PASTORAL CARE & COUNSELING 9
PastoralCare and Counseling
Biblicalcounseling entails providing guidance based on the biblicalteachings. Biblical counseling also involves using Bible teachings insupporting as well as encouraging others.1It is also a conversation built upon a biblical way of thinking forexample, the daily struggles of a normal life can be discussed andadvise given to that effect. The Bible recommends biblical counselingsince it indicates that all scripture is provided through theinspiration of God and can be used for correction, instruction,doctrine, and reproof in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Churchleaders are involved in the providing of physical, psychological andspiritual counseling of the members in need and everyone in general.2
Biblicalcounseling is very different from other counseling and can beconsidered as an amalgam of discipleship and biblical friendship.Biblical counseling can be indicated to be old just like the humanhistory and is projected to flourish in the generations to come.Biblical counseling can be considered to commence with God speakingto his people. Today, biblical counseling is practiced by friends,fathers, brothers, sisters, wise pastors, and mothers.3Biblical counseling is usually built on an easy, enduring tenet: thetriune God has spoken to people through the scripture. According to 2Peter 1: 3, God has revealed everything that people need to knowconcerning Him and the world around them. The scripture is criticalin biblical counseling since it tends to speak with a lot of breadth.The scripture is certainly capable of speaking to the common problemsthat people encounter such as financial pressures, relationshipproblems, physical illness or health, and loneliness. Also, thescripture speaks to modern problems such as mania, anxiety,schizophrenia, and depression among others (Welch, 1997 p. 3).Biblical counseling can be viewed as a mutual sharpening. This is inline with the scripture in Proverbs 27:17, which indicates that “asiron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. This implies thatthe biblical counselor also requires counseling just like the personhe/she provides counseling to.
IsAnxiety and Worry the Commonest Symptoms of Mental Distress? And How?
Infrequentanxiety emerges as a normal part of life. It is possible for one tofeel anxious when making an important decision, facing a problem atworkplace, or prior to taking a test. However, anxiety disordersusually involve more than temporal worries or fears. Individualshaving anxiety disorder may experience worsening of anxiety and thesefeelings may interfere with the normal performance of theindividuals. Thus, it can be argued that intense and frequent anxietyand worries can lead to worsening of experiences that individualshave in their lives, which is an indication that anxiety and worriescan result in mental distress. This is because individuals can havemental distress that may affect the internal life of individuals.From the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental distressdescribes a condition which impacts an individual’s thinking, mood,or feeling, which can affect a person’s capacity in functioning andrelating with others. Mental illnesses are a combination of braindisorders that cause a person to act and behave in unfamiliar waysthat may negatively affect others. Mental illnesses change the way aperson thinks, feels and acts. The main cause of mental illness isaccounted to stress and an imbalance of feelings in a particularenvironment. 4Anxietyand worry can be indicated to be the commonest symptoms of mentaldistress because individuals that have mental distress have beenindicated to have anxiety and show worry over issues.
UnderstandingWorry and Anxiety from a Biblical Perspective
TheBible is clear when it comes to anxiety in that it discouragesindividuals from being anxious over anything (Philippians 4: 6).Also, according to Proverbs 12:25, the biblical perspective onanxiety is that anxiety weighs down the heart of an individual.Alternatively, the Bible discourages individuals from worrying(Matthew 6: 25-34). Another biblical teaching on worry is John 14:27. Furthermore, 1 Peter 5:6-7 indicates that “humble yourselvesunder the God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you in due time, Castall your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. Research showsthat when the brain is worried, it directs all its energy tosomething it perceives safe. This increases the stress hormones anddecreases the cognitive ability of thinking. The brain can no longercome with the necessary power to make decisions and the person isleft in a predicament. Solutions can no longer be developed, whenindividuals are anxious since individuals are not in a position tothink straight.
ApplyingBiblical Counseling on Anxiety and Worry Issues
Biblicalcounseling is critical since it seeks in exploring the understandingand depth of the Bible and applying its poise-centered information tothe problems that face individuals in their daily lives. Biblicalcounseling is not meant for professionals only, but can be applied byany person in every aspect.5During the biblical counseling process, the chief goal entailschanging the focus of the individual being counseled on the falseself. This becomes accomplished through a steady process of judgingthe self, which emphasizes on focusing from self needs towardsaccomplishing the God’s purpose. This entails daily dying of theold man and putting on a new man. In this case, the counselee becomesthe disciple.
Inapplying biblical counseling to the issues of anxiety and worry,there are some biblical foundations necessary for the counseling. Oneof the foundations is that the individual that desires to applybiblical counseling to these issues should be born from false selfand accept true self.6This helps in the regeneration of human spirit and helps anindividual to be united with the spirit of God. Besides, this equipsan individual to have self knowledge on how to deal with the issuesof worry and anxiety. The other foundation is deliverance. After anindividual accepts the true self, it is important to becomedelivered. In this case, the individual would look at things inhis/her life through the spiritual perspective and this isaccomplished through following God’s commands. This is affirmed inJohn 15:10. The last foundation is sanctification. This is throughthe Holy Spirit. In this process, a counselor would lead and motivatethe individual being counseled to depend on the Bible as the onlyauthority and law for living.
