Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Apostle Paul and mental health counseling

Perhaps in googling for this site you have also found one with a similar linkage of code words, the other referring to Biblical Counseling. There are a number of counseling sites, of course, each with its own special approach. I mention this one now in that both this site and that of Biblical Counseling have an understanding in common, that the young Saul -  and to some degree the later Paul as he worked through it -  suffered from what today is categorized as Post Traumatic Stress. Each blog expresses that author's thoughts, of course, such as the Biblical Counseling blog using “Disorder,” while I would argue for “Syndrome.” This blog cites Saul’s causation beginning with the stoning of Stephen; I have continued to wonder about an earlier event and will explore that in a later book

I think that readers who are familiar with PTSD will be appreciative that the author of this counseling approach is fulsome in describing its symptoms. Understandably, each of these is linked with a quotation from Paul’s letters. This therapeutic approach is a step by step cognitive process, using Old Testament quotations as well. The process is augmented by journaling, with an emphasis on promises from scripture and thanksgiving. There is a consistent focus on the goodness of possibilities.

There are three questions emphasized in this approach:
1.What is God developing in me because of my suffering?
2. Where is God deploying me to minister to others  because of my suffering?
3. What is God delivering me from due to my suffering?

Interesting, as well, is a short sraightforward discussion of how Evangelicals and Calvinistic Reformers differ in their biblical understandings in regard to mental illness.

In future blogs I would also like to reflect on other counseling approaches from a religious perspective. These, too, both differ and have similarities. As retired counselors my wife and I no longer do any counseling, but our interest is on-going and we feel our comments may well be helpful to those seeking help.
All are joined – including ourselves – in saying, “Peace be with you.”

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