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Archive for the ‘Nouthetic Counseling’ Category

I intend this year of reviewing helpful biblical counseling booklets for the purpose of identifying resources to equip and edify God’s people.

Margaret Ashmore. Depression.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, April 17th 2013. 38 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: P&R Publishing | Amazon

This is a work that is a part of The Gospel for Real Life Series put out by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing written by those who are a part of the Association of Biblical Counselors.  This particular work addresses the topic of depression.  In this review I want to briefly summarize what the author Margaret Ashmore has to say followed by the positives that I found in this book.

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I plan to review more counseling booklets for the sake of the edification and encouragement of the church.

Edward Welch. Depression: The Way Up When You Are Down.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, October 1st, 2000. 28 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a counseling booklet that’s part of the series published by Presbyterian and Reformed called “Resources for Changing Lives.”  In this series of 26 booklets biblical counselor Edward Welch wrote this one on the issue of depression.  After reading this booklet myself I thought this was a helpful resource for Pastors to assign as a reading assignment for someone whom they are counseling concerning depression.  And Pastors definitely need resources on depression if they are going to be prepared to minister to people and their problems.

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dealing-with-anger-meditating-on-bible-verses-from-proverbs

Do you have a problem with anger?

I hope this is practical and helpful for everybody.  If you are involved with Christian apologetics (a big topic on our blog) you would no doubt encounter people who might test your patience.  Or maybe your weakness is not during evangelism but ministry within the church.  Are there people and situations at work that provoke you to ungodly anger?  We can easily have blind-spots; So ask yourself, does your family think you have a problem with anger management?

Confession to the Lord your problem and sin should be your first step.  He is gracious and faithful to forgive and also to cleanse you (1 John 1:9).

I also think it is important to regularly review some verses from Proverbs.  It is good to meditate on them and memorize them as fight against sin before you fall into unrighteous anger.

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I plan the next few weeks to look at some practical counseling booklets and post my reviews of them on here.

stress-peace-amid-pressure-by-david-powlison

David Powlison. Stress: Peace Amid Pressure.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, July 1st, 2004. 28 pp.

4 out of 5

This is a counseling booklet that’s part of the series published by Presbyterian and Reformed called “Resources for Changing Lives.”  I thought this work is a great resource for Pastors to assign as a reading assignment for someone they are counseling on the topic of stress.  I read through this short work for my own edification and also alongside another brother at church.

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Ego Trip Harrison

Purchase: Amazon

This book is an excellent evaluation of today’s social understanding of ego and self-esteem.  It is a popular assumption in our society that the root of many problems is the lack of confidence people have.  According to this line of thinking what people need to solve their problems then is a boost of their self-esteem; thus, to increase and maintain people’s self-esteem have become the social gospel of the hour, or as the author put it, it is the  “social vaccine” with many promises (76).  But how does this square with reality?  This book argues that although it seems counter-intuitive the effect of the self-esteem movement has been more hurtful rather than helpful.

In the beginning the book gives a good survey of the historical origin and development of the self-esteem movement.  The author traces much of the incipient form of this self-esteem boosterism back to Freud although the first to coin the term “self-esteem” was the American philosopher William James.  The book also discussed how the gospel of self-esteem became popular during the “Cambrian era of self-esteem” of the 1960s (44).  The book also have a chapter describing the self-esteem movement’s agenda of passing their ideology to children when they are young and another chapter on how these ideas have even entered into the church and how detrimental it is spiritually.

After surveying the origin of the movement the book then cover the issue of whether or not “boosterism” works in chapter five.  I love the many statistics and studies that the author presents in proving his point that boosterism hasn’t delivered as promised.  The author argues that there are no hard evidences that boosting people’s self-esteem solves the major social and psychological problems that it was suppose to solve; but the author goes further to marshal data showing how the promotion of self-esteem has caused more harm than good.  Phony boost will lead to more disappointment and more problems.  I would say the author working through the data and various studies in research journals is worth buying the book.

Some of the survey of the relevant studies reveal the following:

  • There is not strong positive correlation between one’s self-esteem and educational attainment and that those with low and high self-esteem try just as hard in education (98).
  • According to another study risky teenage sexual behavior had very weak link with self-esteem per se; instead the link appears to be connected with factors such as background of a broken home or a lower IQ (74).
  • In one study, there are two groups of students, one who were praised for their effort and the other praised for being intrinsically gifted; and the group that was praised for effort when required to anonymously report their final scored were more prone to lie (101).
  • One example of how that is no correlation with one’s view of oneself and actual performance is a study that demonstrate how the lowest scoring group of people completing a task had the highest “better than average” biased rating of their performance compared to others (127).

