The Psychology of Biblical Counseling

ABSTRACT

This project gives a detailed descriptive background summary of the various psychotherapeutic theories, the participants of the school of thoughts, and the Christian critique of each. It gives a cognitive application of counseling through the delineation of its ambivalent definition and the credential of the therapists for counseling and psychotherapy explaining the contrast between counseling and psychotherapy. It discusses the emotional application of counseling and the student’s chosen school of thought with detailed explanation indicating the rationale and the validity of its usage for integration into biblical counseling method and gives references to substantiate the claim. It gives delineation on psycho-motor application of biblical counseling discussing prominent, behavioral, developmental, and interpersonal issues and gives the biblical therapies for each category. It also discusses the tools for the diagnosis of psychopathology and the assessment of spiritual functioning for the patient or counselee and the application of these tools in practical counseling ministry. The paper concludes with the chart of psychotherapies showing the theories, theoreticians, the descriptive summary, the models of personality, health, abnormality, and psychotherapy, and the Christian critique of each. Meanwhile, this document gives a comprehensive view of all the psychotherapeutic theories showing the backdrops or the weaknesses of each; nevertheless, the biblical counselor is encouraged to consider the good sides of these ideologies and therefore supplement using biblical wisdom to counsel or help

the hurting people of this age; therefore, integration is encouraged; though, the term integration may sound negative, but the connotation of its usage as used in this document does not mean that it should complement the bible. It is an additional tool used humanly to help biblical counselor make sound decision in helping people. The bible is the ultimate.

BACKGORUND SUMMARY AND CRITIQUE: THE CLASSICAL PSYCHOANALYSIS

            Classical psychoanalysis was developed by an Austrian physician named Sigmund Freud. It is the grandparent of all psychotherapies; unfortunately, it has become very unpopular in conservative Christian circles as the result of its emphasis on sex and aggression to be motivational bases for behavior, the deterministic and naturalistic model assumed, and the direct attacks on religion as an illusion as propagated in the later writing of Freud.[1] It reflects the influence of classical empiricism as well as the Enlightenment tradition and thereby adopting a materialistic or naturalistic world view as the backdrop for its model and makes five core assumptions about persons which include the topographical, the genetic, the dynamic, the structural, and the economic.[2] Despite of these reservations, many Christian mental-health professionals have respect for the tradition and tend to utilize it reasoning that dismissing it as irrelevant to the real problems of life is to fail to see its potential significance for the church and society. It believes that all human behavior is determined by the psychie energy and early childhood experiences. In order to make sense of a person’s current behavior patterns, it is necessary to understand the behavior’s root in largely unconscious conflicts and motives. These philosophical assumptions about humanity with respect to behavioral model could be helpful in Christian circles with respect to the integration of psychology with Biblical counseling; unfortunately, this system ignores the religious and spiritual life of humanity and eventually appears agnostic and atheistic; therefore, Christian psychologists should be mindful when using this psychotherapy. How could a Christian psychologist use a system whose idea is conflicting with Biblical truth? Can Biblical truth and humanism work together? Is Biblical truth for Christian counseling sufficient for healing people? I believe 100 % that the Bible is sufficient; however, since human has the emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual dimensions, the Christian counselor might need these tools of ideologies coupled with spiritual and Biblical wisdom sometimes to minister to affected clients. There is where the terminology integration applies to Biblical counseling. The individual, the method, the motive, and how it is used or incorporated or integrated matters the most.

THE CONTEMPORARY PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPIES

            The participants for this school of thought are Josef Breur and Sigmund Freud. It is a Neo-Freudian or post-Freudian theorists who have an appreciation for the way traditional psychoanalysis illuminates the complexity of our conflicting motivations and the influence of unconscious process which shapes our humanness. This tells us that Christians have not been along when it comes to the dissatisfaction of the deterministic and mechanistic assumptions of the Freudian system which paints picture of humans as isolated beings and irrationally driven by biological impulses and primitive drives to self-gratification.[3] This psychotherapeutic theory is the evolution of the former which removes emphasis placed on instinct entities and their control on the vital problem of how we begin to grow an ego, the core of personal self, in infancy, and how this growth in personal reality is rooted in the baby’s environment of personal relations, first with the mother, then the father, family, neighbors, school, and ever-widening world around. Despite of the modification and evolution of ideologies to make this contemporary psychodynamic psychotherapy different from the former, the Freudian ideology concerning the concept of sin is infused. The concept of sin is being gradually eroded and what theology has described sin to be, it has been ascribed by Freud to be symptoms of illness.

