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Benefits and Myths of (Biblical) Counseling

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hope Blog
02 Mar

Benefits and Myths of (Biblical) Counseling

 

Examine all counsel in light of bible study and prayer.

 

Hope Family Ministries

Ministries

At Hope Family Counseling/Hope Family Ministries our objectives include:

 

  • Provide a safe environment: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
  • Provide caring counselors who are seasoned relationally.
  • Provide qualified counselors who are learning and growing (haven’t arrived).
  • Provide wisdom/knowledge/discernment about clients’ current belief systems.
  • Provide wisdom/knowledge/discernment with expectations from God’s promises.
  • Provide noncritical, but honest feedback (speak the truth in love).
  • Provide encouragement without being critical of others.
  • Provide empathy without excusing consequences of choices.
  • Provide perspective, Biblically, in evaluating need/desire/willingness to trust God.
  • Provide truth regarding impact of being forgiven by God, forgiving oneself, and forgiving others.
  • Provide hope by exploring faith/biblical/best options that are still available.
  • Provide direction by helping discern and prepare for next good decision/step toward healing.
  • Provide probable timeline in processing impact (loss, grief, disappointment, challenges, etc.).
  • Provide our services on a donation basis. No questions about income or sliding scale.
  • Provide structure in the counseling relationship to equip client to not need counselor.

 

 

 

Mike’s Story

Prior to April 17, 1987, most of the advice/counsel I received was unsolicited.  I continuously looked for someone to join me in feeling sorry for myself, or to agree with me that the injustices I’d experienced in life were the problem.  

I saw unsolicited advice as criticism, an attack using guilt and shame.  I felt that most people drew conclusions too quickly, without taking the time and effort to get to know me and understand. I knew I wasn’t blind or stupid; I could see and think. I wasn’t proud of my choices or my place in life.  Wounded-ness and insecurity kept me in a defensive mode, hypersensitive to negative feedback.   

I sought the sympathy of others.  When people felt sorry for me, they didn’t hold me responsible for my previous choices or my present condition, which stymied positive change.  The focus was on me, and my needs were never met.

My pride fed on believing I deserved a better life, because of the injustices I’d experienced. It seemed to me that the choices of others in my life took away many, almost all, of my good choices. Nothing was my fault.  I was doing the best I could since all the good options were no longer available to me. I thought that coping through self-medication was the best option left to me.

Tired of being angry…

I was so tired of being angry, of failing in relationships, and living in guilt and shame. To say the least, I had lived an ill-equipped and uninformed life, with a well-worn path of self and relational destruction.

God, in His grace and mercy, caused me to understand the problem.  I didn’t have peace in my life.  He also helped me see my need for wise counsel.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)

Unfinished business…

The hard truth I had to face was that I, like many others, arrived at adulthood with unfinished business and poor skills for dealing with life.  As we are growing up, God wants us to work toward completion of stages in our lives, not that we’ll never have to deal with any of them again.  As we deal with problems in each stage, with guidance from adults, we hopefully develop good skills for processing life, so that, as adults ourselves, we have a sustainable foundation from which to work.

God wants our foundation to include resting in our soul about:

  • Him - Can He really be trusted?
  • Ourselves - How will we determine our value and purpose?

Him – Can He really be trusted?

 

Yourself – How will you determine your value and purpose?

 

Others – Do you have to please and appease them?

 

Life – How do you make decisions and measure success?

 

 

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.  Prov. 13:20

Rest in your soul About…

 

about…

  • Others - Do we have to please and appease them?
  • Life - How do we make decisions and measure success?

As recorded in Mathew 11:28-30, Jesus said: “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)

Come to Jesus…

Dr. David Jeremiah says: “One of the most gracious commands in the Bible, Jesus’ invitation to come (lit., “Come now!”), speaks to all who are oppressed by routine, monotony, overwork, responsibility, and tension. Those who are burdened endure something that is laid upon them from an outside source, causing what we would today call “burnout.” Jesus’ form of rest is not absence of work, but rejuvenation and refreshment. In Jesus’ day, taking the yoke of another meant coming under that person’s leadership and walking in that person’s footsteps. When believers take Jesus’ yoke, they place themselves under His dominion. Only then do His followers enjoy the day-by-day release from stress that God intended.” (Dr. David Jeremiah Study Bible, page 1300)

Seek wise counsel…

During the next 8 years, April 17, 1987 – May 15, 1995, I sought wise counsel. I began to read the book of Proverbs, because it states:  “The Proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: for obtaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.” (Proverbs 1:1-6 NIV)

In seeking counsel from others, I looked to people who were trusted, respected and had a proven record of living in God’s favor, over a period of time.  These are the benefits I have experienced as I sought wise counsel (over 32 ½ years and counting):

  1. It is an essential step in taking ownership of getting better.
  2. It helped me accept my need for help.
  3. It helped me begin to learn to trust someone, finding help now and in the future.
  4. It provided a safe place to tell my story, without being judged or criticized.
  5. It improved my perspective realizing that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
  6. It provided a broader and more accurate vocabulary for connecting with and describing my emotions.
  7. It allowed me freedom to be honest with myself and express pain, disappointment, loss, etc.
  8. It allowed hope to come alive through a realistic timeline for processing recovery.
  9. Through it I found forgiveness, from God, for myself, and for others – healing and peace.
  10. It led me to see and eliminate my cycle of guilt, shame, blame, re-injury, etc.
  11. It helped me find effective specific bible studies for ongoing problems, such as anger management, worry, etc.
  12. It provided me with options I had either ruled out or was unaware of.

 

 

Because of the life changing potential, there will be plenty of reasons to avoid making and keeping an appointment, such as:

  • Telling a stranger my problems can’t help.
  • There is no way a stranger can understand my situation.
  • Because the counselor has to making a living, they will keep rescheduling more appointments.
  • My story is too complex.
  • The counselor will look down on me for having these problems.
  • The counselor will think I should have already found solutions.
  • The counselor will be critical of my failed attempts to solve my problems.
  • The counselor will take sides.
  • The counselor will be prejudiced.
  • The counselor will expect the same answers to work for everyone.
  • If I don’t talk about what happened, it won’t affect me.
  • If I don’t talk about what happened, it will go away with time.
  • Everybody has problems; I’ve blown mine out of proportion.
  • The counselor will have unrealistic expectations about what I can and should do.
  • The counselor will tell other counselors or clients about my situation, for comparison.

 

The benefits listed are healthy goals and expectations; however, they do not replace the need to examine all counsel in light of bible study and prayer. Searching for counseling that is safe, available, and affordable is the first step. While you may not anticipate personally needing counseling today, it is very comforting to know you have those relationships in place, should the need arise. Also, we invite you to help us continue to make biblical counseling available to others.

Join in Ministry…

There are a number of ways to contribute to Hope Family Counseling - Hope Family Ministries. I invite/challenge you to join!

  • Pray – for those we counsel; for our counselors and their families; for our leadership team; for our Board of Directors. Lives continue to be redeemed, healed and relationships restored.
  • Finance - Only 18-20% of our annual income is from those we counsel. Because we are a non-profit (501c-3), donations are tax deductible. Several options are available to make your preferred method of gifting easier. 
  • Purchase one of our books, either for yourself or for someone else. They are available through our website or at Amazon.com.

 

MikeMarecle

Mike Marecle