The second half of the book was more theological in its content.  I admit that I was surprised at how biblical the second half of the book was.  Here the author offered a biblical antidote to the contemporary self-esteem movement.  The author also tells us a story in which he counseled someone where he noted the irony that he was more concerned about repentance and confession than the counselee’s pastor who was more concern with psychobabble.  I was also glad to find the author’s familiarity of good biblical resources as evident from the footnote.   I definitely recommend this book.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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Anger Escaping the Maze

You can get this booklet for 22% off for a limited time at WTS Bookstore if you click HERE.

I love these counseling booklets series “Resources for Changing Lives” for their brevity and clarity.  I want to buy and read every one of them.  (However if you buy them all at one time, there’s no guarantee that the person behind the counter in your local bookstore wouldn’t think you are a weirdo).  Even though this booklet is small the impact of its content is huge.  I used this book as a resource for a counselee dealing with and found the truths within it helpful for him and myself as well and I’m sure it will be too with other readers.

I appreciated the author tackling anger head on especially with his critique of the “substance” model of understanding anger; this is the view that think of anger more as a “thing” inside someone rather than anger being an attitude and act of the person.  As the author argues, how one understands the nature of anger will determine what kind of solution that is being proposed.  As Christians we must come to understand that anger issues reflect someone’s willful desire to sin and not just some impersonal force within us exploding.

The best part of the book is the discussion about being angry with God—very well thought out and life changing material for those struggling with this issue.  The book also gave several questions to help deal with anger with the first set being diagnostic and the second set given with the intent of helping a counselee deal with their sinful anger.  Like with other biblical counseling resources I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s question engaging the readers with biblical truths that confront the lies and false expectation we embrace.

 

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Pre-Engagement Five Questions to Ask Yourselves

This is a great resource for the biblical counselor and those who are involved in a relationship whether engaged or about to be engaged.  Like other booklet in this series, this work doesn’t disappoint; it’s beautiful to see a work that has brevity, communicate simply and biblically while being tremendously helpful.  The author David Powlison is a wonderful biblical counselor who in this work asks a lot of great questions for those who are thinking about marriage.  While the subtitle of the book is “5 questions to Ask Yourselves,” really it’s a booklet of many questions (I lost track of how many), all of which are under five larger and more general questions.  I appreciate the author’s use of questions which makes it an ideal book to warm up discussions between couples and also offer something the Nouthetic counselor to work with.  It’s not just the questions that are good but also some of the practical tidbits the author gives.  For instance, I really appreciated the author’s point of answering the question of whom to look for counsel concerning the relationship and the decision of marriage.  Specifically, after saying that one should invite parental insight he acknowledges that strained parental-child relationship exists but that this should be a great opportunity “to seek to heal the breach,” something that is helpful in tying up loose ends of the past before going into a new marriage with unresolved baggage (26).  I started reading this book as a Pastor looking for good materials to go over with those who we are going over pre-marital counseling with and I not only recommend it, I am going to be using it.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Biblical Counseling Coalition

The Biblical Counseling Coalition has just completed a four part blog series on God centered approach towards overcoming lusts and pornography.

14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust

Pornography, Radical Measures, and the Gospel

Dumb Down Your Smart Phone

Ensnared by Lust

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NOTE: The following is a handout for a topical message/discussion on the issue of suffering, an important pastoral/counseling/apologetics issue that is best addressed before someone goes through tough times and trials in their life.

Storm Wikipedia

Don’t Waste Your Suffering (Handout)

Selected Scripture

Purpose: Have a biblical understanding of suffering so that you have hope in Christ when life’s trials come upon you.
FIRST, don’t be surprise when suffering comes

Jesus tells us this: John 16:33

Apostle Peter tells us this: 1 Peter 4:12

Secondly, understand…

1.) God is in control (Matthew 10:29)

 

2.) God uses suffering in our lives for our good (Romans 8:28)

 

3.) You can handle the suffering God gives you (1 Corinthians 10:13)

 

How God uses suffering:

1.) God uses suffering to make us like Christ (Romans 8:29)

 

2.) God uses suffering to produce in us hope (Romans 5:3-5)

 

3.) Suffering shows us the mercy and compassion of God (James 5:10-11)

 

4.) Suffering makes us have eternity in perspective (2 Corinthians 4:17 cf. 1 Peter 4:13)

 

5.) Suffering is a way of relating to Jesus (Philippians 3:10)

 

6.) Suffering is a way of manifesting to others Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:18-20)

 

7.) Suffering allows us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

 

Responding to suffering in light of God’s truth:

1.) Go to God for comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

 

2.) Be comforted that one day Suffering will be no more (Revelation 21:4)

 

3.) See future glory greater than present reality of suffering (Romans 8:18)

 

4.) Rejoice, since suffering is a gift (Philippians 1:29)

