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Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Shell, Sep 24, 2006.
Under what circumstances do you believe one should seek counsel from there pastor?
If you think he could help you.
Most pastors realize their limitations in the counseling they are equipped and qualified to give, and many will refer people elsewhere if its too big for them.
So long as the man of God can discern scripture he can counsel. The word of God is not to small for anyone.
Sure, pastors may be limited in some areas such as financial advice, etc., but I take your drift to be so-called professional counseling. If so, what makes you think that so-called professional counseling is better qualified than your pastoral counseling?
IMHO, pastors, who are godly men knowledgeable in the Word of God, are much better qualified than any psychologist or professional counselor.
Check the links below for a psychotherapist and a graduate school psychology professor in a large medical center, Dr. Richard Ganz, who came out of the mess and exposes the myths.
When a pastor refers, it's a treachous and dangerous business. By all means go to your pastor. Don't follow the cult of the expert. It's all smoke and mirrors. I know--been there, done that.
There is a general dictum, supposedly derived from actual research, that people who see shrinks don't improve at any faster rate that similar people who just have a sympathetic friend who listens.
There was a study done years ago in one of the APA journals that showed that a third of people who seek professional counseling report improvement. Another third, report being the same afterwards, and still another third...worse than before.
Would you go to surgery with those odds?
Professional counseling is a very loose term. Educational backgrounds vary widely as does liscensure. I think we need to be very careful about handing over pastoral responsibilities to a worldy profession
I agree about not sending people to secular, non-biblical counselors, but I also think that most pastors ought to just do crisis type, short term counseling. I know too many pastors who sacrifice visitation, sermon prep and prayer time because they have such a heavy "counseling" ministry, not to mention the number of pastoral marriages that have been compromised.
But back to the original post, the first answer from tatertot was the best. If the pastor can help you, go.
There are probably over 600 different approaches or therapies practiced in this country alone. Many of these therapies are contradictory in nature and method. How does one know which one will work? Obviously some are wrong if they contradict (Or, does the logic of non-contradiction apply here?).
You are entirely right about the remission stats. The simultaneous remission rate is slightly better than the cure rate (i.e. people who are able to discontinue therapy). For most people who enter therapy, it is a life-long process. In fact, many therapists are in therapy themselves. Also, it is very unscientific how they measure success. They ask the counselee if they think the therapy is helping. It is really a matter of how well they like the therapist. Most people in therapy flirt from therapy to therapy and from therapist to therapist. Over the course of a lifetime, they will have tried dozens of different therapies (none work) and dozens of therapists. So, why do we send people down this path?
One of the problems is that some pastors have bought into this idea of Christian psychology of the Narrimores, Collins, Crabb, Anderson, et. al. Although these men may be Christians, they believe and teach the same bunk as the secularists with the very objectionable parts removed. It is rather like soft humanism instead of hard humanism but it is humanism nonetheless. Biblical counseling is an often abused term to give an aura of Biblical authority to what is many times not Biblical at all. Interspersing a few Bible verses with secular ideas does not make the ideas Biblical per se.
I think the biggest problem with pastoral counselling is when the one being counselled refuses to follow the pastor's godly advice.
Shell, I agree with Tater......although Id go further and say you ought to go even if you aren't sure he can help you. You might be surprised. But if one does go they have to be open to taking the advice he will give and implementing it.
Sometimes a solution takes time. More time than we think. We kind of just want someone to tell us a magical formula that will fix it/us/them.....whatever the problem is. But that's not how it works.
Everything must be taken day by day, sometimes moment by moment.
I have a great pastor, a godly man, who knows scripture, and I would go to him for just about anything. I am of the opinion that just about everything, if not everything in our lives relates or goes back to our spiritual lives. that makes it his territory, not a secularly educated unbeliever who thinks religion is a crutch.
When I counsel I always give scriptual instruction that includes things for them to be doing. When they come back to my office if they have not done it then the appointment is put on hold until they can come back with verifiable evidence that they have been following the scriptual direction given to them. In so many cases the appointments are never rescheduled. I assume they really dont want to apply the scriptual standard to their lives. I am not going to waste time counseling folks who have no interest in counseling. If they simply want an ear to bend the Pastor is not always the best person for this. At least not beyond one or two visits on the same issue.
