Brief Christian Therapy



Brief Christian Therapy is not just limited to marital discourses or helping someone overcome anxiety, depression, addictions, or suicidal ideations. It encompasses all of human nature and can be applied to anyone in any field. Studies have shown its immense and long-term impact on survivors of abuse and trauma ranging from domestic violence to war, including victims of trafficking.

The reality is we live in a fallen world that is plagued by sin. As a consequence of this, we live with byproducts of sin that create internal and external scars that affect the body mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Overcoming this alone is too great for anyone. Lay helpers are charged with an immerse burden as they help their clients. This realm is seldon given an inside glance.

Brief Christian Therapy: Components that Reveal Internal Weaknesses

Brief Christian therapy seeks to be a process of shifting one’s dreams from the present and into the future (Clinton and Ohlschlager, 2005). Its primary mission is improving how a client feels, thinks, and acts and presents goal-directed, constructive change while also helping to restore the image of God in clients.

To bring this constructive change over a consolidated, eight to ten session therapy conference requires a clinically systematic, empirically supported, and Holy Spirit-led approach. Several components interwoven in this approach is first contact, trust building and beginning assessment, life-enhancing goal setting (LeGS), comprehensive and diagnostic history-taking with the BECHRISTLIKE assessment tool, treatment planning and prayer, building a therapeutic frame, working with client resistance and dependency, working through lapses and frustrations, managing ethical tasks and dilemmas, and terminating treatment.

Within this framework, there are two areas that would present challenges to me as a Christian helper: continual prayer and working through frustration. These two areas would present the most challenge due to combating my nature of wanting to cure or amend situations and overcome the temptation of self-reliance.

The temptation of self-reliance is also embedded in wanting to cure, revealing underlying pride and doubt. Paul acknowledges this struggle in Second Corinthians. “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (English Standard Version Bible, 2011, 2 Corinthians 3:5). Similar safeguards used for sexual feelings should be instated for feelings of frustration and overcoming the temptation of self-reliance to avoid not being Spirit led and sin propagating. These safeguards include acknowledging frustration and self-reliance, praying about them, and not acting them out with clients. If they persist, finding a trusted colleague of the same sex, and talking them through with honesty and wisdom can help reestablish (Clinton and Ohlschlager, 2005).

Components of Strength

The framework of counseling sessions has a similar structure to that of medicine, involving an accurate assessment of the client’s problems, goals, abilities, and deficits that will affect the course of treatment and goal attainment (Clinton and Ohlschlager, 2005). Familiar ground is hedged in rapport building in clients, the BECHRISTLIKE acronym (akin to OLDCARTS within nursing SOAP note documentation in clinical rotations), obtaining patient history, setting LeGS’s, treatment planning, and working through patient lapses.

As a Corpsman, I was exposed to all these components very early in my career and worked with several different providers across multiple disciplines to provide a foundation for patients to lead them and assist them on their road to recovery. My mind has been shaped by these encounters, being able to reason within different contexts (i.e., decompositionally, analogically, and deductively) due to encountering a wide variety of patients and military experiences.

God has also uniquely gifted me with several spiritual gifts (discernment, service and help, and teaching) that He uses to aid me in interactions with people as He reveals their hearts and minds. “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (New American Standard Version Bible, 1995, Psalm 119:130).

Obtaining trust among individuals is as vital in counseling as it is in thriving relationships. The ability to establish trust quickly in people I meet has allowed me to present the Gospel and maintain rapport even if individuals only remain acquaintances due to life circumstances (i.e., moving, careers, etc.). By being able to establish and maintain trust, God has provided several witness opportunities both in and outside of the military with people being comfortable enough to share intrinsic and extrinsic struggles that they otherwise would not share with others.

Finetuning strengths is just one of the many abilities that the Holy Spirit has, as well as refining weaknesses to become strengths. “The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, and each is tested by the praise accorded him” (New American Standard Version Bible, 1995, Proverbs 21:27). Therefore, to be an effective Christian counselor, I will constantly need to abide by the Greatest Commandment, allowing both strengths and weaknesses to be brought under the refining power of Christ.

References

Clinton, T., Hart, Archibald, & Ohlschlager, George. (2019). Caring for People God’s Way: Personal and Emotional Issues, Addictions, Grief, and Trauma. Thomas Nelson, Inc.

English Standard Version Bible (2011). Crossway.

New American Standard Version Bible (1995). The Lockman Foundation.

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