THE JUNDIAN THERAPY

            This therapy was developed by Carl Jung. The interest of analytic psychology of Jung remains strong in certain religious circles and shows increasing. Much of its enduring and immediate appeal may be a function of the hybrid nature of Jungian thought or a mixture of a formal, or “Catholic”, psychoanalytic psychology with its appealing intellectualism or a less formal, or Protestant counseling approach with its appealing freedom of choice.[4] The fundamental reality in Jung’s psychology is the collective unconscious, the source of energy which shapes or structures the most fundamental of our experience. It is the storehouse of all the latent memories of our human and prehuman ancestry. Jung’s use of religious terminologies can lead the less discerning reader to imagine him to be in closer allegiance with the faith; unfortunately, he did not embrace the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the historical facts.

THE BEHAVIOR THERAPY

            The participant of this therapy is B.F. Skinner. This therapy has been described as having a long past but a short history which means that although many of the techniques of this approach have been used before in human history, the systematized field has had only a short history dating back about 40 years. Since the 1950s, however, behavior therapy especially cognitive-behavior therapy in the last decade has aggressively stepped to center stage in the mental-health field, emerging as one of the four major paradigms in the field with psychodynamic, humanistic and family-system psychologies.[5] Behavioral therapy is an outgrowth of behaviorism which is the product of two factors: a view of metaphysics, naturalism and a view of science, inductive empiricism and logical positivism. This therapy believes in naturalism which is at odds with the Christian faith.

THE RATIONAL EMOTIVE THERAPY

            The founder and moving force behind this therapy is Albert Ellis. The origin of this therapy can be traced back to the ancient Greece, Epictetus, and a Greek Stoic Philosopher who said that men are disturbed not by things, but the views which take of them. This therapy believes that men are disturbed not by things, but they are disturbed because of the view they hold. Ellis believes that an individual with some religious belief can be emotionally well provided he or she does not go overboard; therefore, he concludes that too much religion is bad. The major presupposition of RET about humanism and hedonism are incompatible with Christian assumptions. Human beings are not the final authority in the universe nor are they capable of total autonomy. The therapy is atheistic in nature.

THE COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY

            Cognitive behavioral therapy has many variations; unlike, most schools of psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy do not have one founding theorist to give it cohesion[6]. Bandura, Mischel, Beck etc are some participants of this therapy. The therapy believes that some human behavior is caused by internal or mental events. For the true behaviorist all ultimate causes of behavior are external to the person. Internal events are real but ineffectual epiphenomena, mere temporary conduits for environmental forces.

            The behavioristic presumptions of materialism, naturalism, atomism, reductionism and scientism are unacceptable for the Christian’s faith because they exclude God and the supernatural and strip humanity of its God-given rationality and dignity.

THE ADLERIAN AND REALITY THERAPY

            The participant for this psychotherapy is Alfred Adler who has been very influential in the secular counseling field. This school of thought is in many ways adaptable for religious counseling; despite of this, it has received little attention. His ideas are widely utilized professionally. His work is not easily categorized in that it is listed among the psychodynamic psychologies, humanistic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy sometimes. His emphasis is placed on cognition, choice, and short-term directive counseling.

            The therapist describes truth as merely the most expedient error, meaning that truth is myth that happens to work best.[7] To understand persons, one needs to understand the reality they live in, but understand the world as they perceive it. This is clearly a relativistic and subjective understanding of a person.

            The Adlerian therapy recognizes Christ as the one who suffers for humanity and reveals God the Father to the world and suffering humanity; unfortunately, his idea about God is liberal and Freudian as compared to orthodox Christianity concerning the idea about God.

THE PERSON-CENTERED THERAPY

            The Advocate for this therapy is Carl Roger and it is no wonder why his theory and technique has been so warmly embraced within significant portions of the religious community because it appears to give us valuable clues and guidance on how to respond to those in misery and distress, or how to love the brothers and sisters with patient and empathetic mind. The philosophy of action is encapsulated in the nomenclature “Person-Center Therapy” which asserts that the client, not the therapist, should be at the heart of the psychotherapy since only the client has the resources by which to become more aware of and removes his or her obstacles to personal growth. Its presuppositions of philosophy concerning humanity can be appreciated; however, the therapy assumes that human beings are the ultimate force and sole masters of their own destiny; hence, all authority is within human being which is the humanistic approach to the psychotherapy.

