Counseling Thoughts!

by

Adrian Yuen, Ph.D.

Copyright October 31, 2014

 

Thoughts are adopted and adapted from certain schools of thought.  Thoughts are not originally mine, they are representatives of adapted theories and beliefs of different schools of thought in human behavior.  I am taking these thoughts and integrating them with Biblical teachings.

1.    Many people  who say they are doing Christian counseling are not doing Biblical counseling.  To some people, to accept Jesus Christ as Savior makes the counseling a Christian-based counseling, but what is believed within the counseling context does not reiterate with what the Bible says.  Christian counseling is Christian when it is Biblically-based.  A counselor must know what the Word says about any problematic situation and at the same time integrate various counseling or psychological theories to explain human behaviors and motivations and the core beliefs/paradigms that people have in their lives.  All who counsel must know what the Word says and also understand not only that the role of the sin nature and human nature play on our perceptions and core paradigms, but also how the sin nature has affected the way we see our world today.  One of the most important points to understand is how Adam and Eve fell and the appeal of the serpent to a perfect couple . . .  if you do this, you will be "as God."  This King of the Mountain Syndrome drives many people to a lifestyle of selfishness as did a perfect angel, Lucifer, in Isaiah 14.  I WILL ASCEND.  The original sin was pride and the need for power and equalization with and replacement of God, the God-complex, and today, this God-complex has become more complexed and complicated and shows up even as the opposite.  The sin nature creates a double-minded person:  the ego and the inferiority complex and how that duality drives the confusion and complex of our human journey.

2.   Soon enough in life, we will experience discomforting and hurtful disappointments and experiences.  The power of the pain that may result from these unsolicited experiences is vested in the beliefs we hold to respond to these activating events.  If a person believes that God has a purpose for the situation, while the activating event remains in place and the pain of it may still linger, the belief that God has purpose or that God is in control will help that injured person to move forward and not be stuck in the past.  Here's the theory:  ABC.  A for activating event; B for what we believe; and C for the emotional consequence and how it is sustained from the point of injury throughout our life time.  What we need to change is not the activating event, that's already happened, but how we believe so we can choose to assign the pain of that event to the past and not to bring that pain to the present.  If you experience any difficulty as an adult (A) but believe that God is in control of your life and that you are to forgive or certainly to move on so that what was intended to injure and stagnate you will have no hold on you, you will less likely to remain in the past hurt but with the strength of the Lord move on to become what He has designed for your life (C).  The joy of the Lord is my strength.  The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-SUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, etc.  (adaptation REBT)

3.  We are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12).  This sin nature affects the way we see our world at a very young age.  Adam and Eve wanted to be like "God" in Genesis 3:5.  Lucifer exalted his throne so he could be like the Most High (Isaiah 14).  We are born with the sin nature or the need to be number one, a craving for power.  Adler teaches that we are born with a sense of inferiority. The sin nature harbors the ego, the soul or human nature harbors the inferiority complex.  At birth, we are double-minded and we are unstable in all  of our ways (James 1). Every child feels inferior at such a young age.  This inferiority complex lives in the soul or human nature of the child contradicted by a craving for power which is the ego hosted and directed by the sin nature.  This duality is affected by early childhood experiences which may give us a false sense of ego or enlarge our already persisting sense of inferiority. For the first six to ten years of a child's life, a child is writing his or her adult script by adopting reactive beliefs which all too often are "mistaken beliefs" that will drive the adult script in life.  Not all counseling schools believe the impact of childhood or the past or that one should delve into the past. There are some schools that teach the past and the future are not what are important, but the here and now.  In this particular paragraph, however, the past is seen as affecting the core beliefs of our present.  And we soon enough develop irrational or mistaken beliefs that must be discovered.  In reaction to these beliefs, we begin to play "games" where the ultimate goal is ascendency to power over others and not to develop a positive and fluid social interest and relationship with life and people.  The goal of counseling here will be to help the client to discover what is driving these inferiority feelings and how to change those beliefs and practice a more positive worldview.  For the Christian, we discover what is God's will for our lives and how to live His purposes.  We must be careful that our clients do not use "God" as the one to do all of the thinking so as to free the client up from owning or being responsible for choices.  Some people prefer to "lean on Jesus" for the wrong reason, because if things do go wrong, they can blame someone else.  But, while we acknowledge the sovereignty of God, we help our clients to own their present self and surrender willfully to God in a collaborative relationship. Our relationship with God is a covenant one, and not a dictatorship.  It is a covenant relationship and we are to willfully submit and collaborate with God's Will for our lives.  THAT WHICH IS WITHOUT FAITH IS SIN.  FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD!

