Counseling is difficult work when done well. It’s not a shrink sitting leisurely in a soft chair taking notes, while a counselee spills the beans about his past life.
“Sometimes I get that picture of it—indeed, it’s often what you see in cartoons and elsewhere.”
Right. But, though that sort of thing may be true of the few psychoanalysts that still exist, it isn’t what you’ll find many other places.
“Oh? What is it like?”
Well, I can only tell you a bit about true, biblical, nouthetic counseling—but, above all, I can tell you that it’s hard work!
We sit at a desk, where we take notes, use the telephone when necessary, lay our Bibles for use, write out assignments, place hand-out pamphlets, and so forth. Instead of the shrink, get the picture of someone who means business and who is hard at work doing it!
”That does change the picture radically! Tell me more, please.”
Well, for one thing, in data gathering, we carefully follow the principles of listening in Proverbs 18:13, 15, 17 which insist that 1) you listen for all of the facts essential to the difficulty before giving any advice; 2) that you actively help gather facts when it is difficult for counselees to remember or verbalize them; 3) that you gather data from all who are involved in the problem. Then, these must all be considered in the light of the Bible’s teaching. And . . . well . . .I’m afraid that’s a process that would take too long to describe here. That’s just for starters.
“Do you counsel husbands and wives separately, or together?”
You don’t put people back together by keeping the apart! That Proverbs 18:17 verse is important in this regard; you ought to look it up sometime. If you don’t follow it, you’ll obtain distorted, incomplete, or otherwise flawed data. And you can’t work very well with those data. Of course, we counsel them together—if we can get both to come.
“What do you do if only one will come?”
There are many important considerations to keep in mind when that happens. For one, we allow no gossip about the party who failed to come. Gossip—even about one’s husband or wife—is sin. And, then in order to try to get the missing party to appear we. . . But, here, this is getting too long. Let me suggest that if you really want to go into such matters in depth, you ought to take our course.
“What if someone can’t afford it?”
Well, it is far less expensive than you might think—and surely, than most other programs. Go to our website and check it out.