A Counseling Overview
Counseling is not you solving a hurting person's problems. The helper's role is to follow the Lord's leading to get the wounded past their barriers to the Lord. Most of the problems that the hurting people come to you with initially (presenting problems), can be traced back to childhood traumas. Many counselors try to help the person solve the surface problem. That is often like trying to row up stream. Even if the client is able to conquer the problem he came with it is likely that other problems will pop up because the core problem has not been solved. I hesitate to recommend Jay Adam's Nouthetic method of counseling because, while it gives an accurate assessment of God's views of the presenting problems and coping mechanisms, the method often fails to lead the counselor back to the root problem.

Here is how these surface problems often develop. A child receives wounds in their childhood, they can either be the absence of things that the child needs. That can be anything from food to nurturing, or it can be the presence of bad things, a car accident, a bullying sibling, or sexual abuse for example. These trauma's produce feelings of betrayal, anger, fear, pain, hopeless despair, shame, or bitterness. (These feelings are addressed in the book The Life Model: Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You.) Unless a supportive adult steps in the enemy will usually add lies to those feelings. Those lies are usually about who God is and who they are. For example, a child who's father is killed in the war would likely feel all the emotions listed above. The enemy might twist the feeling of betrayal so that the child would begin to believe that he could not trust God, that God doesn't really care about him and his family. That could translate into the idea that he has to look out for himself. Since he won't be able to protect himself he is likely to feel that he needs to control everything around him. He might become obsessive as an adult. In order to cope with the high stress he might turn to alcohol. His presenting problem might be anything from ulcers to beating his wife.

Even if someone has dissociated from trauma their subconscious will use coping mechanisms to keep them from having to remember the pain from the lies they are believing about the trauma. The key to helping the wounded person is to aid them in recognizing the lies they have believed and help them replace those lies with truth, not just in their head but in their heart. I have found the Theophostic prayer method to be especially helpful in doing this. Usually after the lies have been dealt with the coping mechanisms that are causing the problems lose their power. They become ordinary habits to be broken.

It is also important to help the wounded develop in their relationship with the Lord and grow in their maturity level. Neil Anderson's Steps to Freedom is very helpful in removing spiritual barriers that resulted from their sin or someone else's. Dr. James Wilder's Life Model is helpful in learning how to develop the maturity that is often lacking in the wounded.

I suggest avoiding the use of the term counselor. It has to many expectations and legal ramifications. I prefer to use the term mentor or life coach. I have found it very helpful to develop a mentoring type relationship with the ladies I work with. I invest myself in their lives and allow them to watch my relationship with the Lord. However the mentor should never expect the one they are working with to solve their problems.

~by Dr. Joann Roof