Helping the “Psychologized” Brother (or sister)

Helping the “Psychologized” Brother[1]

Problem:     Many in our culture, including Christians, are far more committed to pop psychology than they are to a biblical worldview.

Analysis:     Failure to recognize this is like a doctor failing to recognize that the 55 year-old man holding his chest with a paralyzed left side of his body is having a heart attack. It can be deadly.

Suggestions:

  1. Don’t underestimate how strongly people hold their current beliefs, however confused they may sound to you.
  2. Remember that your brother or sister’s reasons seem completely plausible to them. Be gentle then clear.
  3. Remember that you are counseling a brother or sister in Christ, not a book, or a theory. Treat them with respect, dignity and love.
  4. Don’t give out what the brother or sister has already tried and found wanting (i.e. modern psychological theories and methods).You must find ways to make what is familiar and common, “uncommonly interesting and relevant” to their situation.
  5. Care for them in a way that communicates to them. You need to listen well to do this well.
  6. Get to know your friend and his or her world.
  7. Don’t make the brother/sister leap tall buildings with a single bound. God puts a stairway—even a handicapped ramp—in front of each one of us. Help them to see the light of God’s word. “A four watt bulb in a pitch dark room gives much light.” (Dr. David Powilson)
  8. Meditate on 2 Timothy 4:1-2, and James 1:5, before you meet with the brother/sister. Ask God for patience, compassion and wisdom.
  9. Always point them to the cross. A deep meditation on the cross is a balm and corrective to all things related to counseling.

[1] Adapted from David Powilson, The Journal of Biblical Counseling,  Volume 15, #1, Fall 1996, “How do your help a “Psychologized Counselee?” 2-7.

© Marty Schoenleber Jr 2012.

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