How do I prepare for counseling?

Many counselees fail to ask this excellent question. Yet, when one goes for help, ready to receive it, counseling usually goes much more smoothly. Prior preparation often speeds things up. Here are some things to do. First, learn something about what counseling will be like. Surprises may be exciting at the amusement park, but counseling is not like going to Six Flags. Read about Nouthetic Counseling in this or some other book before the first session takes place.

Be sure that, to the best of your ability, you can articulate your problems(s). In rare instances, when you cannot do so, communicate that fact to your counselor at the outset. At least, you may be able to describe and discuss the irritations that drove you to seek help. That is a beginning. Whatever you come up with outline on paper (don't write a treatise) and take it with you to the first counseling session. Under tension, it is easy to forget important things. The written sketch will help you remember. Your counselor may also wish to study it. Go prepared to describe the problem as succinctly, yet as fully, as you can.

Pray before you go. Pray for the counselor; he also is a redeemed sinner who has days on which he isn't as sharp as usual. Ask God for a fruitful relationship between the two of you. Pray that together you may find God's solution to the problem. Pray that your counselor may be able to quickly uncover complicating patterns involved and soon inculcate biblical alternatives to them. Sometimes you may want one thing but God wants something else. You may have to realign your agenda with biblical standards. Ask God to make you willing to receive rebuke, encouragement, direction. Ask for strength to do hard things, if God requires it. Above all, determine that you will do whatever is necessary to honor and glorify God. Go to counseling to discover God's will in Scripture and how to do it. Do not primarily seek relief!

Jay Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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