4.  Many people with mistaken beliefs have learned their beliefs from some kind of experience or inherited them through the sin nature.  Many times in counseling, we have to re-educate the client to know who they are in Christ and the value they have to Him in grace.  Measuring what we believe by the Word of God is vital. Therefore, the counselor must know the Word if he or she will help to facilitate an appreciation for the truth. To prevent a religious spirit where one ceases to think which is what he or she was created to be by God, it is imperative that we process the Word of God and not PARROT it.  Many people can quote the Word, but they do not process the Word so they do not accurately or adequately apply the Word of God to their lives.  I am amazed when I read facebook how many Christians take positions that are contrary to the specifics of the Word of God or the spirit of the Word.  They post things that are either contrary to the text or to the context of the Christian testimony and they continue to think that they are Christians because they have accepted Jesus although they have not followed Him through His Word.  In Biblical counseling, we sometimes have to incorporate discipleship.  We always need to measure what we believe about ourselves, the world, our past, our past experiences, how to view people who have hurt us and repented, people who have hurt us and have not repented, people who have hurt us and refuse to repent or even admit it. our current difficulty and challenges, our current stresses and tensions in life, and our perception of the future and all of the gamut of our emotional spectrum, we need to look at ourselves through the Word of God without denying our human nature and how we tend to view things different from God's perspectives.  Some people are not healed today because they only PARROT the Word but they have not processed and applied the Word of God.

5.  There are many games or lifestyles that we play to answer our own sense of inferiority or our need for the ego to experience power usually not just for our own lives but over the lives of others.  We are born with this misconception that the world is hostile and we must protect ourselves from the world, not the sinful world but all facets of the world. And at such a young age, we tend to play games or choose lifestyle scripts that give us a perceived safety, securty, or self-calm  from the panic of that perception. We can become controllers, drivers, victims, martyrs, excitement seekers, need to be liked, need to be right, sensitive, pleasers, etc.  These lifestyle choices provide a false sense of position but prevents us from become authentically real. When we play these games, we hide ourselves and fail to experience subsequent attachments and social nurtures from our relationships.  We actually block any nurturing efforts from outside of our own selves, because we are afraid to let others in as we have locked even our own awareness out of that discovery process.   An example:  a pleaser may feel like he or she must genuinely please others, initially out of love or maybe appreciation, eventually out of obligation or a need to gain some kind of social guarantee that he or she will not be rejected or would be guaranteed a position in the relationship.   In order for the pleaser to keep pleasing, that person tends to idolize or admire the person he or she is pleasing.  Eventually, if the motive for pleasing does not satisfy what it cannot satisfy, the hole of the soul, the pleaser will turn from idolizing the person to demonizing the person.  This is a common story when a person is not in touch with himself or herself and will flip from one lifestyle (based on inferiority) to another lifestyle (projectd superiority).  We call this carnal living. The works of the flesh are .  .   .  In contemporary applications, we fail the authenticity test and we live projected lives that are not authentic nor genuine.  We are out of touch with ourselves and the "real you" is hidden from consciousness, living in the unconscious part of us.  We are not aware as to what is driving us, but we live in the reactive mode and not in the proactive mode.

6.   Identify or discover core beliefs, mistaken beliefs, reactive beliefs, inner vows (non-verbal), dysfunctional beliefs, paradigms that drive the way our world is colored.  Be careful about this process.  Do  not dictate to the client, but help the client to discover.  Please note that while we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we want the client to mix the Word with faith, so that the Word can work in the person's life.  If that person is told what the Word says whether he or she agrees with it or not, it is not mixed with faith and that without faith is sin or dead works.  FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD.  THAT WHICH IS WITHOUT FAITH IS SIN.  So, a counselor may choose to COMMAND, but that is not the preference of technique.  We are collaborative in getting our clients to understand what the Word says and to discover what he or she believes in light of God's perspectives.  This is to get the client to discover what is really believed beneath the surface of the concern or complaint.  Understanding and insight!

