What does the Bible say about Counseling?
When I refer to counseling, I am referring primarily to extra-Biblical tools that I use to help clients, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and all of it's subcomponent therapies, including Neuro-linguistic Programming; Conversational Hypnotherapy; EFT/EMDR/FasterEFT; and Process Healing Method:
The premise of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, probably the most widely used method of "talk"therapy, is that psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking as well as learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
Mark 7:20-23 says its is these patterns of thought that must be changed or renewed by the Holy Spirit (with whom we must use our free will to cooperate with):
“Words and deeds pollute a person, not food. Evil originates from inside a person. Coming out of a human heart are evil schemes or depraved thoughts, selling oneself into pornography or prostitution (or purchasing people through porn, prostitution or sex trafficking); theft, murders, adultery, greed, wickedness, treachery, debauchery or indecency, jealousy and stinginess, slander or blasphemy, arrogance or boasting, and recklessness or senselessness. All these corrupt things emerge from within and constantly pollute a person.” (The Passion Translation from the Aramaic, which is the language spoken by Jesus and the people of his local and time.)
Romans 12:2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture (or family traditions and learnings) around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. (TPT)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a method popularized by Tony Robbins refers to to the mind or brain (neuro) particularly regarding how states of mind and body affect communication and behavior; that these states are revealed in our language and non-verbal communication; and that we have the capacity to change (re-train or re-program) our mind and body states.
We generally live according to unconsciously learned programming, consisting of habitual thoughts, feelings, reactions, beliefs, and traditions, that we often believe cannot be changed. However, knowing how such programs are structured in the mind and how to access them through conversation (language) allows clients to change outdated programs and autopilot behaviors that are no longer useful and really are creating a lot of problems in their lives. (This is also a key component of EFT/EMDR/FasterEFT/Eutaptics® which are combined with using tapping or eye movements to create a neural distraction and introduce new information to old patterns and memories.)
Romans 7:15-20 I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but will-power is not enough to accomplish it. My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am. (TPT)
Hypnotherapy is simply guiding one into a normal, focused state of concentration, similar to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one's own thoughts, or during meditation on Scripture. In this state, clients can find and utilize the resources deep within themselves that can help them make changes or regain control in certain areas of their life.
Psalm 119:27 Open up my understanding to the ways of your wisdom and I will meditate deeply on your splendor and your wonders.
Psalm 119:48 I long for more revelation of your truth, for I love the light of your word as I meditate on your decrees. (TPT)
Those who have accepted the free gift of being joined with God, through forgiveness of His Son, Jesus Christ, have the added benefit of the Holy Spirit coming to live or dwell inside us, where our eternal spirit can learn true Wisdom and be transformed in our souls (mind, will and emotions). Process Healing Method and NLP assume that since the mind holds the information, it also holds the means to solve the "problems."
Romans 12:2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. (TPT)
Neuroplasticity is the brain's natural process of unlearning information, trauma, patterns of behavior and thinking, and learning others that are useful, helpful and productive.
In a nutshell, the counseling and coaching I engage in simply helps you to change the old patterns of thinking and behaving that you have found create problems and learn, on a neurological level, how to be successful and productive in the areas you have identified as needing change.
Let me give you an example of how counseling, in conjunction, with Biblical principles such as forgiveness, was necessary for me to experience complete freedom. Although I know how effective prayer is, I wasn't able to change in all the ways I desired without adding more components of change, not because God lacked anything, but due to my own unconscious beliefs that limited my relationship with God. Let me explain:
I currently enjoy a loving relationship with my dad. But, this wasn't always the case. Like most of us, my dad was born into a family with problems, who didn't parent in the most loving, kind, or effective way. He grew up with pain and ways of parenting that hurt his children, just like he was hurt. And so, because of the way I then grew up, feeling about him and about myself, for a time I cut off all contact with my dad.
After I experienced a LOT of healing in counseling and by receiving my own forgiveness through Jesus, my dad asked me to forgive him, as well. I had to, how could I not, knowing all that I had thought and done and said that Jesus had already forgiven in me? I forgave him, and this healed our relationship. But... it didn't change the neural patterns of thinking, feeling, and interpreting the world or the relationships that I developed through growing up in a normal, typical, dysfunctional family, who were doing the best they could with what they had been taught.
There were even more blessings God wanted me to have, that I couldn't fathom were really meant for me!
There were good people available to be my friends, but I only seemed to befriend those who couldn't give me what I needed, because they didn't have it to give.
I kept creating the world and relationships that matched up with what I had come to believe was true about me.
I married a man who treated me just as I believed in my heart - not my head - was the way men are, and the way marriages are. My internal thoughts, beliefs and patterns ("programs" is a good description) needed to be transformed and renewed on a neurological level so that I could receive all that God has for me, available to me, simply for the asking and receiving. Romans 12:2
Now look - Jesus restored my spirit instantly. And yes - some of my physical, emotional and mental healing has come instantly in response to prayer and my level of faith. And...some of the rest is being walked out, sanctified over time, and that's provided a wealth of maturing and growth that may be even more satisfying.
Absolutely, God gives us prayer and also intelligence and skills and sometimes suggested professional care (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Colossians 4:14; Jeremiah 8:22) . Just like there are times I visit a medical doctor, or a chiropractor or take herbs, I also seek out wise counsel - both for spiritual and psychological concerns. Often the two are intertwined more than some would like to think.
Bible Verses key to the above counseling tools include the following:
Proverbs 23:7 As one thinks in their heart, so are they.
Ephesians 4:26 TPT But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day.
Romans 12:2 NKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Philippians 4:8 TPT So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
2 Timothy 2:24-25 TPT For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. Then with meekness you’ll be able to carefully enlighten those who argue with you so they can see God’s gracious gift of repentance and be brought to the truth.
Proverbs 15:22 ESV Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 11:14 ESV Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Isaiah 50:4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Ephesians 4:22-24 To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.