Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Brainwashed" People

A few week ago when Sam Lamda spoke in class, he spoke about intellectual development, the idea that people have the freedom to choose their actions (even if they don't realize it), and some of the different scenarios that we might face in the counseling setting.

I'd like to focus this blog post on intellectual development and the idea of "brainwashing." This funny article gives on overview of supposed ways that parents are brainwashing their children to have certain political beliefs. We'll come back to the idea of brainwashing but first I'd want to give an overview of the stages of intellectual development we discussed in class. The first stage is dependence where people depend upon others or authority figures for their information and knowledge. This can include television, school, church, or even parents. The second stage is independence which is where individuals start thinking about what they believe and forming their own answers to questions. This is when people start to take responsibility for their answers and this stage often starts in the rebellious teenage years. The last stage is interdependence and this is when you learn to have your own beliefs and opinions but also have the ability to work with others. This includes working with others that have different beliefs and opinions from yourself.

This topic is very important as future counselors we are called to help promote the autonomy and health of our clients. It is easy to laugh at the idea of someone being "brainwashed" into believing something but we have to remember at the hundreds if not thousands of messages people receive daily. Someone that watches a lot of television is force fed hundreds of commercials, soap operas, and shows that are trying to convince our clients what to believe. As counselors we need to help clients decipher why they believe what they believe and if it truly is in line with their core beliefs. This means when a client is considering leaving their spouse because their favorite TV show makes divorce look easy or makes them believe that divorce will bring more happiness and a better looking spouse, we need to challenge that way of thinking.

The point that I am trying to make is that everyone is daily inundated with thousands of messages that ultimately have the ability to influence our beliefs. People need to realize that they are not bullet proof from these messages. Our bosses, peers, favorite TV shows, the billboards on the way to work, and even our parents are trying to convince us of something we should believed. We far too often believe something without looking at its merits and it is time that we stop.

What In The World Do I Say or Do?

James Michael Sauter 1984-2013 
     On Friday, March 29th around 7:25 a.m., I picked up my cell phone and saw that I had missed a call from someone I rarely ever speak with over the phone.  When I checked my voice mail, I heard, “Scott, please call Liz as soon as possible.”  I knew then that something was horribly wrong.  I immediately called Liz.  I could hardly understand her at first, but I didn’t really need to. I guessed what had happened.  Just three hours prior to our call, she had received word that her husband James, an Illinois State Trooper, had been killed in the line of duty.
     After a few minutes, Liz was able to speak more clearly.  She began to tell me how much James loved me and how much he had respected me over the years. I had had the honor, joy, and privilege of serving as James’s, (I always called him Jimmy) youth pastor from the time he was in the seventh grade all the way through high school when he graduated.  The relationship I earned with Jimmy over the years was great, and it’s a relationship for which I will always be grateful to God.  We kept in regular contact during his college years, and I clearly remember when he called me with enthusiasm and excitement after being accepted into the Illinois State Police Academy. That same enthusiasm and excitement continued all the way through the Academy when he graduated with honors.  I had a front row seat at his wedding - he had asked me to marry him and Liz on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10).  As a matter of fact, I had just spoken to him over the phone a few weeks ago when he called me “just to talk.”  Jimmy was one of “my kids” and that morning I was told that one of my kids had died.
     After hanging up with Liz, I lost it emotionally.  I was in total shock and I didn’t want to believe what Liz had just told me.  Reality didn’t set in until I got home that morning and started watching the Chicago news online.  Sure enough, there was Jimmy’s picture and all the details as to how he passed away.  Later that day, I was asked to speak at Jimmy’s funeral.  Almost immediately I began asking myself and God, “What in the world am I going to say?”  What was I going to do when I saw Liz and Jimmy’s parents face for the first time?  How was I going to comfort and encourage them when I was hurting in such a bad way?  How was I going to keep my composure and my emotions under control?
     It was ironic that the day before I received the phone call, Dr. Corsini had been talking about emotions.  The following days proved to be some of the hardest, for me and so many others, emotionally.  Obviously, all of us who loved Jimmy experienced grief and sadness, and it was during those times that I sat there wondering - what would I say as a professional counselor to the grieving wife, parent, brother, or friend?  At the same time, I was grieving, too – what was I hoping someone would say to me?  I came to understand quickly that you can only say “I’m sorry” so many times to someone sitting there and responding with “thank you” over and over again.  Don’t get me wrong - well-wishers have legitimate, sincere, and genuine intentions, but at the end of the day, what can you really say?
     When it comes to emotions, I am encountering almost all of them as I struggle to deal with Jimmy’s death.  Of course, anger played a huge part then (and still does today) mostly because Jimmy’s death was so unnecessary and avoidable.  Jimmy did everything right the night he was killed; it was the reckless and negligent behavior of another human being that cut Jimmy’s life way too short.  Jimmy’s father and younger brother also experienced a lot of anger.  They, along with the rest of us, want justice to be done (whatever that might look like) and they want this guy to be held accountable for his actions.  I pose the question again - what in the world do you say to a grieving father or brother who is angry?
     Along with sadness, grief, and anger, we also encountered joy and happiness.  You see, there was so much about Jimmy’s life that we could celebrate:  the love that he had for his Lord and Savior, the joy that he had in serving other people, and the difference that he was making in the lives of so many on a daily basis.  Many of the former students from the youth group I led attended the viewing and the funeral.  Those events gave us the chance to reconnect for a bit and celebrate Jimmy – it was beautiful!  We cried together, we laughed together, and we remembered together.  It was good to see those who were grieving and sad and angry also smile and laugh throughout the few days that I was there.  Emotions are very powerful and they allow us to see glimpses inside the hearts and minds of individuals.
     Jimmy’s death comes as a personal loss to me and I am reminded that thousands of people experience such losses on a daily basis.  Death is a guarantee and cannot be predicted.  For many of us, the day will come when a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a friend walks into your office and begins telling you about the loss of the “Jimmy” in his or her life, and all the emotions that they are experiencing.  What in the world will you say or do?

