Biblical Counseling: Helping Others
Author: Dr. Lydia D’Ross, Brookhaven Hospital, Renewal Program Outreach Chaplain
From Genesis to Revelation, we can read examples of individuals that have faced crises. The Bible does not have a scripture that actually has the word “crisis” in it, but the intensity of crises mentioned in biblical history determines the outcome. Sometimes it is a result of their disobedience to God or through simply worshiping God that people find themselves in difficult situations. We have human nature, and we will experience travails in life, and for some, these are too difficult to bare. Biblical examples include Adam and Eve. They experienced shame and guilt which Genesis tells us was a result of their disobedience, which caused them to be exiled from the only community they knew. There are many other examples throughout the bible that are used in biblical counseling to help people identify with their issues and how they overcame them. In traditional counseling, the opportunity to freely speak about their faith and using the bible as part of the healing process, in actuality is not being used. Therefore, most Christians may not go through traditional counseling as they may feel as though their faith may be tainted with or not honored.
For the most part, pastors have special relationship with their members, and the trust is already built (versus trust that must be earned by a traditional counselor, which will take several sessions to establish). There is some advantage to this in biblical counseling as well as some disadvantages. Not all pastors are certified counselors and they rely on their biblical training to help a member, but for most parts, it is limited counseling, and not getting to the root of the problem.
All ministers should set boundaries and limitations on what they can and should not do. There are ethical laws that biblical counselors must adhere to and often times, ministers are not aware of them. Their intentions are good, but sometimes good intentions can go the wrong way. One of the reasons that ministers do not refer their members for professional help is because of feelings of distrust towards certified counselors. On the other hand, counselors must look for ways to interface a relationship with pastors, so that networking relationships can be built upon. It is unwise for ministers to practice something that they are not qualified for, as it can lead to liability issues.
Counselors can look for ways to bridge the gap that often exists between ministry and counseling profession.
At Brookhaven Hospital Renewal Program, we do just that. We provide specialized services for treatment in addictions, substance abuse, eating disorders and many other programs. Pastors can be assured that our professional team are equipped to provide professional biblical counseling if their client chooses to do so. At Brookhaven, we encourage community clergy’s to attend our pastoral community luncheon held four times a year, to learn more about mental health and family dynamics to help your congregation.
For more information about our Renewal Program, our website page is: http://www.renewalchristiancare.com.