Book information: Entwistle, D. N. (2010). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock. ISBN: 9781556359446.
For discussion this module/week, we consider how to counsel suffering clients. The class lectures, Entwistle, and McMinn all discuss the concept of suffering and factors guiding how we counsel those who are suffering. In fact, a careful reading of the Reading & Study materials indicates numerous concepts and principles that we could apply as we counsel those who are hurting.
- Considering the numerous points that were made, make a list of at least 5 concepts (“questions to ask myself as I counsel those who are suffering. . . “) that you found particularly helpful, insightful, unique, or had not thought about before. What guidelines would you particularly emphasize as you counsel hurting people?
- Then consider this client’s statement: Client: “Dr. Counselor, I have been coming to you now for six weeks. I am not sure that counseling is working. I don’t feel any better now than when we started talking. Why are you not helping to remove this pain that I am feeling?” If your client expects that you help to remove the suffering, how would you respond, based on what you learned from your study for the week?
The online lectures and McMinn suggested some “cautions” or possible negative impacts when using prayer and Scripture in counseling. While suggesting these cautions in Christian counseling may appear superfluous, consider the most important therapeutic uses of Scripture and prayer in counseling by indicating how you would address treatment in the case below. Be aware that the case is very similar to an actual case encountered by one of our professors in his private practice. Make sure to adequately integrate class materials as you thoughtfully consider your approach.
Mary is a 28-year-old young woman. She was referred for counseling as part of her discharge plan from a local psychiatric facility to which she was admitted as a result of a non-fatal suicide attempt. She was diagnosed with major depression. There was also suspicion that she might have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Mary’s father sexually molested her throughout her childhood. He was a pastor during the daytime and a member of the occult at night. While raping Mary, her father would often quote from the Bible; for example, he would use the 5th Commandment and tell her to: “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). At one point, Mary became pregnant by her father who then made her sacrifice her child on an altar during a satanic ritual. Mary was forced to watch this sacrifice. Her father is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Mary grew up in the church. She reads her Bible regularly. However, she questions why God would allow her father to do what he did to her. During counseling, she told the therapist that she was still a believer, but that there was a great distance between her and God.