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Avoid Attach" "Avoidant Attachment"

Avoidant attachment is an attachment style that has the characteristics of avoiding parents, emotional connection with friends, and other people in general. This attachment style shows that this person is secure and confident in themselves but not in other people. They have a positive view of themselves but a negative view of others. Those who have avoidant attachment style have trouble with intimacy in relationships. They also keep themselves distant from their caregivers due to lack of meeting the child’s needs. The child develops the mindset of taking care of him/herself because the parents did not meet the essential needs of the child. This article gives six practical strategies to improve avoidant attachment
An attachment style can tell a lot about a person and their history. Attachment styles develop from things that were done wrong or right towards a person by a caregiver. Attachment styles can show a lot of hurt and a lot of happy in a persons life. In counseling sessions it is important to understand a persons attachment style if it is one that has a great effect on that persons presenting problem. Just understanding an attachment style may be able to help the client understand him or herself and why they do the things or feel the things they feel. A client could come into your office with problems with her mother. She does not feel emotionally connected to her mother and it affects their relationship significantly. She does not feel a strong desire to develop a strong/close relationship but she feels like she should have that desire. She wrestles with not having that deisre to have that relationship with knowing that she should have that desire and it is important to have a strong bond with your mother/caregiver. Therapy could open her eyes to the attachment style she has developed. Going thoroughout life with these feelings and no understanding of where they came from and why can be difficult. If she works with a counselor to understand these feelings and her counselor explains to her that she has an avoidant attachment style, that may shine some light on how she feels. It will giver her understanding and she will no longer feel like she is left in the dark with her own emotions. That can open the door to exploring why she may have that attachement style and move on from there to having a successful counseling session.
Parents can recognize their childs attachment style and do things to help improve it. The article gives six practical ways to help improve the attachment style. Parents could try the things listed and see if it has any effect. The site provides a video and a worksheet in item number six to assist with the suggestions. I have avoidan attachment style and do not know why. If my parents would have caught on to my actions and how I felt I wonder if I would have developed a different attachment style. Parents who pay close attention to their kids in every area can make a world of difference.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rhode Island?! Which state is next? What will YOU do?

Today Rhode Island has been deemed as the 10th state to allow gay marriage. Senators say that this movement has been in the works for the past twenty years. Gay people can begin to get married starting on August 1st, 2013.  The good thing about this is that the state has still given ministers the right to not conduct a wedding under such circumstances. They believe that the next state to pass this law is going to be Delaware.