THE EXISTENTIAL THERAPY

            This therapy has been defined as “a dynamic approach to therapy which focuses on concerns that are rooted in the individual existence.” It is perhaps described as diverse group of attitudes and philosophical approaches to psychotherapeutic practice and it is not generally seen as separate school of psychotherapy like behaviorism or psychoanalysis, nor does existential therapy seem to neatly defined models of personality, psychopathology or psychotherapy.

            Soren Kierkegaard is regarded to be the father of this therapy and an appreciated figure in Christian circles. This therapy regards humanity created by God and constituted of disparate elements that did not naturally synthesize. It attempts to understand human beings who are struggling with very existence that Christians find to be significant as compared to bulk of mainline psychology. It talks about the meaning of life, death, aloneness, growth, responsibility, guilt, etc. It is based on the book of

Ecclesiastes and Kierkegaard’s concept of self-being grounded transparently in God rather than the secular versions of existential therapy.

THE GESTALT THERAPY

            This therapy is the most pragmatic of the humanistic approaches to people-helping. Its exclusive focus is the here-and-now of immediate experience and the integration of fragmented parts of the personality. This therapy assumes that greater awareness of organismic needs and situational requirements is curative in and of itself. Persons are assumed to have the capacity within to support themselves in adaptive ways if they are willing to examine and perhaps change the unique and specific ways in which they see, feel, sense and interpret the realities of their personal needs and of their situational context in the present moment.[8]

The participant for this school of thought is Fritz Perl who agrees that emphasizing the why of behavior or analyzing past events is far less therapeutically useful than stressing the more overt, “what and how” of present behavior.[9] The therapy appeals to those who are looking for greater depth and meaning in their intimate relationship. Unfortunately, this therapy strives to optimize human freedom and autonomy while putting thinking into its proper place. It asserts that we ultimately are free only when we do what our biological urges push us to do. This ideology behind this therapy is not rational and dangerous to the well-being of humanity. It is against the standing point of morality and does not religiously appeal to the Christian faith. It maximizes human liberty without rational accountability. If it appeals to intimacy of relationship, how about sex outside of marriage or how about intimacy of relationship that is associated with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sexual orientation?

THE TRANSITIONAL ANALYSIS

“Many of the psychotherapy systems have been utilized in religious and church settings, but few have ever been adopted as enthusiastically, uncritically or as widely as transitional analysis.[10] For an extended period in the 1970s and early 1980s, TA was touted as the pastor’s best tool for improving ministry, and books relating TA to the work of the church abounded”.[11]

            This therapy is concerned with a commitment to human responsibility within the limits of family and cultural influence which demonstrates the belief in limited freedom; unfortunately, this therapy reduces God to a spiritual force within all people and the reduction of the doctrine of the Trinity to a projection into a deity of our tripartite ego structure, with God the Parent, Jesus, the Adult, and the Holy Spirit, the Child.

THE FAMILY THERAPY

            This therapy is a generic name for rather diverse and varied group of treatment approaches that have emerged since the early 1950s. It develops out of a growing recognition in child guidance and outpatient clinics that often a trouble family rather than a trouble individual in the family, needed treatment. It deals with the collective view of a person rather than the individual himself. The identity of an individual is seen as part of being a part of a system such as familial or social grouping.