 

5.) Rejoice, since God is completing you (James 1:2-4)

 

6.) Make sure you are saved

 

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procrastination-walter-henegar-paperback-cover-art

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover–and also it’s size.  This little booklet is useful for biblical counseling as a booklet for the counselee to go through and underline/highlight.  It is practical, addresses the heart of the issue and is Gospel based and Gospel driven–all major plus as to why one should have this book handy.  I just used it with someone in my church and realized that I can definitely use this booklet with others as well.  As with all good counseling resources, it’s not only useful for others–it was also convicting for me as the Pastor reading this.  Walter Henegar’s booklet has challenged me to think about procrastination biblically–typically I think of it as being lazy or something I’m not doing.  The author notes that it’s not just an issue of something absent, but also what is it that is present and a substitute of what one ought to be doing.  The booklet is also able to give gospel hope for why believers can change.  Highly Recommended.

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Head psychology logo

We have completed our week long Marathon series on Biblical counseling and concern for Psychology.  Here is the compilation of our posts related to this topic from this week and also from the past.  Book mark this as a resource–and also to visit in the future as we will add more links and resources to equip God’s people to think Biblically and apply a Christian worldview in the areas of helping people with their problems.

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I thank God for The Master’s Seminary putting things up online for free for God’s people!  That include this helpful counseling course on Counseling Marriage and Family on Youtube for free!

My wife and I are watching through this slowly every night on Tuesday.  It would be helpful for Pastors and non-Pastors, husbands and wives to watch this so that you can help counsel others with marriage and family problem.  Of course, like with all biblical counseling it ends up sanctifying and changing more the Christian counselors than even the counselee.

Enjoy and share with others!

 

 

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courtship

Continuing with our Counseling series this week

As a pastor with a young congregation, the topic of relationship, courtship, love and sex needs to be understood biblically.  I have started this year to use the following seven questions for pre-courtship Counseling.  I think it’s helpful to begin precourtship counseling even when someone is seriously considering a girl to be in a relationship with since emotion can run high and you want to address concerns early on since relationships often leads young people to unnecessary heartbreaks, spiritual compromises and sexual immorality.  I find that it’s not enough to just preach on this regularly but it’s also vital  to assess one on one where an individual is at which drove me to make this counseling sheet.

Below is the worksheet I use.  I have them spend some time answering it.  As an instruction for the counselor, what I’m looking for with these questions is to identify any answers and thinking that is unbiblical and then correct them.  What Biblical answers they do have I want to encourage them to uphold and also discuss what an accountablility plan looks like.

PRE-COURTSHIP COUNSELING: SEVEN RELATIONSHIP QUESTIONS

Purpose: To be conscious of timeless biblical principles concerning character and beliefs for relationships (Questions # 1, 2 and 3) and also whether it’s the case between couples in relationship (Questions # 5 and 6).  Questions are also design to encourage Christian growth in relationship, in terms of identifying what one needs to work on in the area of sanctification (Question  #7) and protection for purity (Question #4).  Questions #1-4 are also good questions for singles not in a relationship to answer ahead of time as well.
1) What is the quality and characteristic of a godly husband?

2) What is the quality and characteristic of a godly wife?

3) What doctrinally (theologically) should I look for in a potential spouse?

4) What should be my physical boundaries during a relationship for the sake of purity?

5) Does he have these characters and quality?  On this basis, is he ready for a relationship?

6) Does she have these characters and quality?  On this basis, is she ready for a relationship?

7) What do I have to work on in terms of my character?

 

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westminster theological seminary biblical counseling

Westminster Theological Seminary has no doubt been tremendously impactful in churches across the world beyond the Conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).  Besides Reformed Theology, the Seminary has also also introduced to the church at large in other denomination Presuppositional apologetics (as systematized by their professor Cornelius Van Til) and also Biblical Counseling through Jay Adams who taught there from 1963 through 1983.  Westminster Seminary also houses the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) which has been training people in Nouthetic Counseling since 1968.  Many professors in Biblical counseling in other seminary do have their doctorate work done at Westminster.  No doubt it would be appropriate to see what resources WTS has made available to the Public.  The Seminary has free audios available of lectures concerning Biblical counseling over at Itunes University!

Here are the topics the lectures covered:

1.) Dynamics of Biblical Change

2.) All Theology is Practical Theology

3.) When People Go Insane

4.) Command: Resist the Devil

5.) Dealing with a Person’s Past

6.) Union With Christ: Dynamic for Change

7.) Temptation

8.) Homosexuality

9.) Union With Christ: God at Work

10.) A.D.H.D Diagnosis

11.) Therapy and Faith: Integration or Inundation?

You can access the audios at ITunes University by clicking HERE.

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