How can I help counselees to avoid returning for counsel in the future?

I shall mention only one way to achieve this (See my book Critical Stages of Biblical Counseling for more information).

The one fact that I wish to stress is the importance of teaching. A biblical counselor, unlike many others, does not assume the role of an expert who "does it to you instead of you." As I have pointed out elsewhere in these answers, many counselors act like magicians, who perform their magical "arts" every counseling session, in order to solve their counselee's problems for them. When I call what they do "magic," what I mean is that they work in seemingly mysterious ways, using methods according to principles unknown to their counselees. Indeed, much of what they do is shrouded in the semi-technical jargon of their schools of thought that is designed to keep the counselee in the dark.* It takes the place of the magician's cloak.

In contrast, biblical counselors are concerned not only to inform counselees about what they are doing and why they are doing it, they make it a point to teach their principles and practices to counselees. In the process of counseling, a Nouthetic counselor may stop for a few minutes and say something like this, "John, you see why we did what we just did, don't you? To be sure, let me go over again slowly, point by point what we did. I want you to be able to put this biblical process to work on your own after you leave counseling any time you need to. There is no reason for you to return to counseling once you have learned how to do what God says." That sort of thing happens all the time in good counseling and does much to avoid recidivism. Any counselor who cannot teach probably cannot counsel effectively either.

* I am not saying that this is the motive of every practitioner. But many do like the prestige that accompanies esoteric language, and the formation of such language may have stemmed from an attempt by its originators to disguise the school's beliefs and practices so that "laymen" will find it difficult to appropriate the system for themselves.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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