And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Overview of Biblical Counseling Part 3 The Role of the Counselee

The role of the counselee in counseling

            The counselee must be willing to change.  To do so then necessitates that the counselee is submissive to the counselor.  For effective discipleship the counselee should understand that the counselor is looking unto their best welfare and though forceful, it is all done in an effort to break the habits of life that are not honoring to God in order that new character place.

            In the process of change, counselees begin by understanding their problem and the subsequent habits of that setting.  However, understanding the issue is not enough.  Counselees, in order to become God honoring, need to actually change from the old fleshly self to a new spiritual creature.  Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us that in Christ we are a new creation, however we still fight against the flesh. [1]   We read in Galatians about fruits of the flesh and fruits of the spirit.[2]  These then address the command that we are to be holy in Christ.  This requires action.  Paul counsels us to put off sin and fleshly desires and to put on the righteousness of Christ.[3]  The counselee needs to understand the difference between temporary change and of character, or heart, change.  We should illustrate to the counselee how under observation, a person may act in a way that is expected.  Yet, when not observed a person may act entirely different.  This is not  the permanent change we are seeking.  The same is true in the process of counseling.

            Therefore the counselee has a role in actively pursuing righteousness while crucifying the flesh.  Honestly repentant believers will therefore be submissive to the training they are given.  They will accept that they must put off old habits and practice new ones.  To do this they will participate in homework, scripture memory and application, and activities that may be assigned.  Most will struggle at first.  But the counselor is an essential ally in the Nouthetic process of victory.

            In order to proceed with counseling, the counselee needs to make three commitments.  They need to commit to honoring God, doing what He says, and complete the homework.  Without these three rules of engagement counseling will fail.

[1] 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 6:12, Romans 7:5-28
[2] Galatians 5:16-23
[3] Colossians 3:10, 12

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