The conversations in my head (yes, I talk to myself) since the last time we were together in class discussing the Bible, psychology, and Jay Adams, have not ceased. I know each of us has our own thoughts and opinions about the Bible’s role in the arena of professional counseling. Some may share the views of Adams. Others can’t wait until Thursday’s exam is over so they can destroy this particular piece of literature. When it comes to this subject, I believe it is important for each counselor-in-training to know what they believe and why they believe it. I think all of us understand that this debate / argument will continue long after our own personal practice ceases to exist. No matter what side of the fence we fall on in the debate, however, one thing we all can and should agree on is the importance of the spiritual well-being of the counselor.
All of us have multiple identities (no, I don’t mean split personalities). You may be a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, a husband or a wife, a friend, a promising counselor or a practicing counselor. Whichever applies to you, your biggest and most important identity is as a child of God. Your personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the stone in the water causing a rippling affect to all the other relationships and identities in your life. All of us know how vital our training is when it comes to the counseling profession. We know that people with serious problems, issues, and hurts will be coming to us for help and expecting us to fix them over a limited period of time. I don’t know about you, but that scares and intimidates me (and people from West Virginia don’t scare easily). We, as future counselors, have a tremendous responsibility to the counselee – and to ourselves, and to our families, and to God - to be spiritually healthy. What might that look like? God paints a perfect picture for us in Ephesians 6:10-18 – the Armor of God. Call me dramatic, but I fully believe that each session we have with a client serves as a unique battle. As we prepare for each session / battle, we need to understand that being prepared is not limited to simply reviewing notes from the last session or doing research on the particular issue with which your client is dealing, although these are important, necessary, and responsible things to do.
As I think about each counselee, I know my strength to help them is in the Lord and in His mighty power. I am aware of how insufficient I am on my own, so I plan to put on the full armor of God, so that I can take my stand against Satan’s schemes – for my sake and for the sake of my counselee. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I will, as a responsible counselor therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes - when I feel discouraged, stressed, or ineffective, when I lose sight of why I felt called to counseling - I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything - after I have studied, prayed, and used every resource I have to offer healing - to stand. This is the biblical ground where we stand together as counselors - no matter which side of the fence we fall on.