This article relates to counseling because there are obviously going to be more gay couples in the States, which means that gay couple counseling will probably be on the rise as states keep approving this movement. There may be more married gays in the churches and in the community in general, especially if one is to move to a state where it is allowed. Since gay marriage is clearly on the rise, it may be wise for counselors to educate themselves on how to help gay couples. Before one knows it, gay marriage may be passed as allowable in his/her state of residence, which could possibly result in more gay couples attending therapy. The whole reason why gay people want to get married is not just because they love each other, but to also receive the same benefits that heterosexual couples get. If gay couples who are married are starting to be able to put each other on one’s insurance, then the amount of them seeking counseling could rise because their insurance could pay for sessions.

What I learned from the article is that gay marriage is on the rise and sooner or later, Christian counselors, who may be uncomfortable with counseling these people, may have a higher chance of a homosexual couple walking into their office for help. Especially since many states are starting to consider allowing this to be appropriate by law. I know that I am not going to turn them away because I do not want to exclude anyone from my help, but what will YOU do?   

Monday, April 22, 2013


How do you feel about yourself? Are you likable? Do you think you are important or have value? These questions all deal with the way in which we think about ourselves; our self-esteem.

Two weeks ago we had a lecture on Attachment Theory. We talked about how our interaction with caregivers early in life influence the way we relate to others for the rest of our lives. These interactions cause us to form beliefs about ourselves and others and give us an overall understanding of how the world works.


Our beliefs about ourselves are tied into our self-esteem. If we feel good about ourselves, have confidence in ourselves, or generally like ourselves our self-esteem is high. If we dislike ourselves, feel that we have no worth, and don't believe we can do anything right then our self-esteem is low. Low self-esteem affects our mood, the way we act, and how we treat people. If we don't love ourselves we can never fully love others or allow others to love us. So how do we raise our self-esteem? How do we know what to believe about ourselves? And furthermore, what does God think about us?

An article I read by Stanley J. Gross suggest that people can do several things to raise their self esteem such as stopping self-destructive behaviors, practicing self care, slowing impulsive responses, learning essential life skills etc. By changing our actions and treating ourselves well we can improve our view of self.

But that is only the way we treat ourselves. How does God see us?

Another article from WikiHow speaks to changing our self esteem through God. Although it is a generally secular source, the article talks about how God loves all of us and died for our sins and then rose again from the grave three days later, conquering death. Because of this, God loves us and sees us as beautiful creatures. He delights in us and we have the power to accomplish anything through Him. The article encourages us to study the Bible and search for examples of God's love for us and our worth. By doing those things we can see ourselves through Him and become able to love ourselves more.

How Does this Relate to Counseling?

It is very important to understand how self-esteem works within a person. Many client's will come in with problems that in some way relate to how they view themselves. It will be imperative to be able to utilize secular methods and Christian methods in working through these issues with people. If we can help others understand that God thinks they are worth something and wants them to love themselves and have good working relationships they may be more prone to change. Using the secular resources can help that change take practical form and transform the way a person lives.


These articles pointed out practical ways in which someone could improve their self-esteem. In utilizing this whether in professional or lay counseling we can help people get a better, and more accurate, view of themselves. This improvement of self can help others change the way they interact within relationships and ultimately with God. If a person can love himself, they can be loved by God, and then love others.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Can Sin Be Rationalized?

