What does the Bible say about counseling?
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.
In addition to spiritual support and intervention, prayer, and a Christian value system, I apply proven tools that help all people transform problems into solutions.
The Bible is clear that we are to share our burdens, pray for each other, and give one another wise counsel.
I’m trained and called for all three.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, ESV).
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16 ESV).
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Proverbs 12:15, NASB).
In addition to spiritual support and intervention, prayer, and a Christian value system, I counsel with proven tools that help all people transform problems into solutions.
These helpful methods assume that since the mind holds or creates the problem, it also holds the answers.
My job is to help you access them.
The following are the most common extra-Biblical tools I employ:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most widely used method in psychology. Its premise is that mental and emotional problems are primarily based on faulty patterns in thinking and learned behavior.
“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.” (Mark 7:20-23, The Passion Translation - translated from Jesus’ spoken language, Hebrew Aramaic).
“Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2, ISV).
Neurolinguistic Programming focuses on how our states of mind and body affect our communication and behavior. These states are revealed in our language and non-verbal communication, including body language and physical sensations, pain, or illness.
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 us to alter outdated programs and autopilot behaviors that are no longer useful and create many problems in our lives.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate… And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (Romans 7:15; 17-19, NLT)
EFT and EMDR combine these premises with tapping or eye movements to interrupt and neutralize painful memories or unhelpful neural programs and introduce new information, emotions, and responses.
As a result, we can learn more effective coping skills and see things with a fresh perspective.
Gestalt Therapy guided visualization involves imagining more favorable outcomes while taking personal responsibility (Wertheimer et al.). It is directing your thoughts or creating images [or memories] in your mind to calm your sympathetic nervous system (WebMD). Most importantly, we use our God-given imagination to experience healing in faith, becoming aware of blocks and Truth, and intentionally developing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit (1 Chronicles 29:18, KJV).
Neuroplasticity is the brain's natural process of adapting to new information. The brain can unlearn the effects of trauma, including negative, disempowering, ultimately lying belief systems and the resulting self-sabotaging behavior. It can then learn new resources that are true, helpful, and productive.
A great example is stroke victims who regain skills by accessing undamaged areas of the brain. Another is the phenomenon of "blindsight," in which people who have perfectly functioning eyes but broken neurological sight pathways, so are functionally blind. Yet, they are able to sense and avoid objects and movement in their visual field. The information is still there, it simply must be accessed and adapted through different neurological systems.
Neuroplasticity also makes it possible for the brain to forget self-sabotaging patterns and negative belief systems while learning those that are beneficial.
"Do not (earnestly) remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it and know it, and will you not give heed to it?" Isaiah 43:18-19, AMPC
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-23, ESV
We believe the mind has three components: the conscious mind (what you are aware of), the unconscious mind (the vast amount of information and learned programs that primarily run the mind and body, determining most decisions and behaviors), and the subconscious (the objective part of our mind that takes direction from the conscious mind). We've discovered that your mind understands the structure and neurological activity of your problems, and it can learn how to resolve them.
For believers, that goal is to bring your mind into agreement with what God says is true about you and your relationship with Him. In other words, taking your thoughts captive and retraining them in the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior] (Proverbs 23:7a, AMP).
Why not just read the Bible?
I use these valuable tools in addition to Biblical practices because sometimes we’ve made a heart change but seem unable to alter our habits or reactions.
The Holy Spirit is not failing us.
We’re resisting Him unconsciously. Sometimes, we must uncover deeply held beliefs based on childhood experiences or perceptions that hinder our willingness to trust God and accept His life-changing love.
For example, I enjoy a loving relationship with my dad, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, I cut off all contact with him for a few years because I needed an apology for things he didn’t agree he’d said or done.
A few years later, my dad sought me out at my grandmother’s funeral. He approached me very humbly and tearfully asked me to forgive him.
Well, how could I not? Jesus has forgiven me so much.
I wholeheartedly forgave him. In that moment, our relationship was healed, restored, and better than ever.
But, while our relationship changed, I still had the issues that resulted from my upbringing.
I still had trouble believing my heavenly Father was safe, trustworthy, and accepting.
I still thought I had to work hard and earn His love. I expected Him at any moment to punish one wrong move.
I also resisted His blessings. I couldn’t accept that those good things were truly for me, not just for the perfect Christians.
For example, good people were 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 married a man who treated me just as I had learned to expect he would. I don’t mean I consciously thought about this, mind you. I was reacting to internal instructions encoded in childhood.
In essence, I kept creating the world and relationships that matched what I had come to believe was truth. My internal thoughts, beliefs and patterns needed transformation and renewal on a neurological level.
Now look - Jesus instantly renovated my spirit. He’s healed me in many ways, but, sometimes I get in my own way. I resist what’s best for me or think I know better.
“Oh, consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won't become worn down and cave in under life's pressures (Hebrews 11:3, TPT).
Brain Retrain™ helps me cooperate with God and all the good things He’s planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
Bible Verses key to the above counseling tools include the following:
“The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will” (Isaiah 50:4, NLT).
“That, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance
with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22, ESV).
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, ESV).
“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” (Ephesians 4:26, TPT).
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future” (Proverbs 19:20, ESV).
“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 Corinthians 10:4-5, NKJV).
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (Proverbs 1:5, ESV).
“Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” (Proverbs 9:9, NLT).
“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” (Philippians 4:8, 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” (2 Timothy 2:24-25, TPT).