Biblical Counseling: Crisis Calls for Consideration
Written by: Rev. Lydia D’Ross, Renewal Program Outreach Chaplain, licensed and ordained minister
From Genesis to Revelation, there are examples of individuals that have faced crisis. The Bible does not have a scripture that actually contains the word “crisis”, but the intensity of situations mentioned in biblical history, determines the outcome. Sometimes it is a result of disobedience to God, and one finds themselves in a difficult situation. We are only human, and we will experience trials in life, and, to rely on our own strength may not be enough to get us through. Biblical examples include Adam and Eve. They experienced shame and guilt which Genesis tells us was a result of their disobedience to God’s command. They went through a crisis after being expelled from the only community they had known. There are many other examples throughout the bible that are used in biblical counseling to help people identify with others who overcame difficulty. In traditional counseling, one may not feel able to speak openly about issues of faith. Christians may want to be reassured that their counselor is also a Christian and that the spiritual aspect will be included in treatment.
Pastors have a special relationship and trust that is already established with their members. People may feel more comfortable seeking pastoral counseling rather than secular counseling. There are some advantages to biblical counseling. There are a few things to be aware of, though. Not all pastors are certified counselors, and, because of this may be unaware of the most recent research and best practices to treat mental illness.
All ministers need to be aware of their boundaries and limitations. There are ethical laws that biblical counselors must adhere to, and, sometimes, ministers are not aware of them. Intentions of pastors are usually good, but if you don’t know the warning signs of serious depression, suicidality or substance abuse withdrawal the results can be very dangerous even resulting in death. One of the reasons ministers might not refer a member for professional help could be due to feelings of distrust toward certified counselors. On the other hand, counselors must look for ways to build relationships with pastors. We are all guilty of becoming isolated in our silos, and we need to come together to help those in our community.
At Brookhaven Hospital, our Renewal Program, can do just that. We provide specialized services for treatment of substance abuse, eating disorders and many other programs. Pastors can be assured that our chaplains are equipped to provide biblical counseling. We encourage community clergy and church staff members to attend our pastoral bi-monthly seminars to learn more about mental health and family dynamics as it relates to biblical worldview. Our next seminar will be on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 1145 am-100 pm. For more information, call 918.438.4257 or email [email protected]