COGNITIVE/MENTAL APPLICATION: COUNSELING

Based on variations of therapeutic methods or theories being adopted by theorists concerning human functioning in this sphere of life situation, it is difficult to give a clear cut definition of counseling because each psychotherapy has its own methods or techniques, theorist, the cultural context of the therapist or theorist, the specific problem to be addressed, and individualism (the carrier of such problem). However, based on general overview observation, the term “counseling” is associated with offering reassurance and support, desensitizing the client to distress, encouraging adaptive functioning and offering understanding and insight (Garfield, 1980).[12] It is done by less comprehensive and intensively trained professionals (e.g., pastors, school guidance counselors) and by paraprofessionals (lay counselors or mental-health volunteers).[13] It is an interaction between the client and the therapist wherein the therapist assesses the client’s condition through questioning, clarifications, feel back, and developing objective techniques to give hope through instructive education, couching, and training. It is done with less seriously disturbed groups of persons struggling with decisions of what career to pursue, whether to get married etc. The major mode of intervention relies on giving wise advice to the clients. In discussing counseling, it is also expedient to discuss psychotherapy and give the contrast between both because both work together; however, they are slightly different based on the methods used and the credentials or qualifications of the user. Psychotherapy is the treatment of the human mind which is historically thought to be more appropriate for deeper problems and it is done by highly trained or certified therapists. Its objective or goal is to change human personality rather than adjustment to situations and life predicament as opposed to the goal of counseling. The former is adjustment and the later is change. If counseling is adjustment to the situation, it takes the cooperation of the clients to agree with the therapist before there can be fruitful result. It is a mutual dyadic interaction. On the other hand, the clients of the psychotherapy must also agree; however, I see too much humanism in the psychotherapy because therapist (scholar psychologist) tends to change human personality based on his or her techniques used. Is that possible to change human behavior without God? This is where psychological psychotherapy is in conflict with the biblical psychotherapy when God has been ignored in the healing process. Who is the healer? Is God the healer or man? Is integration possible or not? It should be understood that the task of Christian scholar is to study reality in the light of biblical revelation in that the claims of the gospel are all-inclusive and the gospel should penetrate to the core of all who claim the name of Christian. The task of integration is being distinctly Christian in an appropriate and responsible fashion in one’s scholarly pursuits.[14]

COUNSELING CONTEXTUALIZATION

The context of Christian counseling defines the drive or the motive of doing counseling, the manifestation or what God is doing through the counselor, the mindset of the counselor or what the counselor wants God to accomplish, the ministry the counselor has been called to, and the message the counselor has been given to fulfill the mission (counseling ministry).

Textual Analysis (2 Cor 5:11–21 )

Motive:

In verse 11, we are called to persuade others. This is one of the contexts of Christian counseling. Our motive or drive is to persuade the counselee by giving him or her wise counsel or advice. The word “persuade” in Greek is “πείθω” which means I persuade. It is the act of giving wise advice which leads an individual to develop confidence, trust, reliance, or to make the individual being won over.

Manifestation

In verse 12–13, we are called to allow God to use us through the opening of our heart to him spiritually. The degree of God using us in ministry determines the love we have for Him and humanity. We are called to love God with all our heart, might, and soul and then love our neighbor as ourselves. The Greek word for the heart and its lexicon form is “καρδία, ας, ἡ.” It is a feminine gender in its lexicon form. It is defined as the inner self, intention, character, mind, and will. Universally, it denotes the seat and center of all spiritual and physical life. It is the center and seat of spiritual life, “the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors” (so in English heart, inner man, etc.); α. universally: Matthew 5:8; Matthew 6:21; Mark 7:19; and Luke 1:5.

Mindset

In verse 16, we should have the mindset to appreciate what God is doing through us as counselors and review our salvation on the daily basis. The mindset used in this verse is denoted to be “regard.” In this verse it states that “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” The counselor should depend on God to carry him or her in this ministry. We should have the mind of Christ. The word “regard” in Greek is “οἶδα.” It is a Greek verbal form which means I appreciate, I remember, I know, or I perceive. Having clear knowledge about what God wants to do, knowing your ability to do, and assessing the client’s problem to know how you approach the problem for solution are vital to the ministry.

Ministry

In verse 17–18 , we have been given the ministry of reconciliation to bring people to the salving knowledge of Christ Jesus.

The Greek word for ministry is “διακονία, ας, ἡ.” It is a feminine noun in Greek and it indicates waiting at table, service, ministration or the office of apostles and administration ( Acts 1:17, 25;Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19; Romans 11:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthian). The Greek word for reconciliation is “καταλλαγή, ῆς, ἡ.” It is a feminine noun which means reconciliation or restoration to favor. The biblical counselor is called to reach people with the message of hope. The message of hope can be achieved by the following biblical counseling approaches. These approaches are as follows:

Task of Defining

In order to fully understand what the Biblical counseling entails, those things that embody the counseling process should be divine associated instead of human such as psychology. God must be the center of the counseling, commitment to God must be emphasized, sin should be pointed out, the Gospel of Jesus should be the solution to the problem, and God’s characters should be emphasized. It is impossible to minister to patient effectively when God is taken out of the photo as to implore human wisdom that leads to no fruition. While Christian counselors are called into the ministry of waiting at table, they are encouraged to understand the task of defining. It is crucial to an effective counseling ministry knowing that in counseling, the counselee is the goal and not the counselor. The counselor must understand this task and apply it in Biblical counseling in order to have a positive result.