In this blog, I wanted to focus on the topic of Sin.  The reason being is because of the discussion that was brought up last week in class on homosexuality.  Though the videos I posted here do not directly address the sin of homosexuality, I believe that it could not be any more on target as to how Christians often try to redirect the focus of sin in their own lives to the sin in the lives of others.  In these videos, Pastor Greg Laurie addresses the problem of Christians attempting to rationalize and minimize the sin in their lives.  In the first video, he challenges Christians to ask God to bless these sins they consider as minuscule.  In the second video, he explains how even the smallest of sin finds its way into our everyday lives and eventually knocks us down when we least expect it.   
How it relates to counseling:
This relates to Christian counseling because Christian counselors should always be fully aware of their own weaknesses to sin and never feel superior to their clients but rather join them in their struggles and be willing to extend mercy to them.  Also, if Christian counselors lose vigilance in their own walk with Christ, they too can easily fall into deep sin and not only bring harm to themselves but the lives of their clients as well.  Especially in the counseling setting, Christian counselors can become so fixated on trying to make people choose the right decisions instead of investing in them and joining them in their struggles in order to lead them to Christ.
Above all, Christian counselors are to instill hope in others not diminish it by making others feel as though they are any less because of the sin in their lives.  Truth is that we all fall short of the grace of God; nonetheless, God extends the same hand of mercy to us all.  He promises that there is nothing that can separate us from Him and if Christian counselors are to impact the lives of others, they too should extend the same hand of mercy that was extended to them.  Regardless of one’s sin, love and mercy should always be representative of Christ above all.  It is important to understand that love does not mean acceptance of the sin but rather the complete opposite.  If you truly love someone, you would tell them the truth.  Love and truth are inseparable and never place one higher than the other. 
My personal response: 
In my opinion, people who show the most mercy are those who have experienced mercy in their own lives at its fullest.  I have seen Christians, who simply go through the motions of the Christian life, be the harshest on these blatant sins such as “homosexuality” and minimize other not so blatant sins in their own lives.  I believe that if one has truly accepted and understood the mercy of God, one can in turn extend that same mercy to others.
So my goal is to be able to see others through the eyes of God and rather than trying to “fix them” I pray that I will be able to instill hope in them and find strength in Christ to overcome the sin that enslaves them. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Response to Homosexuality

Illustration of a Cooperative Wedding

During the latest class discussion the topic of homosexuality was brought up. I asked the professor a question about sexual orientation and marriage, where he posed the question is there a difference between a married man who has a thought about having sex with another women and a married man who has a thought about having sex with another man. This was about a week and half ago and I'm still pondering on this question. Some would say if the physical act wasn't committed then it is okay where others would say it is a sin. To tell the truth, I still don't know the answer. In both scenarios the subject of cheating is relevant, but in the latter scenario does the homosexuality aspect play a larger role?

I found an article which talks about marriage and homosexuality titled, China's Fake Gay Marriages, The article tells how up until 1997 homosexuality was a crime and until 2001 it was listed as a mental illness. It further explains how different cultural factors have led homosexuals in China to seek out cooperative marriages. Cooperative marriages are described as a homosexual male and female entering into marriage for the illusion and benefit factors of a heterosexual couple. With the rise of Internet, it is making this practice easier to access. It also provides a more feasible alternative for closeted homosexuals whom in the past would marry heterosexuals to stay within tradition and please their parents.

Even though this practice may not be readily practiced in the U.S. (from what I know) it makes me think about the ramifications of certain restrictions that are and could be placed on homosexuality. Just a few short decades ago, homosexuality was not something to be discussed in public, much less full church services being dedicated to the sinfulness of homosexuality, but over time this topic has been the discussion of many debates, positive and negative. When it comes to homosexuality-as a Christian counselor or a counselor that is Christian (I do believe there is a difference) how would you respond to a client that wants to address their homosexuality?

During our class discussion there was an article that was talked about, written by a former student, entitled Being Gay at Jerry Falwell's University[530350323674872]&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map=[] . The article, as titled, describes a student’s coming out as gay after growing up in the church and attending a Christian University. During class, a few students commented that shouldn't we be telling him that he is wrong and doing wrong, when the professor remarked that he knows it is wrong. I had my hand up to speak and as soon as the professor made the comment, I was like thank you! Finally!

The bible says that homosexuality is a sin and anyone who grew up in a Christian home or has any basic knowledge of Christianity knows that homosexuality is a sin, however, when I hear that we need to tell them that it is wrong or what they are doing is wrong, it makes me wonder why do people think or assume that people are oblivious. Maybe this is just my point of view when I hear that comment, but just like a little child that has been taught right from wrong, and then steals a piece of candy, they know it's wrong or just like a person who cheats on their taxes or their spouse, they know it's wrong, but in my opinion it seems like homosexuality and homosexuals are much more looked down upon and discriminated against than a thief or an adulterer.

