I have heard that you talk about "complicating problems." What is that all about?

Frequently, counselees think only of the problem or problems that they present to the counselor. They expect him to deal with them forthwith without traversing any sidetracks. That isn't always possible. Other matters—of which the counselee is not aware, or thinks unimportant—become obstructions to counseling. Such "complicating problems" must first be dealt with before other matter may be solved. Sometimes they are habits, sometimes false solutions that have made matters worse.

A husband and a wife wanted to resolve an issue over which they differed bitterly (I am not at liberty to discuss the specific issue). They wanted me to help them to make a decision that would bring agreement so they could move ahead in a mutually agreeable direction. But their attitudes toward one another were so nasty and bitter that it wouldn't matter how biblical a solution that was offered one or the other (or both) of them would have found fault with it because the other accepted it. They were in no condition to reach agreement upon almost any subject (as sessions soon proved to be true). First, they had to deal with their relationship. Frequently, the relationship must be handled before problems can be.

Disorder and lack of discipline in the life of another counselee made it difficult to learn new ways pleasing to God because of his lack of regularity and consistency. In addition to the problem that he wished to solve, it was necessary to help him develop structure. If I had not done so (which could be done in his case while working on his presenting problem) he would never have made the requisite changes in his thinking and behavior.

So, if your counselor speaks of needing to deal with a complicating problem, don't dismiss this as unimportant; it may be crucial to dealing with everything else.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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