7.  There is a connection or relationship between what we think and how we feel.  The cognitive thoughts and the emotive feelings.  Our feelings, even though frequently denied in left-brain version of Christianity, is very active naturally in the person's self.  How we feel may affect our perception of how well we can process life experiences.  If we are experiencing negative emotions, we may want to study what we are thinking.  Irrational thinking can lead to chaotic emotions.  Learning to self-talk and socialize our conversations with other healthy people can assist us in developing stronger emotions. Hence, the power of prayer!  If we think negative, we will elicit negative emotions and these emotions will inform us as to how we will process any future challenges or situations, compounding the irrational beliefs that are triggering negative thoughts and negative emotions, a vicious cycle.  We need to avoid catastrophic beliefs such as I AM NO GOOD, I AM WORTH NOTHING, GOD HATES ME, etc.  Any of these catrastrophic thoughts will devastate and drain a person's self-concept and self-esteem.  Once a person fears or reacts to perceptions leading to a sense of unworthiness, he or she will go further into despair and into behaviors that reinforce these thoughts and further the sense of despair in that person.  Themes like truth, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, forgiveness, God's love, God's grace, joy, fruit of the Spirit, God's sovereignty, God's power, empowerment, repentance, I can do all things through Christ, mercy, the Beatitudes, the love of others, self-love, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, moving forward, God's Will, design and purpose, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the language of tongues building up your most holy faith as in Jude 1:20, etc. are important themes in Christian counseling.

8.  In order to perceive wholeness, we need to go through the various developmental stages (Erikson) and in each stage there usually is a crisis and a level of satisfaction that "naturally" lead to another stage.  Some of the stages include:  trust v. mistrust; autonomy v. shame/doubt; initiative v. guilt; industry v. inferiority; identity v. role confusion; intimacy v. isolation; generativity v. stagnation; and integration v. despair.  If there is some kind of trauma or disappointing event, a person may have an arrested situation where he or she is unable to grow into the next stage.  For example, a client may have issues with trust because some event may have taken place that "arrested" that development.  For those who take on that theory, the counselor may have to look at past events that may have prevented the development of a positive psychosocial experience.  Some of our core suspicions in life are due to the way the sin nature has helped us to interpret prior and present experiences.  Please note:  the sin nature is active in the development of distorted thinking.  Even when we believe in the experience of sanctification where the old man is crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), the  residual of that sin nature remains in the memory of our human nature.  Sanctification is two-fold. To crucify the old  sinful nature through the application of the blood of Jesus in an instantaneous experience and post-conversion event and the consecration of the human nature to the lifestyle of the Word of God.  It is in the second tier of this experience that requires abiding in Christ.  While the old man is crucified with Christ in the aorist tense, the continuing aspect of sanctification is how we apply the Word to the residual of our belief system or that which has been accummulated over the years.  We need to our thoughts brought into the captivity of the Word of God and take on God's perspectives about who He is, who we are, why we are here, and about our purpose and future!  

9.   In order for us to experience optimization and wellness, we must have a relationship with God through the new birth experience.  While we can help people with Biblical principles and appropriate psychological concepts, the ultimate healer is not these therapeutic or clinical sessions, but Jesus Himself.  The Holy Spirit is the OTHER COMFORTER.  He is our Counselor as is Christ.  AND HIS  NAME SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR,  MIGHTY GOD, EVERYLASTING  FATHER, AND PRINCE OF PEACE.  Every person who needs the healing grace of God must view God as Wonderful.  We tend to view God as we view our parents or those who assumed parental aura.  We need to change how we view God. His name is WONDERFUL.  He is our Counselor. Once we take on who He is as Wonderful, we can receive counsel  from Him. His Word is pure!  He is the Mighty God.  Nothing is too hard Him.  As we develop our relationship with God as Jesus, we also develop our relationship with Him as Everlasting Father.  This is who is He . .  OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN.  And when we go through the MANY FACES OF GOD, we find Biblical, theological, clinical, and therapeutic wholeness in Jesus. HE IS ULTIMATELY TO US. .  .  THE PRINCE OF PEACE!

More to follow.

 

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