Ps. Whenever a Pastor is counseling lets not forget that another woman needs to be present when counseling women. Just a side note.
I never said that we should seek worldy counsel. I just know that even seminary trained pastors only have general counseling skills. If the problem is general, like dealing with grief or marital issues, a pastor is often well qualified. In the case of deeper issues, like eating disorders, incest, plans (not just thoughts)of suicide, etc, a professional will likely be of more help.
A good pastor will know his limits. Most pastoral couseling should not exceed a short term.
A good Pastor can pray, can discern the word of God and can counsel on any issue. The training comes from the Word of God. Not psychologists.
I definitely believe in Godly, pastoral counsel. It's a good thing and can truly benefit not only the individual, but the body of the church as well. And I agree that there are many psychologists who give poor medical/personal help.
I do not believe, however, that simply because a man stands behind a pulpit that this necessarily qualifies him to give complete counsel on every issue. If that were true, then there are many members of the body who know just as much of the bible as the pastor does who could give Godly counsel.
If I had a suicidal person in my family, I would want my pastor to pray with and for that person and give ME counsel, but I would get that family member medical attention.
And I do not believe that a woman who has been molested or raped should seek intensive counsel from a pastor. Sure, he could give some brief encouraging counseling, but she would need some deep counseling where "gritty" details needed to be aired and dark and terrible secrets of a personal nature might have to be discussed. I wouldn't open up to a man about things like that.
There are many issues that pastors can and should be giving counsel for, but pastors aren't qualified merely by their being "called to preach" for some issues that may require medical attention, long-term counseling, mental disorders, and/or legal matters.
I've been counseling people for many years. For the past five, my wife and I have been in the counseling ministry. I don't have a single book on psychology in my library.
1. Psychology is a fake, an imitation of reality, a false pseudo-science invented by a group of perverted atheists and perpetuated by well-meaning but spiritually ignorant and Biblically illiterate people.
2. "Christian Psychology" is the above, baptized with a few (often misquoted and misapplied) verses.
3. Psychiatry, when followed as a strict medical discipline without the bogus and usually anti-Christian counsel that accompanies it, does have some degree of validity when the problem is organic, such as brain damage, true chemical imbalances, or dementia. And, the Law is the Law, and needs a lawyer.
4. It is true that not every pastor is gifted to counsel, but the problem is more often that the pastor has been duped into thinking that only extra-biblical advice and counsel can help his flock.
5. If Christians will obey the scriptures, submit to the discipline of the Word and the Spirit, and believe what God has to say, that they will find themselves able to cope with the problems of life.
Other than the medical conditions mentioned above, or similiar maladies, what soul problem ("psychology" means study of the soul) is it that a believer in Christ can have that God cannot heal through His Spirit and His Word? If such a problem exists, then the Bible is not sufficient, and cannot equip the man of God for every good work--I think that would be a direct contradiction of the Bible. (2 Tim 3:15-17)
Thank you, Scarlett. You said it well.
My husband has had people come to him with needs greater than he could meet. This is not the norm, but it has happened. For example, people hearing voices (not demonic), bulimia, signs of personality disorder. I know Scripture is so very relevant to life, and I cherish it greatly, but sometimes, pastoral couseling just doesn't cut it. You can pray all you want to for the voices to stop and make someone memorize Scripture after Scripture. When that doesn't work, then what? Patients who are mentally ill need the support of their pastor AND their physician.
Pastoral counseling teaches the pastor to recognize when a client/parishioner needs services that are more than he (or she in some cases) can personally give. If a minister cannot recognize this, then God help those in his care.
Who then would you say is qualified?
Interesting perspective, where does the Man of God separate grieving from clinical depression? Often chemical imbalances can be masked. Don't you believe in having the person checked out? I too believe Jesus is the answer but I also believe he works through the professionals he has given knowledge to.
Lagardo, (and others)
I think most problems church people have can be effectivey handled by their pastor. Pastoral counseling is a wonderul ministry. I love being included in sessions at times with my husband (and sometimes without him).
I am just saying that there are some issues that a pastor did NOT receive training to handle in his pastoral counseling classes. Would you agree with this?