When it comes to counseling and homosexuality, I'm sure for most counselors whether (psychology or biblical) there is a lot that needs to be thought of before work can begin. Either way you look at the situation it just does not seem cut and dry. When counseling a person who has an issue with their sexuality, many issues may need to be addressed other than them being attracted to the same sex. Some concerns that maybe faced involve intrapersonal issues including self-esteem, guilt or confusion because of the attraction to the same sex, personal hate or dislike because of the feelings that are inside, thoughts or actions of self-mutilation or suicide as well as mental health and eating disorders. Interpersonal issues can include bullying by others, words, feelings and actions expressed by parental figures and/or siblings (negative, positive and sometimes a combination) as well as discrimination, which can include hate crimes. So for present and future counselors, it is imperative that all issues be addressed and dealt with versus just concentrating on the sinful nature of homosexuality.

I mentioned the above two articles and the class discussion because homosexuality is something that fires me up, especially when it is accompanied by the hate talk. Yes the bible says that it is a sin and I am not writing this to disagree, but I am writing this to express my feelings about the hate that is expressed. I recently spoke to a friend who advised that she is in search of a new church because the pastor at her current church (and other churches in the area) seemed hypocritical. She advised that sermons were based on the immorality of homosexuality but nothing is ever said about fornication (in which the pastor has two daughters who are unmarried with children). I too agreed how I have been in the congregation quite a few times and heard my fair share of immorality sermons focused on homosexuality, but that immorality never extended to sexual addictions or adultery or other sins that are also in the bible. I thought sin was sin? I really wanted to write about this subject just so people can see a different perspective than is normally expressed in the media (yeah or nay). My opinion is not about yeah or nay, right or wrong, sin or not sin, but about acceptance and/or understanding of the individual.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Attachment Theory: From My Perspective

Attachment theory first began with the work of John Bowlby. Attachment is defined as “A deep and enduring bond that connects one person to another across time and space”  (McLeod, 2009). Shaffer and Emerson observed 60 babies in a longitudinal study visiting the babies monthly. Through the course of their visits they observed the interactions between the baby and the caregiver. This study showed that separation anxiety occurred when the caregiver left the child alone. Just as Dr. Corsini said in class the study showed that attachments formed between the baby and the person who most consistently responded to the child not necessarily the one who spent more time with the child. Harlow’s experiment proved that children long for personal contact and affection from their caregivers.  In the experiment the monkeys formed their attachments during the first year of their lives just as our children do.
            As Christian counselors it is of the utmost importance to know the backstory of our clients. There are children who have not made any attachments and have had to take care of themselves. Their development has been affected my their lack of consistent care. Therefore we must tread carefully when dealing with our clients. Many have learned to disassociate themselves from reality in order to cope with their current circumstances.  We must learn how to properly counsel these children and adults and must be careful not to cause more damage. Child Counselors must be observant to the way the child interacts with their primary caregivers. It is also important to learn to work with adults who were not given the proper care they needed as infants. Many people come from dysfunctional homes where the last thing they received was love; therefore they were not able to develop secure attachment, which in turn does not let them develop healthy relationships. We must be empathetic and show our clients how to correctly form new bonds that are healthy and strong. We must show them that they are not alone, but we must also be wry of a dual relationship, countertransference, and transference.
            I never saw the importance of attachment until last week, while is Dr. Corsini’s class. I was blessed with parents who took care of my every need as an infant in my ignorance I thought all children were raised the way I was. As I got older I quickly realized that was not the case. Many of my friends shared their stories with me and I now realize how important parents or even a caregiver are to children. Children need love and security in their lives. They learn from a young age either to be trusting or to be hostile with others. I pray that as Christian Counselors we a can make a difference in the lives of those people who are suffering and longing for the love of Christ.

McLeod, S. A. (2009). Attachment Theory. Retrieved

Monday, April 15, 2013

You mean, I have 3 parents?

This title simply means that God is our third parent, at least, whether we know it or not, we view Him the same way we view our parents. How we view our parents, colors how we view God. This is explained in God Attachment theory.

Attachment theory has been around for some time and has gained considerable ground in the scientific world, especially among Christian counselors. This theory of relating seems to most clearly demonstrate integration for the Christian counselor in his/her pursuit of combining psychology and theology into a unified whole. The psychology of attachment theory, especially God attachment, very clearly describes what is found in the Bible. For example, attachment theory describes the primary caregiver of a child as a “safe haven.” The Bible very clearly uses this language when describing how we experience God who is our caregiver. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” and Hebrews 13:5 states “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” We relate to God in the same way a child relates to his/her primary caregiver.

