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Or, with the right timing and words, a depressed client who believes Church teaching but is engaged in adultery can be challenged to look at how his actions may be contributing to his depression. While pastoral counseling may do similar things and have the same worldview as a Christian counselor, the primary emphasis in pastoral counseling is not a particular mental health diagnosis.
So what is the primary focus in pastoral counseling? I believe it is care and shepherding of souls. Jesus provides the best model for what this looks like. He is concerned with the flourishing of the whole person physical health, mental health and spiritual health. His deepest concern is the salvation of each person.
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This will be manifested in different ways. At some times it may look very much like Christian counseling, with a focus on removing psychological obstacles to love such as depression and anxiety and at other times it may look more like spiritual direction in focusing on development of a relationship with Christ. The core of soul care is encountering each person as beloved by God and guiding them to authentic Christian flourishing. Following in that direction, Wilhelm Wundt , a main contributor [ citation needed ] to the scientific method , introduced it to psychology and claimed that one's biological makeup was the reason why humans are the way they are.
He was one of the main drivers behind psychology being looked at in the scientific realm. In addition to Wundt, Sigmund Freud believed that the church had failed to counsel in the correct way, [ citation needed ] so [ citation needed ] he developed psychotherapy , "the talking therapy", apart from the church. These were driving factors behind why the responsibility of counseling was moved [ by whom?
The church began to fall behind the ever-changing scientific field that seemed to blossom quickly. When Adams did come along he brought the attention back to the church but his influence faded in the s only to be continued by David Powlison. Powlison converted to Christianity in his adult life and became extremely influential in this movement, publishing a journal, the Journal of Biblical Counseling , which made his beliefs known.
Powlison aimed to advance what Adams had started. Efforts to combine counseling, psychotherapy or other scientific or academic endeavors with Christian or other religious perspectives or approaches are sometimes called "integration". Integration of academic subjects with theology has a long history in academia and continues in many colleges and universities that have continued their founding religious underpinnings.
The way in which Christianity has been integrated with psychology thus far is by considering the ways in which psychology and the Bible agree and not integrating the teachings of psychology that don't agree with the Bible.
While this tactic is still in progress and continuing to be looked at, there have been significant efforts to try and integrate the two. Stanton Jones and Richard Buteman came up with a list of three different methods on how to integrate psychology and the Christian faith. The methods are called pragmatic eclecticism, metatheoretical eclecticism, and theoretical integration.
The first method, pragmatic eclecticism, looks at the best solutions for resolving patients' problems based on previous research comparing different methods that have been used.
The second method is concerned with the effectiveness of the counselor and looks at the tactics they are using that are beneficial and those that are not. The third method takes theories that are previously existing and makes that the baseline from which further research can build upon. Christian counseling focuses on a few main principles. It focuses on the care of the whole person, body, soul and spirit, as it is also sometimes named "soul-care", and maintains the values taught in the Bible. The aim of Christian counseling is to help people regain a sense of hope for their life that is found in Jesus Christ.
Christian counseling believes that at the core of what they do is to help others achieve a better understanding of themselves and God which is rooted in the Holy Spirit 's conviction. Christian counselors seek to make people aware of the sin in their lives that has caused them suffering but also come to know the immense worth and value they have as a person to God.
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Jay E. Adams published Competent to Counsel in , criticizing the influence of psychology throughout Christian counseling. You are not the things your husband calls you, and I break those word curses now, in Jesus name. She told me later, in another session, that my words had confirmed to her what she already knew, but it was so important for her to hear them again from a real person.
They empowered her, strengthened her and helped her progress in her walk with the Lord. Jesus is the living Word and the bread of life so speaking it can change circumstances and hearts!
These do not need to happen in office or clinical sessions. If you ask, the Lord will lead you, and give you fresh bread for others. You are a carrier of the Holy Spirit, and this world needs what you have. Speak the truth, the word of God, in love as He leads and you will see great fruit. Need that hope for yourself, or want to learn more about how to move in this area?
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The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Christian Therapist
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