Counseling Gem or Heresy?

I’m sure this is 80% too much coffee, but what I’m being taught in my counseling classes seems so humanistic… I am including some quotes from one of the guys (major counseling expert and big Christian author) we are required to read in my classes.

Is straight scripture in every “pep talk” too much for people to handle? Are the following phrases the milk that people have to start with before they can take meat? I need feedback! Am I way off?  I don’t want to be too harsh a judge, but is this what “Biblical” counselors use in their sessions? Where’s the Bible?

  • You can’t determine your physical emotional response, but when you have the faith attitude, you can rise above your feelings. You cannot stop feelings, but you can keep your feelings from stopping you.
  • You can’t determine your circumstances, but when you have the right attitude you get the best out of circumstances and rise above your circumstances.
  • Jesus asked the blind men, “‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you'” (Matt 9:28-29, NIV). In this biblical example, the external power of Jesus was made effective by the blind men’s choice to believe. In other words, the Lord chose to bring about physical healing through the channel of their mind, which chose to believe.  (This is a Biblical example from my book. Is this the way it should be interpreted and communicated to counselees?)
  • The greatest cause of so-called mental illness is a distorted concept of God and ourselves.
    I really don’t want to attack this author, I just need to know the truth about the lines between this type of counseling and Biblical counseling, which is what I want to pursue.

About morganclairemyers

I love Jesus, my husband, my sisters, and my life. Also, good food, wine, baking, crafting, and traveling. View all posts by morganclairemyers

2 responses to “Counseling Gem or Heresy?

  • Anonymous

    hey! i found your blog RE the comment you left me on mine 🙂 interestingly, i think the post i wrote about food-hoarding is somewhat connected to this guy’s interpretation of Jesus’ healing- for instance, God adopts us into His family and we are free to trust Him, but our lives don’t practically change until we learn to believe that. so I guess I’m not saying I totally agree w/ his exegesis, but I think some elements of what he’s implying can be practically applied.

    also about the “feelings” thing- i agree we can’t control our feelings. but i also believe that the power of the gospel (new life in the resurrection of Christ) empowers us to have changed feelings through the Spirit’s work in us. so i’d very much say, “that’s right, you can’t control your feelings! and God commands us not to worry! that’s why we pray “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” so, i think it’s both-and, not either-or…but leaving someone with “you can’t control your feelings” isn’t enough b/c it leaves out the 2nd half of the gospel- power to do what we’re unable to do.

    i can relate to your confusion about the biblical/christian counseling distinction, and i think where i’m leaning is that people in both “camps” make good contributions and both should be gleaned from and not taken as authoritative…some “christian” counseling type people have really helped me (ppl who read crabb, neil t anderson, dan allender) and some “biblical” counseling ppl have added to that! so God uses it all and it all needs to be channeled through the Word and submission to the Spirit and a person’s unique way of communicating! at least, that’s where i am right now!

  • morganclairemyers

    Hey Hannah!
    I like your explanation. It must be balanced. I grew up in a world where I didn’t hear the convicting power of the Gospel of Jesus on the Cross until I was 18. I did hear, “Jesus died on the cross for your sins, you should follow him.” But it was like I owed him because he sacrificed. It wasn’t about following him out of a deep love which was found in seeing his sacrifice. Most of the sermons I heard were: rise above your feelings, try harder, and make a plan to be the best person possible. I never knew why, except that people were generally better off when they had a positive, clean life.

    So this author’s explanation in counseling really makes me upset! I am sick of hearing it. And i recognize I am probably going to the other extreme and not using the practical wisdom of what he says. 🙂

    Thanks for you response, I’m always wanting to hear other perspectives!!

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