What I Got Wrong About Biblical Counseling

In 2008, I sat in a quiet room across from a calm natured, quiet-spoken man. He had a pad and pen in hand and sat and stared at me. –Waiting–

True to the Rogerian method, he was waiting for me to begin communicating my problems. He would listen, write something, listen, and offer some words of wisdom here and there. This was my experience with counseling…for about 3 weeks. I would talk and the professional would listen.

When most people think of counseling, this methodology most likely comes to mind. It was the methodology that was engrained in my mindset as I began this journey towards Biblical Counseling. I would become the professional and I would help those who are not. Yet, I was wrong with that type of methodology mindset…it isn’t biblical.

You see biblical counseling isn’t about the professional taking on a client. It’s much more of a family member coming alongside another family member for the long haul. It wasn’t me waiting for the client to reach out to me but me reaching out to make sure my brother or sister is persevering.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, biblical counseling is very different from the secular methodologies of Rogers, Maslow, Skinner, and Freud. Biblical counseling is different than those that integrate these methodologies within their Christian counseling worldview (a.k.a “Integrationists). The main difference is that these methods keep the counselor distant from the counselee. A method the Bible does not utilize.

In his book, The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams, Heath Lambert lays out six developments within the methodology of biblical counseling that have reformed my own thinking towards counseling. These six developments are:

  1. Counseling that is Familial
  2. Counseling that Demonstrates Affection
  3. Counseling that is Sacrificial
  4. Counseling that is Person-Oriented
  5. Counseling that Sees the Counselor as a Fellow Sinner and Sufferer
  6. Counseling that Addresses Suffering before Sin

Each of these developments are supported within Scripture. They have been developed by various influential counselors within the Biblical Counseling movement including Paul David Tripp, Edward Welch, and the late David Powlison.

The methodology of the biblical counselor looks much more like a ministry of discipleship than it does a professional clinic. This has changed my view drastically. The Rogerian mindset that I began my journey with produced a sense of pride within me. I would be the intellectual professional and others would come to me for help. Now, my mindset has begun to transform. Humility has begun to become my foundation. You see, I don’t view myself as the professional but more of a fellow brother persevering. A fellow follower of Christ bearing up another’s burden while knowing my own sinful heart and its need for Christ.

I have set out on a journey and have invested much time and resources to pursue this journey. I have hopes and dreams in pursuits of goals especially for the development of a biblical counseling movement within my own local church. Yet, that is all in the hands of the Lord. I just want to be faithful so that others can be encouraged to be so too.

If you want to know more about how to become a certified biblical counselor, I would encourage you to check out these resources:

http://www.ccef.org
http://www.acbc.org
http://www.christiancounseling.org

Published by rthomason

I am a husband, father, Bible teacher, and seminary student.

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