The Biblical pattern of counseling

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Requirements, qualifications and prerequisites of the person being counseled


  1. Yes you read it right: qualifications of the person being counseled!!!
  2. If a person seeking counsel lacks these qualifications, then the entire thing is a waste of time and they cannot be helped!
  3. This is Biblical psychiatry, it is God's system of dealing with the mentally ill. If someone does not qualify to be counseled in this system, their other option is the devil's system: Chemical psychiatry. We can only help qualified people!
  4. Biblical counseling is unique in that there are qualifications, pre-requisites and requirements of the one being concealed.
  5. For example it is a complete waste of time counseling someone won't act upon your advice, is not willing to change, or is dishonest.
  6. The key is that the person being counseled will always be asked to make changes. They need to make these changes, even if the person being counseled doesn't see the value in the changes.
  7. There needs to be a willingness to blindly make the changes on the basis of faith in the experience and wisdom of the counselor.

A. Seek truth and be honest

  1. If you are not really looking for truthful answers you won't find them.
  2. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

B. Be willing to change by taking the advice given:

  1. "How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? The answer: Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change. Many pastors, like Carl, find this to be true with homosexuals. The number one criterion for the success in crisis intervention is the desire of the homosexual person to change. Without that, all the good intentions and techniques by the counselor will have little effect." (J. D. Berkley, Called into crisis, 1989, Vol. 18, p 103)
  2. Willingness to change is the primary factor in success. For example 12 step programs like AA have a 95% failure rate because none of the 12 steps make any difference. The 5% who go sober for life are the one's who simply set their minds to never drink alcohol again. The same is true for how to stop smoking or dieting. Saying no to putting a cigarette or chocolate bars in your mouth is the key to success, not some new "program or drug".
  3. Be zealous to change for good: "Those whom I love, I reprove [telling someone they are wrong: Elencho] and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." Revelation 3:19
  4. Sensible, righteous, godly living: "instructing [long term parental guidance of a child to mold and modify behaviour: paideuo] us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age," Titus 2:12
  5. Put off old self, put on new self: "and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Ephesians 4:23-24 "and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" Colossians 3:10

C. Pray for personal wisdom

  1. Christians have the blessing of being able to ask God for wisdom!
  2. A person who is mentally ill has a messed up life and lacks wisdom Pray!
  3. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:5-6

D. Appreciation for the councilor

  1. The person being counseled better appreciate the time and energy being spent on them.
  2. They are drawing energy and resources of the counselor to no personal benefit. The counselor is not getting paid. They have been asked to help as a good samaritan who has randomly encountered a traffic accident. In this case the accident is the messed up life of the one needing help!
  3. "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction [verbal council to put what is right and wrong into another's mind: nouthesia]" 1 Thessalonians 5:12

E. Humility and respect for councilor

  1. Since with Biblical Psychiatry system, the person being counseled seeks a person of their choice to counsel them, the changes are they are going to select someone they respect. However this is often not the case and other factors are involved, including "political", factions and jealousies.
  2. Be warned that sometimes a person will select you as their counselor because they want to destroy you with themselves.
  3. "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able," 1 Corinthians 3:1-2


  1. It is important for the counselor to look for positive signs of these requirements to be present in the person they are helping.
  2. If any of these requirements are lacking in the one being counseled, success will be low.
  3. "Listening to God. You certainly ought to "listen to your feelings" and be honest about them. "When a person assumes responsibility for his feelings," writes psychiatrist David Viscott, "he assumes responsibility for his world." But don't stop there: Take time to listen to God, and receive His words of encouragement." (W. W. Wiersbe, Be obedient 1991, Gen 15:1)

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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