Task of Edifying

This means that the counselor must implore activities to heal the souls. These activities must use the Bible as the basic such as involving the person to pray and encouraging the individual to rely on God’s source of help. The counselor should show love, teach faith, and instill hope in the counselee. In doing this, the counselor is restoring God’s recovered favor (reconciliation) to the counselee through the explanation of the scriptural texts. Counseling is the act of encouraging the grief person and healing wounds. How would you relate to a grieving situation of a family member who has lost everything including loved ones?

Arville and Sheila Earl write,” He sat outside the refugee tent, his head resting in his hands, and wept. His wife of more than fifty years sat beside him in silence. She had no words with which to comfort him. Just three days before, they had watched as their four sons were killed and as their home burned to the ground. Uncharacteristic of an Albanian man, he was openly crying. The tears flowed because of his immense loss. At a time in his life when he should have been taken care of by his family, he now had no sons to fulfill that responsibility.”[15]

            Grieving is the process and the duration of grief varies with individual resistance and characteristics (age, cultural, individualism). I can record that at the age of seven years old, my mother passed away (died) and it toke me 16 years of grieving. For some people, it takes longer especially children who are still developing and while some people, it takes shorter. All depend on the gravity of the situation. How can one imagine the situation of this Albanian man whose sons are all dead and who is left with no one to take care of him as he ages. Pastoral counselors are often examples of what they see happening in the lives of those they meet to counsel; therefore, they are exact characteristics and experiences sometimes of the various situations people face in lives. You can not adequately meet someone’s needs if you have not experienced or tasted of the same. Jesus is the exact replica of our experiences according to Hebrews 4:16[16].

Wilczak writes,” From my perspective the minister is a symbolic generative man. In human maturity the minister has attained the strength of life characteristic of the seventh stage of human development.1 such a person has overcome stagnation through generativity; he or she has chosen care over self-absorption. The virtue of care thus details an interpersonal relationship. In brief, the minister’s pastoral care evokes fidelity from those cared for in ministry.”[17]

            In some instances, counselors have encountered problems as their counselees have; therefore, counselors should be mindful of self-disclosure when counseling people. Too much revealing counselors’ past problems to the counselees makes them sympathizers of their problems thereby paying less attention to their present problem. Remember that the counselee is the goal and not the counselor; therefore, minimize self-disclosing your past or present problems to the counselee. It is by virtue of the characteristic of resilient that God has called the counselor into the office placing special grace on him or her.

Task of Evangelizing

This means that during the counseling, the counselor uses this time to witness to the individual who is involved in the counseling process while at the same time; the person’s problem is the focus of the discussion. It will be impossible to make the person understand the spiritual side of his or her problem if God is not being honored in his or her life; therefore, giving Christ to the client is paramount to enhance the counseling process thereby taking the person into the camp of healing for God’s glory. It will be impossible to minister healing to the person if the person has not accepted the healer in his or her life. Witnessing to the person and telling the truth about the Savior will bring healing. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.[18]

Rice writes,” For us, “telling the truth” had come to mean telling the church and each other how they needed to change. But now we saw that the greatest truth was telling and showing each other how much God loves us. Our paradigm for daily life had shifted to John’s mantra: “Caring for each other, forgiving each other, and keeping the dishes washed. We are forgiven. All the rest is details.”[19]

            The Christian counselor should share the love of God with the counselee in the process of counseling to get the individual saved. Salvation itself is the package which contains healing (spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical etc), deliverance, and provision.

Message

In verse 19, we have been given the message of reconciliation. The message is the word of God. We do not preach our own message (word), but we speak God’s word to the client so that healing can take place. It is the message of restoration, peace, salvation, healing, and hope. The word message in the Greek bible is God’s word. It is “λόγος, ου, ὁ.” It is a masculine lexicon form of the Greek verb which means a word, speech, divine utterance, and analogy. It also means instruction, answer, account, teaching, exhortation, remark etc. The Christian counselor has been given a word to exhort, to teach, to instruct, or to admonish.