As aspiring counselors who may end up working with Christian clients in a Christian setting, God attachment is a theory you will want to hold onto as it can be of immense help. Every Christian at some point of another will doubt their faith and turn to a counselor, quite likely, for help. This “crisis of belief” can turn someone world upside down and they look to you and say, “What do I do?” A great place to begin with a client struggling with their relationship with God is to find out how they view God. God Attachment theory can help answer that question. Our presuppositions we bring to God shaped by our relationship with our earthly parents is stronger than we think and by helping clients gain insight into how they see God could be the beginning stages of resolving their “crisis of belief.”

In God Attachment, Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Joshua Straub walk through the stages of relating to God and present questions that clients need to ask themselves in each stage. I briefly list one each here, paraphrased.

Proximity Seeking:  When do you or do you not seek God?

Safe Haven: Do you feel safe with God?

Secure Base: Do you really believe God has your best interest at heart?

Perceived Abandonment: Do you feel as if God will abandon you sometimes?

These questions, and more, are probing and thought-provoking. As we work through these questions with clients it could bring more awareness to how they view God and can set the stage to creating goals for change.

Familiarizing yourself with God Attachment theory as a Christian counselor is an act that will not go unrewarded. The benefits of understanding clients and facilitating change through utilizing this theory cannot be overstated. I would encourage all readers to click on the links below and read up!

Clinton, T. and Straub, J. (2010). God attachment. New York, NY: Howard Books.

God Attachment by Tim Clinton and Josh Straub

They're not monsters, guys.

This past week in 507, the hot topic of homosexuality was unexpectedly discussed. The reason it got brought up was because of the newly popular article about a man's journey of being gay and coming out at Liberty University. There were a number of different opinions about the article, the topic of homosexuality, how the professors responded, etc. and the whole time this was being discussed and people were voicing their opinions about "those kinds of people", I couldn't help but feel sympathy for those with same sex attraction. Unfortunately, much to many churches and Christians are responding very poorly to the issue and it is honestly breaking my heart. Too many people are focusing on the political aspects and are fighting as hard as they can against the issue that it seems like the only thing being communicated is hatred. I came across a really great article on and I really like what Alex Murashko had to say. His overall point in this article is that we need to start looking past all of the debating and look at the individuals. He argues that we, as a church, need to show much more compassion towards those struggling with same sex attraction. Not go so far as accepting the behaviors, but recognizing that there is a struggle there. He wrote something that encouraged me when he said that there's a church in D.C. who meets each week to discuss how to better care for these struggling individuals. I love that. They're more concerned with how they can lend a helping and loving hand instead of being concerned about "letting those people near our children" or "keeping them away from our families."

How this relates to counseling:
It goes without saying that we all are going to encounter clients who are struggling with homosexual tendencies. Instead of referring them because we don't agree with their behaviors, we need to show compassion and instead counsel the person through it. Yes that will be difficult to do if we are in secular settings because many of those practices teaches us how to assist someone in coming out, but I still believe that we can be loving and try to understand the hurt the person is feeling underneath. There is always some way to love someone. And as I have said in my previous post, we ALL have a struggle of some kind. A person with same sex attraction just happens to wear their struggle on their sleeve.

My personal response:
I took a class here at Liberty in undergrad called "Addictions and the recovery process" with the late Dr. Pitts. He was an absolutely brilliant man and I learned a great deal from him. He is a recovering drug addict so I really respected his insights into the struggles of addictions especially since I'm the daughter of two recovering drug addicts myself. In this class, we talked about homosexuality which at first shocked me. But the more he unpacked it the more it makes sense to classify homosexuality as a sexual addiction. When placed through that lens, it hits home for me. Seeing both my parents struggle through their recoveries, I understand how hard it is to resist an addiction. So instead of making homosexual people out to be these monsters, how about we instead take a step back and look for the hurting person within them. I guarantee there's hurt there. And we as counselors need to be much more sensitive to that. The church spends all this time preparing missionaries for their trips over seas by teaching them the language, the culture, the dress codes, etc. so why aren't we attempting to do the same for the homosexual community? Why aren't we attempting to reach out to them and love on them so as to create opportunities to share about the healing ministry of Jesus Christ? Why are we seeing them only for their sinful behaviors? That makes no sense to me.

