Should I be the one to determine when counseling should end?

In all biblical counseling, the decision is a joint one between counselor and counselee. If you think that counseling should end, tell your counselor so. There is, however, a tendency to cut counseling short, so if your counselor disagrees, he may have good reasons for doing so. Ask him for those reasons, if he does not offer to explain them.

What could some of those reasons be? Often counselees think that solving the immediate problem is all that is necessary. But it may be but the latest incident in a series of such incidents that grow out of a pattern. Until the pattern is replaced by a biblical one, it is not wise to terminate. Why? Because unless the pattern is eliminated, there will be more incidents in the future.

Sometimes other problems have been uncovered in counseling that must be dealt with. It is not always the principal problem, presented at the outset that is most crucial. Indeed, what seemed to be the principal problem may not have been so, but only a complicating problem. In such instances, the counselor will not want to terminate until both problems are solved.

These two examples of why counseling must be extended are only two. There may be many others. In all cases, be willing to listen to your counselor's reasons for continuing. If he doesn't offer reasons, then ask for them. In no case should a Nouthetic counselor engage in any activity (including extending counseling) unless he has reasons for doing so that he is able to articulate. Few counselors want to extend counseling; they too are busy and also want to terminate as quickly as possible. Non-biblical counselors sometimes may be tempted to extend counseling in order to generate more funds thereby. Biblical counselors, not counseling for fees, have no such temptation. In all cases listen to your counselor's reasons for continuation as you present your own reasons for termination. Don't become overconfident.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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