Method

In verses 20 -21, we are saved and called to be Christ’s ambassador or representative as to make him known to the world. Our method is encapsulated in our position as his representative to the dying humanity. The Greek word for ambassador is “πρεσβεύω.” It means I am aged or act as an ambassador. It is a verb form. Its noun is “πρέσβυς” which means an old man, an elder (Curtius, p. 479; Vanicek, p. 186))[20]. A Christian counselor must be a mature individual with Christian character and some experience in clinical experience in dealing with human problems using therapeutic methods centered on biblical theology. The bible must be the core and the yardstick to examine and to give resolution to human problems.

AFFECTIVE/EMOTIONAL APPLICATION: PSYCHOTHERAPY

Among the psychotherapies studied, I have chosen “Person-Centered Therapy to be my school of thought for the below listed rationales. The rationale for it being chosen centered on the humanness, model of personality, health, abnormality, and psychotherapy. On its humanness, the therapy values the person who has all the resources to remove his or her obstacles; therefore, the therapist is required to listen patiently, attentively, and respectfully with empathetic attitude. It is a valuable therapy for valuable clues and guidance on how to respond to those in misery and distress, or how to concretely “love the brothers and sisters.”[21] On its personality model, the therapy believes that all persons have an inherent tendency to develop their capacities to the fullest, in ways that will either maintain or enhance their own well-being. Its goal is for humanity to attain self-actualization or fulfillment. On its model of health, it believes that for human development, every child is blessed with a drive toward self-actualization; however, parents should provide positive self regard and provisional needs unconditionally to their children to enable them be able to differentiate and become aware of their natural urges and self-experience (awareness). A girl is being used as an example for this model. For example, providing wearing and food for the child at early age until the child grows and knows herself, she will be able to differentiate between offer that is bad or good. In the case of woman prostitution, she won’t allow man to give her money or other material things for sex as to sell her body. Her parents have provided these needs to her when she was younger and her parents provided guidance to her through education when she was growing up. This therapy is good for both young people and old people especially parents who tend to neglect their children. On its model of abnormality, the therapy discourages parents to love and to provide for their children on the merit of conditions. Children should be loved unconditionally. It tends to remove authoritarian leadership in the home and allow children obey their parents not because of merit, but volitionally. On its model of psychotherapy, it believes that positive self-regard, and thus congruence between self-concept and the person’s experience, can be encouraged by relating to the individual with congruence, empathetic and unconditional positive regard.[22] All these models value a person in the sense that they minister to the person’s emotional, cognitive, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual needs. It deals with the holistic aspect of humanity; so named as “Person-Centered Therapy.” This therapy can be used to treat people, who feel they have been abandoned, who are in distress, or frustrated in life.