I think these two pictures sum this post up perfectly:

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Hot Topic

Yesterday in class, during the famously allotted class time that Dr. Corsini commonly refers to as "the time to ask him anything....anything at all", a student raised their hand and asked a question about homosexuality. It took about negative five seconds before numerous people in the class also had their hands up asking questions about the subject of homosexuality and the various stances on it. The overall consensus seemed to be.....we were all confused! During the discussion, by no surprise, the recently written article by Brandon Ambrosino was a "hot topic" of discussion. The article, "Being Gay at Jerry Falwell's University", written by a previous Liberty student, discusses the time the author (Brandon) spent at Liberty University, while struggling with the issue of homosexuality. While the article is somewhat controversial in nature, the overall focus suggests that contrary to popular belief, the authors time at Liberty University was in fact a time of unconditional love. As the article continues, it continually addresses the students time at Liberty as an overall pleasant experience, frequently being loved on by students, professors (most of who were named) and other faculty members. In addition, the author discusses the way in which he believed Dr. Jerry Falwell would have addressed his homosexuality by saying, "I never told Dr. Falwell that I was gay; but I wouldn't have been afraid of his response. Would he have thought homosexuality was an abomination? Yes. Would he have thought it was God's intention for me to be straight? Yes. But would he have wanted to stone me? No. And if there were some that would've wanted to stone me, I can imagine Jerry Falwell, with his fat smile, telling all of my accusers to go home and pray because they were wicked people."

How does this effect us as counselors?? I honestly believe that many counselors in training don't realize how much the issue of homosexuality will effect our profession. This is a subject that most Christians...well actually most people in general....are very confused about (as our class time Thursday showed). Because homosexuality is an issue that many human souls struggle with, it is essential to have an understanding of the lifestyle, as well as knowledge in the area of treating individuals who are in a continuous struggle with their sexuality. As Christian counselors, the bar is raised even higher. Because we as Christians are called to a higher standards, we must first of all have a thorough knowledge of what the Bible says about about the lifestyle of homosexuality.We must know WHAT we believe, and WHY we believe it.  In addition to this, we must be just as familiar of what the Bible says about love. The article presented, does an excellent job of showing the importance of both of these components.

This article stirred up numerous emotions within me. First of all, I thought the article really presented Liberty in a positive light, as it continually gave examples of people who showed the author love, compassion, and grace; even after he accepted a lifestyle that was not agreed upon. And while I do see why some may make the argument that not enough "discipline" was shown to the student for his behavior and actions, I would have to respectfully disagree. While I believe that it is ESSENTIAL to never condone sinful behavior, I also believe that in the present case, the student possessed full understanding of the sinfulness of his behavior. It is my opinion, that the professors in the article, gave an excellent example of how to show love to unbelievers at all times. I really appreciated their example of grace and unconditional love. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking a Look into Intellectual Development

In class, the three stages of intellectual development have been discussed.  These three stages include: the dependence stage, the independence stage, as well as the interdependence stage.  The dependence stage is where an individual’s intellect is developed through the influence of their parents, church leaders, school teachers, television, peers, as well as through various other factors.  The independence stage is when an individual begins to take ownership of his or her own intellect.  They may begin to ask questions to learn and even take responsibility for their beliefs as well as actions.  The last stage of intellectual development is known as the interdependence stage.  In this stage, individuals share their thoughts with others and even learn about the ideas of others. 
            It is important to understand and implement the three stages of intellectual development in counseling.   An enlightening article by Haensly and Arsons emphasizes the importance of guiding individuals as they develop in these intellectual phases.  As a counselor, it is important to understand the various phases of intellectual development so that the client may be effectively guided and led into a healthy direction of intellectual growth.  In Haensly and Arsons’ article the importance of mentoring as one grows in intellect is also addresses.  This article can be found here:
            After taking a glimpse into the three stages of intellectual development, it became evident that they provide the individual with various insights.  These stages allow parents as well as counselors to better understand the thought processes of developing individuals.  As a result, these mentors will potentially be more equipped to help direct those seeking guidance and intellect.  Additionally, the stages of intellectual development provide a foundation for understanding the way an individuals functions.  It is beneficial to have this foundation so that individuals may be more accurately understood and thus helped in times of crisis or difficulty.