Therapeutic Uses of Scripture
Scripture is able to address specific issues that the client may be facing. These issues include; anxiety, marital disputes, and trauma among others. The client is more willing to accept the help offered by the counselor when it is backed by the bible which the client regards as an authority. Examining appropriate passages in the bible may make a client more accepting of their own misgivings when it is shown that characters in the bible also faced the same issues (Garzon, 2008).
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One of the goals of counseling is to provoke the client to view situation in a different light and scriptures are a rich source that can be used to provoke the client to adopt a different outlook. Clients who seek counseling are seeking answers to their problems (McMinn, 1996).
Scriptures provide individuals with a better understanding of who they are and the nature of their problems (Garzon, 2008). Reasons as to why these problems are being faced are also provided by scriptures and ways to resolve them are offered. Scripture is able to provide hope to the client and encourage them that they can overcome the issues that they currently face.
Negative Aspects Regarding prayer Use
Prayer in the Christian religion is understood as “dialogue with God” and it is a major tenet of the Christian faith (McMinn, 1996). However, prayer is met with suspicion within mainstream counseling since it can have some possible negative impacts. Gubi (2009) warns that prayer at the end of a session might be a place for the client to dump and run from difficult issues instead of facing them or trying to work through them.
This escapism will harm any progress that the client may have made through the session. Prayer can carry connotations of magic and helplessness as the supplicant submits to a higher power. Gubi (2009) reveals that for this reason, player is a risky concept since it makes the counseling process less focused and less clear.
Prayer might also be used as a channel through which the counselor expresses their hopes, aspirations and desires for the client. Gubi (2009) states that this may happen when the counselor prays for the client and it puts the client under unnecessary pressure. Weld and Eriksen (2008) cautions that Christian counselors who wish to integrate prayer interventions should assess client expectations rather than imposing their own expectations through prayer.
Garzon, F. (2008). Interventions that Apply Scripture in Psychotherapy. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 33 (2), 113-121.
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Gubi, P. M. (2009). An exploration of the use of Christian prayer in mainstream counselling. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling , 38 (4), 425-434.
McMinn, M.R. (1996). Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling . NY: Tyndale House.
Weld, C. & Eriksen, K. (2008). Christian clients’ preferences regarding prayer as a counseling intervention. Journal of Psychology and Theology , 36 (4), 328-341.