PSYCHO-MOTOR/PHYSICAL APPLICATION: PROMINENT ISSUES

            Prominent are important issues which affect people’s lives and they can be life disturbing and threatened. They include depression, anxiety, anger, guilt and forgiveness, and loneliness.[23] Depression covers a wide variety of symptoms which define it based on its severity. It is associated with feeling (sadness), thinking (negative thought), behavior (empathy and sense of inertia are common), and physical health (general fatigue)[24]. These are wide variety of depressive symptoms which define it. Anxiety could mean stress, fear, phobia, panic, and tension. They are words which have different technical meanings but often are used interchangeably to describe a common condition that may have reached epidemic proportions.[25] It is caused by threat, conflict, fear, unmet needs, physiology, and individual differences. Psychoanalytic theory arose from the work of Sigmund Freud and led to a variety of explanations, most based on the idea that anxiety reflects various forms of unresolved conflict and more common today are cognitive-behavior theories that view anxiety as a response to perceived danger and the individual’s belief that he or she has lost control and lacks the resources to deal with the threat.[26] Anxiety is not always bad. When there is no anxiety, life can be boring, inefficient, and not much fun. A moderate amount of anxiety (not too little, not too much) motivates people and adds zest to life.[27] We need anxiety in life situation to make sound decision in various life contexts. In 2002, there was a rebel incursion from Liberia into Danane, the Ivory Coast. When the rebels entered in Danane, I was teaching at the Methodist High School. Upon hearing the gun sound, I fled and reached home. When I reached home, my daughter has left for the general market to buy food. Fortunately, upon my arrival, within ten minutes, she arrived. My wife was in labor pain with my son and it was difficult for her to leave immediately from the city. People advised me that we should stay a little while in Danane and go the next day. I was afraid to sleep in Danane that night because I know what it means to have a rebel incursion in the city like where we lived at the time. My spirit was not leading me to stay in Danane; as the result, we left the city heading to the border town between Liberia and the Ivory Coast. After we have left the city and have travelled about two hours, the helicopter gunship arrived in Danane and began to shoot. According to the information we received after the shooting, it says that the house where we lived in Danane was brought down to ground level by the helicopter gunship. Everyone who lived in that environment was killed. God allowed me and my family to leave Danane for safety because I had the fear that thing was not just right that day and I had to leave immediately. Anger is an emotional state, experienced by everyone, but difficult to define. It occurs in varying forms and degrees of intensity – from mild annoyance or feelings of aggravation to violent rage.[28] Anger is caused by biology, injustice, frustration, threat and hurt, learning, and personality and perception.[29] Guilt is an emotional experience and it comes up repeatedly in counseling. As Christians involved me counseling, we encounter guilt-ridden problems daily.[30] The last prominent issue is loneliness which is the painful inner emptiness that everybody experiences at time. It may last for a shorter time or persist throughout life. It impacts people of all ages, including early childhood, but it appears to grow during teenage year and reaches to its early peak in young adults in their early twenties. The biblical therapies for these issues are prayer, the word of God (scriptures), and biblical counseling as I integrate the Person-Center Therapy using theological constructs. Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 31:8, Deuteronomy 33:27, and 2 Samuel 22:17-22, 2 Samuel 22:29, Ecclesiastes 9:4 etc are used for depression.

BEHAVIORAL ISSUES

Behavioral issues are issues which involve relating to, or emphasizing behavior. Closely related species have similar behavioral patterns. It includes aggressive behavior such as fighting, kicking, spitting etc. It includes oppositional defiant disorder which includes not compliant, oppositional, annoying and argumentative behavior. Conduit disorder includes aggression, deceit and violation of rules. ADHD includes talking without permission, hyper activity, and impulsivity. According to the DSM-IV in diagnosing conduct disorder behaviors include: aggression towards people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules. The biblical therapies for these issues are prayer, scriptures, and biblical counseling. The following scriptures are used to counsel people with behavior problems: Romans 12:17-21, Matthew 5:9, Luke 17:3, Philippians 2:4, Proverbs 16:7 etc.

DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES

Developmental issues are concerned with the development of someone or something. It centers on childhood and adolescence rearing, the changes in shifts of the twenties and the thirties, the forties and the fifties, and the later years.[31] These are life transitions that differ with individualism, culture, regional, ethnicity, education, life conditions, and social economic status. Prayer, scriptures, and biblical counseling are used as therapies for these issues.

INTERPERSONAL ISSUES

Interpersonal issues are issues which relate to relationship or communication between people and one will need good interpersonal skills to establish it. It deals with conflict and relationship, sex apart from marriage, sex within marriage, homosexuality, and abuse and neglect.[32] The word of God, prayer, and biblical counseling are used as therapies for interpersonal issues. Scriptures such as Matthew 18:15, Proverbs 12:18, I Corinthians 13:4-7, James 1:19-20, Ephesians 4:29 etc. are used.

TOOLS OF BIBLICAL COUNSELING: DIAGNOSIS OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

AND ASSESSMENT

There are various tools used in biblical counseling to diagnose the disease (sin) of the mind and to assess the degree of the client’s conditions for treatment and for effective spiritual functioning. They include questioning, attentive listening, assessing (researching), God’s word/prayer, feel- back, home assignment, DICS personality profile, love languages, and SYMBIC. These tools can be used in solution focus counseling approach and others.

Questioning

In order to get to the core of the client’s presenting problem, the counselor poses questions to the clients. This is done in order for the therapist to know the degree level of the client’s prevailing situations.

Attentive Listening

In order for the therapist or the counselor to assess the client’s presenting problem or problems, the counselor must listen attentively with empathetic mind to the client knowing that the client has all the resources to remove his or her obstacles by being genuine to answer and to reveal everything to the therapist without being hesitant or ambivalent about his or her presenting problem or problems.

