Have you ever had to train a puppy? I’m in the process of doing so. So pray for me. But beyond that, I’m learning that if you don’t, he’ll be training you. Likewise, if you don’t establish the authority of the Scriptures early in counseling, your counselee’s values, beliefs, approaches to dealing with problems, and the like, will prevail. And then, if you don’t wake up to what’s happening, you will soon find yourself being led along by the ring this puts in your nose.
So, make the point quite evident from the beginning that you intend to bring God’s written counsel into the discussion, and that you will apply and otherwise use it as the foundation of all that you intend to do.
Take an example. The counselee begins running down her husband (who isn’t present). Unless you put a stop to that as soon as you detect that she’s trying to involve you in it, she will have lead you unwittingly, no doubt, into a gossiping session which—for any number of biblical reasons, you know is sin.
She was wrong—but probably didn’t know it. You were wrong, and you did. Once realized what was happening, and continued to allow it to happen you doubled your sin!
A lawyer you are counseling, because he intimidates you, dominates the session with his excuses—expecting you to agree, and (not too subtlely) threatens that if you don’t he might stop coming. If you allow his lawyer to prevail over your biblical base, again—you have failed.
Never allow a dog—or a counselee—to gain control of the session, or you will end up not helping him after all.