Monday, November 26, 2007

State of Christian Counseling

I don't think the Church talks about this enough. At least, I don't hear anyone talking about it.

Bob Myers at the BHT confirms some long held suspicions of mine on the state of Christian counseling.
I’m starting to doubt all Christian counseling. I’m so sick of referring people to counselors who just take their money and fail at being directive. And it seems not to matter what the counselors philosophy of counseling is. They just can’t seem to get at the big issues, they rarely if ever call to repentance, and they are timid and passive. I just realized that I have almost never referred anyone to a counselor that they wound up being helped by. Either 1. The counselor was too wimpy. 2. The counselee didn’t like the advice. 3. The counselor was un-Biblical and just gave out psycho-babble.

I do think that spiritualizing every relational (and mental) issue is a very real danger, but I am concerned one of the reasons for the impotence of evangelicalism is a lack of gospel-driven pastoral counsel.

I'm hearing/assuming there are two main mistakes routinely made by Christian counselors, and they're both big ones.
The first is when untrained counselors fail to refer folks with serious pathological or psychological issues to trained medical professionals, overspiritualizing problems (abuse, addictions, depression, compulsions) that are spiritual but also require intensive care and often medication.

But the other error, and it's just as big I think, is when counselors psychobabbelize (new word I just made up :-) everything, "Dr. Phil" the problems to death and leave the Gospel (sin, grace, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation) right on out of it. Christian counselors who underspiritualize their counsel ought to just call themselves life coaches or something.

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