Assessing

In order for the counselor to develop or to set a goal for the next session of the counseling, he or she assesses the client’s situation using the word of God and research method. It is the act of evaluating the client’s presenting problem or problems as to find a solution.

God’s word/Prayer

The word of God must be used as the primary tool 100 % and with prayer using biblical theology and clinical experience. Cases that are clinically based and will need referral, they must be referred to the appropriate clinicians (psychiatrics or medical doctors) provided they are beyond the scope of the counselor; however, they must be prayed for before referral. Every problem whether medical or clinical, God performs miracle to take care of the problem; however, the counselor must be sensitive and educated using biblical wisdom to help the client.

Feel back

Feel back helps the counselor to know how much achievement has been made and what could the next decision to be made for the next session. It enables the counselor to know what kind of assignments to give to the patient.

Home Assignment

This is given to the client to enable to the counselor know the personality of the patient. The counselor could use the DICS personality profile, love languages, and SYMBIC as assignment tools and then plan for the next counseling session.

DICS Personality Profile, Love Languages, and SYMBIC

These are tools used to assess the client’s personality profile.

THE PROCESS OF COUNSELING: APPLICATION

Now the tools of biblical counseling have been discussed; hence, the application of these tools in ministry is vital to a successful counseling ministry and practice. The first step in the practical aspect of biblical counseling is connecting, initiating, building, and maintaining relationship with the counselee. This opens the door for self-disclosure of the counselee’s presenting problems and thereby removing ambivalence. I Jallah Koiyan will accomplish this by praying and asking the counselee questions (open-ended questions) to allow him or her tells me about his or her problems in detail. After preliminary session, I will give the counselee questionnaires to respond to. The form questions will include the personal data, medical history, social history etc. The next step is I will explore the counselee’s presenting problems by attentive listening. Listening attentively, will enable me ask follow-up questions during the session to enable me gather more information concerning the presenting problems. Exploration will give insight of how I handle the presenting problem to enable me prepare for the third counseling session. After having explored the presenting problem, will enable me plan the course of action (therapy/intervention) for the next session when the client arrives for the session; therefore planning is crucial at this time to allow the therapy to take action. Planning is never successful until it is followed by action; as such, the next step will be progressing until the client obstacle is removed or improved; then, the termination or the stopping of the counseling will occur because counseling does not last forever. If the client’s presenting problem surfaces again, the client can return to me for further assistance.


[1] Stanton L. Jones $ Richard E. Butman, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press), 1991, 65.

[2]Ibid.

[3]Ibid, pp. 92.

[4]Ibid, pp.119.

[5]Ibid, pp.1445.

[6]Ibid, pp. 196-197.

[7]Ibid, pp. 228.

[8]Ibid, pp. 305.

[9]Ibid, pp. 303.

[10]Ibid, pp. 223.

[11]Ibid, pp. 324.

[12]Ibid, pp. 12

[13]Ibid, pp. 13

[14]Ibid, pp. 20.

[15]Earl, Arville; Earl, Sheila, Committed to the Ministry of Reconciliation: Moving Beyond Conflict in the Balkans (Database: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials), 104 no 3 Sum 2007, p 603-621.

[16]Hebrews 4:16

[17] Paul Wilczak F, The Pastoral Care of Families: A Ministry of Reconciliation (Database: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials), 39 no 2 Spr 1978, p 175-188.

[18]John 8:32

[19]Chris Rice, Born Again. In my ministry of racial reconciliation, I had to move from a culture of effort to a culture of grace (, Database: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials), Mar 2010, p 34-37.

[20]Thayer’s Greek Concordance/ http://biblehub.com/greek/4243.htm.

[21]Ibid, pp. 255-256.

[22]Ibid, pp. 260.

[23]Garry R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, Third Edition (United States: Thomas Nelson), 2007, 119-195.

[24]Ibid, pp. 120.

[25]Ibid, pp. 140.

[26]Ibid, pp. 143.

[27]Ibid, pp. 148.

[28] Ibid. pp. 159.

[29]Ibid, pp. 163-164.

[30]Ibid, pp. 177.

[31]Ibid, pp. 213-291.

[32]Ibid, pp. 315 – 399.