “traits” which may be deleted with new versions of the DSM or can change in degree of importance and accuracy over time.  Diagnostic “V” codes can be added or subtracted, depending on how many people on deciding boards who edit the DSM into new versions every so often are convinced that a thought process, or some kind of issue a person has, should be categorized as being “not-normal” and relates to mental illness.

The problem as I see it is; unless it is an organic problem, it is a tumor that makes a person act strange, then the mental health diagnostics used are based on man’s ideas or concepts of what mental illnesses are.

They do not have the guidance of God; it is a Godless industry, created by man.

The bible did not have Jesus diagnosing mental illnesses.  He said the person was inhabited by demons or upset tummies were treated by drinking a little wine to settle the stomach.  There were not categories of how sick a person was, no variety of types of mental issues.  There was sin and there were the demons and everything else would have been a medical condition causing a person difficulty; people have sores, the lame, the blind and the like.

Everything was healed by God; Jesus healed many but not all, but he showed that he was God.  He performed healing miracles and brought people from the dead to life with people witnessing these things.  He proved he walked as one with the Father who created mankind and universe.  See my Basic Gospel No One Told Me When I Was A Non-Believer.

I have come to know Jesus and have followed the path of belief and trust in His wisdom, and it seems He is appealing to me that the field I got into and practiced as a mental health clinician was sadly wrong, and not the right path for the mind.  A favorite passage I refer to is;

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Everything else is man’s concept of the reality of life and is not the way of God, and the field of psychology cannot know the wisdom and reality of God’s wisdom, power and healing strength.  It just falls short and may have been invaded by Satan’s lies.  In fact, I’m a believer that it is the realm of the devil now and has no basis in the reality of what may be happening to a person’s mind – and health.

Mental health has been a real interest of mine, but as I have said before, when I entered the field I had no concept of the Lord Jesus Christ, really.  I may have wanted to help poeple heal and I had a sympathetic heart, but I needed God to show me the reality of a person’s soul.  They are not saved and so will fall into eternal judgment and God’s punishment.  They need to know God; the Lord Jesus Christ, who really heals and promises a sound mind through His Holy Spirit who resides within us; true believers of Jesus Christ.

Prayers are needed that more will come to the reality of God and the Son who walked the earth for us, to save us from our sin and from being bought, led, and taken over by Satan.

Christians View Of Healthcare: Are We Sick From Our Past Sin? Christ’s Teaching Provides Answers That Secular Doctors Deny

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“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?….” 1 Corinthians 6:19

People suffering from mental illness meet many challenges in getting help for their issues.  Concordia (2016) reports that “approximately one in five American adults experience mental illness each year.”  That’s 18% of the population, with children ages 8-15 being severely mentally ill at some point during their young lives making up 13% of the population.  That’s a lot of Americans suffering from mental illness, and serious mental distress among the American population is increasing, according to a blog called “Health”. (2017).

So how is it that so many people are left with little to no resources to help them in their fight against their mental illnesses?  The “Health” blog reports that people have not had easy access to mental health treatment options because the healthcare industry is complex, and the number of healthcare providers has not kept up with the need, yet there are conflicting reports that have mental health treatment options easier to access due to Obamacare.  Which view is correct and accurately describes the problem in our country’s secularistic domination of our health treatment programs?

“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20

What can Christians do to escape the stranglehold of pharmaceutical companies that treat for symptom-management but don’t quite heal a person from their mental or physical illnesses?

Don’t be impressed with your all wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you’ll gain renewed health and vitality. – Proverbs 3:7-8 

American health care has forced citizen’s into paying into the federal government, and at a hefty price, to fulfill the laws surrounding the requirement of having medical health coverage.  No longer are our treatments for mental or physical health a choice made by the people, but this is government-run.  Healthcare insurance companies and treatments for mental illness are not our choice, but are legally mandated by insurance companies that make us pay for federal government-run health care at hefty prices.  Otherwise we risk paying a fine at the end of the year if caught without healthcare insurance.

If you believe like I do that mental health treatment is barbaric, and non-caring about the person’s well-being, you may cringe at the thought of having someone sent to a health care treatment provider who prescribes pills for all the maladies that a person has.  No longer is there compassion, or real caring for such persons.  If there were, facilities would allow Jesus Christ into the treatment providing scenario. 

Jesus is the only true healer of the body and mind.  He cares enough to offer us redemption from our sins and can heal us from the damages of that sin.  He is the only Way, Truth and Life we have, and for that I am grateful.

There is no health in my bones because of my sin. – Psalm 38:3b

Sin take its toll on the human body and mind and can create devastating illness in the body.  Why isn’t Jesus spoken of in healthcare treatment? 

Secular humanism has taken it’s toll.  We are not healed by secular humanism.  Secular humanists do not even believe in Our God, and the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our Heavenly Father is the creator of mankind and blew life into the first man, Adam, after creating his body from dust (Genesis 2:7).  How can mankind think he knows more than Christ?

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?….” 1 Corinthians 6:19

It is man’s arrogance and greed that produces medical practices such as the pharmaceutical companies we are required to pay for in order to fulfill the healthcare laws of this country.  Like the Nazi’s of Hitler’s Germany, we are forced to comply.  Like in Hitler’s days of medicine, it has stayed godless and Hitler is a fine example of what medicine can do in the sickness industry, for it is not the medical health industry.  

I can no longer work in an industry that promises health but only offers godless health treatments for those who suffer in silence, and for those suffering from mental illness who can’t find answers to their maladies in our mental health treatments today.