Inmaking an individual successful in applying biblical counseling onanxiety and worry issues, it is important for the individual to havesome guidelines. One of the guidelines is that the person applyingbiblical counseling to anxiety and worry issues should love God,which can be accomplished through obeying God’s commandments. It isthrough obeying the commandments of God that an individual would becapable of maintaining a critical relationship with God.7By following the God’s commands, it would be possible for anindividual to resolve anxiety since the Bible indicates in Romans8:28 that “in all things God works for the good of those who loveHim”. This implies that by loving God, one would be delivered fromsituations that would result in anxiety. Another guideline is that aperson applying biblical counseling to issues of anxiety and worryshould judge self and restrain from judging others. Also, dailymeditation and devotion are critical for an individual applyingbiblical counseling to anxiety and worry issues.
HowChurches Help Manage Mental Illness for Spiritual Growth
Inmost churches, people form fellowship groups, where they meet duringthe week and help each other in sharing their ideas and experiencesthat they are going through, or experiences that their friends aregoing through. These groups also help in showing cooperation andunity in resolving the experiences of one or more members. The burdenof mental illness is very big and having people around to help anindividual becomes a great aspect in overcoming and taking stepstowards healing.8Since anxiety and worry emerge as significant elements in causingmental distress, the church needs to take an active role to helpindividuals with anxiety and worry. The churches, through pastoralcare, can help individuals having the issues of anxiety and worry ina manner that would ensure spiritual growth by doing the following
Helping individuals acknowledge the fears and manage stress. The first step in starting a healing process is always acceptance. The church tries to explain to the victims of mental illness that they have a specific problem that needs to be addressed. At first, they might be fearful of the outcomes but they are comforted by the fact that they can be helped. Since fear and stress can result in anxiety and worrying, the church should consider taking a leadership role in helpings individuals having fears and stress avoid anxiety and worry.9 This can be done through the church praying for such individuals and organizing counseling sessions.
The church should also engage in offering support to the individuals, who are anxious. Some of the support given by the church may include giving them time to share their feelings and needs, encouraging them through prayer, following up on them to check with their progress and showing care to their predicaments.
The church should also organize biblical counseling programs that are regular. The regular biblical counseling is critical in helping individuals having anxiety as well as worry understand how they can resolve their problems.
Biblicalcounseling is very different from other counseling and can beconsidered as an amalgam of discipleship and biblical friendship.Biblical counseling can be indicated to be old just like the humanhistory and is projected to flourish in the generations to come.Biblical counseling can be considered to commence with God speakingto his people. Pastoral counseling normally integrates psychology andtraditional religious training and relating these schools of thoughtsto the Bible. Intense and frequent anxiety and worries can lead toworsening of experiences that individuals have in their lives, whichis an indication that anxiety and worries can result in mentaldistress. This is because individuals can have mental distress thatmay affect the internal life of individuals. The main impact ofmental distress is the change in people’s lives and the impact ofthis to the society. It is the greatest form of counseling because itrelates to the solving and giving of proper solutions to real lifeproblems. With the combination of biblical counseling, people areadvised to live better lives in relation to biblical teachings. Thechurch has an active role in helping individuals through biblicalcounseling. Therefore, through biblical counseling, individuals arecapable of avoiding anxiety and worry that can result in mentaldistress thus, mental distress can be avoided through biblicalcounseling.
Powlison,D. (2003). Seeingwith new eyes: Counseling and the human condition through the lens ofScripture.Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Pub.
Petersen,B. L. (2007). Foundationsof pastoral care.Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.
Welch,Ed. (1997). What Is biblical Counseling, Anyway? Journalof biblical Counseling,Vol. 16(1).
Snorton,R. S. B. R. (2014). Professionalspiritual & pastoral care.Place of publication not identified: Readhowyouwant Com Ltd.
Patton,J. (2005). Pastoralcare: An essential guide.Nashville: Abingdon Press.
MacDonald,J., Kellemen, R. W., & Viars, S. (2013). Christ-centeredBiblical counseling.Eugene: Harvest House Publishers.
Almy,G. (2000). HowChristian is Christian counseling? The dangerous secular influencesthat keep us from caring for souls.Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books.
Fitzpatrick,E. (2001). Overcomingfear, worry, and anxiety.Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
Pierre,J., & Reju, D. (2015). Thepastor and counseling: The basics of shepherding members in need.Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway.
1 Powlison, D. (2003). Seeing with new eyes: Counseling and the human condition through the lens of Scripture. Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Pub, P. 86.
2 Petersen, B. L. (2007). Foundations of pastoral care. Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, P. 58.
3 Welch, Ed. (1997). What Is biblical Counseling, Anyway? Journal of biblical Counseling, Vol. 16(1). P. 2
4 Thompson, M. L. (2007). Mental illness. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, P. 104.
5Welch, Ed. (1997). See no.3 P. 5.
6 Patton, J. (2005). Pastoral care: An essential guide. Nashville: Abingdon Press. P 44.
7 MacDonald, J., Kellemen, R. W., & Viars, S. (2013). Christ-centered Biblical counseling. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. P 82.
8 Almy, G. (2000). How Christian is Christian counseling?: The dangerous secular influences that keep us from caring for souls. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books. P 90.
9 Pierre, J., & Reju, D. (2015). The pastor and counseling: The basics of shepherding members in need. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway. P. 84.