MY JOURNEY TO EMBRACE BIBLICAL COUNSELING
By June Klimek
Psychology & psychiatry
During my Nursing Studies I was exposed to teaching on Psychology & Psychiatry, which at the time i.e. not knowing any better, I accepted as having scientific authority. Whilst working as an Occupational Health Nurse, I was required to refer troubled employees to the Company psychologist, but was often left feeling less than satisfied with the counsel that employees received. This raised questions in my mind about the profession, which I began to view with a great deal of skepticism.
Nevertheless when parenting our two children, I felt completely inadequate for the task, often at a loss as to how best to discipline them. My husband had different views, so I turned to secular and Christian psychology. I read all the books on the subject that I could lay my hands on & popular psychology warned against ‘breaking the child’s spirit’, so I was left feeling confused and insecure, constantly looking for another book with the hope of finding the answers I so desperately wanted. Sadly I was oblivious to how much the Bible has to say on parenting. I only became aware of parenting books written from a Biblical Counseling perspective when my children were already teenagers and I must admit that the concepts were so radically different to anything I had heard previously, that I initially viewed them with a degree of skepticism.
An introduction to biblical counseling
In about 2005, I was introduced to Biblical Counseling through a series of talks by Wayne Mack, a prolific writer & speaker on the subject. It was a Eureka moment for me. The uneasiness that I had always felt about psychology was finally vindicated and I began to understand the sufficiency of scripture for any & every problem that we face. (Clearly the Bible is not a medical text book & therefore we still need to visit doctors for medical problems), however, to my surprise I began to discover, that much of what is attributed to physical causes is not purely physical in nature). In 2013/2014 I had the privilege of studying Biblical counseling under Wayne Mack.
So what is biblical counseling?
Before I discuss what it is, perhaps I should explain what it is NOT. Contrary to the criticism often leveled against it, Biblical Counseling is not simply battering people with Bible verses and then expecting them to get on with it. Biblical counselors do however, believe in the sufficiency of scripture to address any problem that we as humans experience. As scripture itself states: “All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”.2 Timothy 3:16,17. So yes, the goal of the counseling is to point the counselee to hope in Christ, helping them to view their problems through the lens of scripture and to understand God’s sovereign control over all aspects of their life, past and present. And then helping them to “put off (the) 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”. (Ephesians 4:22-24). Biblical counselors acknowledge that change is a process i.e. it does not happen in an instant. It involves the renewal of our minds with the truth of scripture; learning how to actively put off sinful behaviours, which in most instances involve deeply entrenched habits and putting on Godly behaviours, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast to psychology’s disease labels imposed on people, which offer little hope other than the use of long term medication; viewing our problems through the lens of scripture provides hope for complete transformation (Romans 12:2).